Serpentine Gallery in London

Show Map

The Serpentine Gallery is an art gallery in Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, central London. It focuses on modern and contemporary art. The exhibitions, architecture, education and public programmes attract approximately 750,000 visitors a year. Admission is free.

Established in 1970 and housed in a classical 1934 tea pavilion, it takes its name from the nearby Serpentine Lake.

Notable artists who have been exhibited there include Man Ray, Henry Moore, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Allan McCollum, Anish Kapoor, Christian Boltanski, Philippe Parreno, Richard Prince, Gerhard Richter, Gustav Metzger, Damien Hirst, and Jeff Koons.

On the ground at the gallery's entrance is a permanent work by Ian Hamilton Finlay in collaboration with Peter Coates, dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales, the Serpentine's former patron.

In 2006, Serpentine Gallery premiered a major exhibition of contemporary Chinese Art. Titled China Power Station: Part One, the exhibition was housed in Battersea Power Station in South London, offering a rare glimpse for the public of the interior of a well known landmark.

The gallery was set up by the Arts Council of Great Britain and for its first years was only open on a limited basis during the summer months. In 1991, Julia Peyton Jones OBE was appointed as Director and under her the gallery was extensively refurbished. In 2006, the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist was appointed as Co-Director Exhibitions and Programmes, and Director International Projects.


The Serpentine Gallery annually commissions international architects of worldwide acclaim to design a pavilion on the gallery’s lawn that provides a unique showcase for contemporary architectural practice. The pavilion is host to a special programme of film screenings, talks, the BBC proms and café.

Since 2000, each summer the gallery has commissioned a temporary pavilion by leading architects including:

  • 2000: Zaha Hadid
  • 2001: Daniel Libeskind
  • 2002: Toyo Ito
  • 2003: Oscar Niemeyer
  • 2005: Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura
  • 2006: Rem Koolhaas with Cecil Balmond and Arup
  • 2007 pre-pavilion 'Lilias': Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
  • 2007: Olafur Eliasson, Cecil Balmond, and Kjetil Thorsen
  • 2008: Frank Gehry
  • 2009: SANAA
  • 2010: Jean Nouvel
  • 2011: Peter Zumthor

External links