It’s the most wonderful time of the year for anyone with an eye for modern art, a time when some of the most exciting galleries in London are looking back on their most important artists of the past year. At no gallery is this more true than Maddox and its flagship Winter Contemporary Exhibition.
As ever with the 9 Maddox Street gallery, the exhibition starts before you even head inside, with an even more impressive array of flora – in vibrant festive hues – than when it joins the whole Mayfair in Bloom movement back in the summer. That all said, it’s not as if anyone’s going to linger outside in the current climate.
The artists on show aren’t just Maddox’s finest; they’re some of the most in-demand contemporary creatives working today, even more-so even than the gallery’s usual stable.
First up, there’s the father of pop-art himself, Andy Warhol. In fact, it houses more than a handful of Warhol’s pieces. Granted, he was prolific, but still, the pieces include some of his famous Campbell’s Soup Cans and a particularly striking version of Ingrid the Nun. Given how sought-after Warhol’s works are, this is a rare opportunity to nab a serious investment piece.
If they’re a little too pricey, the original pop-art contingent is also represented by the phenomenal Jean-Michel Basquiat, a contemporary and close friend of Warhol. There are far fewer of his works around – the young artist unfortunately joined the 27 club – but there’s nothing else quite like them.
Going from the original pop-art vanguard to arguably the most important modern equivalent, Banksy also makes an appearance at Maddox’s exhibition. In fact, the street artist has his own take on Warhol’s soup – albeit a Tesco Value version. Possibly the most interesting piece however is his Happy Choppers, the most adorable weapons of mass destruction put to canvas.
If you’re looking for all the colour and vibrancy of street art without the political hangups, there’s always Invader. If you see bright 8-bit characters and fun, retro imagery popping up all over the place, Invader’s been there, and you won’t be able to miss the artist at Maddox.
Just as playful are the faux book covers of Harland Miller, with his subverted takes on vintage Penguin classic and poetry books, similar to what The Connor Brothers – a Maddox staple – often produce. There’s a bit more resonance here however, given that Miller first made his name as a novelist.
There’s no shortage of contemporary galleries in London of course; it’s one of the main things we have going for us, creatively speaking. But if Maddox wanted to hammer home its impressive stable of artists, it has done a damn good job of it. And hey, if none of the above artists grab you, there are plenty more on show during the exhibition; one definitely will.
The Maddox Gallery Winter Contemporary Exhibition runs until 23 January 2020 at 9 Maddox Street. For more information, visit their website.