Exhibition: City Poems & City Music: Adrian Henri & Friends

11 April – 16 June 2019, Gallery 2, Free Entry
Live Event: City Poems &City Music: Live, Part One
11 April 2019, Tickets from £20 / £15 Concessions

DJ sets and readings from music legends Jarvis Cocker and Thurston Moore kick off a season of art, poetry and music celebrating bestselling poet and pioneering performer, artist and musician Adrian Henri (1932 – 2000, UK).

Paintings, posters, ephemera and audio-visual material from Henri’s archives are presented in an exhibition focusing on his vital role in connecting 1960s countercultural art, poetry and music scenes and his approach to the urban environment. Drawing inspiration from Henri’s interdisciplinary spirit, three evenings of experimental performance by leading international poets, artists and musicians accompany the show.

Featuring live music from London-based black feminist punk-trio Big Joanie; readings by American poet CAConrad and British poet Sophie Robinson; and a presentation of Henri’s music and poems by Jarvis Cocker and Thurston Moore, City Poems & City Music Live: Part One offers reflections on urban experiences for a night of performance and collaboration. Musicians Ted Milton and Ian Svenonius, and poets Libby Houston and Anne Waldman will feature in two later live events, all specially curated for Whitechapel Gallery by arts publisher Eva Prinz, musician Thurston Moore and curator Catherine Marcangeli.

Adrian Henri came to prominence in 1967 as co-author of best-selling Penguin anthology The Mersey Sound, which established poetry as part of popular youth culture. His adopted city of Liverpool, a 1960s creative hub, informed his work and was a location for his pioneering ‘Happenings’.
Incorporating fragments of urban imagery and advertising slogans, Henri’s early Pop collages are on display in the City Poems & City Music exhibition alongside his drawings inspired by cities and handmade posters for ‘Happenings’.

A display of ephemera, posters and stage wear reveal Henri’s catalytic role as frontman of poetry-and-pop group The Liverpool Scene, a maverick roadshow offering an experimental mixture of poetry, satire and music. Their debut album was produced by John Peel and in 1969 they toured the UK with Led Zeppelin, performed at the Isle of Wight Festival on the same bill as Bob Dylan, and toured the USA.

City Poems & City takes its title from a 1975 Whitechapel Gallery exhibition which featured Henri and his peers. The exhibition is curated by art historian Catherine Marcangeli and accompanied by a new book published by Ecstatic Peace Library.

The City Poems & City Music Live events are:

Part One, Thursday 11 April, 7pm, £20 / £15 concessions
Featuring live music from London-based black feminist punk-trio Big Joanie; readings by American poet CAConrad and British poet Sophie Robinson; and a presentation of Adrian Henri’s music and poems by Jarvis Cocker and Thurston Moore. Join us for the first in a series of live events featuring poets and musicians inspired by urban environments.

Part Two, Thursday 2 May, 7pm, £20 / £15 concessions
Continuing the celebration of Adrian Henri are Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore; award-winning author Pete Brown; beat poet and botanist Libby Houston; ODES featuring musicians Ted Milton and Sam Britton; and ESCAPE_ISM, a –Found-Sound-Dream-Drama’ starring Ian Svenonius with Alexandra Cabral.

Part Three, Thursday 23 May, 7pm, £20 / £15 concessions
For the finale of the City Poems & City Music Live season, internationally acclaimed poet Anne Waldman will bring her Fast Speaking Music record label to Whitechapel Gallery including co-founder Ambrose Bye and saxophonist Devin Waldman. They are joined by The Thurston Moore Ensemble.


Notes to Editors

• City Poems & City Music: Adrian Henri & Friends is curated by art historian Catherine Marcangeli, with Cameron Foote, Assistant Curator, Whitechapel Gallery
• City Poems &City Music: Live is curated by musician Thurston Moore, arts editor Eva Prinz and Catherine Marcangeli, with Jane Scarth, Curator: Public Programmes, Whitechapel Gallery.
• For tickets visit www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/
• Supported by Paul McCartney

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 and Frida Kahlo to contemporaries such as Sophie Calle, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George and Mark Wallinger. With beautiful galleries, exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives, education resources, inspiring art courses, dining room and bookshop, the Gallery is open all year round, so there is always something free to see. 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.

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