"Iwona Blazwick (Whitechapel Gallery director) also points out that artists are currently clamouring to hold shows in the modest domestic settings of Soho's Riflemaker and the Frith Street, barely converted Georgian buildings patinated by age, "where art is embedded in the domestic and the everyday"
Financial Times, 'Out-there Space'
Interview by Edwin Heathcote
"The London gallery Riflemaker has somehow managed to blow the roof off again"
The Guardian's Laura K. Jones reviews Gavin Turk's 'Me as Him', SAATCHI website
Riflemaker is a contemporary art space in London co-founded by Virginia Damtsa and Tot Taylor. The gallery exhibits and represents emerging artists. It has been widely praised for its innovative programme.
Housed on five floors of an historic gunmaker's workshop off Regent Street, W1F 9SU (built 1712 - the oldest public building in the west end) Riflemaker worked closely with English Heritage to preserve this unique architectural building. Poetry and music, film shows, talks/discussions and performance events are held on Monday evenings.
In 2011 and 2012 our represented artists featured in museum exhibitions at MoMA New York, Tate London, the LACMA, Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, the Fowler Museum at UCLA,
Baltic, Nottingham Contemporary, MiMA and the ICA London.
Recent exhibitions include Judy Chicago, Alice Anderson, Penelope Slinger, Josephine King, Leah Gordon, Juan Fontanive and John Maeda.
Upcoming in April 2013 is the London debut of Indonesian Art for India
winner Adam de Boer.
Damtsa and Taylor have curated exhibitions including Jaime Gili, Artists Anonymous, Marta MarcÚ, Gavin Turk, Francesca Lowe and Christopher Bucklow. Riflemaker presented the first London retrospective of Martin Kippenberger (in 2004), Turk's Warhol Fright Wig exhibition 'Me as Him' (2008), Andrey Bartenev's Venice Biennale 'Disco-Nexxion' (2008) and Liliane Lijn's NASA-inspired 'Stardust' as well as exhibitions by the writer William Burroughs and MIT/RISD guru Maeda, who created two 'live' week long performances: 'Maeda/MySpace' and 'John Maeda is the Fortune-Cookie'. The novelist Alasdair Gray and painter Francesca Lowe made a wall-to-wall narrative 'Terminus' and our 2008 themed exhibition was an investigation of 'Voodoo: Hoochie-Coochie and the Creative Spirit'. Jaime Gili created a six mile long installation 'Ruta Rota' (broken route) for London Architecture Week. Julie Verhoeven built a 'virtual garden' at the Economist Plaza. Marta MarcÚ asked visitors to 'design' her paintings at Camden Arts Centre. Yoko Ono gave a rare Bagism performance as part
of our Indica celebrations.
Other recent exhibitions included portraitist Stuart Pearson Wright in a dual painting and film exhibition featuring the actress Keira Knightley in her debut art-film performance, and Haitian photographs by Leah Gordon (co-curator Venice Biennale Haitian Pavilion 2011) as well as a themed exhibition on the disappearance of the ANALOG world - particularly with regard to print photography and recorded music. In 2006, the gallery stopped being Riflemaker for four months and transformed itself into the seminal London art space Indica (active from November '65 - November '66), with a changing exhibition of work actually shown at Indica and a series of performances including Peter Whitehead (film) and Yoko Ono (Bagism).
'Riflemaker has changed the cultural landscape of the capital' (Time Out)
'Innovative exhibitions' (The Times)
'A consistently innovative gallery' (The Sunday Times)
'The coolest art space in London' (Vogue)
VIRGINIA DAMTSA: CO-FOUNDER OF RIFLEMAKER:
Born Athens, lives and works in London. Damtsa moved to Paris when selected by the Opera National de Paris schools to train for a career in dance. Studied in Paris, Belgium, New York and Cambridge, England before settling in London. Damtsa worked with her family on museum collections and donations whilst at the same time, setting up support structures for contemporary artists using disused buildings for studios and exhibitions. The collection was donated to different museums in Europe.
In 1990, she relocated to London to continue her studies in the Arts, at the same time working on private sales, including Monet and Picasso. In 2000, she opened her own gallery specialising in emerging artists. In 2004, Damtsa co-founded Riflemaker with Tot Taylor.
TOT TAYLOR: CO-FOUNDER OF RIFLEMAKER:
Born Cambridge, lives and works in London.
He is a composer, author and music producer.
His National Theatre score to Brian McAvera's eight hour play 'Picasso's Women' is one of many soundtrack compositions issued on CD (Sony).
Co-founded the Compact Organization record label (1981-85) (reissued via Colette (Paris) label (2011. Attended Goldsmiths in London (from 1986-88) to study orchestration and composition which brought him into contact with the contemporary art world's new wave. Worked with private collectors to build themed collections specialising in emerging artists. His novel 'The Story of John Nightly' will be published in 2013.
In 2004, he and fellow director/curator Virginia Damtsa, co-founded Riflemaker.
Riflemaker publishes a hardback book to accompany each exhibition.
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