Janet Wells’ teases us back into the Arts, Gallery and Museum scene

Easing out of Lockdown:

There were exhibitions that I’d planned to see in the Spring; then we had Lockdown:   However, I have now found that with the gradual opening some were only sleeping;  many may still be in place and with a bit of  planning  you may get to see something for real after all.

We are aware though, that it will be a different experience: Remember the time when we could wander in on a whim and spend hours wandering? Now it is essential to book ahead and there may be a limited viewing time.  From our position as a resident in the Barbican, we have plenty of galleries within moderate walking distance – or if you are now ready for it – a short bus or cab ride away.  Of course, I have to point out that the situation may have changed yet again by the time this magazine pops through your letter box!

The Hayward Gallery on the South Bank has unwrapped their exhibition “Among the Trees” You are invited ‘to enter a forest of art through sculptures and installations, drawing, paintings and photographs’.  Pre booking is essential as tickets are not available on the door.  To get a good taste of what is on offer, there is a virtual tour on their website.  Among the Trees will be open until 31st October; Opening times: Wed – Sat 11.00 – 7.00; Sun 10.00- 6.00pm (closed Monday and Tuesday).

Tate Modern has extended its Andy Warhol exhibition until the 15th November and again, it is essential that you book in advance.

The Museum of London is open again and so is the Guildhall Art Gallery

The British Museum plans to re- open on the 27th August

Barbican Art Gallery

Michael Clark 7th October – 3rd January.

“I have to leave somewhere to become what I need to be” Michael Clark 2018

Michael Clark – who has been marked as “British dance’s true iconoclast” was brought up on a farm in Scotland and began Scottish dance classes as the age of 4.  In an interview, he says  “From the start, dancing was always an escape from normality for me and I took it even though, at the very start, I found it very boring …….I saw it as a way for getting to the City, even as a child that is where I wanted to be”.   Talent spotted, he gained a place at the Royal Ballet School in Richmond but although he say’s he thrived on the discipline, he claims that he didn’t fit in; “Culturally, I  felt very different – and not because I was Scottish”:  “There was other stuff much more exciting to me – punk and post punk”.   Instead of moving over into the Royal Ballet Company he joined Ballet Rambert – which offered more experimental ways of working.  At the age of 21 he had his own company.

Michael Clark in Because We Must, 1987, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. © Richard Haughton

As this marks the 15th year of the Michael Clark Company’s ongoing collaboration with the Barbican as Artistic Associate:  This Autumn, the Barbican Art Gallery stages the first ever major exhibition of seminal dancer and choreographer.   This is an unprecedented presentation of Clark’s work that establishes his radical presence and contemporary influences as in ballet and punk.

Michael Clark in a publicity photograph for Mmm…, 1992. © Hugo Glendinning

Looking back to his meteoric rise as a young choreographer in the 1980’s the exhibition presents a comprehensive vision of Clark’s career to date and explores his unique multi- disciplinary approach that incorporates a wide range of subcultural influences. Film photography and material from Clark’s practice are presented together with his legendary collaborations across visual arts, music, fashion and film.  New commissions include Charles Atlas revisiting the acclaimed ‘Hail the New Puritan’ (1886) which featured Leigh Bowery and the Fall, along with work by Sarah Lucas, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cerith Wyn Evans, Peter Doig, Silke Otto-Knapp, Duncan Campbell and others.

Barbican Arts Centre

The Curve:   A Countervailing Theory

It appears that this site – specific installation was almost ready to open when we went into Lockdown: It opened on the 11th August and will run until the 24th January.

Nigerian Artist, Toyin Ojih Odutala had been commissioned by the Barbican Art Gallery to produce a piece of work for the 90mtr long gallery.  The epic cycle of new work explores an imagined ancient myth conceived by the artist.  Accompanying this is an immersive soundscape by the conceptual sound artist Peter Adjaye – which is designed to fill the space in response to Ojih Odutola’s work.

What Her Daughter Sees, (2018) © Toyin Ojih Odutola

Toyin Ojih Odutala was born in 1985 in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and currently lives and works in New York.


The Curve is free

Michael Clark:  Standard (Mon – Fri) £15.00; Standard (Sat and Sun) £17.00; Young Barbican £5.00; Membership Free

Both must be booked in advance.