Cross Section of Whitechapel Gallery expansion.
| The Whitechapel Gallery unveiled its ambitious expansion following a £13.5 million capital campaign. The Heritage Lottery Fund supported project has transformed the former library building next to the Gallery, increasing gallery space by 78%. Designed by leading Belgian architects Robbrecht en Daem (with London practice Witherford Watson Mann Architects), the expanded Whitechapel Gallery provides one of the most exciting new cultural buildings in Europe.|
Included in the expanded building are new galleries dedicated to presenting collections and new commissions; a permanent gallery and research room for the Whitechapel Gallery’s historic archive, and an Education and Research Tower including study and creative studios. These elegant spaces for art have been designed by the architects in collaboration with leading artist Rachel Whiteread CBE.
The original exhibition spaces in the Whitechapel Gallery have been beautifully renovated and will be the site for a landmark exhibition of German sculptor Isa Genzken, the first major retrospective of her work, until 21 June 2009.
The Bloomberg Commission gives a new platform for an annual art commission. It launches with a site specific artwork by Goshka Macuga, who has been inspired by Picasso’s Guernica coming to the Whitechapel Gallery in 1939 on its first and only visit to the UK.
Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery, said, ‘This century old institution is the artists’ gallery for everyone. The expansion enables us to be open all year round so there will always be something free to see. The Whitechapel Gallery will become a major cultural resource and a destination for the arts.’
The Whitechapel Gallery was founded in 1901 to bring great art to the people of east London. The Gallery’s history is a history of firsts: in 1939 Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica was displayed at the Whitechapel Gallery on its first and only visit to Britain; in 1958 the Gallery presented the first major show in Britain of seminal American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock; and in 1970 and 1971 the first shows of David Hockney, Gilbert & George and Richard Long were staged to great acclaim. Exhibitions in the 1980s and 90s included Donald Judd, Cy Twombly. Cindy Sherman and Lucian Freud. From 2000, the Gallery has shown Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Liam Gillick, Nan Goldin, Cristina Iglesias, Paul McCarthy, Mark Wallinger and Franz West. The Gallery is internationally renowned for its exhibitions of modern and contemporary art and its pioneering education and public events programmes. The Whitechapel plays a unique role in the capital’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of east London as a leading contemporary art quarter.