Galleries in the Groove: Three Visionary Dealers, 1960s–80s
21 December 2021 – 21 August 2022
Gallery 4, Free entry
Whitechapel Gallery presents Galleries in the Groove: Three Visionary Dealers, 1960s-80s, an archival exhibition exploring the revolutionary work of commercial galleries in three different cities. Featuring vintage posters, film and correspondence, the display celebrates the novel work of each organisation and the opportunities they provided for artists and musicians from John Lennon and Joseph Beuys, to Senga Nengudi, Bridget Riley and Christo.
The exhibition celebrates London’s Robert Fraser Gallery, Just Above Midtown (JAM) in New York and Antwerp’s Wide White Space, each of which revolutionised the promotion of contemporary art and took great risks in order to support the artists of their generation.
Just Above Midtown (JAM) (1974–86) represented African American artists, supporting Black arts within a predominantly white industry. Operated by Linda Goode Bryant, the gallery built a robust community of artists, notably including David Hammons and Senga Nengudi, by offering career support and introducing them to audiences in New York. On display are letters to Marvin Gaye, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin inviting them to participate in the programme Afro-American Popular Culture, alongside photographs from preview events, gatherings and workshops including David Hammons’ Greasy Bag & Barbecue Bones (1975). The exhibition also features rare audio interviews and documentation of Senga Nengudi’s 1981 performance in collaboration with Butch Morris.
The Robert Fraser Gallery (1962-69, 83-85) was as energetic as the Pop Art it promoted. It was here that Bridget Riley, and later Jean Michel Basquiat, were premiered in the UK. Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Andy Warhol and Ed Ruscha all held early exhibitions at the gallery, and this display presents selected photographs, posters and documentation between Fraser and a number of his collaborators – from Robert Rauschenberg to Paul and Linda McCartney – demonstrating the ease with which formal private views were transformed into social happenings. On display in this section is also an excerpt from Vanessa Engle’s 2004 BBC documentary, Art & the 60s: Groovy Galleries.
Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers and Christo were among the first artists commissioned by Wide White Space (1966–76) in the early stages of their careers. Run by historian Anny de Decker and artist Bernd Lohaus, this space became a hub for conceptual and site-specific work. Galleries in the Groove features photographs and correspondence from Daniel Buren, Richard Long, Walter de Maria and James Lee Byars among others, as well as a new interview between de Decker and the exhibition’s curators.
Notes to Editors
– Galleries in the Groove: Three Visionary Dealers, 1960s-80s runs from 21 December 2021 – 21 August 2022.
– The exhibition is curated by Dr Nayia Yiakoumaki, Curator: Archive Exhibitions and Head of Curatorial Studies and Archives, Whitechapel Gallery and Inês Costa, Assistant Curator, Whitechapel Gallery, with curatorial support by Asymmetry Curatorial Fellow Zoe Diao.
About Whitechapel Gallery
For over a century the Whitechapel Gallery has premiered world-class artists from modern masters such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Frida Kahlo and Hannah Höch to contemporaries such as Zarina Bhimji, Sophie Calle, William Kentridge, Eduardo Paolozzi and Michael Rakowitz. Its historic campus houses exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives, education resources, inspiring art courses, talks and film screenings, the Townsend dining room and the Koenig Bookshop. It is a touchstone for contemporary art internationally, plays a central role in London’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of the world’s most vibrant contemporary art quarter.
Gallery Admission: Free Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm
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