The Coolest Offerings from the Barbican this Month


The Barbican is known for offering an eclectic range of exhibitions and things to see and do, and August is no exception in that regard. One of the coolest exhibition spaces in the whole capital, the Barbican is a great place to soak up some culture, learn and, often, see something new.

So, with this in mind and the fact that you’re close by in your Montcalm Hotel Barbican, let’s take a look at what’s on.

Dorothea Lang/Vanessa Winship Exhibition

This double-bill exhibition puts on display work by two very well-regarded photographers, contrasting their styles and how the periods they worked in informed their respective styles.

Dorothea Lang – who passed away in 1965 – was a pioneer of the documentary photography school and some of her most famous work comes from her coverage of the great depression in the 1930’s. Lang didn’t just see her camera as a way to capture what was happening but saw it as a tool through which should could highlight social injustice. Many of her most famous shots will be on display at the exhibition and it’s your chance to see a master at work.

Vanessa Winship is a contemporary photographer, but her work focuses on many of the same themes as Lang, but with a modern eye. Her shots cover the modern, urban landscape and the people who inhabit them, turning candid shots into works of art. It’s a brilliant, beautiful exhibition and one not to be missed, and it’s only a stone’s throw from hotels near the Barbican London, so you don’t have far to go. 

The Music That Saved a Decade

The 1980s was an eclectic decade when it comes to music – some of it great, some of it not so great. The Music That Saved a Decade is cognizant of this fact and focuses in on the music movements that shaped the 80s – namely, punk. Hip hop and house music. Not far from Montcalm hotel Barbican, it’s an exhibition that pulls back the covers on a much-maligned decade.

Whilst it’s easy to find books about individual aspects of 80s music culture, this exhibition takes a broad overview of the decade and attempts to show what was really going on in the musical underground. With the 1980s often seen as a corporate, me-first decade, the exhibition does a good job of highlighting the hugely talented individuals and groups who were forging their own path. It’s an awesome insight into the past and utterly fascinating.  


Showing on the 14th of August, Vanessa is a Pulitzer-winning play from the pen of the legendary Samuel Barber.  And the production is close to hotels near the Barbican London, so you’ve only got a short journey back to your room.

Whilst it is a play, music also plays a large role in this piece, with dramatic strings and operatic flourishes always swirling around the action on stage. The play tells the story of Vanessa, a woman abandoned, who hides herself away from the world for twenty long years. When a young man arrives at the home she shares with her mother and niece, things take a dramatic turn. Without giving too much away, it’s an amazing play and very unique. With an Olivier Award-winning director and talented cast, you won’t want to miss it.