The museum workout


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Monica Bill Barnes & Company has reimagined the museum tour, creating a physical way for audiences to relate to the finest art in the world. Participants join the company in the early morning, before public hours, following Monica Bill Barnes and her long-time dancing partner Anna Bass as they travel through the museum, performing choreographed exercises in the galleries. Barnes invited artist and author Maira Kalman to collaborate with the company to create a new way to spend time in museums. Kalman curates the artwork visited on the tour. Creative Producing Director Robbie Saenz de Viteri mixes her recorded voice with a soundtrack ranging from Disco to Motown. The Museum Workout disrupts the normally contained museum environment, invigorating participants by creating a physical relationship to the art of the ages.

Photography by Mallory Lynn

Photography by Mallory Lynn

The Museum Workout was originally created for The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and ran for over 80 performances in 2017. Since then it has toured to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Early versions of the project were developed at Princeton University's Art Museum and NYU's Villa Pietra in Florence, Italy.

The Museum Workout is made possible with support from Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation, public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and Jody and John Arnhold.