@MarDixon Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
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    June 23rd, 2019mardixonCulture

    The current exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery in London is all about Leonardo da Vinci this summer.  Having been to a few da Vinci exhibitions over the years, I wasn’t sure what this one would bring that I haven’t seen before but I was utterly surprised.  

    Curator Martin Clayton, the Head of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust pulled together the largest exhibition of da Vinci’s work in over 65 years.  There are more than 200 drawings and the exhibition explores Leonardo’s interest (in both chronologically and thematically order): painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering and more.  There were also pieces by Leonardo’s contemporaries which was exciting to see.

    I was fortunate to go first thing in the morning and whilst there was a queue to get in (you have to go through security) there is so much to see the crowd soon thins out.  I was sharing on Twitter as there were so many key items I really appreciated.

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    June 20th, 2019mardixonCulture, International

    The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is a difficult one to follow after the breaking numbers from last year which was curated by Grayson Perry on their 250th anniversary however I was impressed with the variety and diversity that Jock McFayden pulled together.  In fairness, last year RA opened their new building with a lot of free exhibition.  I feel I need to emphasise again: The RA is made by and run by artists – it doesn’t get government funding as many assume due to the Royal name. 

    The exhibition actually always starts outside in the courtyard which this year features Thomas Houseago and large sculptures that are a fantastic backdrop for the neoclassical RA building.  And it’s always great to see Joshua Reynolds statute used -this year he sports an arrangement of flowers garland.

    When you enter the exhibition, you’re provided with a booklet with the list of works but this year this is a fabulous website that compliments the booklet in which you can search a piece of art in (artists, artwork, medium or catalogue number) and it’ll bring the catalogue information up but also suggest other art you might like on that search: https://se.royalacademy.org.uk/

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    June 7th, 2019mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Well it’s one day after I’ve been home from another brilliant MuseumNext conference – it’s the time when I feel sad for saying goodbye to the new friends I met and old friends I get to see again. The talks this year were absolutely brilliant, poignant, relevant and in some cases hard to hear (but it need to be said).

    We as a sector are going through another transitional period. A few years ago there so much excitement about the future of museums and how social/digital was being embedded into the collections. Now it’s about survival. Surviving to keep staff, surviving to understand what the public needs and make real changes that allow them to see themselves in the museum. Surviving so they are relevant in the next 10-20 years.

    View Post

    (All Tweets I did are here and All Pictures are in this Facebook album)

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    May 5th, 2019mardixonCulture, Tech

    There is a wonderful (and free!) line-up of speakers for Museums and Heritage Show Trends stream this year on May 15th (followed by DrinksThing at the pub). I know it’s wonderful as I curated it 🙂 Seriously the speakers are brilliant and to prove it, I asked all of them to answer two questions:

    • What one (or several) thing(s) would someone learn from your talk?
    • What trend are you excited about for 2020?
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    February 4th, 2019mardixonCulture

    The much anticipated Christian Diors exhibtion recently opened at the V&A but I was unable to attend the press preview so asked the lovely Josephine Walsh to go for me.  Thanks for the write up Josephine and can’t wait to see it myself!

    A guest blog by Josephine Walsh / @_girl_in_red

    The launch of Christian Dior’s first collection in 1947 was marked by freezing temperatures and soaring expectations.

    After the rations and austerity of the Second World War, the fashion world was hungry for something new. Guests at the premiere lined the walls, and women peered eagerly over the staircase to get a glimpse of Dior’s sublime floaty dresses and cinched-in waists. The spectacular entrance of Dior into the fashion world heralded a new era of in fashion and redefined how generations of women saw and presented themselves.

    Carmel Snow, editor of American Harper’s Bazaar christened the new style when she commented, ‘It’s quite a revolution Christian. Your dresses have such a new look!’ Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 1st, 2018mardixonCulture

    To celebrate what would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th year (his birthday would have been August 29th), National Portrait Gallery has a blockbuster summer exhibition called Michael Jackson On The Wall.

