V&A Dundee to reopen in May with celebration of nightclubs

Dundee’s V&A museum has revealed plans to reopen in May – with a celebration of nightclubbing.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:59 pm

Celebrated clubs nights, DJs and venues all over the world will be recalled and relived in Night Fever, an “immersive sensory experience” due to run at the waterfront attraction until January 2022.

The show, the biggest ever international exhibition devoted to nightlife and clubs, will bring together the architecture, art, fashion, graphics, lighting, performance and sound of nightclubs.

Archive films, photography posters, flyers and clothing linked to different generations of clubbers will be on display at V&A Dundee, the only UK venue to secure the show, which runs until January.

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Awarded national status by the Scottish Government last week, is the first major museum to announce a reopening date under the new route map out of coronavirus restrictions.

It is expected to have extra resonance when it opens as all of Scotland’s nightclubs will have been closed for more than a year.

Night Fever was originally created by the Vitra Design Museum in Germany and the Adam Brussels Design Museum, and will be revamped to feature new sections devoted to the changing face of Scotland’s clubbing scene and its DIY ethos and culture.

It is expected to be brought up to date with an exploration of how DJs have streamed events into the living rooms of locked-down clubbers over the last year.

The exhibition will explore how Scotland’s DJs, clubs and promoters drew their influences from Chicago, Detroit and Europe rather than London.

Charting the evolution of clubbing from the 1960s to the present day, it is billed as a celebration of “critical cultural spaces at a very important moment, a year on from the first lockdown.”

The show, due to open on 1 May, will feature legendary venues like The Electric Circus, Paradise Garage and Studio 54 in New York, Space Electronic in Florence, Berghain in Berlin, B018 in Beirut and The Mothership in Detroit, Kinky Gerlinky and Ministry of Sound in London, and Manchester’s Haçienda.

Scottish venues celebrated include the Sub Club in Glasgow, Fat Sam’s in Dundee, the Citrus Club in Edinburgh, Ballys in Arbroath and the Ice Factory in Perth.

The Sub Club in Glasgow is set to feature in the forthcoming exhibition. Picture: V&A Dundee/PA Wire

Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the V&A opened in September 2018 and had attracted a million visitors by last February – weeks before it was closed due to the pandemic. It reopened between August and December before new restrictions were introduced.

Night Fever will take over the major exhibition space at V&A Dundee, which played host to a celebration of trailblazing British fashion designer Mary Quant last year.

V&A Dundee director Leonie Bell said: “Design is fundamental to our lives, it’s a form of creativity that everyone engages with every day.

“We’re committed to championing and exploring the many ways that design helps us and brings joy. Night Fever is a perfect exhibition to reopen with.

Space Electronic, in Florence, in 1971.Picture: V&A Dundee/PA Wire

“Nightclubs and dancehalls are precious cultural spaces that often play a pivotal role in our lives. Night Fever explores the history of nightclub design, looking at how this has changed, from Italy in the 1960s right through to everyone’s living rooms today with online streaming of club nights.

“We can’t wait to welcome our visitors back to enjoy the new exhibition, or simply to appreciate the calm sanctuary of Kengo Kuma’s architecture.”

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Joy Yates

The legendary Studio 54 in New York in 1979. Picture V&A Dundee/PA Wire

Editorial Director

V&A Dundee has attracted more than a million visitors since it opened to the public in September 2018. Picture: Frame Focus Capture Photography