London might be getting a big new modern art museum

London is full of amazing free museums, all stuffed with world class art. But forget them, because what we really need is a new museum you have to pay for with worse art.

That’s what seems to be on the cards, as a planning application – first reported on by Ianvisits – has been submitted for what some are calling a ‘major modern art museum’ in Marble Arch. It’s called Moco and aims to take over a huge 1920s building at the top of Oxford Street, filling three floors with art by the likes of Kaws, Yayoi Kusama and Banksy. 

If planning permission is granted (they have to change the space’s designated use from retail to learning and art), this will be Moco’s third site in Europe. Their other two outposts – one in Amsterdam, the other in Barcelona – apparently attract a million visitors a year. Those are both ticketed venues, with adult tickets costing 14.95 (£13) in Barcelona and €21.85 (£19) in Amsterdam.

The museum’s focus seems to be pop, street art, graffiti and NFTs, with displays of work by the likes of Banksy, Stik and Kaws. The Moco website also says it shows art by Basquiat, Warhol and Kusama; big names, but it doesn’t specify what works it has in its collection, which should be a slight cause for concern (if you have a really good Basquiat, you shout about it).

Oxford Street’s had a rough time of it lately, with major brands closing their stores, footfall plummeting and rent going through the roof. So never mind that you can see major works by the best of these artists for free at the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery, forget that there’s already a huge, unofficial, expensive, not-very-good Banksy exhibition reopening soon, and ignore the seemingly endless tide of ‘immersive’ exhibitions by ‘major artists’; at least this means they’re not opening another American sweet shop. 

Plans for Moco are due to go before Westminster Council later this year. 

Can’t wait? Here are the top ten exhibitions you can see in London right now.

And here are London’s best free exhibitions