Your favourite museum may well be your nearest. Familiarity can breed a sense of friendship that leads to deep love. 'The Times' has invited an expert team of culture lovers to nominate their 50 greatest galleries. Next week, they list the 50 top museums.
The distinction between a museum and a gallery is blurry. But, for the purposes of these lists, a gallery is considered to be a place where artworks alone are displayed; while museums house a wider variety of objects that relate to our past and the way we live now. 'The National Gallery' is the top British gallery, weighing in at number 9.
One rough test of the 'efficacy' of art is the extent to which it reconciles us with life. Great music, for example, can help! The National Gallery also reconciles kleines c with life, but is there better art elsewhere?
The Uffizi Gallery tops today's list in 'The Times', although is it really the greatest art gallery in the world?
'The Times' has been subsidised by 'The Sun' over recent decades, Neil McGowan, so I reckon that Rupert Murdoch has given me surprisingly good value for money. To the extent that you are what you read, what are you?
As for media in general, well, I read the FT for professional reasons, but it is a little dry, on occasion, so I do also read 'The Times', particularly at the weekend. I like listening to BBC Radio 3, and Radio 4, which helps explain how we all got to know each other online (BBC Radio 3 message boards). Anyway, for the record, here are The Times's top three art galleries from around the world:
I am surprised that the world's most visited museum, the Louvre, did not come higher (#8), but like all these lists, they may not be particularly useful when deciding where to visit! My personal favourite museum in London is probably the V&A, although its art gallery is not particularly good!
Good morning, once again, to you all! This weekend, 'The Times' picks the world's fifty best museums. Rachel Campbell-Johnston introduces Chinese armies, Viking ships, Egyptian jewels — and Elvis’s gold Cadillac: an expert guide to the wonders of the world:
"Museums are not musty repositories of outmoded relics. They are vivid compendiums of our cultural life.
To step into these often architecturally spectacular structures is to find yourself plunged into the story of human life.
So, if you want to take time out on your travels, to stop and listen to a few gripping chapters, 'The Times' has commissioned a panel of inveterate museum-goers to compile a list of top spots. Whether you would like to see Ancient Greek gods or the Chinese terracotta army, read the letters of the English Romantics or imagine yourself aboard a Viking ship, meet Dippy the Diplodocus!"
There’s a scene in the cult coming-of-age comedy Ferris Bueller’s 'Day Off' (1986), in which the truanting Ferris and his friends visit the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s the middle of a school day and the place is all but empty. Pollock, Picasso, Henry Moore, Monet, Modigliani: they’re all there in wide open galleries. As the scene ends, one of the group becomes entranced by Georges Seurat’s pointillist masterpiece “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”, gazing with increasing intensity at the small girl in the middle of the scene until all he can see are dots of colour.
This kind of intense, almost private experience in the airy emptiness of a museum is one that is increasingly unfamiliar to today’s art lovers. As the Art Newspaper’s recently published figures for museum attendance in 2012 reveal, the world’s galleries are getting ever busier. Griselda concludes thus:
" ... Museums are not about to limit visitor numbers drastically but some are changing their approach in other ways. Nicholas Serota, Tate’s director since 1988, recently said: “It has ... become apparent that our audiences seek different forms of participation and engagement. They want dialogue and discussion.” Suzanne Lacy’s new “participatory artwork” at Tate this year provoked just that as hundreds of women met there to discuss their experiences of activist protests from the 1950s to the 1980s in a public performance, with their debates carried on via Twitter.
The internet has given museums an unprecedented opportunity to reach new audiences. “Museums were traditionally very good at broadcast mode,” says Rees Leahy, “but you’ve now got to have a dialogue with your audience, it’s a much flatter relationship.”
As public art institutions attract new visitors, they must strike a balance between treating them as an audience and as a community. Fail to adapt to their changing desires and habits, and you risk obsolescence. But lose sight of the fact that you are a place of culture and expertise, and you might as well be an ace caff without the museum attached."
For the record, here are the top 3 most popular exhibitions in 2012:
A. Masterpieces from the Mauritshuis - Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum - Tokyo
B. The Amazon: Cycles of Modernity - Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil - Rio de Janeiro (free entry)
C. Nineteenth-century Italian Painting - State Hermitage Museum - St Petersburg
Finally, here are the top 3 most popular museums in 2012:
1. Louvre, Paris - 9,720,260 visitors
2. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York - 6,115,881 visitors
3. British Museum, London - 5,575,946 visitors (free entry)
So the British Museum appears to be free, good and popular! Any thoughts?
As a fellow Londoner, I would add that I, too, like all three of these smaller and more intimate museums, Parva Porcus. In geographical terms, the Geffrye is closest to kleines c, and the restaurant is particularly good!
