@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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    July 24th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal, Tech

    As Charlotte finally had a summer where she didn’t have to study for anything, we decided a few days in Paris was long overdue. (a huge thanks to Aube and family for letting us stay in the gorgeous flat near Notre Dame!)

    Day One:

    Walking Paris. We had a little idea of what we wanted to do in Paris but seeing Eiffel Tower was of course on the list. As it was so sunny out, and the best way to see any city is to walk, we decided a stroll through Paris would be perfect. And it was even if it was a day with almost 16kms… Seeing all the cute side streets that we would have missed on the bus (or the newest fun mode of transport is the electric scooters) was a bonus.

    Have to say there was a huge difference from the last time we went to see Eiffel Tower as not as many pushy sellers. They also changed the way you access it if you wanted to go up (we’ve been up a few times so just wanted to see it).

    Day Two:

    Another full on day with walking but Charlotte was saved as we had to get back to watch the World Cup. We started at Notre Dame which is free to enter and the queue moves rather quickly.

    We then headed to Saint Chapelle, a Holy Chapel that was intended to house Christian relics including Christ’s crown of thorns. The stained glass have 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments. 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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    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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    May 31st, 2017mardixonCulture

    Today we attended the Canaletto & the Art of Venice at Queen’s Gallery. Rachel has provided this guest blog – hope you enjoy!

    Canaletto, a unique artist, captures the beauty of Italian architecture and city scenes from the 18th Century, which we are able to still enjoy and recognise today.

    This morning, Lucy Whitaker, Senior Curator of Paintings at the Royal Collection Trust of the Queens Gallery (part of Buckingham palace) gave a tour of the Canaletto exhibition.

    She informs us that while 18th century’s Venice was no longer the political powerhouse  it used to be after Napoleon invaded, the City of Venice was still in its last great century of glory. This exhibition celebrates Venice at that time and the artist Canaletto forms our idea of Venice as we see it through his eyes.

    Whitaker explains that Canaletto might not have been so successful without the support of Joseph Smith, a British merchant and art collector and dealer who lived in Venice and became an avid collector of his work.

    Because of Smith, Canaletto’s work travelled across Europe and was especially popular with the British aristocracy who were particularly drawn to the city of carnivals, music and costumes.

    As we enter the exhibit, we are greeted with two great paintings of a Regatta on the Grand Canal on Ascension day in Venice. The paintings reveal the grandeur of the Regatta, as gondolas float under the Rialto Bridge.  This day was a great festival, to which many British hurried across Europe to see. A ring would be thrown into the sea from a gilded barge, a symbolism of Venice’s maritime power at that time.

    Because Joseph Smith was close to Canaletto and was his biggest supporter, he commissioned a series of six drawings of Venice in 1723. Smiths collection in the end contained 200 pieces of Canaletto’s work when Smith finally sold his collection for £20,000 to George III.

    Now the pictures are at the Royal Collection gallery infrared images have been done to see the meticulous drawings Canaletto made underneath in the process of producing his paintings.

    The gallery has made the exhibit so it seems as if you are moving through personal Palazzo of Smith. He had earned his fortune from trade and lived in Palazzo Balbi, near the Rialto, which Canaletto later included in one of his Venice paintings. Later in the exhibit there are also paintings of Rome that Canaletto completed from some sketches and his memory, while living in England many years later.

    Unlike British tourists,  Venetians didn’t buy the work of Canaletto as they didn’t like the typical views and city sights that he often depicted. In this time paintings of history and mythology were the most prestigious paintings.

    This exhibition shows however characteristics that link Canaletto with the other artists of his time by revealing his amazing knowledge of oil painting techniques.

    Alongside Canaletto’s stunning works is art work by the female artist Rosalba Carriera. It was unusual to have successful female artists at that time but she was also supported by Smith in the 1720’s. She started by painting Snuff boxes and then moved onto art pastels drawn in chalk, which became very popular. A good luck token, very common in the 18th-century, has been found hidden inside Rosalba Carriera’s pastel A Personification of Winter by Royal Collection Trust’s conservators.

    This is for me, the most beautiful of her paintings at the exhibit and I was drawn to it before knowing it was where she hid her good luck token. Hidden between the pastel’s wooden support and canvas liner, the token was found during conservation work.

    Instead of framing the good luck token, the Museum team decided to keep it on the frame of the Winter picture to preserve it’s good luck.

