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12 Mar 2008

Mission to interpret and understand contemporary art

Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art


6 Mar-18 May/08
Daily 11am-8pm, except Tue & Wed until 6pm
First Thusday of every month until 10pm
Admission £8/£6

0845 121 6828

Silk Street
United Kingdom (Earth)

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Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art presents contemporary art works under the fictional rubric of a museum collection conceived by and designed for extraterrestrials. This ambitious, playful and irreverent exhibition features over 100 artists and more than 175 works, primarily sculptures along with mixed media, video, photography and works on paper. Artists range from emerging to internationally recognised figures, including Joseph Beuys, Cai Guo-Qiang, Maurizio Cattelan, Jimmie Durham, Barbara Hepworth, Thomas Hirschhorn, Damien Hirst, Brian Jungen, Sherrie Levine, Goshka Macuga, Bruce Nauman, Mike Nelson, Cornelia Parker, Daniel Spoerri, Haim Steinbach, Francis Upritchard, Jeffrey Vallance, Andy Warhol and Rebecca Warren.

This exhibition is partly inspired by the first chapter of Thierry de Duve’s Kant after Duchamp, in which an imaginary anthropologist from outer space sets out to inventory ?all that is called art by humans’. Adopting a pseudo-anthropological approach, the Museum employs eccentric taxonomies and surprising juxtapositions. The fictitious Martian perspective opens up contemporary art to fresh interpretations and allows for its reassessment from an alien standpoint, thus mimicking the way that Western anthropologists historically interpreted non-Western cultures through foreign eyes. Looking at contemporary art as though from outer space offers the potential to make the familiar strange and to turn the dominant Euro-American art tradition into the ?Other’. It also raises pertinent questions about the use and value of contemporary art in human culture.

 First Thursdays
On the first Thursday of every month, Barbican Art Gallery is open until 10pm. Join us for late night openings with a difference. Enjoy a range of interplanetary talks, performances and discussions and make sure you visit the Martian bar for cosmic cocktails. Part of Time Out First Thursdays.

Films from Another Planet
To complement Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art landing in Barbican Gallery, we present a season of films from outer space to welcome our alien friends.

Close Encounters
oin a host of artists, speakers, commentators and curators for Close Encounter talks.

A free Audioguide is available to download from