Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Museum of Everything at Selfridges

The Museum of Everything exhibition #4 has only a few days left at Selfridges in Oxford Street.

A few days ago I finally got to take a look at what's on show. The store has given over all their Oxford Street windows to the Museum and each window has large scale models of works from the exhibition. A selection of window photos - snapped between Oxford Street shoppers - are shown below:

The exhibition space is in the basement - the Ultralounge - and is smaller than I expected (smaller than suggested by the extent of the window displays). Nevertheless the Museum has packed in over 400 pieces of work.

Tomoyuki Shinki - Incurve, Japan

Previous Museum of Everything exhibitions have contained Outsider Art, but the art has been by recognised artists (to a greater or lesser extent). The best known of these has probably been Peter Blake and material from the former Walter Potter Museum (see previous post on this). Exhibition #4, however, features work from people with developmental and other disabilities from across the world. In the words of the Museum itself it is "Britain's first and only museum for the unintentional, untrained & unknown artists of our modern age".

George Wilson - Creative Growth Art Center, USA

In addition to the work itself there is a lot of interesting background information available in the exhibition about the artists and the studio workshops where they are based.

William Scott - Creative Growth, USA

The exhibition is fascinating and has attracted a large number of visitors - although it has also attracted some criticism, notably from Adrian Searle in the Guardian. It is true that it does feel a bit uncomfortable being critical of some of the work (it's not all brilliant) because the artists are not professionals and are, in fact, disadvantaged in some way or other. However, the great majority of it is as good as the work of 'regular artists' and much of it is considerably more interesting.

Jeroen Pomp - Galerie Atelier Herenplaats, Netherlands

If there is a theme, it is that of the obsessive/compulsive - one that all art-lovers and collectors can easily relate to. You can view some of the exhibition works digitally here - but it's not really a substitute for seeing the show, which has a wider range, including a significant number of sculpted and made objects (the images reproduced here are from the digital museum).

Daniel Green - Creativity Explored, USA

Marianne Schipaanboord - Atelier De Kaai, Netherlands

In addition to the exhibition itself there is a Museum shop containing some rather expensive mementos and the equally expensive books of exhibitions #1 to #4. It seems churlish to criticise but, as a registered charity, you do wonder about their marketing strategy - and why is there no entry charge? However, you can view and buy Museum merchandise online at the Shop of Everything - it's in a good cause.

All in all, however, a great exhibition - And now we can look forward to #5 ...

The last day of the exhibition is 25th October.

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