Two exhibitions in one weekend

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2010 at 11:32 am

My word, that was a double exhibition-visiting weekend just gone.

On Saturday I went back to my old stomping ground of the Imperial War Museum to see the Ministry of Food exhibition. I was pretty excited about going, not least because of the excellent blog which had been putting out great messages about the show in the run up to the opening.

The show is, as always at the IWM, perfectly put together with excellent attention to detail. The design of exhibitions always seems to ‘work’ at the IWM, with beautifully constructed sets and amazing props. But I wasn’t really a fan of the interpretive hierarchy this time. Someone has clearly decided to do away with traditional long panels introducing each section of the show – which is an admirable and a brave step – but the complete absence of narrative left me a bit lost. I came out having seen many of the usual suspects I expected and having learned a few facts, but I didn’t get a sense of what the IWM wanted to tell me about food during the Second World War.

I must say I’m getting a bit tired of the visitor route in the upstairs exhibition gallery with its angular architecture and glimpses of what’s to come through the walls. It worked for a while, but I’m sure someone can come up with something new now.

Sunday was Tate Britain for the Henry Moore exhibition. It only opened last week, so it was pretty busy, but I must say I was utterly delighted with the show. I love Moore anyway, but I had gone into the space with a sense of dread. TB have in the past managed to completely ruin some artists for me with their preachy and unintelligble language and their snooty attitude to art, but this was a pure delight. Aside from the sensitive and well-paced design of the space and settings of the art works, someone has managed to get hold of the panel text and make it actually make sense this time. I came out knowing and appreciating much more about Henry Moore and even bought the catalogue – a rare measure of success for me!

Have you seen either of these exhibitions? Do let me know if you agree/disagree.


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