Here in 'The Third', we are celebrating the bicentenary of 'Pride and Prejudice', revealing the hidden world behind one of the greatest love stories of all time by restaging a regency ball at Chawton House, the grand estate of Jane Austen's brother.
Like kleines c, Jane Austen loved to dance, and balls were hugely popular in nineteenth century England. Crucially, a ball is also where Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy meet and begin their courtship. However, very little is known about what they were actually like. What sort of music would they have danced to? How difficult were the steps? What were the clothes like to wear? And what did the food taste like?
This film uses music from the Austen family archives, as well as dances and dishes mentioned in her novels and letters to recreate the experience of attending an early nineteenth century country ball - the sort of event that Austen had in mind when she wrote some of the most famous and powerful scenes in English literature.
Post by neilmcgowan on May 11, 2013 14:03:48 GMT -5
I also support the idea of small and local musems - especially when that they have on display is of unique interest to the wider world
This week I had the chance to revisit the excellently-renovated Museum of Ikons in Veliky Novgorod, Russia.
The Slavonic religious centres of Novgorod and Suzdal were among the main refuges sought by monks fleeing the Fall of Byzantium after its sack by the Crusaders. The Byzantine tradition of ikon-painting was brought to Russia by these monks, and the earliest examples of Russian-painted ikons were almost certainly painted by Byzantine monks in exile - in Novgorod.
Good morning, Neil! I trust that everyone enjoyed the Bank Holiday weekend. This morning, the weather has turned cold and wet again in London, despite the late spring sunshine over the weekend. Upon reflection, I do not ultimately think that the British Museum is the greatest museum in the world, although it probably does have the best Director. Neil MacGregor has been Director of the British Museum since August 2002 and has devoted particular attention to developing the Museum’s regional and international partnerships.
Neil MacGregor sits on the Board of the National Theatre and the International Advisory Board of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. In both his current and his previous role as Director of the National Gallery, Neil worked closely with BBC radio and television to bring the collections to the widest possible public.
Most recently, the British Museum and the BBC worked together on two projects telling the story of Shakespeare's Restless World, and previously, A History of the World in 100 objects. At the heart of this landmark project was the British Museum/BBC Radio 4 series of a hundred 15-minute episodes, based on objects from the British Museum’s collection. This has been a platform for partnerships with museums across the UK and a wide programme of activity.
Neil read French and German at New College, Oxford, and studied philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. He took an LLB in Law at the University of Edinburgh and was called to the Scottish Bar. He then decided to study 17th- and 19th-century art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and for six years was a lecturer in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Reading and a part-time lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art. In 1981 he became Editor of the arts periodical, The Burlington Magazine, and then in 1987 became Director of the National Gallery.
Writing in the FT, Peter Aspden argues that the amount of coverage granted to football is dismaying, when compared with that given to other artistic, scientific and cultural events. I am guessing that the retirements of Sir Nicholas Serota and Neil MacGregor, transformers of our cultural life over the past decade, from Tate and the British Museum respectively, will receive a tiny fraction of the attention paid to the boorish Sir Alex. The withdrawal from professional life of our most gifted performers will prompt specks of media interest next to the gush devoted to the banal and overpraised Beckham. Peter argues thus:
" ... Football is a global game, and enjoys huge popularity, you will say. But so does culture. The annual number of visitors to Tate and the BM alone compares favourably with the total annual attendance at Premier League matches. The most expensive ticket to last year’s Olympic Games, remember, was for Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony.
The part of me that likes to follow football enjoys its lack of complication. It is an infantile world, which rewards huff and puff, and punishes miscreants with cards that are drawn in different colours, just to make it easy. If you don’t huff and puff hard enough, you will be subject to a “hairdryer” dressing-down from the boss. If you are lucky, one of the referee’s mistakes will favour your team. And that’s about it.
It is easy to see how a nation can get obsessed about football, but not when it is at the expense of other, more telling pursuits. The arts provide spectacle, but they are – at best – twinned with a deeper resonance that stays with us long after we have left the theatre. A work of art, as the great American museum director Alfred H Barr said, is an “infinitely complex focus of human experience”. This is what should prompt our debates, our furies, our fanaticism. This is what shapes us."
Good morning to you all! To all those who survived the night, what a night it turned out to be. Congratulations to all! For three hours this evening, over 200 musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music come together to create an epic sonic journey inspired by the British Museum's objects and galleries.
With over 100 scores and over 50 new pieces performed throughout the entire ground floor, why not create your own unique journey by immersing yourself in the sounds of the world's continents and almost two million years of human history, using your ears to experience the collection in an entirely new way?
Due to unprecedented demand from around the world, everyone reading 'The Third' is cordially invited to join us from 18:00 (BST) this evening, Friday 5 July 2013. The event is completely free, so if you happen to be in London this weekend, why not drop in, or even drop out?