This week my University was still experiencing strikes, they are now over but it meant one more week without going to a museum for class. I still managed to find one that I enjoyed and wanted to share though! London is known for its world class museums. People usually make their way to South Kensington and Trafalgar Square to check out the big ones, but this week I stayed close to Mile End and found myself at the Whitechapel Gallery. Unlike the larger museums, The Whitechapel Gallery was opened in 1901 as a place to exhibit contemporary art and showcase exhibitions for the local community. Since then it has had touring exhibits to protest against wars, such as showing Picasso’s Guernica in 1938 to protest the Spanish Civil War. People also brought in exhibits showcasing Pop-Art in the 60s and continue to house exhibits that showcase what is happening in the contemporary world. The gallery is free to the public and really conveniently located at the end of Brick Lane, (an awesome market/street that art lovers and vintage shoppers alike would love).
Since I’ve been in London, I have discovered that I really enjoy contemporary art. If I had to pick a favorite movement of art, it would be the impressionist movement, which is still considered contemporary I suppose. Seeing new art and the way that our generation creates art is quite exciting. The best exhibit at the Whitechapel Gallery to me was one that showcased the artists that were commissioned to create work for the new Elizabeth Line. This is a brand new tube line that is going to connect some major areas of the city like Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf, that hadn’t been prior. The project includes a bunch of new stations, and with that lots of new art to be installed. The exhibition included art that will be in the stations, the architecture that will adorn them and different statues that can be found outside of them. I find the aspect of progress very exciting, and seeing an entire new tube line being built to connect the city even further is very cool to see. I especially love how the city is using this as an opportunity to show off art as well.
If you’re living in London, I highly recommend checking out some of the smaller galleries. I feel like I learned a lot more about what is going on around me in these contemporary galleries, which is a nice change to the classic history I’ve learned in the large museums. Both are great to visit, but if you usually only hit the big ones recommended by travel websites, take the time to look into art that is more local. You might enjoy it more than you think.