Whitechapel Gallery

Free

Established in 1901, Whitechapel Gallery was one of the first art galleries in London dedicated to hosting temporary exhibitions.

Whitechapel Gallery is noted for hosting a 1938 exhibition exhibiting Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and it is also credited with introducing Pop Art to the general public. With a rich history of presenting groundbreaking exhibitions and supporting emerging artists, the gallery offers visitors an experience at the forefront of contemporary art culture.

In 2009 Whitechapel Gallery doubled in size after acquiring the neighbouring Passmore Edwards library building and it now has nine exhibition spaces plus a bookshop and restaurant.

The Whitechapel Gallery in East London was one of the first art galleries with a focus on hosting temporary exhibitions. (Photo © 2024 Rover Media)
The Whitechapel Gallery in East London was one of the first art galleries with a focus on hosting temporary exhibitions. (Photo © 2024 Rover Media)

What to see at Whitechapel Gallery

Visitors can see a range of contemporary art exhibitions that reflect the diversity and innovation of the art world with exhibitions drawing from both international artists and artists within the local community.

Exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery cover a range of artistic media, including painting, sculpture, photography, video art and installation. These exhibitions often explore relevant social, political and cultural themes, providing visitors with thought provoking insights into contemporary issues.

Temporary exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery

Whitechapel Gallery does not have a permanent collection and focuses solely on hosting a programme of temporary exhibitions. Current and planned exhibitions include:

Andrew Pierre Hart: Bio-Data Flows and Other Rhythms – A Local Story
London-based interdisciplinary artist and experimental music producer Andrew Pierre Hart’s new commission explores Whitechapel’s history as a hub for migrant communities, delving into connections between sound and painting. The exhibition (until 7 July 2024) includes a sound composition, a film shot in Whitechapel’s streets, six oil paintings, a site-specific mural and a bamboo sculpture. Sound permeates the works, shaping abstract forms and influencing the dancers’ movements in the film. Hart’s pieces capture the area’s rhythm and diversity, with paintings depicting local individuals and a bamboo sculpture evoking community gathering spaces. Free.

Gavin Jantjes: To Be Free! A Retrospective (1970–2023)
Gavin Jantjes, an Oxfordshire-based South African painter and printmaker, is the subject of a comprehensive retrospective, his largest solo UK exhibition. Featuring over five decades of his work, including prints, drawings, paintings and archival material, the exhibition (until 1 September 2024) highlights Jantjes’ evolution as an artist, writer, curator and activist. Structured chronologically, it explores key periods in his life, from his upbringing in apartheid-era Cape Town to his influential presence in the UK’s arts scene. The exhibition also commemorates the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s first free general election, marking Nelson Mandela’s presidency and Jantjes’ return from exile.

Dominique White: Deadweight
Dominique White, winner of the 2022–2024 Max Mara Art Prize for Women, presents Deadweight, a compelling new series developed during her residency in Italy. The exhibition (2 July–15 September 2024) features four large-scale sculptures inspired by the sea and shipwrecks, blending strength and fragility. The term ‘Deadweight’ refers to a nautical concept, but White flips this idea to explore themes of disruption and transformation. Her work, immersed in the Mediterranean Sea, bears marks of rust and decay, evoking a poetic interplay between the material and the ocean. Central to White’s work is a vision of Afro-futurism that seeks liberation from capitalist and colonial constraints, imagining fluid and rebellious futures.

Peter Kennard: Archive of Dissent
This exhibition (23 July 2024–19 January 2025) showcases five decades of London-based artist and activist, Peter Kennard’s, impactful and politically charged works. Known for his iconic photomontages, Kennard has depicted social and political struggles from the Vietnam War to current conflicts. This exhibition transforms the former Whitechapel Library space into a dynamic archive, featuring his work in various forms, from posters and newspapers to recent large-scale installations.

Visiting Whitechapel Gallery

Whitechapel Gallery is near where the East End meets The City of London. It is on Whitechapel High Street, close to Brick Lane and the vibrant Whitechapel area but also just a few minutes walk to The City of London.

It is next door to Aldgate East tube station (on the District and Hammersmith & City lines) and Whitechapel tube station (Elizabeth, District and Hammersmith & City lines plus the Overground) is a 12-minute walk away. It is also served by several bus routes including buses 25, 205 and 254.

The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) and entrance is free of charge, although some exhibitions may have an additional charge.

Visitor facilities include a bookshop and restaurant and the gallery’s location means that there are plenty of other places to eat and drink nearby, particularly on Brick Lane, which is noted for its Bangladeshi restaurants.

Because the gallery has a focus on temporary exhibitions, the time to allow for your visit will vary depending on which exhibitions are currently running. A visit could last anywhere from half an hour to several hours, even up to half a day if there is an installation where several feature-length films are being shown.

Amenities
  • Wheelchair access
  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Gift shop

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