     

    Curated by Director Dr Nicholas Cullinan, the exhibition is spread over 14 rooms, each named appropriately like:

    • King of Pop (6)
    • Off The Wall (11)
    • Man in the Mirror (13)

    Overall there are over 48 artists are featured including my favorites Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Grayson Perry. While I must admit I was never a huge fan on Michael Jackson (although did have tickets to the first night of what would have been his ‘last concert’), NPG has done a really good job in showing the many layers of Michael Jackson, from personal to professional. Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 15th, 2018mardixonCulture

    On May 19th 2018, The Royal Academy will open it’s doors once again to celebrate its 250th Anniversary but we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek this week.

    Arriving for the press preview with Laura Porter on a very sunny day, the RA was doing it’s best from the outside to show off despite some of the construction still going on but it was really the inside I was interested in because the RA recently has a major redevelopment to expand the physical space and also their programming.  Now, there truly is something for everyone!

    Let’s be clear, the RA has been and always will be for everyone, but because it was always ticketed events, not everyone felt they could afford to go.  The new Weston Bridge between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens completely transforms it! There is now 70% more public space.

    I personally loved how architects David Chipperfield managed to be sympathetic to the old of the building whilst folding new and progression throughout, details of which could be seen throughout the RA.

    There were many highlights:

    Collection Gallery – which is completely free to the public – will show a lot (obviously not all) art that used to be behind the scenes or in storage.  For example:

    Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo

    Full scale copy of Leonardo’s Last Supper (which when Laura and I were looking at it a lot of press asked us to stay and take more pictures …

    Maurice Davies, Head of Collections in a recent interview said they wanted the Collection Gallery ‘There’s a great temptation to use the Collection Gallery as an opportunity to teach art history, but the most important thing I want people to do is to look closely at the works of art. Teaching history and telling stories should be done in a way that encourages people actually to look at the works.’ (RA250 magazine)

    Benjamin West Lecture Theatre – an amazing space that didn’t exist before.  Actually there was a floor that ran over the top before the architects managed to create this amazing theatre! Creating a space where people can have discussions which is engaging and open will make such a difference! There are 259 seats and very accessible (despite the steps).

     

    I was also impressed that right next to the Dorfman Senate Cafe you can find the Architecture Studio. A creative space that will involve and invite audience engagement. It was still being set up when we were there but we were told the program will allow people bring their coffee or wine to see art.  Again, open, not barriers!

     

    I failed to take pictures of the new learning center but once a month they host free drop in sessions for children of all ages!

    Also, lets all admit, RA has always been good about picture taking.

    I’m going to end with the most impressive press release ever – a ‘Royal Academy of Arts in Numbers’

    • 1 Annual rent for Burlington House is £1 on a lease for 999 years
    • 2 Female founders of the RA
    • 3 Number of years students in RA schools study (and was it mentioned they go for free?)
    • 4 Officers of the RA
    • 5 Top 5 paid for exhibitions in London in the last 10 years
    • 12 Red Collars, RA security team
    • 10 Temp exhibitions for 2018
    • 12.7 Million pounds from National Lottery for redevelopment
    • 13 Royal Academicians sit on the council
    • 17 Artists are the maximum number per year admitted
    • 22 Artists and architects signed a petition calling for King George III to support RA
    • 26 26th President is currently Christopher Le Brun
    • 36 Artists and Architects signed Instrument of Foundation to establish RA December 10 1768
    • 50 Students taking part in only free 3 year postgrad art course
    • SKIPPING SOME
    • 230 Objects from RA Collections will be on free display from 2018
    • 250 Obviously years of the RA

     

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    April 27th, 2018mardixonCulture

    I just moved to London, so when Mar pings me asking if I’d like to head along to The Courtauld Institute’s #ResFest on Wednesday 25th April, I jump at the chance to mingle with some like-minded culture lovers.

