Sunday, 23 November 2014

Exit Through the Gift Shop

We have become accustomed to Tate Modern's merchandise; their publicity seems as much orientated towards Christmas gifts at this time of year as art. And I can understand how the V&A might just become one huge great shop in twenty years time, sponsored by eBay. That seems the logic of things.
I suppose meetings in such places revolve around selections for Turner shawls and Rothko tea towels, and it's all terribly exciting for those involved, but I was a bit non-plussed to visit the newly renovated Imperial War Museum and find they'd done the same thing there, even down to the fur lined leather flying jacket for £650. What next? A Holocaust ashtray; the camouflage onesie?
The displays in the IWM have changed too. Gone is my favourite; the rickety (when you studied it close-up)  Fock Wolf 190 (above) and the armour pierced Jagdpanzer, and instead there is a rather nice BMW sidecar outfit and lots of moving image which didn't move me a great deal at all. There was greatly 'improved' lighting of all the exhibits too, like you were in Bond Street.
So instead of being moved, I became interested in the BMW sidecar outfit because I would like one of the later derivatives, say from 1975, myself, possibly in sunburst orange, and that isn't really the point.
They have also let the artists in. It a moment in the time of man where art and artists have made themselves conspicuously irrelevant, they suddenly get to condition my experience of wartime. There is a conspicuously blown up up vehicle now sitting on the main floor, but we were told it was not displayed as blown up, but as conditioned by some artist. There was also an exhibition of shirts on hangers, like we were in GAP. I left most concerned over our fatal strategy.

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