Hg2 : The Hedonist

Whitechapel Gallery

That the East End is now a major centre for fine art, the Whitechapel has come to be its unofficial flagship gallery, despite arriving long before the bandwagon and all the other smaller galleries in Shoreditch, London. Founded in 1901, it introduced artists into the UK such as Rothko, Pollock, Kahlo and Picasso (whose Guernica had its first and only showing there, in 1939). And it was the first to showcase Hockney, Gilbert & George and Freud – eat that, establishment! It’s now having such a moment that, following an ambitious Lottery Fund-supported £13.5m expansion completed in 2009, it has increased its gallery space by 78%, and, via the vision of director Iwona Blazwick OBE, its programme also stretches to talks, film and Friday night fun with live music and the obligatory art tarts and attitudinal haircuts. Also recommended Close behind the flagship is the commercial gallery White Cube (48 Hoxton Square, N1; 020 7930 5373 www.whitecube.com) run by art dealer Jay Jopling who has a near-monopoly on YBAs (or BAs): Quinn, Gilbert & George, Emin, the Chapman brothers… Such is the eminence of White Cube that there is even a rip-off/tribute ‘gallery space’ in epicentre-of-cool The George & Dragon pub (see Pubs), called White Cubicle (yes, housed in the ladies’ toilet, measuring precisely 1.4m by 1.4m) curated by Mexican artist Pablo Leon de la Barra who has persuaded all of Wolfgang Tillmans, Terence Koh and Julie Verhoeven to exhibit there. Certainly not bog standard.

80-82 Whitechapel High Street,
E1 7QX
+44 20 7522 7888
Opening Times
11am-6pm Tues-Sun (9pm Weds; 11pm Fri).
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