Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Paintings Unwrapped at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

We all know that we should take a lunch break, in order to give our eyes a break from the computer and to get a bit of fresh air. However sometimes it's difficult to know what to do, working in the middle of the Lanes it can be all to tempting to indulge in some retail therapy, that said we are also right by the sea so we can take an invigorating walk along the seafront but that's less tempting in the rain.

The other day I was faced with this very dilemma and then it occurred to me that I hadn't been into the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery in a while so I decided to pop in there, and I'm glad I did as they have a couple of really interesting new exhibits on at the moment. First of all there is Paintings Unwrapped, which encourages people to see paintings with a fresh eye. The paintings are displayed in pairs and next to each one the curator has written a few pointers and things to look out for within the painting, thereby encouraging people to really look at the paintings and to see things which they might otherwise have missed.

However personally the most charming point about this exhibition is that people are encouraged to write their own labels for the artwork on a piece of card and display it next to the painting. This interactive element has obviously appealed to children, as one girl said she licked one of the paintings, hopefully she meant to say like but I quite like the idea that she was so overcome with enthusiasm that she had to actually lick the painting. Either way I think it's a great initiative as art can sometimes seem too high brow, whereas in reality it is something that should be appreciated and enjoyed by as many people as possible.

The other new exhibit I enjoyed having a look at was Human Resources, which is only a small display along one of the corridors but it is a series of portraits (just the faces) of some of the staff from the Royal Pavilion and Museums, but none of the portraits are named so you don't know what anyones job title is, making everyone equal. It's also a nice why of giving the hard-working staff a bit of recognition as well.

So there you have it, if you have some spare time in Brighton then make sure you visit the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery which Simon Calder rated as his number one in his list of the Seven Wonders of Brighton. I'll definitely be popping back in the summer as their new exhibition will be The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollack


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