Published to mark the opening of the newly expanded Whitechapel Gallery in London, 2009, A Manual takes as its subject the role of the contemporary arts institution in the twenty-first century.
Conceived as a contradictory project in thinking forward by looking back, the publication is structured as a room-by-room guide of the expanded Whitechapel Gallery. The book is divided into twelve sections. Each section explores a different area of the Gallery, framing discussions about the development of contemporary art and institutional practice.
Readers travel from the reception to the rooftop, encountering a series of galleries dedicated to the display of site-specific commissions, collections and temporary exhibitions. Likewise they visit the archive, education and retail facilities and consider the varied and vital roles that they play within publicly funded art organisations.
Twelve authors – artists, curators, academics and directors of international galleries and museums – trace a trajectory around each typology of space, using them as springboards for wider investigation.