City Racing was an artist-run space in 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. City Racing became an important and renowned exhibition space; its openings provided a networking opportunity for many artists.
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.
City Racing acted as both a social and cultural barometer, charting the various shifts in British art throughout the 1990's. Its legacy provides a useful counterpoint to the widely mediated myth of the 'YBA'. City Racing both prioritised and privileged artists' intentions, giving crucial support and exposure at an early stage in the careers of many artists who would later achieve both national and international acclaim.
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City Racing featured exhibitions by many artists who went on to find fame including Sarah Lucas, Fiona Banner, Ceal Floyer, Gillian Wearing and Martin Creed. In 2001 the artists were re-united in a retrospective of the gallery at the ICA.
Burgess, J.; Coventry, K.; Hale, M.; Noble, P.; Owen P. (2002), City Racing: The Life and Times of an Artist-Run Gallery, London: Black Dog Publishing