Thursday, July 09, 2009

EXPOSITION 2 much better, some even worse. Here are some further museums and galleries experienced since musing upon the hopeless inadequacies of the Tate Modern in London a few weeks ago.

They may charge you a tidy ransom for access, but in Germany they really know how to do museums. The Museum Ludwig in Cologne is a large modern building situated by the city's imposing cathedral in which, incidentally, my partner and I were squarely rebuked by a scarlet becassock'd nonce for licentious acts in a place of holy worship. Lacking fluency in the tongue of Goethe, I successfully rebutted his admonishments by uttering the single word 'Ratzinger'. However, I digress. Like so many others in the country, the gallery is a sober affair, well-run, where utter confidence is expressed in its magnificent collection (gifted by the Ludwigs in the 1970s), exhibiting a maximum of respect and a minimum of adornment.

I can't believe I wasted the opportunity to visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery to come here. Look, my prurience got the better of me - 'exhibits of a sexual nature that may cause offence' were promised on the garish posters and banners. In your dreams. When designers and curators don't even have a consistent spelling for their own exhibition - Sh[out], sh[OUT], [SH]out, SH(out) et al - you should know you have far better things to do. And before you get too genitally aroused about 'LGBT' and 'intersex' artworks 'liable to offend', let me warn you that there is nothing, no thing, not one solitary thing even remotely sexually titillating, let alone offensive, in this dog's dinner of an exhibition. But you will get preached at, and you will feel sorry for all Glasgow's struggling talented artists seeing massive funding thrown in the direction of self-serving wastrels that would claim to be spokespersons of a 'community'.

Back here in Edinburgh and within beautiful grounds beside the Water of Leith, this is the gallery where faith can be somewhat restored. The descriptions of the works on display may have those infuriating assumptions about the artst's intent in verbiose gibberish where meaning is rendered a futile act of nostalgia, but the signs are small and easily ignored. The museum's ground floor currently enjoys a large Damien Hirst collection, and it's an extremely good one - surprisingly visceral; and credit must be given to the curators for that. For the Otto Dix fan, there's a welcome surprise for you upstairs.


1 comment:

Digital Ink Media said...

One of the pleasures I always took in visiting the Edinburgh Gallery was the walk following the Water of Leith from/to Dean Village.

On the pathway is (was?) a set of large metal steps that make a hearty and satisfying series of percussive 'thunks' when traversed, a sound quite reminiscent of Killing Hurts Give You The Secrets.

I'd always considered that had I any musical inclination above that of patron, sampling that sound and doing something with it would be a bloody good start.

Listening to that track always evokes the sound of the river, the taste of a good cup of coffee with carrot cake and the feel of cold bronze Henry Moore sculpture - generally a good chunk of that "elusive happiness".