Barbican Visual Arts
Exhibitions Programme 2017 18

New exhibitions just announced for 2018 include:

Yto Barrada , (7 Feb–May 2018 exact closing date tbc), The Curve;
Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins , (28 Feb–27 May 2018), Barbican Art Gallery;
Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde , (10 Oct 2018–27 Jan 2019), Barbican Art Gallery.


The Japanese House
Architecture and Life after 1945
Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre
Until Sunday 25 June 2017
Note: The exhibition opening hours are now extended until 9pm for Saturdays in June.

The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945 is the first major UK exhibition to focus on Japanese domestic architecture from the end of the Second World War to now, a field which has consistently produced some of the most influential and extraordinary examples of modern and contemporary design. The exhibition features over 40 architects, ranging from renowned 20th century masters and internationally celebrated contemporary architects such as Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima (SANAA) and Kenzo Tange ; to exciting figures little known outside of Japan including Osamu Ishiyama, Kazunari Sakamoto and Kazuo Shinohara and young rising stars such as Hideyuki Nakayama and Chie Konno. The Japanese House presents some of the most ground-breaking architectural projects of the last 70 years, many of which have never before been exhibited in the UK. The exhibition also incorporates film and photography in order to cast a new light on the role of the house in Japanese culture.

For full press release and images please visit:


Into the Unknown
A Journey through Science Fiction

Barbican Centre
Saturday 3 June – Friday 1 September 2017
Media View: Thursday 1 June 2017, 10am –1pm

Major Barbican exhibition Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction is a genre-defining exploration of one of popular culture’s most celebrated realms. This unprecedented show takes place all over the Centre, encompassing literature, contemporary art, film, music, comic books and video games to present a new, global perspective on Science Fiction.

Curated by Swiss historian and writer Patrick Gyger, this festival-style exhibition explores Science Fiction as an experimental genre, delving into its storytelling roots to discover how its visionary creators captured imaginations around the world to become one of the most popular and enjoyable narratives today. Featuring work never before shown in the UK, the show places rare and iconic pieces alongside familiar, well-loved classics, next to new contemporary art commissions, hoping to surprise and challenge visitors’ perception of the genre.

The exhibition includes contemporary art commissions from Conrad Shawcross and Trevor Paglen and existing art works from Isaac Julien, Larissa Sansour, Dara Birnbaum and Soda_Jerk. The Barbican’s Silk Street entrance will be overtaken by the creators of Black Mirror and inside a new interactive version of Nasa HQ from the set of blockbuster film The Martian will be on display by VFX designers, Territory Studio. The show also includes over 200 books from around the world, including original manuscripts and typescripts, over 50 film and TV clips, featuring some of the most memorable cinematic moments in Science Fiction as well as rare footage, pulp magazines, adverts, concept art, film props, comics, video games and robots.

For full press release please visit


Trajal Harrell: Hoochie Koochie

A performance exhibition

Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre
Every Thursday to Sunday; 20 – 23 July; 27 – 30 July; 3 – 6 August; 10 – 13 August 2017
Thurs & Fri: 2pm – 9pm; Sat & Sun: 12pm – 6pm
Media View: Wednesday 19 July, 10am –1pm

I'm thrilled to have the first survey of my work exhibited at The Barbican. I think the work and the public can meet there in new and invigorating ways.

– Trajal Harrell

Trajal Harrell presents a survey of his entire body of work in Barbican Art Gallery. One of the most prominent choreographers and dancers of his generation, Harrell creates a performative dance exhibition foregrounding a body of work developed during his two year residency at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The centrepiece of this exhibition is Caen Amour, which uses the seductive hoochie koochie belly dance-like spectacles from the 19th century as its starting point.
Harrell is best known for Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church where he created a lively dialogue between post-modern dance and New York’s voguing scene. Often working with historical imagination as a way to rethink how to process and interpret our pasts, Harrell’s performances are exquisitely crafted blends of fact and fiction which query the very nature of performance itself. This is a unique opportunity to explore and discover the playfulness, creativity and sass inherent in Harrell’s works.

For full press release and images please visit:


Basquiat: Boom for Real
Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre
Thursday 21 September 2017 Sunday 28 January 2018
Media View: Wednesday 20 September, 10am –1pm

Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960­—1988). One of the most significant painters of the 20th century, Basquiat came of age in the post-punk underground art scene in Lower Manhattan in the late 1970s. By 1982, he had gained international recognition and was the youngest ever artist to participate in Documenta in Kassel. Basquiat’s vibrant, raw imagery springs from an impressive erudition, seen in the fragments of bold capitalised text that abound in his works — offering insights into both his encyclopaedic interests and his experience as a young artist with no formal training. Since his tragic death in 1988, Basquiat has had remarkably little exposure in the UK – where there is not a single work in a public collection. Drawing from international museums and private collections, Basquiat: Boom for Real brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, many never before seen in Britain, and opens at Barbican Art Gallery on 21 September 2017.

