Pictures at a noisy exhibition…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s honoured guests are the Justin Bieber lookalike triplets, Clarence, Betty, and Joan Thadge – come on in, flop onto the big sofa, and be as cool as you like…

As part of the Dulltown UK City of Culture 2017 there was an exhibition from the British Museum at the University Gallery called Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to Now. I thought that I’d give it go. It was pretty good, I enjoyed seeing it, there were plenty of very nice drawings there, I particularly liked one in black ink from Ancient Egypt, a lovely flowing Matisse portrait, and a super Bridget Riley design for a painting, among many others. But me, being a grumpy, and perhaps a rather over-sensitive sort of person, I can’t resist mentioning a couple of things about my visit:

It was the noisiest gallery I have ever been in. The noise wasn’t the general hubbub of people chatting and looking at the art, it was the floor. Yes, the floor…
The gallery is brand new and sports an expensive-looking pale hardwood floor of wide close-fitting boards. The trouble is, when people walk on it, or when wheelchairs whiz about on it, the boards emit very loud creaking and cracking noises – noises which are far louder than any ambient human sounds. It is ridiculous, and even laughable – I laughed!… I don’t suppose anything will ever be done to fix it though, it would probably mean closing the gallery for a while, and also it would be a really expensive job. The Victorians, well over a hundred years ago, managed to lay nice oak floors in galleries which even now don’t creak that much.
Actually the noise really did put me off enjoying the art; Oh, look at the detail on this, click, bang, squeak, Cezanne charcoal sketch Stella, creak, bang, crack, see how he used the delicate…
Oh, and by the way, the doors in the place had automatic closers on them which occasionally chipped in with their loud resonant thuds; oh yes, and the gallery toilets were not available that day, as one of the smartly suited attendants explained, ‘they tend to “back up” regularly’… Whoa!…

One of the exhibits was a small drawing by Michelangelo, 1475 – 1564 ( Nude Seated Figure c 1508). Well, of course, artists don’t come much better than our Mike do they? And, I dare say that any drawing by him must be pretty rare and very valuable.
Well, the drawing was alright I suppose – yes, I did say ‘alright I suppose’; but to be honest it was a bit wispy and scratchy, and shall we say ‘indistinct’? And possibly not much to write home about, which I suppose is what I’m doing here, and it wasn’t a work that you could spent ten minutes peering at in awe, but it was a real Michelangelo! Let’s see what it says printed on the card below:
‘Michelangelo’s open-ended drawing displays a capacity for entertaining uncertainties. Despite the multiple attempts, there is no hierarchy of marks, the striving groping line explores many different possibilities, but the figure remains unresolved. The lack of resolution might suggest either that the artist left the drawing unfinished and made a fresh start on another sheet, or that he preferred to keep it in a state of indecision, perhaps to inspire future ideas.’
Me, I think I’d have written:
‘A quick drawing, probably done when Mike was a bit tired, and had had a couple of glasses of nice wine.’


About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in architecture, art, drawing, Dulltown, Grumpiness, Hull.UK., humour, information, observations, surrealism, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pictures at a noisy exhibition…

  1. Oh these arty farty types do like to waffle on a bit, don’t they? I prefer your explanation – much more straightforward (and true, possibly!)

  2. Dana Doran says:

    The “experts,” the non-artists tend to think that every sketch is always completed to perfection…ha! Mr. Whatt, you must have missed the gallery tag (on the right, near the sliding doors) that explained the installation “Voices from Below, 2017, oak plank over warped plywood.”

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