The Scintillating Serpentine Galleries

For over four decades The Serpentine Galleries have been advocating new ideas in contemporary art. Find out more about the activities at the Serpentine, the Serpentine Sackler and the Serpentine Pavilion and how they were launched.

London’s Prime Art Destination

From the moment when it first opened its doors in 1970, the Serpentine has been championing and providing access to contemporary art. Over a period of more than four decades, it has gained a global reputation of absolute excellence. Thousands of artists have shown an incredible range of work – from emerging illustrators, designers, sculptors and painters to international masters. The Serpentine has only one requirement for the artists whose work it exhibits; they must display extraordinary talent.

A Must-Visit for Art Lovers in London

The Serpentine operates from Tuesday to Sunday between 10 am and 6 pm, and admission is free. The gallery’s two exhibition spaces are located in Kensington Gardens in London, one on either side of The Serpentine Lake. The galleries are known, respectively, as the Serpentine and the Serpentine Sackler. Every year eight seasonal exhibitions are presented by the Serpentine as well as several other projects involving outdoor sculpture, digital commissions, and special artist commissions. There is also the annual Serpentine Pavilion during the summer – the most ambitious artistic architecture program in the world. Varied and changing programmes ensure that the Serpentine remains a prime destination for art lovers.

DanaSehevs - Serpentine Zumthormed

It’s Not Just About Looking at Art

When visiting The Serpentine, people of all ages have the opportunity to engage with contemporary art, design and architecture. A series of stories by renowned authors forms the basis for an “audio walk”, which accompanies patrons as they explore the route between the two Serpentine galleries. Programs geared for public education and outreach provide ample opportunity for learning more about art and artistic initiatives.

The Serpentine Through the Years

In the late 1960s, the Arts Council of England formulated a plan to open a venue aimed at launching emerging artists, with a special focus on artists from England. The gallery was opened on May 1st, 1970 at what had previously been a tea pavilion. Diana, Princess of Wales, generously backed a major renovation of the Serpentine in 1998.

The Serpentine Sackler joins the Serpentine family

In September 2013, the Serpentine Sackler opened its doors to the public. Part of the building was a renovated gunpowder store that originally dated from 1805. The extension of the building was designed by Zaha Hadid, a laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Hadid worked with the Serpentine in collaboration with The Royal Parks. The goal was to create a light extension that was complementary to the original neo-classical architecture of the building. This expansion of the Serpentine created substantial additional gallery space and included a permanent new restaurant.

Dana Sheves - Serpentine-Sackler-Gallery-London-Zaha-Hadid

Over its 45-year history, the Serpentine has provided the art-loving public with access to diverse work by more than two thousand different artists. The most important thing about the Serpentine is its continuing dedication to finding innovative ways of allowing people of different ages and backgrounds to engage closely with the best in contemporary art, design and architecture. Long may this good work continue!

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