31.03.2015
12:11

Hayward Gallery

Address:

Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX

Phone:

020-7960 4200

Website:

www.hayward.org.uk

Opening times:

Mon 12:00-18:00, Tue-Sun 11:00-19:00

How to get there:

Tube: Waterloo/Embankment

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Café and shop

The Hayward is one of London’s most important temporary exhibition spaces, featuring fine art shows of all periods but focusing particularly on the work of 20th-century and contemporary artists, sculptors and photographers. The gallery forms part of the South Bank Centre cultural complex, which includes the Royal Festival Hall, Poetry Library, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, occupying a tract of land on the south bank of the river, near Waterloo station. This was the site of the 1951 Festival of Britain, a national celebration to lift post-war spirits, which promoted British art, design and industry. The Festival’s London centrepiece was the South Bank, the new Royal Festival Hall at its heart, with pavilions and walkways constructed around it, including the slender Skylon reaching into the sky, lit internally at night. After the dismantling of the exhibition’s temporary structures, the site was developed by the Greater London Council’s Department of Architecture, led by Geoffrey Horsefall. The long promenade along the Thames was retained from the Festival, behind which sit a series of concert halls, the Hayward Gallery and the National Film Theatre, accessed by concrete walkways and stairwells with confusing shifts of level.

The Hayward itself (named after the London County Council’s former leader, Sir Isaac Hayward) is a purpose-built exhibition space dating from the 1960s. An uncompromising Brutalist building of grey, wood-pressed concrete, it is a series of joined cubes with jutting strata, its interior levels linked by concrete ramps, topped externally by the Neon Tower, designed by Philip Vaughan and Roger Dainton in 1970 and erected in 1972. Made up of coloured fluorescent tubes which are activated by the strength and direction of the wind, it has become a familiar part of the London evening and night-time landscape. From the South Bank there are excellent vistas over the river to the ‘Gherkin’ and St Paul’s Cathedral. The Hayward’s architecture is loathed and admired in equal measure. Particularly dismal on a grey, rainy day, a scheme to improve the environment is underway, of which the Hayward’s 2003 glass-fronted foyer extension is a part, which includes a pavilion jointly designed by the New York artist Dan Graham and the architectural office Haworth Tomkins.

The Hayward’s excellent programme of temporary exhibitions is eclectic and varied. Since its very first show, a Matisse retrospective in 1968, it has built up a distinguished record of contemporary art and photography exhibitions, as well as group, themed and international shows. In recent years it has staged monographic exhibitions on Howard Hodgkin, Francis Bacon and Henri Cartier Bresson; a contemporary African art show, Africa Remix; and an exhibition to celebrate the National Art Collections Fund, displaying star items saved for the nation. In addition the Hayward stages the annual British Show, which promotes the work of the most significant emerging British artists; manages a programme of national touring exhibitions; and administers the large Arts Council Collection of over 7,500 British works, a loan collection begun in 1949 to which contemporary work is continually added.

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MUSEUMS & GALLERIES OF LONDON

Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.

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South London Art Gallery
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Royal Academy of Music Museum
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Prince Henry’s Room
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Museum in Docklands (Museum of London)
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Lord’s Tour and MCC Museum
London Transport Museum
London Fire Brigade Museum
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