The Showroom is a contemporary art space focused on collaborative approaches to cultural production within its locality and beyond
We commission and produce art and discourse; providing an engaging, collaborative programme that challenges what art can be and do for a wide range of audiences, including art professionals and our local community.
Our programme focuses on collaborative and process-driven approaches to production be that art work, exhibitions, events, discussions, publications, knowledge and relationships. Through major commissions and smaller projects we work with artists and other practitioners who have not previously had significant exposure in London, often introducing international artists to London, and working in partnership with other individuals and organisations within our networks, both at home and abroad.
We also work closely with our local community, and have developed strong, long-term relationships with local groups and individuals who we bring together to work in partnership with artists on specific projects and commissions which feed into the programme as a whole.
Public events and workshops form part of these commissions, with a broader programme of publishing, research and events including discussions, screenings, panels, book launches and performances running alongside.
The Showroom was established in 1983 and in 2023 celebrated forty years of supporting artists to stage their first solo shows in London and its role as a pivotal force in the development of contemporary art practice.
It was one of the first galleries in what is now a thriving East End art scene, but moved from its Bonner Road site in Bethnal Green to Penfold Street near Edgware Road in 2009. The first exhibition at Penfold Street was A Long Time Between Suns Part II, by The Otolith Group, which earned them a nomination for the Turner Prize 2010.
Artists commissioned by The Showroom at significant points in their career include Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Can Altay, Claire Barclay, Ricardo Basbaum, Marc Chaimowicz, Mona Hatoum, Jim Lambie, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Uriel Orlow, Ciara Phillips (project nominated for the Turner Prize 2014), Eva Rothschild, Grace Schwindt, Simon Starling and Rebecca Warren.
As well as supporting artists at the right moment in their careers, The Showroom has always played a role in developing discourse around contemporary art practices. This activity expanded significantly under the directorship of Emily Pethick, when the organisation programmed around fifty public events a year, almost all of which being free to access.
Previous directors of The Showroom are: Elvira Dyangani Ose (2018-2021), Emily Pethick (2008–2018), Kirsty Ogg (1998–2008), Kim Sweet (1992–1998) and David Thorp (1988–1992).
For press enquires please contact Charlotte Nourse [email protected]
Amina Ali, Vanya Cantone, Daniela Ghinsberg, Campbell McConnell, Corie McGowan, Natalia Ruhe, Allan Struthers, Shunn Lei Swe Yee
Board of Trustees
Alia Al-Senussi, PhD, Patron and Cultural Consultant
Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor, Arts, BBC
Sophie da Gama Campos, Senior Director, Pelham
Oliver Evans, Senior Director, Maureen Paley Gallery
Edward Francis, Head Of Partnerships, South Bank Centre
Alan Higgs, Architect
Samallie Kiyingi, Director of Legal Affairs at the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank)
Sophie Lachowsky, LL.M, MA, Courtauld Institute of Art
Zain Mahmood, Finance Manager
Francis Outred, Founder, Francis Outred Ltd., Former Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Europe Middle East Russia and India, Christies
Andrew Renton (Chair), Professor of Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London
Mercedes Vilardell, Lawyer and Co-Chair of Tate Modern African Acquisitions Committee (AAC) and Tate Modern International Council