Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art

Mission: to interpret and understand contemporary art

6 March 2008 - 18 May 2008
Art Gallery

£8/6 members

 Sold out

'One of the year's zaniest shows' - The Telegraph

Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art

Anthropologists from outer space set out on a mission to understand life on earth. Imagine that they begin their mission by examining the curious phenomenon that human beings call ‘contemporary art’. What does Art tell them about human life and culture?

Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art presents contemporary art works under the fictional guise of a museum collection conceived by and designed for extraterrestrials. Playful and irreverent, the museum’s collection features some 175 works by over 115 artists, from modern masters to bright new stars including Joseph Beuys, Cai Guo-Qiang, Maurizio Cattelan, Jimmie Durham, Thomas Hirschhorn, Ryan Gander, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hiller, Damien Hirst, Brian Jungen, Dr. Lakra, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, John McCracken, Bruce Nauman, Mike Nelson, Cornelia Parker, Sigmar Polke, Ugo Rondinone, Daniel Spoerri, Haim Steinbach, Francis Upritchard, Jeffrey Vallance, Andy Warhol and Rebecca Warren.

Believing these objects to have a real or functional use, the Museum’s curators deploy an eccentric classification system. They treat artworks as artifacts. The Martian perspective opens up contemporary art to fresh interpretations as well as humorous misunderstandings. In presuming to understand an unfamiliar culture, the Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art parodies the way that Western anthropologists historically viewed non-Western cultures through alien eyes.

First Thursdays
On the first Thursday of every month, Barbican Art Gallery is open until 10pm. Join us for late night openings with a difference. Enjoy a range of interplanetary talks, performances and discussions and make sure you visit the Martian bar for cosmic cocktails. Part of Time Out First Thursdays . For more information click here.

Films from Another Planet
To complement Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art landing in Barbican Art Gallery , we present a season of films from outer space to welcome our alien friends. For more information click here.

Close Encounters
Join a host of artists, speakers, commentators and curators for Close Encounter talks. For more information click here.

Audioguide Download
The esteemed Dr Klaatu, Director of the Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, gives a personal introduction to the collection and takes you on a tour of selected treasures. Download onto your mp3 player and bring with you to the exhibition. Instructions: to download a file, right click on your mouse (or control-click for mac users) and select 'save link as' to download the mp3. The audioguide is also available on iTunes to download. If you haven't got iTunes on your computer, click here to download.

Audioguide Introduction

1: Ancestor Worship/Sherrie Levine

2: Totems/Thomas Hirschhorn

3: Kinship Diagrams/Mark Lombardi

4: Transformation/Robert Filiou

5: Spells and Charms/Cornelia Parker

6: Relics and Spirits/Jeffrey Vallance

7: Shrines/Haim Steinbach

8: Icons/Andy Warhol

9: Masks/Spartacus Chetwyn

10: Ceremonial Objects/Francis Upritchard

11: Traps/Adam Chodzko

12: Exchange/Cildo Meireles

13: Interplanetary Communication

14: Cultural Contact/Keith Tyson

Barbican Art Gallery: Home to London's intergalactic art gallery.


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