More than any other exhibition to date, Basquiat: Boom for Real focuses on the artist’s relationship to music, text, film and television, placing it within the wider cultural context of the time.

Paintings, drawings and notebooks are presented alongside rare film, photography, music and ephemera in a design that aims to capture the dynamism of Basquiat’s practice. These exhibits are brought together for the first time in 35 years, allowing visitors to understand how Basquiat so quickly won the admiration of his fellow artists and critics.

For full press release and images please visit:


John Akomfrah: Purple
The Curve, Barbican Centre
Friday 6 October 2017 Sunday 7 January 2018
Media view: Thursday 5 October, 10am –1pm
Free Admission
Barbican Art Gallery has commissioned experimental filmmaker John Akomfrah to create a new work for the Curve. Akomfrah’s films are characterised by their investigations into subjects such as memory, identity, post-colonialism and often explore the experience of the African diaspora in Europe and the United States.
A founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective (1982), his first film Handsworth Songs (1986) focussed on the riots in Birmingham and London through a charged combination of archive footage, documentary photographs and newsreel. Akomfrah’s standout work at last year’s Venice 56th Biennale was his paen to the ocean, Vertigo Sea (2015).
A three-channel video installation comprising of thousands of hours of archival footage, spliced with new material and a hypnotic sound score, V ertigo Sea focused on a range of histories from whaling, deep sea excavation to migration. Born in 1957, Accra, Ghana, Akomfrah lives and works in London.

For information and images please visit:


Yto Barrada
The Curve, Barbican Centre
Wednesday 7 February May 2018 (exact closing date tbc)
Media view: Tuesday 6 February,
10am –1pm
Free Admission
Supported using funding from Arts Council England

For spring 2018, Barbican Art Gallery has invited artist Yto Barrada to create her first major London commission for the Curve. Working across photography, film, sculpture, textile, installation and publications, Barrada explores the subversive tactics and strategies of resistance developed to deal with everything from the mundanities of everyday life to shifts in power and migration, often focusing on her native Morocco. Barrada traces the hidden transcripts of objects and people in her work, guiding us through the overlapping realities and fictions of their narratives.

Previous works include A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project (1998-2004), which charts the harsh reality of life in and around the post-colonial city Tangier. This project addresses the complex history of the often-perilous migratory route crossing the Strait of Gibraltar – the narrow passage of water dividing Europe and Africa. Documenting the visual languages of the everyday to expose overarching structures of authority, Barrada’s projects interrogate ideas around colonialism, ethnography, archaeology, authenticity and myth-making. Hand-Me-Downs (2011) conveys the artist’s family history through a montage of strangers’ home movies from the 1960s. Barrada is attracted to the stories and performative tendencies of the bandit, the ‘faux’ guide, the magician, the underdog, the smuggler. More recent work has investigated the natural history and geology of North Africa, playfully charting the systems of classification as well as the fetishizing impulses in these fields. The fake fossil industry is the subject of the 2015 film Faux départ (False Start), which humorously follows the renegade practice of ‘preparators’ replacing the region’s export of dwindling archaeological finds with forged artefacts.

Unruly Objects (Suite for Thérèse Rivière) (2016) takes the forgotten figure of ethnologist Thérèse Rivière as its starting point; her collections of toys, audio recordings and drawings from Algeria’s colonial era provide fertile ground for Barrada’s own ‘recreation’ of her fieldwork. Barrada’s work responds to the potential for dissident forces in the world around her – whether at home, in the garden or on the street. The artist’s latest project The Sample Book (Vienna Secession, 2016) manifests her interest in Morocco’s textile industry and the traditional practice of natural dyeing. Echoing the process of textile production, Barrada views the many diverse threads of her practice as constantly interweaving.

Barrada is the founder of Cinémathèque de Tanger (2006-ongoing), a cultural centre that occupies a renovated 1930s cinema in Tangier, which aims to bring together the local community and make accessible the cinematic history of Morocco as well as international film. She was nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2016 and was named Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year in 2011. Yto Barrada (Moroccan; b. 1971, Paris) lives and works in New York and Tangier.

