Toledo, Ohio, is a city that has suffered. Caught by the black hole of financial crisis radiating from Detroit, this car manufacturing city lost a lot. I finally understood the term ‘Ghost Town’ as I was walking from the very centre of the city to the museum. On this 40 minute walk, I passed maybe a dozen people, and no more than 50% of the buildings were occupied, not to mention how few were doing business. This is a cruel start to a review you say, to pitch so starkly the state of automotive America, but it is essential to lay out this context so that I can properly explain the El Dorado that is the Toledo Museum of Art. Continue reading →
One of the first things that hits you as you enter the newly-presented Hintze Hall at the Natural History Museum is movement. ‘Hope’ the whale arches at the apex of her dive, drawing your eyes in a graceful curve from the tip of skeletal tail to iconic gaping mouth. Historically, museums were restrained to a furiously horizontal suspension. Hope reinvigorates this assumption, brushing aside the old restraints as she dives silently towards the crowds below. Continue reading →
Adult Entry: Free Nearest Tube: South Kensington, Circle and District Lines
If there’s one thing people love, its themselves. The moment humankind found a suitable surface 30,000 years ago we have not stopped drawing, painting, and photographing our own image. Gods, monsters, predator and prey- all have been the subject of humanity’s artistry. Most alluringly though, we have forever sought to depict ourselves. From stiff militaristic portraits to bold exposures of vulnerability (perhaps merely two sides of the same narcissistic coin) we are desperate to understand ourselves through self-expression. Such a topic would self-evidently be too broad for one exhibition, and so this entertaining installation at the Saatchi Gallery cherry-picks some interesting juxtapositions, and current observations, to explore. Continue reading →
The title of this exhibition, ‘Every Objects Tells A Story’, hangs somewhere between pretentious and redundant, and is all the more disappointing because of how good everything else about it is. That dealt with, I can begin my praise of this uniquely presented exhibition.
Adult Entry: Free Nearest Tube: Holborn, Central Line
As someone who works day-to-day with the dry, safe, non-organic collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, it was a considerable step outside of my comfort zone to visit the biological repository that is the Hunterian Museum. The museum, housed within the Royal College of Surgeons, holds around 3,500 ‘specimens’, which is a pleasant way of saying ‘dead things in jars’.
Adult Entry: Free Nearest Tube: Tower Hill, District & Circle Line
London is a port city. Had you forgotten? Because I had.
It is very easy to forget that the docks and wharves lining the Thames have not always been super-luxury apartments for the wealthy suits of the city. Indeed, with the eviction of most of London’s maritime trading to the far eastern end of the city, there is little evidence that the Thames still provides anything more than a neutered fairground ride for visiting tourists.
I would love to say that St Katharine Docks is an exception. It isn’t. But it does give an idea of how London’s industrial past can be gentrified in a manner that still allows it to be enjoyed by visitors. Continue reading →