The Serpentine Galleries will reopen on 19 May with two major exhibitions by James Barnor and Jennifer Packer, followed by the unveiling of the Serpentine Pavilion 2021 later in the summer.

Although both exhibitions are free to enter you will have to book a timed ticket.

James Barnor : Accra/London – A Retrospective

19 May to 22 October, 2021

This retrospective will feature photographs taken by the photojournalist and lifestyle photographer. Although Barnor’s career has spanned six decades, the Serpentine Gallery exhibition will focus on the period 1950-80. Barnor established the Ever Young Studio in his native Accra in the 50s before moving to London in 1959. He then returned to Ghana where he became a portrait photographer and was heavily involved in the music scene. The exhibition is curated by Lizzie Carey-Thomas and Awa Konaté.

Sick Hagemeyer shop assistant Accra c.1971 © James Barnor Serpentine Gallery
Sick Hagemeyer shop assistant Accra c.1971 © James Barnor Serpentine Gallery

Jennifer Packer : The Eye Is Not Satisfied with Seeing

19 May to 22 August, 2021

This examination of Packer’s paintings involves new artwork created by the artist in the Bronx within the past year, as well as more established pieces. Her eye focuses on intimate contemporary black portraiture in an exploration of the power of painting.

140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth

3 June

As part of its continued environmental campaign, the Serpentine Galleries are releasing a book published by Penguin, packed full of ideas from various artists on how we can change the future to the benefit of the planet. Artists include Vivienne Westwood, Yoko Ono, Jane Fonda, Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno.

Serpentine Pavilion 2021
11 June to 17 October, 2021

The 20th Serpentine Pavilion is designed by the South African practice Counterspace; it will celebrate 100 leaders who are shaping the future, as well referencing community spaces in London.

Future Exhibitions at the Serpentine Galleries

In Autumn 2021, the Serpentine Gallery will put on an exhibition of the work of Hervé Télémaque, and in Spring 2022 an exhibition by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster.


Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London

For more information click here, or read London Begins at 40’s mini guide to the Serpentine Galleries.

Main image: Jennifer Packer, The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing, Serpentine Galleries. Photo George Darrell.