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Wow, a giant!  Not quite.  Don’t be misled, those are actually very small houses…

Like doll’s houses?  Exactly like doll’s houses…  Collected by the British artist Rachel Whiteread over two decades and kept in her basement ever since, the doll’s houses now get their chance to be centre stage.

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There are unique difficulties involved in coming face-to-face with one of the most significant paintings the world has ever seen.  As an art lover in Madrid this is a problem you’re going to face on a regular basis, but I still haven’t come up with a decent solution.  After all, when you’re gaping open-mouthed at the greatest painting of the 20th Century, no amount of looking is ever really going to be enough… Read the rest of this entry »

Desmet 

As is often the case when I find myself in a relatively unfamiliar place, a recent weekend in Manchester simply seemed too good an opportunity to miss for sampling at least some of the city’s culture (that is, in addition to the city’s music and the cricket ground).  I hastily acknowledge my habit can reveal an unappealing air of desperation at times – am I really that keen to just go see some art, any art? – but repeated self-examination reveals the sad truth: I actually like this stuff.  Other people have exotic beaches or glittery nightclubs to excite them – I’m genuinely thrilled by the chance of that one great painting I’ve never come across before leaping out at me.

On this occasion, a lot of long hard Googling came up with the Whitworth Art Gallery to explore.  A solid-sounding collection of prints, wallpapers, textiles and, erm, watercolours, my interest was truly piqued by two complementary exhibitions showing now and until the start of August. Read the rest of this entry »

For reasons that may or may not become clear as we proceed, the following quote seemed as good a place as any to kick this whole thing off from…  Although much-referenced, it has not been easy to find comprehensive links, but some are provided below.  Let’s be honest though, the words speak entirely for themselves:

These ambiguities, redundancies, and deficiencies recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia called the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge.

In its distant pages it is written that animals are divided into:

(a) those that belong to the emperor;

(b) embalmed ones;

(c) those that are trained;

(d) suckling pigs;

(e) mermaids;

(f) fabulous ones; Read the rest of this entry »

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