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Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s @ The Barbican

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
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This is going to be one of the big Barbican exhibitions of 2011 – one of those that engages of many levels and that fills not just the gallery space but also fills some of the performance spaces. 'Cause this exhibition is about a movement and a moment in time that was the moment not just of visual artists, but also of a musician and a choreographer. The artist's name is Gordon Matta-Clark, the performance artist and musician is Laurie Anderson and the choreographer is Trisha Brown. Obviously there were more folks involved in the scene than these three, but these are the three that the exhibition is shining the most light on.

People as art?
People as art?

To break down the movement is impossible to do in a few paragraphs, but what these artists were all interested in was the intersection of their own disciplines and how they could work together, and in multimedia, to reflect their specific environment and how that influenced their practices and their bodies. If that sounds a bit 'arty' then have a look at some of the images on the Barbican website and you'll see that the photography, drawing and mixed media work especially is far from inaccessible to the art appreciator who's not necessarily had time to read up on this era and movement.

The Barbican is the perfect venue for this sort of exhibition because there's plenty of scope for dance performances to take place in the galleries – which they are, one an hour, starting at 11:30 am each day – and to show films from the era in the cinema and music throughout the building.
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Why? For something a bit different
When: Time: Open daily 11am-8pm (except Wed until 6pm) Thu until 10pm
Where: Barbican Centre, Silk St, City of London, EC2Y 8DS, nearest station Barbican
Cost: £8 online £10 at the door
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