New York Times Hearts Peckham

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 100 months ago
New York Times Hearts Peckham

1510_peckham.jpg
'Bold Tendencies' by Sally Butcher
Having previously written about the wonders of Deptford, the New York Times is now exhorting readers to dip even further south of the river: it recently published a panegyric to Peckham.

Though not insensible to Peckham's realities — it notes the high concentration of "knife crime, hairdressers and gospel churches" — the piece extolls SE15 as the natural home of emerging artists, citing the number of local art schools and the cheap rents, and boldly declares that the area offers a "countercultural challenge" to the "established north-of-the-river world of the Frieze art fair and the gentrified East End".

The article breathlessly charts the rise of Peckham's artistic outsider status, interviewing the people behind the rooftop sculpture park and bigging up Area 10 and Auto Italia South East. Local artist Dean Kissick probably speaks the most truth when he describes what he likes about Peckham: "it’s a mini-Lagos, with hectic street markets, joyful evangelical churches and burnt-out pubs that once housed witch doctors".

Exciting times for all these young, up-'n-coming artists to be featured in the Grey Lady. Yet the plaudits might not be welcomed by long-time Peckhamites worried that their corner of the capital — which was also recently 'discovered' by the Standard — might slowly be going the way of Hoxton as the inevitable happens and the trend-setters are followed by trust-funders.

Last Updated 16 October 2009