Gilbert & George to Open a Non-profit Gallery

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
June 7, 2016

Gilbert & George are planning to convert an East End house into a non-profit gallery and foundation for contemporary art.

Gilbert & George want to give back to the area that has served as an inspiration for many of their artworks with an art space and a foundation. Last year, they bought a former, early-19th century brewery building on Heneage Street previously owned by artist Polly Hope, who passed away in 2013. Their plan for the re-purposing of the space proposes the demolition and rebuilding of a 1970s workshop as an exhibition space, a thorough refurbishment of the main building, and digging out a basement.

Because the centre is a non-profit foundation, the number of exhibitions are limited to two a year. It would be open to visitors by appointment, with typical opening hours from 10am to 5pm, free of charge. Gilbert & George are expecting 200 visitors a week to the gallery and will create two full-time positions. Unlike their own collection, which mainly consists of 19th-century furniture and decorative arts by designers including Augustus Pugin, George Bullock and Christopher Dresser, the gallery will show contemporary art.

The architects Sir Solutions have prepared the planning statement for Gilbert & George and Tower Hamlets Council is expected to make a decision on 5 July. Neighbours are currently being consulted; according to the planning report, Anne Butler, the landlady of the Pride of Spitalfields pub next door, is “supportive of the overall proposed scheme” and thinks the plans will “enrich the area”. The artists were not available for comment.

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