When it comes to culture London has pretty much everything anyone could possibly want.
Ranging from the street art of the East End and Southbank to the underground punk shows of Camden to the Shakespearean plays performed every day at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London has it all. It highlights the English capital is not just all about Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and the London Eye and there is so much to explore.
Sitting between the City of London and the fashionable Shoreditch and Hoxton is the Barbican Centre. This facility is the largest arts venue in the world with the creme de la creme in theatre, art and music travelling from across the globe to perform within these famous walls. Among this spectacular structure is the Barbican Art Gallery, a showcase for the planet’s best artists.
This is a real jewel in the crown of London’s cultural scene and boasts a dynamic mix of art, architecture, design, fashion and photography. From acclaimed architects to Turner Prize-winning artists, the Barbican Art Gallery has everything you’d expect from an institute of this ilk.
At the Barbican Art Gallery, you will be able to see works not available anywhere in the world. It displays the very best innovative art of both the 20th and 21st centuries and honours the key figures who have shaped the development of art and expressionism over the years. You can visit some of the exhibitions for free, another great incentive.
So what do you need to know if you are visiting Barbican Art Gallery? Here is our guide to all things Barbican.
information for Visitors
The Barbican Art Gallery is situated on Level 3, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS. Located in the City, it is close to the likes of Shoreditch and Hoxton making it great a day or even a night out depending on your schedule. Open throughout the year, it is perfect any time of the year.
Its opening and closing times are as follows:
Daily 10am to 6pm (Thursdays and Fridays extend opening hours to 9pm)
Bank Holidays – 12pm to 6pm
Bank Holiday Fridays – 10am to 9pm
Daily 11am – 8pm (Thursdays and Fridays extend opening hours to 9pm)
Bank Holiday Mondays – 12pm to 8pm
Bank Holiday Fridays – 12pm to 9pm
The late opening hours at the weekend allow you to catch some of the special exhibitions when the crowds have died down. You can enjoy a pleasurable stroll around the galleries and take your time as it quietens. This is arguably the best part of the day to visit the Barbican.
Barbican Art Gallery Plymouth
The reach of the Barbican Art Gallery extends far beyond the confines of London and the West Country also has a branch of this prestigious arts and performance centre. The Barbican has a link with Plymouth and if you fancy getting out of the capital then a trip to Cornwall is ideal.
While London is a constantly moving city that seems to never stop, Plymouth provides a much slower pace of life but is hugely picturesque. Sitting on the city’s harbour is Barbican’s south-west branch which features a host of special pieces including that of the famous Robert Lenkiewicz.
The Plymouth Barbican is blessed with a series of stunning art galleries including the Michael Wood Fine Art exhibition which represents international, national and West Country professional artists and has been running since 1967. The centre provides an opportunity for talented artists from across the south-west to showcase their work.
New Street Gallery is the ideal place to see all this type of work with Lenkiewicz, Fred Yates, Mary Stork, Ben Hartley and Diane Nevitt all displaying their art here. Other contemporary spaces include The Pipe, Blue Peace Gallery, White Lane Gallery and Glass!!, all of which provide something interesting to see for anyone visiting the south-west art space.
Trains to Plymouth run every half an hour from London Paddington. The journey takes around three hours so you may want to stay over but it is possible to just go for a day trip. The last train back to London leaves Plymouth at 7.42pm and arrives at 23.39pm.
One of the largest and more high profile exhibitions the Barbican has had in recent years was Bauhaus: Art as Life in the spring of 2012. It represented the biggest event of its kind for over 40 years and charted the history of this approach to art. Starting from expressionist beginning before evolving into model uniting art and technology.
It highlighted Bauhaus’ utopian vision to change society following the devastation of World War I. Bauhaus: Art of Life provided an insight into the subjects at the heart of the school including art, culture, life, politics, society and the changing technology of the age. The exhibition showcased a range of painting, sculpture, design, film, architecture, textiles, photography, ceramics, theatres and installation.
Among the artists that contributed work to this exhibitions included Bauhaus Masters such as Josef and Anni Albers, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Hannes Meyer and Oskar Schlemmer, among a host of others.
As always the Barbican Art Gallery has a number of exhibitions and installations lined up for the coming months which are both intriguing and challenge the concept of how we perceive art. Some are extremely popular, as demonstrated the Exhibition Tour with Viktor Wynd on May 7th already selling out.
While there are the various exhibitions there are also a number of interesting workshops you can get involved with. Some require booking while others you can just turn up on the day and take part. Here are just a few thing that are going on in the near future.
The Barbican Exhibition: Chamberlin, Powell & Bon Architects – running until May 15th
Roman Signer: Slow Movement – running from March 4th to May 31st in The Curve
Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector – running from February 12th to May 25th in the Art Gallery
Station To Station: A 30 Day Happening – June 27th
Exhibition Tour with Sophie Persson – May 21st
London Historic Collections – May 22nd in Frobisher Auditorium 1
Battle of Ideas – October 18th
Singers at Six – January 15th 2016
Weekend Lab: International Beckett Season – June 13th and 14th in the Rehearsal Room.
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