Life is More Important Than Art is a summer-long, multidisciplinary programme of exhibitions and events. It explores the intersection of art and everyday life and the role of the contemporary art institution at a time of uncertainty and change.
The title of the season takes inspiration from African-American writer and novelist James Baldwin, who proposed that life is more important than art … and yet that is why art is important. At a time when the cost-of-living crisis is causing severe financial hardship and the after-effects of the pandemic are still being felt, we consider the role of art and the art institution in everyday life. What importance can we attach to art alongside more pressing concerns?
The exhibition maps dynamic histories of migration and difference, with a focus on London and the East End. Representative of, and animated by, the distinctive and radical history of Whitechapel Gallery, Life is More Important Than Art points to the critical role that art can play in both reflecting lived experience and opening up new possibilities for thinking, feeling and dreaming.
Twelve artists spanning film painting, photography and installation, past and present histories are interwoven and personal stories are entangled with global events.
Combining an art gallery, library, archive, museum, dance and music studio in one space, the Somali Museum radically reimagines what a ‘museum’ is and what it can do.
Relax and play in a room full of soft, bendy and weighted objects; talking, laughing and sharing stories.
Take a seat in a space which rejects the slickness and polish of modern architecture, and instead embraces comfort and self-expression, blurring the lines between public and private space.
Whitechapel Radio Station (WRS) is an intra-gallery radio station broadcasting live and online, hosting a series of talks with artists, collectives, writers and musicians.
As part of Life is More Important than Art, Whitechapel Gallery is activated throughout the summer by an exciting range of discursive and performative live events.