Why visit the Barbican Art Gallery?


The Barbican Art Gallery is part of the Barbican Centre, a diverse multi-arts venue located in the heart of London.

As the largest performing arts centre of its kind in the whole of Europe, the Barbican Centre regularly plays host to an eclectic mix of exhibitions and performances, with a cinema, theatre, art gallery and music studios all onsite.

The building itself is very distinctive, thanks to its Brutalist architectural style, which once earned it the title of London’s ugliest building in an official poll. Regardless of your views on its aesthetics, once you’re inside the vibrant arts venue, none of that matters. Visitors are guaranteed to learn something new and enjoy some spectacular art during a trip here.

Barbican Art Gallery

How to find the gallery

Visitors to the Barbican Art Gallery who are coming from one of the nearby Montcalm hotels at Finsbury Square will find the venue just a ten-minute walk from their accommodation.

Those travelling to the arts centre from further afield will find several handily-positioned Tube stations close by, including Barbican, Moorgate and St Paul’s. Overground train stations can be found nearby at Liverpool Street and Farringdon, while the number 153 bus travels from directly outside of the centre, before continuing through much of central London.

Spring 2017 exhibitions

During spring 2017, the Barbican Art Gallery will be hosting a series of exhibitions that reflect the typical diversity of the projects displayed at the venue. These will include:

Shall I this time hold you? by Sophie Clements

Taking its title from the dedication at the start of Goethe’s Faust, this exhibition involves the large-scale projection of video images in the art gallery’s foyer, accompanied by a specially-written musical score.

Shall I time time hold you? features a range of images depicting the split second in time after a gunshot, with still images of powder explosions projected around the foyer.

The idea behind the exhibit is to encourage the audience to think about their reactions and what would be most important to them in the immediate split seconds following such an event, as well as exploring the regrets we feel about the different actions we could have taken to make events pan out very differently.

Shall I this time hold you? will run at the Barbican until Monday May 1st.

44 by Omer Arbel

Another exhibition specially commissioned for the gallery’s foyer is Omer Arbel’s 44, which will run until Tuesday April 18th.

This exhibit comprises a light installation made from various aluminium structures suspended from the ceiling by cables. This means it naturally appears bigger and more imposing at it nears head-height and reflects the themes of mass and weightlessness that Arbel wanted to portray through the work. Its shining metal and cables also provide an interesting contrast with the concrete surroundings of the Barbican itself.

The Fantastic Barbican World

Running until Easter Sunday (April 16th), the Fantastic Barbican World is an exhibition celebrating the design of this iconic building itself.

The arts centre sits underneath what was originally 2,000 flats and maisonettes that provided homes for 6,500 residents of the UK capital following the mass destruction of the London Blitz during the Second World War, as architects strived to solve housing problems and bring culture to people simultaneously.

This current exhibition features original plans for the construction of the building, alongside images of how the apartments look today.

Visitors can also pick up mementos and souvenirs celebrating the history of the Barbican Centre and surrounding estate at the on-site gift shop.

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea

After soaking up the diverse variety of culture on offer at the Barbican Art Gallery, why not unwind and indulge with the on-site restaurant’s beautiful afternoon tea?

Served in the Barbican’s conservatory, which overlooks this once highly-innovative estate, diners will be served a range of sweet and savoury treats, including traditional scones, finger sandwiches, dainty cakes and pastries, all of which can be washed down with a piping hot pot of tea.

This is the perfect quaint traditionally British experience to round off a day of learning about and exploring other cultures and art forms at one of the UK’s most diverse arts venues.