We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

Manhattan Swing

RA Lates

● Fully booked

Saturday 22 October 2016
7 — 11.45pm

Part of our

Abstract Expressionism

events programme
Go to exhibition page

Experience Saturday night in ‘40s and ‘50s Manhattan with beatniks, artists and bohemians.

Early bird tickets are now sold out. General tickets are still available.

Think abstract artists and beatniks in downtown Manhattan, Peggy Guggenheim and her new gallery Art of this Century, cocktail parties on the Upper East Side, Pollock’s drip paintings, jazz, beat poetry, dancing the jitterbug and sipping Martinis at the Savoy as we celebrate the era when New York overtook Paris as the capital of the art world.

For one night only the RA’s Burlington House will be transformed into the Manhattan experienced by the Abstract Expressionist artists with a unique lineup of performers, installations, musicians, film screenings and more.

Programme highlights include:

Kansas Smitty’s take over the Grand Café
This popular jazz café in Broadway Market takes residency for one night at the RA’s Grand Café, with a stellar line up of musicians, jazz bands and a DJ playing until late. Enjoy mint julep cocktails and dance to free jazz like it’s 1945.
8.30pm – 11.45pm

Splatter painting at Pollock’s Hamptons studio
Jackson Pollock created his famous drip paintings after moving to The Springs, near East Hampton, in the mid-1940s. Here you’ll be able to step inside Pollock’s studio and get messy to create a communal mass-scale drip-painting.
8pm – 10.30pm

Peggy Guggenheim’s cocktail party
Join the infamous art collector bohemian as she hosts a cocktail party at her Manhattan townhouse, where you can chatter with the art-world elite of the 1940s. Peggy Guggenheim resided in New York between 1941 and 1947 where she ‘discovered’ and promoted Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and others, playing a crucial role in the success of the Abstract Expressionist artists.

A cultural phenomenon in her own right and self-proclaimed ‘liberated woman long before there was a name for it’, we invite you to join ‘Peggy’ and her cocktail party guests at this immersive experience, produced by produced by Wilson & Hart.
7pm – 10.30pm

Collage workshop with Art Macabre
Taking inspiration from Lee Krasner and women artists of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Art Macabre host this drop-in collage making workshop that uses the techniques of Helen Frankenthaler, Elaine de Koooning, Lee Krasner and more. Step inside their colourful studio and create a unique work of art.
7pm – 10.30pm

The Cedar Tavern
Situated on West 8th Street, the Cedar Tavern became the hotspot for New York artists to socialise, dance and drink in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Regulars included Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan. It had minimal decoration; the walls were described as ‘interrogation green’ and its clock ran backwards, but heady with a sense of creative energy and rebellion. Join the revelry for one night as we reimagine the legendary Cedar Tavern with a programme of poetry, performances and talks:
Open 7pm – 11.45pm

Jitterbug dancing
Join a troupe of dancers from Swingland as they take you through jitterbug dance steps.

Beat poetry
Poets Erin Bolens and Gabriel Akamo will perform beat-generation poems, alongside their own new works created in response to Abstract Expressionist paintings.

Talks and discussions
Listen to talks and take part in lively discussions with our line-up of academics and historians, including Falli Palaiologou, UCL, on the urban geographies of Greenwich Village and Daniel Matlin on Jazz and Race in 1950s Manhattan.

Dress code
1940s beatniks, hipsters or Upper East Side collectors. Head to our Pinterest board for inspiration.

Makeovers and dressing-up activities
You’ll also be able to transform into an Abstract Expressionist work of art with our face painter and make-up artist, or join our drop-in craft activities to create a beatnik headscarf to complete your look.

Food and drink
Street food provided by Annie Mae’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese, plus cocktail bars open until late.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Saturday 22 October 2016

7 — 11.45pm

Main Galleries, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts

£28 early bird offer (Sold out), £35 general tickets now available for sale. Includes exclusive after-hours entry to 'Abstract Expressionism', a welcome cocktail and entry to all Lates experiences.