Saturday, January 23, 2010

What are They Looking At? The Rare Species--Ideas in a Museum

The Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow provided enough ideas and images to write dozens of posts.  So before I get too far away, and into other things, some additional observations.   In their re-installation, their collections are displayed in two sections,  Life and Expressions.   Needless to say,  each category holds so many opportunities for creative thinking.  Here's just a few (apologies in advance--I can't remember exact exhibit titles, and can't find the info on the museum's website)

Scottish Identity in Art
This exhibition ran the gamut from a traditional portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots, armor and guns,  to a Warhol-style image of Robert Burns as Che and a big contemporary photograph depicting a kilted, soccer (okay football) -headed, TV-watching guy in a plaid room.

Everyday Life in Dutch Genre Painting
Well-written, accessible labels explaining the symbolic meaning in these artworks.

Where's It Gone?
Rather than just a tiny label telling you that an object had been removed;  these labels told you why it was gone,  where it would be exhibited and when you could see it--a nice way to acknowledge another museum's work and to highlight the interconnectedness of museum collections and scholarship.

Objects and Media--in the Snow
I don't have a good way to describe this installation where you walked into a translucent box,  with objects,  film, and sounds, to experience the Arctic.  I'm not sure whether it was successful or not, but it was fascinating to be in, and to watch other visitors in it.

Place and Meaning
A number of these unusual sloped installations depicted landscapes from around the world, including Scotland, as a way to explore the ways in which environment affects human life.   In another exhibit,  the earliest history of human habitation in Scotland is enhanced by very large photographic images of the contemporary landscape.

Conflict and Consequence
As the introductory label says, "How we keep inventing new ways of killing people,  and then wonder why."  When was the last time you saw a label like that?  In the exhibit, arms and armor combined with recollections from Holocaust survivors and other information about survivors and peace activists.

One more post to come about interactives at Kelvingrove.   But, as you read this, think about the last time you visited a museum where every single room had real ideas in it.   Any place else I should put on my museums with the most ideas list?

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