Bank holiday Friday 12–9pm
Bank holiday Monday 12–6pm
Closed 24, 25 and 26 December
A rich exploration of intimate relationships in all their various forms, from obsessional and fleeting to life-long – revealing a playground for experimentation and creativity.
What do we mean by a ‘couple’ today? With society’s changing approach to marriage, partnerships, family, parenthood and gender, this major exhibition is the first to showcase creative individuals who came together in intimate relationships to work across photography, sculpture, architecture, poetry, music and dance. In so doing, they forged new kinds of art and ways of living, while challenging gender stereotypes.
Featuring around 40 principal couples; among them legendary figures such as Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky; Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko; Virginia Woolf and VitaSackville-West; Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais; Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici; Lee Miller and Man Ray; Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson; Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso; as well as lesser known couples such as Emilie Flöge and Gustav Klimt; Romaine Brooks and Natalie Clifford-Barney, Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt, and Mary Reynolds and Marcel Duchamp.
Hear from the artists and designers, curators and collaborators behind our dynamic programme of exhibitions, installations and commissions, spanning the worlds of art, design, architecture, photography, fashion and more.
Silk Street, London
Nearby public transport
We are within walking distance from a number of London Underground stations, the closest being Barbican, St Paul’s and Moorgate. The nearest train stations are Liverpool Street and Farringdon. Bus Route 153 runs directly past the Barbican along Chiswell Street
Car and bicycle parking
We have free bicycle spaces and paid car parking spaces available
We’ve plenty of places for you to relax and replenish, from coffee and cake to wood-fired pizzas and full pre-theatre menus
Foyer bars and cafe
Beech Street Cafe & Bar
Doors normally in open position during exhibition hours. Ticket desk 98cm with a drop section of 76cm. Step-free access on each floor of the Art Gallery.
The Art Gallery has two levels, linked by a flight of 24 stairs with an intermediate landing. A passengeroperated lift (76 x 110cm) connects the two floors. If you need assistance, staff will be happy to help.
Assistance dogs are welcome. If you prefer, you may leave your dog with a member of the gallery staff during your visit.
Large-print exhibition information
To request a large print copy, please call the Art Gallery on 020 7382 2382 before your visit.
For more access information, please visit our Accessibility section.
Enhanced security measures are currently in place at the Barbican.
As part of these measures only one reasonably-sized bag (no larger than 32cm L x 18cm W x 22cm H) per person may be taken inside our venues and all bags may be searched by a member of our team.
Bags are not permitted in the Art Gallery for the duration of the current exhibition.
We ask that, where possible, visitors avoid bringing large bags to the Centre. If you do need to check bags into our free cloakrooms, we suggest arriving early. All bags deposited will be subject to search and random bag searches are also in operation.
Please also remember that belongings should not be left unattended at any time.
Thank you for your understanding – we look forward to welcoming you to the Barbican.
Keep in touch to hear about our upcoming exhibitions, events and news