The Serpentine Gallery was founded by the Arts Council of Britain in 1971 as a temporary exhibition space for modern and contemporary art.
Housed in a Grade II-listed former tea pavilion, dating from 1908, the gallery is set in Kensington Gardens, near the Serpentine lake and amid lawns, trees and shrubberies.
In 1998 the gallery re-opened after undergoing redevelopment and renovation by architects John Miller and Partners. The gallery now provides a flexible, state-of-the-art environment for international art, as well as an education area.
The gallery houses temporary exhibitions of contemporary painting and sculpture, which often spill out into the surrounding park. Since the early 1990s the gallery has become one of London's leading venues for important shows of recent work by established British artists, among them Rachel Whiteread and Damien Hirst. It also hosts retrospectives of artists such as Bridget Riley, Henry Moore and Man Ray.
The Serpentine Gallery's independent curatorial policy has won it an enthusiastic following. In 2001 a separate temporary pavilion was installed on the lawn in front of the gallery, called 'Eighteen Turns', designed by Daniel Libeking with Ove Arup.
The gallery's small shop has a selection of art books.