City Poems & City Music

Adrian Henri & Friends

  • AH with light show background

    Adrian Henri, Poster for a poetry and music performance, 1968, 70 × 60 cm. Courtesy Estate of Adrian Henri

Past Exhibition

This exhibition was on 11 April – 9 June 2019

City Poems & City Music

11 April – 9 June 2019

Torn posters, sack-cloth and graffiti cover screens in a dark basement, while the taped sound of sirens and street traffic noises blast an assembled Liverpool crowd. City event took place in 1962 and was the first ‘Happening’ staged by artist and poet Adrian Henri (1932–2000).

Inspired by Henri’s interdisciplinary spirit, a season of art, poetry and music reflecting on the experience of the city comes to Whitechapel Gallery this spring. Musician Thurston Moore and arts editor Eva Prinz curate three evenings of experimental performance from today’s leading poets and musicians. The season is titled ‘City Poems and City Music’, after an exhibition that took place at the Gallery in 1975, featuring Henri and his peers.

Alongside will be a display of related material from Henri’s archive as well as recordings of the 1960s pop poetry band The Liverpool Scene (1967–70), which he fronted. The exhibition is curated by art historian Catherine Marcangeli and reveals Henri’s continual interest in the patterns, sounds and occasional violence of urban experience. Moore will be in residence during the exhibition, remixing audio recordings from the archive.


Supported by: Paul McCartney

Related events

Adrian Henri, The Entry of Christ into Liverpool in 1964

Curator’s Tour: City Poems & City Music

Fri 24 May, 6.30pm

An extended tour of this extraordinary collection of material from Adrian Henri‘s archive by its curator, Catherine Marcangeli. The show looks at the rise of The Liverpool Scene and beat poets in the U.K. in the 1960s and 70s.

Portrait of Thurston Moore

City Poems & City Music Live: Part three

Thu 23 May, 7pm
£20/£15 concs

The third and final in our season of experimental performance inspired by artist and poet Adrian Henri, featuring Thurston Moore and his band, alongside Fast Speaking Music (Anne Waldman, Ambrose Bye and Devin Waldman) and poetry readings.