23 April 2018

Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant Garde at The Barbican

Ok, I saw an exhibition with Avant Garde in the title and was immediately intrigued. Seriously though, I liked the idea of a discussion around modern couples and intimacy. Coming to the Barbican later this year (October), Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant Garde is the first major exhibition to showcase creatives in exclusive and polyamorous relationships. These early 20th century change makers paved the way in living life on their own terms, creating new kinds of art in the process. Some of them were in same sex or unconventional relationships, challenging gender stereotypes at a time when homosexuality was illegal or frowned upon by society.

Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning with his sculpture Capricorn
More well-known couples featured include Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller and Man Ray, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West and Emilie Floge and Gustav Klimt. Lesser known but no less status quo challenging couples include Romaine Brooks and Natalie Clifford-Barney and throuple George Platt Lynes, Monroe Wheeler and Glenway Wescott.

Conversation Piece by Paul Cadmus (featuring Platt Lynes, Wheeler and Wescott)
The exhibition (featuring artwork, correspondence and photographs) questions modern art which is usually defined by solitary work, and explores intimate relationships in all their forms - conventional, obsessional, life-long, fleeting which are revealed to be a container for exploration, creativity, subversion of the status quo.

A Rodchenko and V Stepanova 
I personally am looking forward to revisiting the Barbican again and being inspired by this thought-provoking and unique exhibition which charts how the concept of a couple has evolved, along with society's approach to marriage, family and gender.

Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant Garde opens at The Barbican on October 10th 2018 until January 27th 2019. Tickets are £16, click here for more information and to book.

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