Established with the aim of amplifying underrepresented voices in the arts, Guts Gallery promotes the work of Black, POC, queer, and working-class artists for whom the art world can so often seem a closed circle. “Watching the majority of artists I champion work as an artist full time is something that has been one of the biggest highlights for me,” founder and director Ellie Pennick tells Dazed. “Seeing the very real benefits and progressions of a gallerist-artist relationship.”
Founded on principles of equality, Guts is also unique in the way it reimagines the traditional gallery business model; taking a lower commission from the artists it platforms and paying staff above the London Living Wage too.
Alongside the many emerging artists whose work has been spotlighted by Guts, the London-based gallery has attracted the attention of some major art world figures. Legendary photographer Nan Goldin was among the many artists featured in their 2021 online exhibition When Shit Hits The Fan Again. “I have always admired Nan's body of work and her political activism alongside her documentation of the queer communities,” Pennick said. “To work with her was such an honour.” Renowned gallerist Sadie Coles has also leant advice and support. Pennick laughs, recalling how she was browsing the Co-op meal deal aisle when she received a call from the prestigious art magnate. “Sadie has been consistently supportive of me and Guts,” she tells us. “And that is really rewarding, to be acknowledged by someone I admire.”
What’s next for Guts Gallery? The coming year promises two solo shows and seven group shows with a focus on as yet undisclosed international new artists. “We never do half a job,” Pennick says. “We go all out, so it's always an acceleration. We don't stop!”
Text Emily Dinsdale