When do London’s art galleries reopen?

When do London’s art galleries reopen?

From the Barbican to the Whitechapel Gallery, these are the new safety measures and opening dates of London’s best-loved art galleries


On June 23, the government announced that cinemas, museums and art galleries would be able to reopen in England from July 4. However, ‘Super Saturday’ came and went with most art spaces keeping their doors closed. The National Gallery became the first major art space on July 8 to reopen, with others around the country now beginning to follow suit; many remain in the planning stages.

Here, we look at when some of the capital’s best-known art galleries are opening up. Expect ticket-only entry, one-way systems, ubiquitous hand sanitiser and, in some cases, mandatory face coverings.

Barbican, open now
The Brutalist landmark, which includes an art centre, venue, cinema and residential estate, began reopening from July 13, starting with its gallery (showing Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, until August 23) and its beautiful conservatory, one of our favourite places in London. The Curve, its innovative arched space, will reopen on August 11, showing A Countervailing Theory by Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola.
Safety measures: new measures are in place including reduced capacity and timed entry slots to ensure a safe flow of visitors through the space. Tickets need to be booked online in advance of a visit.


National Gallery, open now
The National Gallery became one of the first London art galleries to open its doors when it did so on July 8. There’s more good news: Titian: Love, Desire Death – described as ‘sensuous interpretation of Classical myths of love, temptation, and punishment’ – has been extended (until January 2021). In 1551, Prince Philip of Spain, the future King Philip II, commissioned Titian, then the most famous painter in Europe, to produce a group of paintings – here displayed together.
Safety measures: the National Gallery has a new admissions policy that includes a ticket entry system; a one-way system; and two-metre social distancing rules. See more here.


Royal Academy of Arts, July 16
The Royal Academy of Arts is already open to its members (since July 9), but will open to the the general public from July 16. The excellent Picasso and Paper has been extended (until August 2). As the name suggest, it examines the Spanish painter’s relationship with paper, and features 300 works – including studies for Guernica. Gauguin and the Impressionists, which was due to open March 28, will now run from August 7 to October 18.
Safety measures: visitors must wear a face covering, while a one-way system and two-metre social distancing rules apply. See more here.


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Serpentine, August 4
The Serpentine will reopen on August 4 with multimedia artist and filmmaker Cao Fei’s breathtaking Blueprints. Born in 1978 in Guangzhou, Cao Fei, who lives in Beijing, mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, surrealism and documentary techniques in her films and installations. This exhibition brings together new and existing works in an immersive, site-specific installation, which addresses automation and the digital world.
Safety measures: visitors must book a free time slot and wear a face covering, while a one-way system and two-metre social distancing rules apply. See more here.


Tate Britain, July 27
Tate Britain will join sister museums Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives in reopening on July 27. The blockbuster event remains Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen with his epic portrait of London’s Year 3 pupils (until January 31, 2021), but there’s also the first exhibition dedicated to Victorian illustrator Aubrey Beardsley at the Tate since 1923 and the largest since the V&A’s retrospective in 1966 (until September 20).
Safety measures: visitors must book a time slot, while a one-way system applies. See more here.


Tate Modern, July 27
The Tate Modern will join sister museums Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives in reopening on July 27. As ever, there’s some incredible exhibitions to choose from, including its Andy Warhol retrospective (until November 15) and Kara Walker’s 13-metre tall working fountain, which explores the interconnected histories of Africa, America and Europe and legacies of empire (until November 8).
Safety measures: visitors must book a time slot, while a one-way system applies. See more here.


Whitechapel Gallery, July 14
The ever-popular East End art gallery will reopen on July 14 with Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium, made up of figurative painting by the likes of Michael Armitage, Cecily Brown, Daniel Richter, Dana Schutz, Tschabalala Self (until August 30), as well as an installation from Portuguese artist Carlos Bunga, Something Necessary and Useful (until September 6)
Safety measures: visitors will be provided with hand sanitiser and optional masks at the front desk; ticketing, a one-way system and social distancing rules apply. See more here.


Andy Warhol (12 Mar – 6 Sep 2020, Tate Modern)
Image: Andy Warhol
Marilyn Diptych 1962
Tate. © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London


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