The rents may be getting a little expensive for many of the artists that were the source of East London’s upswing in creativity, but the galleries live on. Several East London galleries are now recognised as among the best in the city, and major contributors to London’s status as a world class art city. Many of the galleries are also free, so there’s even more of an incentive to check some art out while you’re in town.
Whitechapel Gallery is a favourite among seasoned art critics and artists alike. It’s also the closest gallery to Qbic, just seconds away from our front door. The gallery was founded in 1901 as the first publicly funded art gallery in London and has a long history of education and outreach programmes. The gallery’s atmospheric cafe and bookshop offer a satisfying hot drink and snack if you’ve been on a gruelling gallery crawl.
Admission free for most exhibitions. Open 11am-6pm Tuesday to Sunday (Thursday to 9pm).
77-82 Whitechapel High St, London E1 7QX
The £8m building that houses this Shoreditch-based gallery is the first new-build public art space to open in London since the Hayward Gallery in 1968. Exhibitions featuring international artists and filmmakers, both individually and collaborating, are displayed in the RIBA award-winning building.
Admission free. Open 11am-6pm Tuesday to Saturday (Thursday to 9pm/Saturday from 12noon).
Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA
When Jay Jopling opened the doors of White Cube on Bermondsey Street in 2012 it was an indication that the area was on the up. Having had a similar impact on Hoxton after opening his second gallery in Hoxton Square in 2000, Bermondsey Square is now home to independent cinemas, sherry bars, food markets and wine shops. The gallery itself is Joplin’s most ambitious yet with over 5,440 square metres of interior space.
Admission free. Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 12pm – 6pm
144-152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ
This gallery on Chisenhale Road, close to Victoria Park, was a pioneer for establishing contemporary artists and has since become a cult figure on London’s artistic scene. Chisenhale Gallery carved a name during the 1990s, featuring early work by Turner Prize winning artists such as Rachel Whiteread and Gillian Wearing, photographer Wolfgang Tillmans and sculptor Cornelia Parker. Today Chisenhale continues to feature progressive artists and is currently showing a new body of work by London-based painter, Caragh Thuring, her first solo exhibition in a public gallery.
Opening Times: Wednesday – Sunday 1 – 6pm.
64 Chisenhale Road
London E3 5QZ
The art collector Victoria Miro, known as the ‘grande dame of British art’, opened her first gallery on Cork Street in Mayfair in 1985 where she found and showed for the first time works by artists Jake Chapman and Sam Taylor Wood. In 2000 she took over a new space in Old Street occupying two floors with its own garden, a beautiful landscaped area overlooking the restored stretch of the Regent’s Canal at Wenlock Basin. The space has been used for installations by artists such as Yayoi Kusama in the past and the events programme make the gallery perfect for visitors with children.
Admission free. Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 6.00pm.
16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW