8 February – 12 May 2013
£8.00/£6.00 (Gift Aid with donation)
Irreverent and visually excessive, the Glam era is to be critically re-evaluated for the first time in an ambitious new exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Glam, an extravagant pop style which exploded across Britainduring the years 1971 – 5, embraced high and low culture whilst playing with identity and gender definitions. Moving beyond nostalgia, Glam! The Performance of Style will be the first ever exhibition to trace the avant-garde genealogy of Glam, examining its relationship to painting, sculpture, film, performance and installation art in Britain, across Europe and in North America.
Glam emerged in 1971 as the avant-garde pop product par excellence, with the work and ideas of major artists such as Richard Hamilton and Andy Warhol contributing to this. Drawing on avant-garde ideas, key Glam performers such as David Bowie and Roxy Music played with androgyny and conjured an ultra artificial aesthetic which synthesised past styles. This postmodernist style was presented through the optic of the near future with space-age connotations. In a period of enormous social and political unrest, Glam remained detached, seductive yet tantalisingly unattainable.
The exhibition will uncover a repressed aesthetic, revealing the hitherto under-acknowledged exchange between the radical art of the era and Glam expression. Emphasis will fall on performance, in particular ideas of dandyism, exaggerated identity and drag. Included will be works such as Gilbert & George’s iconic video Portrait of the Artists as Young Men 1972, which presents an ultra stylised pose of Gilbert & George as self-conscious decadents. Artists’ use of materials such as vinyl and glitter will be considered, mirroring or allegorising the conventions of Glam, as demonstrated by Marc-Camille Chaimowicz’s Glam-infused theatrical scatter environment Celebration? Realife 1972/2000. The exhibition will also explore how the era provided a backdrop for artists such as Margaret Harrison to assert their identity, often exaggerating and satirising cultural values of beauty and glamour.
Combining historical and thematic elements, Glam! The Performance of Style will bring together important artworks created in a range of media, alongside key documents and photographs, to emphasise the continuing influence of Glam on the contemporary imagination. It will address the under-acknowledged role of Glam in aesthetic and cultural discourse, offering a more comprehensive and nuanced representation of 1970s art.
Glam! The Performance of Style is curated by Darren Pih, Exhibitions and Displays Curator, Tate Liverpool and will tour to the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (June to September 2013) and Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz (October 2013 to January 2014).