Art of the matter: Introducing The ARX art experience

Words by
Jemima Sissons

29th September 2021

The most exclusive contemporary art concept comes to Knightsbridge, showcasing world-famous artists such as Basquiat and Banksy. Discover an exclusive first look

Located on Brompton Road in London’s Knightsbridge, new contemporary art gallery The ARX is a visionary, multisensory experience. Studded iron columns give the 15,000 sq ft space a neo-industrial edge while the white walls are adorned with works by some of the world’s foremost artists. The sleek exterior is emblazoned with screens displaying digital works and NFT art (NFTs being non-fungible tokens tied to assets, in this case art). They provide an unprecedented viewing experience before visitors even set foot inside the space.

The ARX — Latin for citadel — is a dynamic enterprise dedicated to showing the creations of both the emerging and the globally revered in the art world. The name denotes the bringing together of people, and the aim of the space is to form a community focused on art; it’s an inclusive movement for those who have their finger firmly on the pulse.

Art of the matter: Introducing The ARX art experience
Layabout, by Brian Sanchez. The ARX is planning a solo exhibition by the Seattle-based visual artist

The gallery is on the front line of the digital art world, having partnered with one of the pioneers of the NFT movement to bring this new and exciting medium to the forefront of the art market. With its ability to unify physical and digital artworks in one innovative, interactive space, this new gallery is set to become a titan of the contemporary art industry.

The ARX is housed in the Smallbone showroom (dubbed the Luxury Pavilion) and will host an extensive exhibition programme for clients, from solo shows to varied group exhibitions with leading contemporary artists, alongside an educational initiative for young enthusiasts and an ARX prize for new talent. 

Art of the matter: Introducing The ARX art experience
Bisco Smith will feature in a solo exhibition at The ARX

The finishing touches are being put to curating the vast space. A spot painting by Damien Hirst hangs alongside a KAWS sculpture. Over in the corner, a large-scale black and white photograph entitled Kids and Croc by Peter Beard, and the iconic Banksy screenprint Trolleys, create a multi-hued splash on the wall. Overseen by art industry supremo Matthew Lord (who cut his teeth in finance before moving into art investment consultancy), the new space can hold 50 pieces of art, currently over two floors. By the end of the year this will be expanded to four floors.

Art of the matter: Introducing The ARX art experience
Spot painting by Damien Hirst

Having curated the collection through his connections with esteemed dealers and collectors, Lord is building up an impressive inventory of renowned pieces by blue-chip artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy and Keith Haring. The gallery will also be the sole representative of various national and international artists and will host quarterly solo shows for up-and-coming talent.

The first exhibition will feature LA street artist Louis Carreon, with solo exhibitions by New York-based artist Bisco Smith and visual artist Brian Sanchez to follow. The prices will range from £10,000 or so to upwards of £500,000.

Art of the matter: Introducing The ARX art experience
Curator and managing partner Matthew Lord

“Thoughtful and considered curation is central to our vision,” says Lord, who is passionate about nurturing breaking talent. “I have handpicked only a select number of artists to join our impeccable debut roster,” he adds, “so that we can expertly grow and nurture their talent. We look forward to helping them develop their creative practice and turning their artistic ambitions into reality.”

From September, Maria Kreyn will be transforming the lower ground floor into her studio, creating stunning large-scale oil paintings on site. British digital artist MRE, whose work explores surreal ideas that blur reality and fantasy, will also be working in house. In his role as the gallery’s resident NFT artist he will develop limited-edition artworks that will be displayed on the 8K Samsung TV wall, as well as curating NFT exhibitions throughout the year.

Art of the matter: Introducing The ARX art experience
Rose Shackle by Shepard Fairey

With plans to expand to other international markets including New York City and Asia, The ARX is reimagining the future of contemporary art galleries while simultaneously redefining the luxury experience. Matthew Lord has clear ambitions for the gallery. “My goal is for us to become one of the major galleries of London,” he says. He is certainly starting boldly and making big — and extremely  colourful — waves in the capital. In time, he will without doubt make a similar impact on a worldwide scale.