Thursday, April 08, 2010


It's as if Glasgow's Kelvingrove Museum's 'curators' have been handed a big slice of the outrageous council tax paid by its citizens only to go on a massive speedball 'n' Smirnoff all-weekender before deciding how their venerable establishment can be jazzed up.

It's not enough that Glasgow's councillors allowed this fine city to be cleft asunder by a filthy great motorway, before letting the dreaded Design Squad in at astronomical cost to make it a laughing stock with slogans such as Prestwick Airport's 'Pure Dead Brilliant' (accompanied by the cartoon drunk) and other repeatedly naff and pointless rebranding iterations.

Anyway, back to Kelvingrove. It was a consolation visit a couple of weeks ago after disappointingly finding the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University closed at the weekend for repairs.

The entire museum and gallery, set in an impressive building located in beautiful downtown central parkland, has been converted into the biggest tackiest kids' play park ever conceived. You'll think I'm exaggerating again: trust me I'm not. This time it's far more than even the usual unholy riot of Helvetica, stoopid discovery areas, interactive screenery, huge purple banners and other redundant signage, or the dysfunctional ambient lighting.

They've lowered all the paintings to somewhere around waist height and added mindnumbingly condescending descriptions along the lines of 'can you spot the crow in the tree? do you know what a 'halo' is?' - spelling and grammatical inconsistencies galore. Some of the randomly-distributed paintings are even surrounded by graphics and gaudy text boxes and coloured captions with their own individual lighting, all but making the picture itself invisible. Other exhibits actually have special children's crawl spaces incorporated underneath. The gift shop sells nothing but tacky cuddly toys, Scottish souvenir tat, and bubble-blowing liquid - no books, no prints, and but a handful of postcards.

See, kids don't give a fuck about DalĂ­ or Matisse or Goya or transgender politics or global warming. They just want to play. I respect that. Give them what they want: a fantastic genuine new play park or take them to McDonald's for a Happy Meal.



Alan.. said...

My dad used to take my to the Kelvingrove Museum when I was a kid and the things that most stick in my mind are the beehive that they used to have in transparent glass and the massive crucifixion.

Jim said...

One of my best childhood memories was going to a Dali exhibit in Philadelphia. I did have to leave early, however, because William Tell caused my younger sister to vomit all over the gallery floor. Maybe we should have went to a park after all.