There is an article in today’s Observer by Jonathan Jones which reminded me of the trip I made at Easter to look at the permanent collections.
Jones asks “Why are the permanent collection galleries still so aggressively anti-chronological?” and I think I know why. He bemoans the fact that you learn nothing, but what was clear was the way you don’t feel restricted by time as you wander through the four rooms -they are themed and, as the website says, At the heart of each wing is a large central display, or ‘hub’, which focuses on one of the pivotal moments of twentieth-century art history. Around the focal points, a range of displays move backwards and forwards in time, showing the predecessors and sometimes the opponents of each movement, as well as how they shaped and informed subsequent developments and contemporary art. The introductory room in each wing brings together work by artists from different generations, to reflect this ongoing dialogue between past and present.”
I loved the fact that I could be gazing at the sinister exhuberance emitted from Picasso’s Three Dancers (who doesn’t want to start whirling round to an imaginary tune when looking at this?) and then turn round to the cold elegance of Dorothea Tanning’s A Mi-Voix:
The themes of the four rooms allow you to choose something that connects with your mood at the time. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as it gave me new artists to go off and explore later and it made a change from going for a specific exhibition. I purchased one of the multimedia guides which I find useful, although I would have liked more commentaries, as there were some works that I really wanted to know more about there and then!
As to Jones’s comment about taking his child along, I was amazed by how many children there were exploring the works. One mother was even holding her baby up to a Jean Miro to admire the colours.
It is one of my favourite places to visit, especially as I get to use the members’ room! Their open sandwiches are pretty yummy too! i