Lisson Gallery

"The gallery’s inception involved a series of fortunate coincidences, although to some extent everyone makes their own luck. It was not by design, because I didn’t yet have a clear objective – I had planned to be an artist, not a gallery owner. The opening caused a big stir in a small street. I didn’t fully understand why, until I realised that so many galleries in London were closing: it was the Harold Wilson era and the economy was in bad shape. One such case was Signals, which was an innovative if short-lived gallery on Wigmore Street (1964 – 1966). In less than two years, they achieved a great deal with an original choice of artists and published an ambitious magazine. Run by its owner Paul Keeler and enthusiastically supported by the critic Guy Brett and the artist David Medalla, they championed Kinetic art, as well as European and Latin American Concretism.

What excited me about Signals was the enthusiasm and energy of what was in effect a collective. In the first year of Lisson Gallery we showed some artists who had connections with Signals – Mira Schendel, Lygia Clark, Dom Sylvester Houédard and Peter Joseph – but other exhibitions began to fall into place at the same time, including Yoko Ono, who brought with her a different level of internationalism, as well as queues round the block. Yet, as the painful recession of the late 1960s took its toll, the contemporary art world in London remained quiet and small, epitomised by Sol LeWitt’s map that defined its limits as existing in a small triangle between Nigel Greenwood Gallery in Chelsea, the Tate Gallery on Millbank and the Lisson Gallery in Marylebone."

Nicholas Logsdail

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