Barbican Art Gallery
With a National Art Pass you get
The more you see, the more we do.
The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.
Housed in a Brutalist landmark, the Barbican programmes ground-breaking exhibitions and technically astonishing installations alongside film, theatre, music and more.
Hailed as ‘one of the modern wonders of the world’ by the Queen when it opened in 1982, the Barbican represents all major art forms in one sprawling, Grade II listed, Brutalist building. Here, you can find London’s second biggest conservatory, three cinemas, two auditoriums, a library with three special collections, two art galleries, food outlets and a design-led shop.
Dance, film, theatre and music all fill the Barbican’s programme – with visual arts a real highlight. Past paid exhibitions in the Art Gallery have included the first large-scale showcase of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, featuring over 100 works, and a retrospective properly spotlighting the pioneering Abstract Expressionist Lee Krasner, too often consigned to her husband Jackson Pollock’s shadow.
The Curve gallery, meanwhile, is dedicated to new commissions, perhaps the most famous of which was Random International’s mind-blowing Rain Room, in which visitors could walk through a downpour without getting wet. Spanning art, architecture, design, fashion, photography and film, the exhibitions at the Barbican are accompanied by special events including talks and workshops with artists and architects.
The centre’s food and drink options are as expansive as its arts offer: there’s the family-friendly Barbican Kitchen on the ground floor, burgers and milkshakes at Bonfire, modern Italian at Osteria and a Martini Bar on the first floor. For design-led gifts, books and souvenirs, head to the Barbican Shop, which spans two levels of the building.
Why you should go
Spectacular installations in The Curve gallery
Major exhibitions including UK firsts
Conservatory with 1,500 plant and tree species