City Racing

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Coordinates: 51°28′58″N 0°6′50″W / 51.48278°N 0.11389°W / 51.48278; -0.11389

City Racing
FoundersMatt, Paul Noble, John Burgess, Keith Coventry, Peter Owen
Typeartist-run space
Focuscontemporary art, pop art,
Key people
Matt Hale, Paul Noble, John Burgess, Keith Coventry, Peter Owen, Sarah Lucas, Fiona Banner, Lucy Gunning, Ceal Floyer, Gillian Wearing

City Racing was a squatted artist-run space in Oval Mansions, Kennington, South London which was active between 1988 and 1998. It was a cooperative by five artists Matt Hale, Paul Noble, John Burgess, Keith Coventry and Peter Owen. They set up the gallery in a former betting shop near The Oval Cricket Ground, hence the derivation of the gallery name.[1] City Racing became an important and renowned exhibition space; its openings provided a networking opportunity for many artists.


A show was organised by Keith Coventry and Peter Owen as a way to show their work without having to court commercial West End galleries, which could be difficult and intimidating to approach without a reputation. Matt Hale became involved in the second show, which was the squatted betting shop which Coventry was using as his studio. Matt Hale said "We tried to make it as white-cube like as possible, as gallery-like as possible."[2]

Artists who had early exhibitions at City Racing include Sarah Lucas and Gillian Wearing. The space received funding from the London Arts Board.[3]


In its later years, City Racing was accepted to some extent by the art establishment, and was viewed by some as a route for artists to other more commercial and established galleries. It was featured in Time Out and City Limits as part of a new alternative art scene happening in London. This led to a benefit for the gallery organised by Karsten Schubert. David Burrows wrote that "in one sense, City Racing refused to be marginalised from the mainstream and had conventional career aspirations."[2]

A retrospective book was published by Black Dog, called City Racing, The Life and Times of an artist Run Gallery. In 2001 the Institute of Contemporary Arts presented a retrospective of work exhibited at City Racing, entitled City Racing 1988-98: a Partial Account.[4]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • 2002 City Racing: The Life and Times of an Artist-Run Gallery John Burgess, Keith Coventry, Matt Hale, Paul Noble, Peter Owen Black Dog Publishing Ltd, [1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Lack, Jessica (12 November 2008). "Artist of the week 15: Paul Noble". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b Burrows, David (Spring 1998). "Career Opportunities, the ones that never knock". Variant (5). Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  3. ^ Lowndes, Sarah (2016). The DIY movement in art, music and publishing : subjugated knowledges. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781315732664. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  4. ^ Cumming, Laura (28 January 2001). "An odds-on favourite". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2011.