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The Bride and the Bachelors - Barbican Centre

Exhibition preview

EXAMINING one of the most important chapters in the history of contemporary art, The Bride and the Bachelors is the first exhibition to explore Marcel Duchamp’s impact on four great modern artists – composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham and visual artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.

The exhibition, which runs at the Barbican Centre Art Gallery from February 14 to June 9, 2013, is at the heart of the venue’s upcoming cross-arts season, Dancing around Duchamp.

Encountering Duchamp and his work in the early stages of their careers, each of the younger artists embraced key elements of his ideas and practice, resulting in a seismic shift in the direction of art in the 1950s and ‘60s. Characterised by the integration of art and life, the work of Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns heralded the advent of Pop Art.

The Bride and the Bachelors features around 90 works, some by Rauschenberg and Johns are being shown in the UK for the first time. The selection reflects the artists’ multiple levels of engagement across the disciplines of art, dance, and music.

Leading contemporary artist Philippe Parreno has devised a dynamic experiential staging of the exhibition inspired by the choreography of Cunningham and music of Cage, featuring two Yamaha Disklavier pianos playing live Cage scores, while the ‘ghost’ of the dancers can be heard pounding the floor. The soundscape is also punctuated by Parreno’s own interpre tation of Cage’s famous 4’ 33”.

Live dance events are performed on Thursday evenings and weekends throughout the duration of the exhibition by students and graduates from London Contemporary Dance School and dancers from Richard Alston Dance Company.

Special ticketed dance events taking place in the gallery setting include Cunningham’s RainForest presented by Rambert Dance Company and Richard Alston Dance Company performing mixed pieces of his repertoire. Both are followed by a Q&A with Mark Baldwin and Richard Alston respectively.

The exhibition has been developed with the full co-operation of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, John Cage Trust, Merce Cunningham Trust and Association Marcel Duchamp.

Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS