Art Deco doings in a neo-Gothic gem: Judith Schrut reviews Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain at Two Temple Place.
Have an hour or so to spare and an interest in jazz, or just want to expand your London cultural horizons? If so, you’re sure to enjoy this bitesize exhibition and season of events, Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain. It’s on for a limited time in London’s extraordinary 19th century neo-Gothic gem known as Two Temple Place.
The exhibition celebrates 100 years since the Jazz Sound, in the form of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, first reached these shores from its African American roots and entered the consciousness of the British public.
According to curator Catherine Tackley, the impact of jazz’s arrival here was huge, provoking reactions ranging from devotion to hate, from outright racism to a profound influence on British art, design, dance, fashion, music and society. The show’s paintings, prints, cartoons, instruments, ceramics and clothing illustrate the sounds and colours of this entirely new kind of music and its effects.
The season also offers loads of events, workshops, talks and live music. Highlights include free Wednesday Lates jazz concerts (fortnightly from 7 February), a Hanky Panky Cocktail Class (14 February), banjo-making, jazz puppet and dance workshops for kids (9, 12 & 15 February), and an extravagant Roaring 20s &100 years of Jazz After-show Party at the Troxy, London’s most famous art deco venue (27 April).
Jazz fan or not, you’ll also have the unique chance to visit historic Two Temple Place, open to the public for only a few months each year, with its fantastic carved staircases, pillars, friezes and stained glass windows featuring famous fictional characters like Robin Hood, Rip Van Winkle and Hester Prynne.
Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain runs from 27 January to 22 April 2018 at Two Temple Place, WC2R 3BD. Entry is free; talks, workshops and other events range from free to £15. Find out more at twotempleplace.org.