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Glam! The Performance of Style is the first exhibition to evaluate critically the glam era of the early 1970s, using glam as a prism through which to view the artistic developments of this period in Europe and North America. Bringing together over one hundred artworks, it re-defines art and performance in the 1970s, revealing the migration of fine art ideas to the front line of popular culture. Glam embraced high and low culture and played with identity and gender definitions. Its stylistic exaggeration, irony and androgyny remain influential today.

Glam! The Performance of Style traces the genealogy of glam to the spirit of creative freedom at work in the British art schools during the 1960s and the phenomenon of camp that emerged in the New York underground art scene during the same period. Presenting key works by British artists including Richard Hamilton and Gilbert & George, the exhibition explores the influence upon glam of British pop art and concurrent fine art ideas about the playing out of life and style as performance.

Tracing the evolution of camp and androgyny through the work of American artists such as Jack Smith and Peter Hujar, the exhibition also shows the centrality of Andy Warhol to glam. Cindy Sherman satirically explores idealised states of glamour, while shifting roles in relation to gender and identity are examined in works by Katharina Sieverding and Ulay. Works reflecting glam’s visual excess, its artifice and eroticism, are also presented.

Offering a new perspective on 1970s art, the exhibition reconsiders glam as one of the most exciting yet neglected phenomena of the post-war period and underlines its contemporary relevance.

Glam! The Performance of Style is curated by Darren Pih, Exhibitions & Displays Curator, with Eleanor Clayton, Assistant Curator. The exhibition will tour to the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (13 June – 22 September 2013) and Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz (11 October 2013 2 February 2014).