The Whitechapel Art Gallery was founded in 1901 to bring great art to the people of east London. Internationally acclaimed for its exhibitions of modern and contemporary art and its pioneering education and public events programmes, the Gallery has premiered international artists such as Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Nan Goldin, and provided a showcase for Britain’s most significant artists from Gilbert & George to Lucian Freud, Peter Doig to Mark Wallinger.
The Gallery plays a unique role in the capital’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of East London as the world’s most vibrant contemporary art quarter.
The Grade II* Whitechapel Gallery was designed by architect Charles Harrison Townsend. This purpose built gallery is an outstanding example of the Arts and Crafts movement and its aspirations of being accessible, spiritually uplifting and transformative. This development also builds on the 1980s expansion by Colquhoun and Miller under the directorship of Sir Nicolas Serota and inaugurated by the Queen Mother.
Intellectual Barbarians: The Kibbo Kift Kindred
- 10 October 2015 — 13 June 2016 *on now
This archive display features rare woodcarvings, furniture, ceremonial dress designs and photographs of the English organisation The Kibbo Kift Kindred (1920-1932).
Formed by the artist, writer and pacifist John Hargrave after becoming disillusioned with the Boy Scout movement, the Kibbo Kift philosophy was based on a shared appreciation of nature and handicraft, as well as a commitment to world peace. Though small in number, notable members of the group included suffragettes, scientists and the novelist H.G.Wells.
A 1929 exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery was a way of spreading their ideas, and this display reveals their remarkable aesthetic drawn from ancient Egyptian, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Native American crafts, dress and language. Through revealing photographs and footage of the group on parades and camping trips, this display presents not only a forgotten moment in British social movements but a futuristic vision which continues to resonate today.
- Any age
- 18 March — 17 July 2016 *on now
This new exhibition explores the cultural and historical background of graphic narrative and how we tell stories in pictures. Taking us from the world’s oldest comic to Donald Duck and Dr Dread, Comic Invention also reveals new material central to the history of comics.
Looking at the graphic narrative in its widest sense, the exhibition showcases treasures from The Hunterian and beyond, from the ancient Greeks to Hogarth and contemporary items.
Comic Invention also highlights a very important but little known work called The Glasgow Looking Glass of 1825 (pictured). Arguably the world’s oldest comic, it predates titles like Punch by sixteen years.
- Any age
77-82 Whitechapel High Street
020 7522 7888
020 7377 1685