    A multimedia guide provided to all visitors is the perfect companion (2nd to a personal curator tour!) for interpreting the exhibition. A well written tour that presents interesting interviews and expert opinions, it’s another fine tour production from ATS Heritage.

    Royal Collection Trust/ © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

    The learning room was also a source of joy with different activities available for all ages.

    The exhibition is on from Friday, 19 May 2017  until Sunday, 12 Nov 2017.

    Rachel Rigby is a freelance travel and events journalist who is always looking for her next adventure. For more information contact her on rachelrigby@hotmail.com.

     

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    February 10th, 2017mardixonCulture

    It’s been awhile since I did a review and there are two amazing exhibitions I recently saw in London, the first was the David Hockey exhibition and second is Robots at the Science Museum.

    I was fortunate to be able to attend the David Hockney press preview whilst in London.  Normally press previews are very nice events that give you time to explore the art without a lot of people and fuss.  There is also a few talks, usually from the curator, sometimes it’s the press people.  And there is usually tea/coffee and biscuits.

    This press preview was completely different.

    It. Was. PACKED.  And I mean wall to wall with people writing, photographing and filming.  I was able to go through in my normal style, pretty rushed in each room, go back the opposite way and then through again to see what I missed.  The problem: normally I go into a room to find just one or two things I like (it something me and Charlotte have always done to avoid art fatigue) but with this exhibition that was impossible – I *liked* everything!

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 31st, 2013mardixonCulture

    IMG_6055Charlotte and I were able to take the Buckingham Palace State Room Tour last week with Laura from AboutLondon and her 7 year old daughter. Charlotte and I have never been inside Buckingham Palace so were very excited to have a tour let alone a tour which was also exhibited the special exhibition to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Coronation.

    Having been on the Windsor Castle tour, we knew to get the Children’s Audio guide (and we convinced everyone in our party to do the same).  The Children’s audio tour deals less with dates and facts and more with fun facts and trivia.

    The audio tour allows you to go through the State Rooms at a good pace and ensures you see the interesting paintings and other objects within the rooms.  The ushers are very sweet and mindful of dealing with children.

    What was very hard, but understandable, was the No photo policy in all but the exhibition room.  I’m a culture snatcher and love to take photos of everything!  However, this allowed me to put my phone away and appreciate the tour more. Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 26th, 2013mardixonCulture, International

    IMG_0505While in Philadelphia I was invited to visit Chemistry Heritage Foundation as my sister Darlene Cavalier, who runs Sci Starter,  had a meeting there.  I went but must admit, I wasn’t looking forward to it (I can say that now that I’m 3500 miles away again).

    A museum on chemistry?  Really?  It just sounded like watching paint dry.  Even when I walked in I remember saying ‘well this isn’t going to take me long…’

    Boy was I ever wrong! 

    Chemistry Heritage Foundation (CHF) has turned into one of my favourite museums on so many different levels.  Read the rest of this entry »

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    December 7th, 2012mardixonCulture

    On the train journey down to London, I was reading the Metro (free paper) when I was reminded the Design Museum has a new exhibition.  I tweeted the article as it looked interesting – and the Tweet had people asking me more about it. So I decided to head over to Design Museum to see the exhibition.

    Unexpected Pleasurers: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery – runs until 2 March

    Have to be honest:  I don’t really care about jewellery.  Nor am I a fan of fashion (ahem).  I’m not even a huge design fan (although Thomas Heatherwick has been changing my opinion).

    You don’t have to be any of these things to appreciate the exhibition as it goes beyond the fashion item into the thought-process of the design and the value contemporary jewellery brings to our society. Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 21st, 2012mardixonCulture

    I recently attended my second London Ambassador training day in London recently.  One of the areas we touched based on was apps that could help us while we were on duty.  This was when I was first introduced to Hailo Cab – an app to help you hail a cab in London.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 15th, 2012mardixonCulture

    The way that I found about the new Damien Hirst exhibition was about 4 weeks ago when I saw the Tate exhibition on a documentary. I already knew about him but this got me more interested in him.

    On Saturday, my mom and I got to go to the exhibition – I was jumping for joy! The exhibition fills 14 rooms over one floor except for one special piece. When we went in there was a lot of people and the first thing I saw was the hair dryer pushing up the golf ball [What Goes Up Must Come Down, 1994].  But I didn’t care about that because I went right to Dead Head [With Dead Head, 1991] which is a picture of Damien with a dead head.  Damien didn’t kill the man – I think the man donated his body to science but a lot of people still thought it was wrong.  I didn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

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