Wilkinson Gallery, the pioneering East End dealership that was the first in London to present solo shows by major female artists including Joan Jonas, Dara Birnbaum and Laurie Simmons, is closing at the end of July after nearly two decades.
The gallery's co-owners, Amanda and Anthony Wilkinson, say that they are “dissolving their partnership” for personal reasons. Both are in the process of setting up separate galleries in new locations, working with a number of the artists they currently represent. “It will then be business as usual,” they say in a joint statement.
Before the current craze for artist’s estates, Wilkinson Gallery was the first to work with the estates of Jimmy De Sana, in 2009, and Derek Jarman, in 2013. Other artists whom the Wilkinsons picked up early in their careers include George Shaw, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2011, and Sung Hwan Kim, who was the first to perform in The Tanks when they opened at Tate Modern in 2012.
The Wilkinsons opened their first gallery on Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green in 1998, but in 2007 they sold up and bought a larger space on nearby Vyner Street. Owning their building has meant that they have been less affected than their neighbours by rising rents and operational costs, spurred by the area's gentrification and Olympic regeneration.
Several other galleries have left Vyner Street in recent years. Nettie Horn and Fred London Ltd relocated to Fitzrovia in 2012, with the latter closing altogether. Kate McGarry is now resident in Shoreditch, David Risely moved to Copenhagen and Ibid Projects relocated to Marylebone and now collaborates with other London venues.