What are some that you’ve loved over the years and stand out in your memory? What’s the first one you remember visiting? Photos encouraged
First memorable one that I loved was the natural history museum crystal room and earthquake room, loved it. Quite liked walking around the big human in the millennium dome as well even though it smelled weird.
Really loved this one at Kew gardens a couple of years back by Rebecca Louise law, it was so pretty
And this one at the wellcome collection around 2015? was so cool, you could barely see in front of you
And this was 2007 I think at the Tate modern, a bunch of slides, it was so fun
Ones that come to mind as favourites - the perfect combination of being what I needed to see at exactly the right time…
Jeremy Deller at the Hayward (2012) - went for David Shrigley and didn’t realise there was a second exhibition on which I enjoyed so much more. Still a favourite artist and all round lovely guy.
Agnes Martin at Tate Modern (2015) - I remember being the kind of hungover where you feel really emotional and it was both soothing and awe-astounding.
Grayson Perry - Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at British Museum (2012) - just a brilliant idea for an exhibition that wasn’t strictly ‘art in a gallery’ but more of a conversation between GP and some amazing pieces of art and craft from the museum collection.
Egon Schiele at Budapest Fine Art Museum (2013) - one of my favourite artists and I had no idea the exhibition was happening until we landed in Budapest and I saw some posters from a taxi. Spent an entire day in there staring at paintings and trying my hardest to absorb everything and really remember brushstrokes etc.
This at the Whitworth Gallery, at the same time as an exhibition on graphic design of the US civil rights movement, was an excellent combination of 2 topics to demonstrate the power of imagery, slogans and protest.
My favourite experience ever was, I’m afraid to say, David Bowie Is… at the V&A. This was before I knew the extent of what a predatory piece of shit he was. But I cried pretty much the whole way round lmao.
One of my first exhibitions that stuck by me was the Frida Kahlo retrospective at the Tate Modern, this was about 20 years ago.
Alexander McQueen at V&A. obvs.
The Olafur Eliasson one at the Tate Modern was suuuuuper popular but I thoroughly enjoyed all of it.
The one on mental health and asylums at the Wellcome Collection was also incredible, very emotional.
I loved Yayoi Kusama before finding out she was a massive racist
This makes me sound like I go to loads of cultured stuff hahaha, I go like once a year if I’m lucky?!
Barnett Newman’s Stations Of The Cross at the Tate back in 2002 was the first exhibition that made me feel something beyond just ‘looking at pictures’:
Anthony McCall at the Serpentine in 2007. He’s been much copied (not least, by himself), but this was the first time I’d walked around his calming, shifting and disconcerting spaces, where light is given solidity and provides enclosure.
The one thing that sticks with me the most is this one I saw that was basically two giant iron blocks balanced on top of each other against a wall. By giant I mean like 20" high, 10" wide and the blocks were 5" wide of solid iron.
The point of the exhibition was that it creates a feeling of tension in the viewer and one of the first instances of conceptual art where I was like, yeah I get that.
Not sure if it’s strictly an ‘exhibition’ or not just an exhibition at least, but one of the most profound artistic experiences of my life was Richter/Part at the Whitworth Galery in Manchester in 2015.
A smallish room of very dark, intense paintings by Gerhard Richter which you entered as usually would. Every fifteen minutes a small choir performed an incredibly beautiful short choral piece by Arvo Part. The choir were in normal street clothes and entered the room with you and mingled with the crowd. At the appointed time they launched into the piece without any apparent warning, singing from among and amidst the audience. It was absolutely incredible. Perhaps the only piece of live art that has genuinely made me cry at its beauty.
Before realising she was a wrong un I love the yayoi kusama show I went to in Japan with m_w_t.
Have seen lots of ‘cool’ exhibitions (quite like the Piss Bricks at MIF the other year, making bricks out of pee that you donated after having a pint in the hut they’d built in the underground cattle bridge beneath the train station) but ultimately not many of the more spectacular ones stay with me and I find myself just thinking about more simple shows more often.
The one I think about an awful lot was an Alasdair Gray’s City Recorder, images he’d drawn in 1977. I think part of the draw was that I saw it in my favourite city, Glasgow, and was having a lovely weekend so I don’t think I recall it so often purely based on the art, but maybe! I do love Gray’s work but this was much more ordinary, it really captivated me because of the way I see/experience cities I guess? Idk. Some of the drawings were interiors though and I liked how they were a bit chaotic when you broke them down but overall had a very easy feeling to them regardless. The city ones felt really ghostly and showed lots of changes/layers and I liked that even though they were very washed out and not really my usual style. Wish they’d had some prints for sale. Not many images are online from that show anymore.
Whilst I’m here, MIF can be hugely pretentious and some stuff is a bit of a miss but it’s always fantastic fun (and I’m very lucky to work with them on experimental tour routes too). This was not an exhibition but an honourable shout out here to the show Tao of Glass that I saw one year as part of the festival and is probably the best afternoon I’ve ever had. Man, I wish that show would tour again. Absolutely beautiful stuff, came away feeling like I’d been floating or meditating <3
Oh can I be terribly self-indulgent and also say the first show I ever curated? Because it got featured on BBC, in the Guardian, had international contributions, featured a record shop made entirely out of cardboard, was the busiest opening night the venue had ever had, and I managed a second spin-off exhibition in a side room the whole time and had some banging music on. It opened on Jan 25th so I asked Tunnocks to sponsor it and Mr Tunnocks (or someone of that ilk) personally drove to my house with like 1,000 tunnocks logs Oh thinking about it, I think that Alasdair Gray show the year before was my direct inspo for doing this!