Major exhibitions

Electronic Superhighway
29 January – 15 May 2016, Galleries 1, 2, 8 & Victor Petitgas Gallery (Gallery 9)
Media view: Thursday 28 January, 10:00 – 12:00
A landmark exhibition exploring the impact of computer and networked technologies on artists from the mid-1960s to the present day, including new and rarely seen multimedia works, film, painting, sculpture, photography and drawing. Featuring over 70 artists including Cory Arcangel, Roy Ascott, Judith Barry, James Bridle, Constant Dullaart, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Vera Molnar, Trevor Paglen, Nam June Paik, Ryan Trecartin and Ulla Wiggen, Electronic Superhighway tells the story of an interconnected global culture marked by mass social and political change. A free display in Gallery 2 of German avant-garde film-maker Harun Farocki’s major video installation Parallel I-IV (2012-2014), the artist’s final work, (15 December 2015 – 12 June 2016) coincides with the show.
Tickets £13.50 (including Gift Aid donation) £11.95 (without Gift Aid).

Mary Heilmann
8 June – 21 August 2016, Galleries 1, 8 & Victor Petitgas Gallery (Gallery 9)
Media view: Tuesday 7 June, 10am – midday
This major solo presentation of the work of the influential New York-based artist Mary Heilmann is her first in a public institution in the UK in 15 years. Born in California in 1940, Heilmann studied ceramics and poetry before moving to New York in 1968 and taking up painting. Her vibrantly coloured, abstract canvases reference popular culture, particular places and personal experiences with a good dose of humour. The exhibition will feature paintings, works on paper, furniture and ceramics from Heilmann’s five-decade career.

William Kentridge
21 September 2016 – 15 January 2017, Galleries 1, 8 & Victor Petitgas Gallery (Gallery 9)
Media view: Tuesday 20 September, 10am – midday
A solo presentation of recent work by artist William Kentridge. The son of two liberal lawyers, Kentridge grew up in apartheid South Africa. As a draughtsman, Kentridge repeatedly erases and reworks his charcoal drawings to create stop-animation films, and the Whitechapel Gallery presents a series of his large-scale installations that fuse both elements. Recent work by the artist includes The Refusal of Time (2012) a 5-channel video installation featuring a soundscape by Philip Miller and a breathing machine, which was exhibited at Documenta (13) in Kassel, Germany; Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland; the ICA Boston; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand.
Tickets on sale from 1 June 2016.

Collection displays

Barjeel Art Foundation collection
8 September 2015 – 8 January 2017, Gallery 7
The Whitechapel Gallery presents the first history of Arab modern and contemporary art in the UK. Shown as part of the Gallery’s programme opening up rarely seen collections, this series of displays is drawn from the Barjeel Art Foundation collection. The displays include more than 100 works of art by 60 artists from Algeria, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. The four displays are:

Barjeel Art Foundation collection: Part 1 (8 September– 6 December 2015). Exploring the emergence and development of a modern Arab art aesthetic from the early 20th century to 1967. Artists include Dia Azzawi, Ervand Demirdjian, Hamed Ewais, and Kadhim Hayder.

Barjeel Art Foundation collection: Part 2 (15 December 2015 – 17 April 2016). Focusing on figurative works of art in the collection made between 1968 and 1987. Artists include Kamal Boullata, Huguette Caland, and Marwan Kassab Bachi.

Barjeel Art Foundation collection: Part 3 (26 April – 14 August 2016). In the third presentation photography and video works made between 1990 and 1998 go on show. Artists include Yto Barrada and Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige.

Barjeel Art Foundation collection: Part 4 (23 August 2016 – 8 January 2017). The final display explores how artists engage with the cities they live and work in, showcasing the latest works in the collection. Artists include Laurence Abu Hamdan, Etel Adnan, GCC, Iman Issa, and Jumana Manna.


Luke Fowler and Mark Fell: Computers and Cooperative Music-Making
Until 7 February 2016
Glasgow-based artist film-maker Luke Fowler and Yorkshire-based multidisciplinary artist Mark Fell collaborate on a new exhibition exploring technological advancements in music history. Focussing on two historic computer music languages that have been obscured by more commercially viable options, the duo look at how computers began to impact and shape music making, while experimenting with unfamiliar techniques involving algorithms, non-standard timing and tuning tables.

Whitechapel Gallery Commission
October 2016 – 19 March 2017, Gallery 2
A new commissioning council, led by former Director Iwona Blazwick and Chief Curator Lydia Yee, invites a world-class artist to create a major new work of art for Gallery 2, formerly the reading room of the Whitechapel Library, which will be unveiled in 2016.

