Socialist Worker

Modern Couples’ relationships influence artistic work

by Maggie Falshaw
Issue No. 2626

Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst

Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst

Over 80 artists’ work from the early 20th century are collected here. They were each in relationships with at least one other featured artist.

The artists in each relationship share a room in the gallery where their work is displayed.

Alongside this is information about their individual artistic development and the way the relationship influenced their craft.

Accomplished pianist and composer Alma Mahler Werfel was urged by Gustav Mahler to give up her work as he felt that a marriage between two composers would be “ridiculous”.

Although she complied initially this led to the end of their relationship.

As well as different art forms, the exhibition covers work by people in different forms of relationships—involving gay, straight and transgender people.

It also includes relationships involving more than two people.

Vanessa Bell’s relationships with Roger Fry and Duncan Grant is an example.

Collaborative work between all three is included in the exhibition.

Some of the relationships were fleeting, many were painful.

Frida Kahlo’s The Wounded Deer is seen as referring to an unsuccessful operation and also to her relationship with Diego Rivera.

The exhibition brings together some fascinating work alongside information about the artists who created it, their lives and influences.

Modern Couples at The Barbican Art Gallery, London, EC2Y 8DS. £16

For tickets and more information, go to

Windrush Stories

The British Library has launched a new website collecting essays, histories and works of fiction about migration to Britain from the Caribbean.

The story is now familiar for many people. In June 1948 the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks, Essex carrying hundreds of people from the Caribbean.

But that event was one part of a process. The selection of articles that Windrush Stories brings together, points to a longer and more complicated ongoing relationship between Britain and the Caribbean.

Bass culture Expo 70/50

Bass Culture 70/50 brings together work from cultural icons such as Benjamin Zephaniah, Steel Pulse, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Don Letts to explore the legacy of the Windrush Generation on British culture.

It is set to showcase unseen artwork, specially commissioned film, “industry speakers”, British reggae label pop-ups, live performances, and over 70 hours of individual testimonies.

25 October to 22 November at University of Westminster

For more information and free tickets, go to

Can Marketing save lives?

A new exhibition examines the power of marketing in public health.

It uses over 100 posters, television commercials and physical objects to revisit historic events in public health such as the formation of the NHS.

It splits the past 100 years into five eras.

23 October to 26 May at Museum of Brands, London W11 1QT

For tickets from £9 go to

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