Gilbert & George turn brewery into art gallery

Artist duo Gilbert & George are turning a 19th century brewery in east London into a public art gallery in protest over the fact that the Tate never shows their work.

Artist duo Gilbert & George. Photo credit: Mona

As reported by Dezeen, Tower Hamlets council has granted the eccentric pair planning permission to convert the brewery off Brick Lane in Spitalfields.

Most recently, the brewery turned workshop, which dates back to 1830, was occupied by artist Polly Hope who lived and worked there until her death in 2013. The ambitious project will be looked after by the design firm founded by Gilbert’s nephew.

Gilbert & George live and work in Spitalfields and can be regularly spotted in the area. The inseparable pair live in townhouses on Fournier Street almost next to one another.

The pair met while they were students on the sculpture course at St Martins School of Art. Adopting the slogan ‘art for all’, Gilbert & George are among only a handful of artists to be household names.

Most nights of the week they can be found having dinner at Turkish restaurant Mangal 2 in Dalston.

The pair plan to turn the gallery into a space where the public can enjoy contemporary art for free with two large exhibitions due to be held each year.

Dezeen reports that the artists are keen to preserve the character of the building and its period features.

“You walk in and it’s like a magic garden and we will try to keep that because it’s extraordinary,” Gilbert told ES magazine last week.

“The Tate never shows our work and they never will, because nothing is good enough for them,” he added.

However, that’s not entirely true – in 2007 the Tate Modern held a Gilbert & George retrospective, which was the largest ever exhibition of their work at the time.

According to the Tate, their works “capture a broad human experience, encompassing an astonishing range of emotions and themes from brightly-coloured panoramas and sex advertisements to religious fundamentalism”.

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