    The programme promises discussion on how the London Fatberg is a metaphor for Brexit, a free G&T on arrival and an evening jam-packed with interesting talks on the future of art history. I’m intrigued.

    #ResFest is a night festival celebrating the connection and the collaboration between The Courtauld Institute and The Courtauld Gallery, both of which are part of Somerset House. The program includes lightning talks, performances, exhibits, bars and food trucks, and the overall goal of the event is to demonstrate how crucial art history is today. It’s a night where some of the best and brightest in the academic and cultural sectors ask big questions about the state of play in the art world, and how the future health of culture and society hinges on our ability to address and confront these questions head-on. Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 18th, 2018mardixonCulture, Personal

    Back in December, I was looking at loads of things: my 2018 schedule, the museum sector, London, etc etc.  I noticed the museum sector was looking a bit – well there are a lot of changes happening (some for the good, some not so good) and wanted to inject some energy back into the sector.  So I took to social media:

    I decided to run a #MuseumMarathon – where anyone who signed up would walk to 26+ museums on the day to raise money for charity.  I didn’t know what museums or what charity but shared the idea anyway.  There was over 70 people who showed interest that week!

    Within a few weeks (ok maybe it was February?) things started to take a bit more shape.  Original charities such as raising money for Gay Pride and Arts Emergency (both great causes) were put aside for Autism in Museums – it’s not a charity but a very worth cause! (For the record, Gay Pride would be to raise money for museum people walking in the parade but found out that is sorted.) Read the rest of this entry »

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    February 26th, 2018mardixonCulture, Personal

    If you haven’t heard there will be another #MuseumMarathon in London on April 15th 2018.  We will be raising funds for Autism in Museum run by Claire Madge.  Here she explains why – and if you’d like to donate please see our Go Fund Me Page

    It was back in the mists of time, 2013 to be exact, I had barely gotten sucked into the museum world when I took part in the first Museum Marathon. I met Mar Dixon for the first time, along with a lot of other museum devotees.

    We walked to 26 London museums in one day, many of those museums I never even knew existed and we raised money for Guide Dogs for the Blind a charity chosen by the organiser David Mentiply. It was a tiring, fun filled, sore footed day and luckily for all you who missed out the first time we are going to do it all over again! 

    On the 15th April 2018 we will be visiting another 26-31 museums in one day (shout out to Mikaela Webb for working on the map!). Mar has decided to raise money for Autism in Museums which is fantastic. But since I am not actually a charity this has raised a few problems. After much careful thought and consideration any money raised will purchase sensory equipment that museums can apply for to either supplement their existing autism offer or support a more inclusive approach to welcoming autistic visitors. The money will also go towards supporting work experience placements for young autistic adults in museums.

    I will be putting together a panel of young autistic people aged 18-25 who will help decide how the money should be spent and where. I hope this will foster some long-lasting relationships between the autism community and the museum community.

    For those who know me this is a very important issue to my family. I have two autistic children and we visited museums for the first time because of the supportive autism programmes they run. I wrote a blog about our first visit to the Science Museum Early Birds Autism event – you can read it here, I hope it shows why autism in museums is so vital.

    Museum Marathon is going to be a great opportunity to meet new people, reacquaint yourself with old friends, visit a whole load of museums and have a truly amazing (tiring) day. If you are museum obsessed then this is the ultimate experience for you. If you do want to raise money for Autism in Museums please see the link Mar has set up, if you just want to join us on the day please don’t feel you have to donate money to be a part of Museum Marathon.

    I have spent the last five years working really hard to raise awareness of Autism in Museums because I can see the difference it makes to families who often feel isolated. I will be writing a series of blogs about how to apply for sensory equipment and how the money will be spent. If you are interested in getting involved in any way please get in touch with Mar or you can email me at TinctureofMuseum@gmail.com

     Thank you so much and see you on the 15th!!!!

     Claire Madge, Tincture of Museum

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