“ The Whitechapel Gallery, founded 1901, was one of the first publicly-funded galleries for temporary exhibitions in London. Located on Whitechapel High Street, Tower Hamlets, the Gallery has a strong track record for education and outreach projects, now focused on the Whitechapel area's Asian population. It exhibits the work of contemporary artists, as well as organizing retrospective exhibitions and shows that are of interest to the local community. For the history of post-war British art, the most important exhibition to have been held at the Whitechapel Gallery was This is Tomorrow in 1956. Initiated by members of the Independent Group, the exhibition brought Pop Art to the general public as well as introducing some of the artists, concepts, designers and photographers that would define the Swinging Sixties. „
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The Whitechapel re-opened earlier this year after an extensive refurbishment. This space is light, bright and airy and full of excellent design details. The space holds various temporary exhibitions all of which are free to see. They specialise in contemporary art but also have some older pieces on display. When I visited they had some of their archive of works from when the gallery was founded in 1901. This is a big space and you can easily spend the whole afternoon checking out all the art. The space is easy to navigate and very pleasant to be in. The cafe is funky and sells delicious home-made food at reasonable prices. It has also been refurbished and is very modern. There is a small bookshop on the ground floor with an extensive range of books. One great feature is the extensive range of limited edition prints that they offer. This is a great way to own a fabulous piece of art from a contemporary artist and to know that you won't have to share. This art gallery is located on the edge of Shoreditch / Bethnal green and it is easy to walk from here to the nearby Spitalfields market, Brick Lane, Truman Brewery and other great funky areas that are full of arty cafes, bars and restaurants for a post-gallery drink or meal.
An excellent well managed space, the Whitechapel is a venue for a temporary exhibitions. These often have a contemporary feel. Gary Hume exhibited there earlier this year to packed audiences. Sometimes there are group exhibitions. Check Time Out and see what's on. Close to Aldgate and Aldgate East tube stations, The Whitechapel offers art lovers the perfect excuse to go to Brick Lane on a Sunday morning and fill up on cheap and yummy bagels. There are good art supply shops nearby too.
This is one, similar to the Serpentine, which is usually missed out on the tourist route, which is a boon for London art fans. Situated near Aldgate East tube station, surrounded by budget trainer and sari shops, it feels like an unusual area for a gallery - most visitors to the city would only know Whitechapel for the Jack the Ripper connection. But just down the road is Brick Lane and Spitalfields market, so it can make an interesting part of a day out in the East End. It also has a slightly edgier feel to it than some of the more upmarket West End galleries, and has hosted some of the most interesting exhibitions in London during the past few years. Well worth a visit.