A new Grace Jones exhibition is coming to the UK

The show will depart from the iconic singer's career to focus on Black image-making, gender binarism and performance art instead.

by Rolien Zonneveld
01 July 2020, 11:21am

Grace Jones by Jean-Paul Goude

No one will disagree when we say that Grace Jones's legacy -- both musical and visual --has shaped the landscape of contemporary pop culture like very few have managed to. Whether it is for her fearless experimentation, provocative lyrics, sonic innovation, incredible performances (who can forget Grace hula-hooping at Lovebox, sipping a glass of wine and performing Slave to the Rhythm at 68 years old?), Grace Jones is a queen, icon and living legend -- no question about it.

That’s why we’re so excited to see a new exhibition, celebrating the superstar's life and work, coming to the UK. Titled Grace Before Jones: Camera, Disco, Studio, the show departs from her music, acting career and collaborations with artists, designers, photographers and musicians, to focus instead on Black image-making and gender binarism, as well as both stage performance and the performance of life. Observing that there is no 'one' Graces Jones, the show unfurls the many Graces Joneses she inhibits: from disco queen to dub cyborg; Jamaican to French; runway model to nightclub performer; feminine to masculine.

Presenting works from artists like Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Azzedine Alaia, Grace Before Jones paints a multifaceted portrait of the iconic singer. Travelling through time, it aims to give both a historical background and contemporary perspective to Grace Jones’ image-making, while expanding on stage design, music and fashion. It’s a multidisciplinary dream that we can't wait to see.

Grace Before Jones: Camera, Disco, Studio is slated to run from September 26, 2020 to January 3, 2021 at Nottingham Contemporary. Its website notes that the dates of the exhibition may be subject to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Grace Jones
Jean-Paul Gode
Nottingham contemporary