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White Cube Gallery

The White Cube is owned and run by the art dealer Jay Jopling (an ex-Etonian and son of a Conservative MP) who is married to artist Sam Taylor-Wood. It was first opened in a small, square room in May 1993 in Duke Street, St. James’s, a traditional part of the West End in London. In that location there was a gallery rule that an artist could only be exhibited once. The gallery achieved its reputation by being the first to give one person shows to many of the Young British Artists (YBAs), including Tracey Emin.

It moved to its present larger premises in April 2000. The 1920s building had previously been occupied by the small publishing company Gerald Duckworth & Co., and had once been a piano factory. In 2002 an extra two stories (750 m²) were added by hoisting a prefabricated unit on top of the existing structure.

The Hoxton/Shoreditch area has been popular with the Young British Artists (YBAs) since the 1990s, at which time it was a run-down area of light industry. More recently it has undergone extensive redevelopment with clubs, restaurants and media businesses. Hoxton Square is a prime site, home also to Jarvis Cocker, with a central area of grass and trees, which the vicinity is mostly lacking.

White Cube previews are open to the public and crowds fill the square on such occasions. Its publicly-accessible interior is a small reception area, which leads onto a 250-m² exhibition area downstairs, two storeys in height. Another smaller exhibition space upstairs normally shows a different artist. Offices and a conference room are on the upper floors. On some occasions exhibitions have been installed on the grass of the square, one example being Hirst’s large sculpture (22 ft, 6.7 m) Charity, based on the old Spastic Society’s model, which shows a girl in a leg brace holding a charity collecting box.

The address of White Cube’s Hoxton Square site is 48 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB. In September 2006, it opened a second site at 25–26 Mason’s Yard, off Duke Street, St. James’s, home of the original White Cube gallery, on a plot previously occupied by an electricity sub-station. The gallery, designed by MRJ Rundell & Associates, is the first free-standing building to be built in the St James’s area for more than 30 years. Admission to White Cube’s galleries is free, and they are open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm.

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