Saturday, July 6, 2013

London Calling

. . .  with a few good museums to go see!

First off, I know, how rude. I was highlighted as a museum blogger and then got lost in cyberspace. It wasn't on purpose, really. You see, I got this opportunity to visit to my favourite city ever, London, England, where I had some time to check out some museums. And I have to say, they didn't disappoint.

David Bowie DID influence our behaviour! One of my best friends - with whom I just happened to attend John F. Kennedy University Museum Studies with -  and I had to go see the David Bowie is exhibition at the V&A. In fact, it was number one on my list because I had heard so much buzz about it, and the celebration of, well, celebrity. It sounded as big as any of the other change-makers in museum exhibitions, like Treasures of Tutankhamun or even Mining the Museum. I wondered if this might be a new direction for museums, to focus on pop culture more, to bring in new audiences and a more easily-accessible/'getable' view of our world. 

Certainly it was a popular show - all the presale tickets had sold out online long ago and so we queued for walk-ins. We were there before opening but even then we still only got in at the second 'wave'.  This little break did give us time for a nice cup of tea in the beautiful courtyard at the V&A, and we were ready when it was our turn to don the (wifi) earphones and go inside with the big crowds looking at costumes, listening to music clips, reading labels all to learn more about Bowie. There was also a 'concert' section where one could watch footage on a screen about two storeys high, which was impressive. 

So what was the final verdict? We learned a lot about the art and the thought behind it, but not a lot about the artist himself. It felt tightly controlled, which is understandable I suppose, but I just got that feeling I wanted a little bit more about Bowie himself.

Perhaps I over-thought the whole importance of the exhibition, for I was corrected that there have certainly been some exhibitions - even one on Kylie Minogue! (I do need to get out more) - but maybe this is a trend that is slowly making it through the sector and it is just taking a while to get all the way to my part of the world. I at least see an opportunity for museums to be more current, and to provide easy-to-access, pop shows and to perhaps worry less about always creating an exhibition that's über-scholarly in a take-your-vitamins sort of way. Cuz, you know, I just bet a show on British Columbia music would do well in BC, and perhaps it would even open doors to helping museums make some new relationships with some talent with local roots. Just putting that out there.

Anyway, that's the type of talk you have when you go with your gal-pal from grad school! We did have an amazing lunch in the incredible cafe and fed up so we could explore more of the museum. And so we did! 
The cafe at the V&A is SO beautiful!
It is somehow soothing to know that everyone has to deal
with challenging exhibition rooms. You can't see it in this photo,
but above there is some serious ceiling/window work going on.
Where should these giant artifacts go? They have to stay put. 
Another grad school moment when we
wondered out loud if this was the most efficient way
to express this thought in a label! (Ha!!)

Found a library.
Found my V&A owl.
Visible storage of sorts  - it was super high up there.
And we were to visit two more museums that day! But before I indulge in those stories, let's give a little rest lest there be some museum fatigue. I will say, though, it was fantastic to spend a good part of the day at the Victoria and Albert Museum, especially with a museum pal. 

Stay tuned for other stops in London - won't be so long again, I promise.

Smiling me - so much museum love!

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