A Collective Effort

We visited the Bowes Museum, a vast French style chateau incongruously perched on a valley side in Northern England. The museum is stuffed with artistic treasures hoovered up by a couple of wealthy Victorian dilettantes on the back of coal money.

It seems that these days some museums are embarrassed by their contents; all those classic artworks painted for the salons of the wealthy etc, so the drive is on to be relevant. This led us to one of the most ridiculous ‘exhibitions’ that I’ve stumbled across in a long time. Essentially a collection of shop mannequins wearing denim jackets onto which had been sewn hundreds of identical pictures. In some way the exhibition was meant to link with a painting owned by the Bowes called ‘The Death of Lucretia’. The exhibition was the brainchild of an artistic collective. They say a camel is a horse designed by a committee and boy is this a good example. The committee, sorry collective, may have convinced themselves but not, unfortunately, the paying public. You can read more in my upcoming article in the Quarterly Review, or as an alternative to watching grass grow, there’s a film of the sewing marathon on Youtube. Don’t miss the other Youtube film showing a bloke dancing round the mannequins: it’s quite funny.

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