Serpentine Gallery – Google Cultural Institute
The Serpentine Gallery is among the top 10 most visited museums and galleries in London. Presenting a broad range of programmes covering international contemporary art, architecture, design, education and public programmes, it is the only publicly funded modern and contemporary art gallery in central London to maintain consistently free admission and to remain open seven days a week. The Gallery is situated in the heart of London's Royal Parks: Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
Since 1970, the Serpentine has gained an international reputation for excellence, presenting pioneering exhibitions of 1,500 artists, architects and designers over 41 years, from ground-breaking exhibitions of major artists, such as Louise Bourgeois, Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol, to career-defining exhibitions by the emerging artists of their time, including Damien Hirst, Cornelia Parker and Mark Wallinger.
Since 2000 the Serpentine Gallery has commissioned internationally acclaimed architects to build their first structure in the UK. This annual architectural commission is unique worldwide and, following over a decade of ambitious and visionary projects, the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is now the 4th most visited architecture or design exhibition in the world (The Art Newspaper annual visitor survey, April 2011).
Architects and designers of the Pavilion have been: Peter Zumthor, 2011;Jean Nouvel, 2010; Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) 2009; Frank Gehry, 2008; Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, 2007; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, Arup 2006; Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Mouro with Cecil Balmond, Arup 2005; Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Toyo Ito with Arup 2002; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; Zaha Hadid 2000.
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion operates as a public space and as a venue for Park Nights and the Marathon, the Gallery's high-profile programme of public talks and events. Serpentine Gallery Marathons are a unique series of events that brings together the fields of art, culture, science and technology each year in an ambitious two-day, live programme of continuous presentations from over 50 international participants. Focusing on one topic annually, previous Marathons have included Garden Marathon, 2011; Map Marathon, 2010 (at the Royal Geographical Society); Poetry Marathon 2009; Manifesto Marathon, 2008; Experiment Marathon, 2007 and the Interview Marathon, 2006.
The Serpentine pioneers international collaborations between the Gallery, local communities and worldwide partners, including two exhibitions organised with Oslo=92s Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. China Power Station, at Battersea Power Station in London, presented the work of this new generation of Chinese artists and gave the public access to the Power Station for the first time. Indian Highway is currently touring across Norway, Denmark, France, Italy, Russia, Hong Kong, Brazil and India, after its inaugural showing in the UK.
The Serpentine engages unique, new and diverse audiences through its renowned education and public programmes. With late AC night summer events, film screenings, performances, free Saturday talks, artist-led workshops, community and schools outreach, conferences and symposia and downloadable artists walks, it provides children, young people and adults of all ages with unparalleled opportunities to discover, explore and engage with art, design and architecture.
Innovative partnerships with public funders and private philanthropy has been the Serpentine Gallery's hallmark for over 20 years. Receiving just 18% of its annual income from Arts Council England in 2010/11, the Gallery raises the balance from a wide range of corporate supporters, private donors and earned income.
The Gallery regularly brings unique temporary installations to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, including the first contemporary art exhibition in Kensington Gardens for over 25 years: Anish Kapoor: Turning the World Upside Down, an exhibition organised by The Royal Parks and the Serpentine Gallery in 2010/11. Additionally, within the grounds of the Gallery is an important, permanent work by artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay, dedicated to the Serpentine's former Patron, Diana, Princess of Wales. The work comprises eight benches, a tree plaque and a carved stone circle at the Gallery's entrance.
Building on its long-standing and wide-ranging success, the Serpentine Gallery will open its new space, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, in 2012. This innovative arts venue for the 21st century will be housed in the Grade II-listed building formerly known as The Magazine, situated in Kensington Gardens. Designed by Zaha Hadid, the new gallery will offer exhibition and social space and will present the best in emerging international talent across all art forms, including art, architecture, dance, design, fashion, film, literature, music, performance, science and technology. Public engagement and cultural learning will be at the heart of these programmes, which will include an annual large-scale light installation inside the building and an outdoor playscape for children and adults of all ages. Like the Serpentine Gallery, it will be free of charge and accessible to all.