What’s The Gallery Companion?

You’re in the right place if you are curious about art, if you want to explore what it all means and if you’re interested in what art does in our world, what its purpose is.

This isn’t where you’ll find chat about the minutiae of art history, or the academic blah blah blah about brush strokes or provenance. But it is where you’ll find thought-provoking ideas which come from looking at art and thinking about its meanings.

Art is a representation of thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences. For me art is about people, stories, and the things we need to express. I’m interested in how ideas that are circulating in culture and society are filtered through the artist and emerge in visual form.

I’m Dr Victoria Powell, I’m the voice behind The Gallery Companion, and I’m glad you’ve found your way here.

I’m an historian so I look at artworks as cultural sources. I’m always thinking about how ideas change over time, and how they get interpreted in different ways. Looking at art and artists is (I think) a fascinating way of doing that.

I’m also interested in the role of art in the world, what its function is, what it does for us, both as makers and viewers.

That’s the stuff I write about. And in sentences that actually make sense. There's no confusing art speak here. None of the hifalutin, hoity-toity, dry and boring language which you often find in the Art World, on the walls of art galleries, and in quite a lot of books about art.

That language makes me start yawning immediately, and my eyes glaze over. It switches people right off, and it’s not my thing.

Who’s it for?

The Gallery Companion is definitely for you if you feel like you’re not quite sure what to think about art sometimes, or that you have missed ‘the point’ because you don’t understand what you’re looking at.

But it’s also for you if you have already got some knowledge of contemporary art and you want to learn more.

The Gallery Companion Podcast

If you’re a podcast listener you’ll now be able to hear all my content wherever you get your podcasts - it’s available on all the main players including Apple, Spotify and Amazon Music.

The podcast content will be mostly the same as my writing, but if you want to see the images, watch the videos and click on links, they will all be on the Substack app and in the emails I send out to you. Search for The Gallery Companion or click here for links to your podcast player.

Sign up as a paid subscriber and get access to all of the good stuff:

1/ Exclusive member-only weekly emails (which you can also listen to) about contemporary art and artists, with links, images, videos, questions, stuff to make you think.

2/ Reviews on art exhibitions minus the boring art-speak

3/ A really friendly community of folks interested in talking about the same things as you, hosted by me. I’ve been a lecturer in modern and contemporary art for nearly 20 years. Yikes.

4/ Occasional invites to join me at galleries and museums (mainly in London), if you fancy coming along to what I’m seeing. Would be nice to meet you IRL.

5/ Access to all the articles in The Gallery Companion archive.

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Art without the confusing art speak. Stories about all the stuff that artists explore and question: what’s going on, how we think and behave, and the role of art in our world.


Writer on art, history, culture and politics. Lecturer in modern and contemporary art. Social historian. Curious about almost everything.