A wondrous mishmash of curios and Outsider Art takes over Selfridges – Review
The Museum of Everything is an annual event eagerly awaited by critics and the public alike. Each autumn this Museum comes to life displaying works by artists with physical and developmental disabilities, as well as a selection of interesting general ‘Outsider Art’. This is not to say that much of the work would in any way be out of place, in many mainstream galleries. For the last 3 years curator James Brett’s series of exhibitions of off and on the wall work, has been held in Primrose Hill, in a disused former dairy. Last year the exhibition co-curated by Sir Peter Blake took on the theme of a circus with 19th century halls of curios and posters. This year the exhibition has moved to the Art Deco halls of fashionistas’ favorite, Selfridges. This is a fantastic way for the MOE to reach more people and an innovative showcase for these cult artists to spread the word into the mainstream. Selfridges has a history of artist collaboration and this is the largest arts venture in its 102-year history.
This years exhibition focuses on art produced in hospital workshops. These studios are often the only inspiring outlet for troubled individuals and a valuable catalyst for creativity. Many of the artists suffer from mental health issues, neurological and physical mobility problems. the art is often inspired acquiring a naive, folk art charm. The work falls outside of our accepted cultural mainstream but it is often breathtakingly fresh in the same way as a child’s drawing inspires. Critical distance takes a back seat when approaching these works and the visual complexities shine through in abundance. Some of the work can also be viewed in window displays along Oxford Street this work is tied in with the Museums distinctive logo and graphics.Window Display manager Sarah McCullough said, “Some retailers might consider it commercial suicide to give up the shopfront”. But she added: “Incredible window displays have been part of our DNA since we opened. We strive to give our customers an experience they wouldn’t get elsewhere.”
Harald Stoffers oversized letters written to his mother in spirographic handwriting. The large central showcase of ceramic cameras created by Alan Constable and The sprawling installation on the half level.
The Museum also has an obligatory gift-shop aptly named, ‘The Shop of Everything’ occupies the Concept Store in the Wonder Room ground floor, selling a wide range of bespoke and collectable products to benefit the museum and its artists. These include its own label, Everything Ltd, a fashion collection with celebrated design team Clements Ribeiro and shoes by Tracey Neuels, all featuring artworks in the show. The shop was previously the home to Tracey Emin who set up shop in the premises over the summer.
The Workshops of Everything are a series of weekly art-making workshops for self-taught artists with developmental and other disabilities. The workshops will be led by Action Space, London’s leading disability arts group, and hosted at The Museum of Everything in Selfridges, London. Applicants should be enthusiastic, creative, over 18 and have some art-making experience – either at home or as part of a group.
There will be one workshop every week – between the 2nd September and the 25th October 2011 – and you will be able to choose your preferred date. We will provide all the art materials and some food for lunch. At the end of the day, you or your artist will be able to take the work home or donate it to The Museum of Everything collection.
Photo:© ArtLyst 2011 Visit Museum of Everything #4