Masculinities

Liberation through Photography

A black and white photograph, a person walking on a road with their hands in their pockets. Sunil Gupta's Christopher Street

Through the medium of film and photography, this major exhibition considers how masculinity has been coded, performed, and socially constructed from the 1960s to the present day.

Examining depictions of masculinity from behind the lens, the Barbican brings together the work of over 50 international artists, photographers and filmmakers including Laurie Anderson, Sunil Gupta, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Isaac Julien and Catherine Opie.

In the wake of #MeToo the image of masculinity has come into sharper focus, with ideas of toxic and fragile masculinity permeating today’s society. This exhibition charts the often complex and sometimes contradictory representations of masculinities, and how they have developed and evolved over time. Touching on themes including power, patriarchy, queer identity, female perceptions of men, hypermasculine stereotypes, tenderness and the family, the exhibition shows how central photography and film have been to the way masculinities are imagined and understood in contemporary culture.

This exhibition contains some works of an adult nature. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Lead sponsor

CALVIN KLEIN seeks to thrill and inspire their audience, while using provocative imagery and striking designs to ignite the senses. They are proud to support the Barbican’s Masculinities: Liberation through Photography exhibition.

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image of a naked black man holding his knees to his chest

Listen: Masculinities playlist

We take a look at how musicians have dealt with the subject of masculinity to celebrate our upcoming exhibition Masculinities: Liberation through Photography.

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