For information and images please visit:
Another Kind of Life
Photography on the Margins

Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre
Wednesday 28 February Sunday 27 May 2018,
Media view: Tuesday 27 February 2018, 10am –1pm
At a time when individual rights are being contested and those on the fringes of society feel ever more marginalised from mainstream political and social narratives, the exhibition Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins, celebrates and explores photography’s enduring relationship with individuals and communities who operate on the margins or openly flout social conventions through the work of photographers including Paz Errazuriz, Casa Susanna Collection, Mary Ellen Mark, and Pieter Hugo amongst others.
Driven by motivations both personal and political, many of the photographers in the exhibition sought to provide an authentic representation of disenfranchised communities, often conspiring with them to construct their own identity through the camera lens. Featuring a cast of transsexuals, cross-dressers, prostitutes, hustlers, bikers, junkies, eccentrics, circus performers, street urchins and tearaways, gang members, back-street peddlers and survivalists, the works in the exhibition present the outsider as an agent of change. The non-conventional subject is here a prism through which to view the world afresh.
Artists have historically been instrumental in presenting the image of the outsider for a wider public. Employing a diverse set of aesthetic strategies from portraiture to social documentary and vernacular to street photography, the artists in the exhibition approach their subject with a humanity and empathy that is both empowering and inclusive.
Reflecting a more diverse, more complex and more authentic view of the world, Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins touches on themes of gender and sexuality, drugs, youth culture and minorities of all kinds and includes bodies of work from Japan to the US, and from Chile to Nigeria. By recording and documenting those on the margins, the images in the exhibition bear witness to how social attitudes change across time and space, charting how visual representation has helped shape current discourse in relation to marginalised or alternative communities.

For information and images please visit:

Modern Couples
Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde

Wednesday 10 October 2018 Sunday 27 January 2019, Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre
Media view: Tuesday 9 October 2018,
10am –1pm

As the notion of a ‘ couple’ evolves with society ’ s changing approach to marriage, partnerships, family, parenthood and gender, Barbican Art Gallery presents Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde: the first interdisciplinary exhibition to explore the creative output resulting from the exclusive or polyamorous relationships between artist couples in the first half of the 20th Century.
Including the work of painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, designers, poets, writers, musicians, dancers and performers, Modern Couples questions the history of modern art as one largely defined by solitary genius. The exhibition also reveals how creative individuals came together to variously transgress the constraints of their time, reshaping art, redefining gender stereotypes and forging new ways of living. The intimate relationship in all its various forms – obsessional, conventional, mythic, fleeting, life-long – is ultimately revealed to be a playground for experimentation, creation, and subversion of the status quo.

Featuring around 40 principal artist couples, with exhibits drawn from public and private collections in Europe, North America and Russia, Modern Couples offers visitors a rich exploration of artworks, to be seen alongside correspondence and photographic documentation, revealing both the couples ’ intimate spheres and the changing behaviours and ideas of these modern age protagonists.The exhibition also highlights the work of legendary couples, such as Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso , Lee Miller and Man Ray , Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko , Lucia Moholy and László Moholy-Nagy , Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Jean Arp, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore , Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici, Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson , Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West , Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais ; alongside less well known partnerships such as those between Emilie Flöge and Gustav Klimt, Romaine Brooks and Natalie Clifford-Barney, Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt, and Mary Reynolds and Marcel Duchamp , amongst others.
The exhibition is a partnership collaboration with Centre Pompidou-Metz, who initiated the exhibition; and is curated by Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican; Emma Lavigne, Director Centre Pompidou-Metz; Cloé Pitiot , Design Curator, Pompidou Paris and Elia Biezunski, Associate Curator, Centre Pompidou-Metz .

For information and images please visit:


Notes to Editors
Press Information
For further information, im ages or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Ann Berni, Media Relations Manager +44 207 382 7169,
Lily Booth, Media Relations Officer +44 207 382 6162,
Bréifne Ó Conbhuí, Media Relations Assistant , +44 207 382 7254,
Jean Tang, Media Relations Assistant +44 207 382 6138, 

Public Information
Barbican Art Gallery, London, 0845 120 7550,

Opening Times

Barbican Centre

Mon–Sat: 9am–11pm
Sun: 11am-11pm
Bank Holidays: 12 noon–11pm

Art Gallery
Sat–Wed 10am–6pm
(The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945 opening hours are now extended until 9pm for Saturdays in June until 9pm)
Thu–Fri 10am–9pm
Bank Holiday Mondays 12pm–6pm
Bank Holiday Thursdays/Fridays 12pm–9pm

The Curve
Sat–Wed 11am–8pm
Thu–Fri 11am–9pm
Bank Holiday Mondays 12pm–8pm
Bank Holiday Thursdays/Fridays 12pm–9pm

Barbican Newsroom
All Barbican Centre press releases, news announcements and the Media Relations team’s contact details are listed on our website at

Barbican Art Gallery and The Curve

One of the leading art spaces in the UK, Barbican Art Gallery presents the best of international visual art with a dynamic mix of art, architecture, design, fashion and photography.

From acclaimed architects to Turner prize-winning artists, the Gallery exhibits innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries: key players who have shaped developments and stimulated change.

The Curve is dedicated to a vibrant programme of new commissions, created by leading international artists in direct response to this distinctive gallery space.

About the Barbican

A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory , conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia , Associate Producer Serious , and Artistic Partner Create . Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue Entertainment , Cheek by Jowl , Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company . International Associates are Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam , New York Philharmonic , Los Angeles Philharmonic , Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Jazz at Lincoln Center .

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