Tag Archives: Art Gallery

Greetings Pop-pickers!

Ooh would you look at that, it’s 2010! Leaving aside all the concerns of getting older which results in the years skipping by like Martine McCutcheon on her way to discuss yoghurt with a grateful nation, I thought I’d ease gently into the new year with a simple list of museum exhibitions I’m looking forward to this year.

There are a number of things you should be aware of:

  • These are in no particular order except that in which they occurred to me
  • You may notice a South East bias. That’s because I live in Kent and have to rely on public transport. There are fantastic exhibitions going on all over the country (and the surrounding ones) but it’s not a list of exhibitions I’m slightly miffed I probably won’t get to.
  • If you want deep and well-informed reasons why these are on my list and others aren’t – you’ll be disappointed. Most of them just made me think “That looks like it’ll be good”
  • Turner Contemporary at Margate is opening next year, not this or it would have been on the list for sure.

So here’s my list. Let it inspire you to make your own and get out to museum or 6 this year!

1.Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian renaissance drawings at the British Museum. (April to July)

I admire the ability to draw and love the simplicity of drawings and sketches.  This is the sort of exhibition that the BM does really well and that, combined with the chance to see work by Raphael, Jacopo (whose paintings I saw recently and loved), Mantegna and Titian means this should be a gem of an exhibition.

2. The “new” Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

The backlash has begun in the letters section of the Museums Journal but I want to see for myself what’s been achieved here. The work done has been bold and looks stunning in photos but will the building outshine the displays? I hope not. The Ashmolean is one of those museums I’ve always wanted to like more than I did so let’s hope we get on better this time!

3. Stanley Spencer at No1 Smithery, the Historic Dockyard Chatham (July to December)

A little nepotistic I know since I work here but I’m not curating this exhibition and it looks like being a doozy! No1 Smithery is a brand new space and this exhibition of Stanley Spencer’s shipyard paintings from World War Two is the first time all the paintings will have been exhibited together since the 40s and will be the last time for a while as two are off to Glasgow afterwards. It’s being curated by artist Stephen Turner http://www.seafort.org/ and frankly, I’m just excited by the prospect of something this good in Medway.

(Note: Earlier I said they were off to Australia. I was getting confused and have corrected myself. Apologies.)

4. The Modern London galleries at the Museum of London (TBC Spring)

I have a big girly crush on Museum of London that dates from my youth and the photos coming out make the new displays look really exciting and fresh. I can’t wait to see the finished project even if I wish they’d stick that damn Lord Mayor’s carriage in a shed somewhere and use the space for something better. I may be in a minority there. Plus- I loved this photo project to publicise the redisplays http://bit.ly/4mN3eN

5. Tunbridge Wells Rocks  at Tunbridge Wells Museum  (February to April)

This is a mixture of art and social history. High Rocks just outside Tunbridge Wells is a strange outcrop of Sandstone which has served as home to an Iron Age community, the backdrop to TV shows (Blakes 7 or Dr Who, I forget which) as well as the courtship of many a Tunbridge Wells teenager, although it’s a lot smarter and less wild these days than when I was growing up (ahem). This exhibition will be pure nostalgia for me. What? I said this was my list! Get your own teenage reminders!

If I’ve missed anything I should really see, please do leave a comment and let me know.


Rodents discovered in Rome Art Gallery

I met these two little darlings at the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome. Actually, they appear in Breughel’s “Allegory of the Earth”. It was painted in 1618 and, since Guinea Pigs come from South America, I was slightly surprised to see them in such an early painting. However, I looked it up and apparently (well according to Wikipedia!)  Queen Elizabeth I had a pet Guinea Pig so these two are early immigrants. I like to think they might have been the Breughel family pets. My own Guinea Pigs, Prudence and Isabella, were unimpressed when I told them but they’re hard to please

The Galleria Doria Pamphilj is a fantastic gallery I visited for the first time recently. It’s housed in a Palazzo right on the Via del Corso in Rome and is a perfect antidote to the madness of Rome’s main shopping street. Step inside and the first thing you see is a beautiful courtyard garden which reminds you why these big houses face inwards away from the dirt and noise of the street and makes you want one of the apartments which still house smart Romans today.

The Palazzo is primarily an Art Gallery these days with an amazing private collection which includes works by Caravaggio, Titian and the aforementioned Breughel as well as sculpture, furniture and even family nick-nacks! The Doria Pamhilj family still exist and own the collection (and have issues to face over its future thanks to Italian law  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/6348571/Who-will-inherit-the-Doria-Pamphilj-familys-legacy.html ) and still live in the Palazzo at least some of the time. The paintings are numbered rather than labelled so do buy the £1 guide unless you’re an Art History expert. Galleria Doria Pamphilj may not be the slickest or the best interpreted gallery in Europe but it’s got buckets of charm and really is, to use a horrible cliché, a hidden gem.