This exhibition at the Belevedere will lead you back in time when cabarets, cafés and clubs were the main hotspot for pioneering artists and intellectuals and cradles for new and modern ideas, new styles and a new taste in art.
The exhibition is an electrifying and funny journey around the many cabarets and clubs which sprang into existence between the 1880s and 1960s in different parts of the world. Besides the over 200 works displayed, such as paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, films and archival material, you can step into life-size recreations of those alluring places and become immersed in that dynamic and refreshing atmosphere by going to one of the live performances that the Barbican organises.
So don’t miss the opportunity to drop into the most iconic cafés and cabarets: the ones that shaped modern culture. Have a seat the Cabaret Voltaire, in Zurich, the birthplace of Dada and the reign of chaos, poetry and anarchy; or move to the hotbeds of Futurism in Rome, like Giacomo Balla’s Bal Tik Tak or pop into Fortunato Depero’s Cabaret del Diavolo, which reproduced the afterlife, placing heaven, purgatory and hell on three different floors. The exhibition also brings back to life the legendary Cave of the Golden Calf in London, which is thought to be one of the first gay bars and which became the symbol of decadence and hedonism. Crossing the Atlantic, you can also get a taste of the heady atmosphere in New York, witnessing the flourishing of the literary and jazz scene in Harlem clubs and listening to Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. Then, go South to enjoy the Cafè de Nadie in Mexico City, which was the gathering point for the artists belonging to the Estridentismo, a radical movement which contrasted the industrial metropolis with artworks, poetry and music; and, last but not least, this exhibition will lead you to Nigeria, to the Mbari Artists and Writer Club where art helped people to deal with post-colonialism.
So an immersive and whirling around the world journey awaits you, from cafés to clubs. Above all, this era of cabarets, clubs and cafés proves that the greatest ideas and progress always come from people getting together and collaborating.