In the years following the Second World War, few would have imagined that the derelict space beside Waterloo Bridge on London’s South Bank would become home to an iconic landmark, an integral part of modern British culture, and an enduring bastion of modern and contemporary art. But, on 11 July, 1968 Hayward Gallery opened its doors to its first exhibition - a major retrospective of the paintings of Henri Matisse - and we haven’t looked back since.
Still going strong 50 years on, Hayward Gallery has celebrated its golden anniversary by offering exclusive access to its archives for the very first time with the aid of Google Arts & Culture. The project, called Hayward Gallery at 50: Uncovering the Archive, enables you to explore over 1,000 previously unseen architectural plans, installation sketches, and photographs. The result is an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of some of the most highly-regarded art exhibitions of the past half century.
From that opening Matisse retrospective through to 2005’s 70-artist strong show Africa Remix: contemporary art of a continent, and the 2014 Martin Creed blockbuster What’s the point of it? artefacts from 50 exhibitions spanning the first half century of Hayward Gallery have been brought together on Google Arts & Culture. To get a flavour of Hayward Gallery at 50: Uncovering the Archive, take a look at the following exhibition tours.
Considered to be one of the founders of video art, Korean American artist Nam June Paik displayed the first major presentation of his work at Hayward Gallery.
Antony Gormley’s exhibition Blind Light expanded beyond Hayward Gallery’s walls as he installed sculptures of human figures on surrounding rooftops and landmarks for his work Event Horizon.
Tracey Emin’s iconic retrospective included work in a vast array of different media, covering every period of her career, revealing facets of the artist, and work often overlooked.
Through Google Arts & Culture’s Hayward Gallery at 50: Uncovering the Archive, as well as incredible archive material such as that above, you can also access a series of stories and behind the scenes insights from commentators including Director of Hayward Gallery, Ralph Rugoff, and Turner Prize-winning artist, Jeremy Deller. Google Arts & Culture is free for everyone.