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.
Peter Liversidge: Notes on Protesting
- 17 March — 14 June 2015 *on now
What if we could change the world?
Inspired by ideas around demonstration and protest, British artist Peter Liversidge (b.1973) worked with sixty children on a performance staged at the Whitechapel Gallery, on May Day 2014. Together they created songs, choreography, banners and placards which expressed their views on everything from ‘No More Homework’ and ‘Our shoes are too tight’ to ‘I Don’t Like Cooked Tomatoes’ and ‘Less trucks and cars. More chocolate bars!’
This exhibition includes a film of the performance, alongside documentation of the workshops and rehearsals. Over four months Liversidge worked closely with children aged 8 to 9 years old from the Marion Richardson Primary School in east London to discuss community, commonly held ideas, and the power of collective voice.
- Family friendly
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye selects from the V-A-C collection: Natures, Natural and Unnatural
- 17 March — 14 June 2015 *on now
Turner Prize nominated artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (b.1977) known for her striking figurative paintings of imagined characters, selects works inspired by nature from the V-A-C collection.
Celebrating the arrival of Spring is Natures, Natural and Unnatural, a display that uses nature as inspiration in different ways: as still life, in the abstract, as a feeling or as an environment. Through painting, photography and film this exhibition considers how people interact with nature, both indoors and outdoors. Indeed, it is a force that is as sublime as it is threatening. The artists herein explore the intoxicating sensuality of the floral scent: flora, fauna and human nature itself.
A Utopian Stage: Festival of Arts Shiraz-Persepolis
- 21 April — 4 October 2015 *on now
The ancient Persian ruins of Persepolis were a spectacular backdrop for ‘one of the most adventurous and idiosyncratic festivals in the world’ (Artforum). The Festival of Arts was held around Shiraz, Iran every summer from 1967–1977.
A melting pot of traditional and avant-garde music, theatre and performance, the festival featured artists from both East and West, including the Beatles’ muse, sitar player Ravi Shankar and American composer John Cage, alongside Rwandan drummers and Balinese Gamelan musicians and dancers. Orghast,
a play by poet Ted Hughes and Mahin Tajadod, co-directed by Peter Brook, was staged, while Merce Cunningham’s dancers performed calisthenics among the ruins of Persepolis.
The festival came to an end with the Iranian revolution, but is now brought to life through this display of archive film and photographs, original theatre programmes and posters seen for the first time in the UK.
- Not suitable for children
77-82 Whitechapel High Street
020 7522 7888
020 7377 1685