Exhibition Review – Duchamp at the Barbican

The exhibition “The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns” at the Barbican is well worth a visit!


The Bride and the Bachelors was the first exhibition I have seen at the Barbican. The distinct make up of the exhibition space seems to be a rather difficult layout to curate exhibitions in (unfortunately I have not comparison yet). However, I felt that the show which provided a refreshing outlook onto the master of the art historical canon, was integrated quite well in, and even supported by, the dimmed atmosphere of the eighties architecture. Through combining the Duchampian paintings, readymades and objects with the works of Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Jones new life is breathed into artworks with have been chewed over many times before. The whole exhibition is filled with a soundtrack consisting of compositions by Duchamp and Cage. As I was walking through the rooms, I found the eerie voices and melodies strangely relaxing, and at the same time invigorating to my perception of the works on display. Several benches throughout the exhibition invite you to sit down and just listen.

Starting out with Duchamp’s famous Nude descending a Staircase, no.2 (1912) the exhibition tour leads past an impressive reproduction of The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) and paintings and stage requisites designed by Jones, who had been inspired by The Large Glass, for a dance performance by Cunningham. On the second level there are smaller works on display. Again artworks by Rauschenberg and Jones are juxtaposed with Duchamp’s readymades and small objects to reflect on mutual influences and similarities. The rooms are arranged thematically according to themes such as ‘Between Art and Life,’ ‘Chance’ and ‘Presence and Absence.’


The exhibition is still running until the 9th of June 2013 and also includes dance performances of Cunningham’s piece, dates for which can be found on the website.

Did you have a chance to see this exhibition yet ?


One thought on “Exhibition Review – Duchamp at the Barbican”

  1. I’ve been planning to go to this exhibition, I keep seeing posters advertising for it around London. Thanks for the review, it sounds like it’s well worth a visit!

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