As part of a season-long celebration entitled ‘Dancing around Duchamp’, London’s Barbican is hosting a show that examines the relationships between Marcel Duchamp, the father of conceptual art, and American visual artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, as well as composer John Cage and dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham.
All four Americans have been influenced in one way or the other by Duchamp, an artist who radically changed the way we see art and whose revolutionary works are at the core of the exhibition. Visitors will have the chance to see his most prominent work, ‘The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors’, ‘Nude Descending a Staircase No 2’ and many other defining pieces in all their transformative glory.
By juxtaposing Duchamps’ works with paintings by Johns and Rauschenberg, music by Cage and live performances of Cunningham’s dances, the show also explores these individuals’ relationships to each other: Johns and Rauschenberg were a couple for a while, while Cage and Cunningham are life-long companions and Rauschenberg created stage designs for the celebrated choreographer.
It is these personal connections that make this exhibition so enthralling. That, combined with an exceptionally dynamic theatrical set-up of sound and movement, make it an essential show about one of the most important periods in art history.Until 9th June Barbican Centre, Silk Street – London EC2Y 8DS www.barbican.org.uk