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Trip Report Museum exhibitions on now -- London and Dublin

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Cross posting this from the Lounge, where I started an art exhibition thread for the fall. Just returning from Dublin and London, wanted to share some of what we took in:

I just have to rave my head off over the wonderful Rembrandt: The Late Works exhibition at the National Gallery in London. This was just stellar. I'd been to the blockbuster Monet exhibition in Paris a few years back and hoped it would be on that scope (it was) and not so frenetic and jammed (thankfully so!). We enjoyed the heck out of this and I think it was a combination of a wonderful selection of Rembrandt's late works (obviously) many of which we'd seen in our travels already but put together into context made it a great learning experience by being able to see how similar (or not) they were during that time in his life. But the other part of what made this so utterly enjoyable was the wayfinding (gently guiding us through the rooms in an orderly fashion) and labeling the National Gallery chose to do. The exhibition itself was off in a connecting building, with timed entrance and NO labels next to the paintings, but a wonderful, free booklet that had the labels for each work, plus a glossary of terms used and a bit of historical perspective. So even when the crowds got a bit thick in spots, there was no jockeying for position to see the label and it didn't matter if people stood for ages in a particular spot because you had the labels in your hand. Just a wonderful idea and one other museums should consider. I find the booklet a great keepsake from this show. If anyone is in the area, I'd highly recommend this one.

I also took in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London. Having recently spent two safaris trying to hone my skills, this was a joy to see as there were quite a few entries shot in Africa that took me right back there. This too was timed entry and very popular with the crowds. The entries by the kids were particularly impressive. Alas, mine shall never be that good...

Also on in London at the V&A was a Disobedient Objects exhibit which got into rebellion, uprisings and demonstrations around the world and the props, signage and objects that were used in them. It was very much a "make you think" moment, especially coming back to the US to the multiple incidents triggering demonstrations here.

Paddington the Bear is everywhere in London now (a few dozen statues designed by famous people all over various locations in the city) so we stopped into the Museum of London for their exhibit on him. Sadly it was very small and felt more an advert for the movie. What little memorabilia and artifacts they had were nice, but it was a 10 minute stop, tops. There's a much larger Sherlock Holmes exhibit on there now, but neither of us was interested so we passed on that.

In Dublin, we took in the Lines of Vision: Irish Writers in the National Gallery exhibition. A few dozen Irish writers were asked to pick a work in the permanent collection and write a piece that it inspired in them. As I love Irish literature past and present, this combined two loves of mine. The museum published a hard bound book of the works which were provided for reference in the gallery, but I wanted to read so many of them that I ended up buying the book to take home. Roddy Doyle, Seamus Heaney, Colm Toibin were just a few of the many I enjoyed reading there.

Stumbled upon the Little Museum in Dublin at the top of Grafton Street. This is a gem of a museum, literally like pawing through a treasure trove you'd found in an attic somewhere. Lots of "wow" moments of Dublin history. Two exhibitions on there now, one Conor Horgan photography of popular Irish, another on the history of U2. Enjoyed them both as they were very well done.

Finally got to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin and was awestruck by the Francis Bacon studio there. The story is great and it's mindblowing that he worked in those conditions (which likely also killed him).

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