Children’s Commission 
26 April– 14 August 2016, Galleries 5 & 6
Each year the Whitechapel Gallery commissions a leading contemporary artist to make a work of art that engages with children.  Artists Simon & Tom Bloor, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Alan Kane, Rivane Neuenschwander, Eva Rothschild, Francis Upritchard and Jessica Voorsanger have previously made new works of art.

Archive Displays

Intellectual Barbarians: The Kibbo Kift Kindred
10 October 2015–13 March 2016, Pat Matthews Gallery (Gallery 4)
The progressive English group The Kibbo Kift Kindred (1920-1932) had idealistic ambitions for world peace rooted in a shared appreciation of nature and handicraft. This display revisits the group’s major exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1929, with rarely seen archive holdings, prints, photographs, woodcarvings and clothing.
The Whitechapel Gallery archive exhibitions are generously supported by Catherine and Franck Petitgas.

Imprint 93
19 March – 25 September 2016, Whitechapel Gallery, Pat Matthews Gallery (Gallery 4)
The Whitechapel Gallery presents Imprint 93, Matthew Higgs’ collaborative 1990s mail art project in its first archive exhibition. Between 1993 and 1998, Higgs invited artists to create works of art that could fit inside an envelope to be freely circulated to an informal group of friends, artists and curators. The artists exhibited include Fiona Banner, Martin Creed, Jeremy Deller, Peter Doig, Stewart Home, Alan Kane, Chris Ofili, Elizabeth Peyton and Bob and Roberta Smith.
The Whitechapel Gallery archive exhibitions are generously supported by Catherine and Franck Petitgas.

Artists’ Film International: Rachel Maclean
29 January – 29 May 2016
Artists’ Film International, the Whitechapel Gallery’s annual programme of film, video and animation chosen by partner cultural organisations around the world, is based on the theme of ‘technologies’ in 2016. Highlights include Scottish artist Rachel Maclean’s Germs (2013), a dark and surreal take on female-targeted advertising, which runs from 28 January 2016.

Annual Events

Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon
25 February 2016
A glamorous gala hosted by former Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick OBE to honour the achievements of one of our greatest living artists, while raising vital funds for the Whitechapel Gallery. The 2016 award will be presented to American artist Joan Jonas (b. 1936) on 25 February 2016.The award was previously given to Howard Hodgkin (2014) and Richard Long (2015).



Presented in galleries 5 & 6, spaces dedicated to innovative collaborations between artists and local schools, young people and community groups. Projects for 2016 include a new work by Heather Phillipson (12 February – 17 April 2016) and the annual Children’s Commission (26 April – 14 August 2016).

Heather Phillipson
12 February – 17 April 2016
Artist and award-winning poet Heather Phillipson creates a new installation for the project galleries, expanding on her time as the Gallery’s Writer in Residence in 2015. Through video, music, sculpture and live and recorded speech, Phillipson’s work oscillates between conceptual distances and the intimacy of the body.

Writer in Residence: Felix Melia
January – June 2016
London-based artist Felix Melia takes up a 6-month residency at the Gallery, investigating writing, reading and listening through a series of performances, talks and events.  Sculptor Melia infuses his works of art with narrative, creating films and installations that layer experiences of urban landscapes. Recent projects include a solo exhibition at Lima Zulu, London, and participation in Doug Aitken’s Station to Station (2015) at the Barbican.


Electronic Superhighway  talks and events
January – May 2016.  A full programme of events drawing on the major January exhibition Electronic Superhighway developed in collaboration with key partners including internet-based arts organisation Rhizome.

Barjeel Art Foundation collection talks and events
Throughout 2016 the Whitechapel Gallery presents discussions on art and visual culture in the Middle East accompanying collection displays from the Barjeel Art Foundation.

Prix Pictet Conversations on Photography
Bringing together acclaimed international photographers with leading curators, thinkers and writers in 2 special talks. Past events have included in-conversations with Mitch Epstein, Richard Mosse and Thomas Struth.
Supported by Pictet & Cie

V-A-C Foundation talks and events
A new series with the Moscow-based art organisation, providing a platform to consider the historical significance of Russian culture through the lens of contemporary art.
Supported by V-A-C Foundation

Exhibition Histories
Revisiting iconic exhibitions through the personal accounts of curators. Previous speakers included Guy Brett, Clementine Deliss, Helmut Draxler, Hou Hanru, Lucy Lippard and Ruth Noack.
In association with Afterall

Gerrard O’Carroll Memorial Lecture
Exploring the intersections between art, architecture and design, this series is named in honour of the architect, writer, curator and Senior Tutor in the School of Architecture and Design at the Royal College of Art, London.
Supported by Adrian O’Carroll

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