Dear Sir or Madam
I was an avid user of the museum before the lock-down, and in particular, the art galleries, and have really enjoyed the exhibitions over the last three years since my return from Spain, where I had been living for a year.
I was wondering though if it would be feasible to plan ahead and have some exhibitions to cover the areas of:
- Chinese paintings – maybe something to rival the ‘Masterpieces of Chinese Painting: 700-1900 put on at the V&A
- An exhibition of Henri Matisse and some of his contemporaries
- An exhibition of Leonora Carrington’s work,
- Willy Conor’s work based around the book Conor’s Attic, published by Ormeau Books
It is difficult to suggest areas which might be explored, as I have no idea what the current breadth of paintings and other artistic artefacts are held by the museum and its contemporary institutions which you could borrow from.
I am also very conscious of the terrible burden that the COVID 19 virus both in terms of finances and staffing, has had on institutions like yourselves.
I look forward to hearing from you in due time.
Today I received a lovely reply from the Ulster Museum.
Dear Mr McFarlane
Thank you for your interest and enquiry about future exhibitions. I have copied a number of colleagues into this reply so that your ideas and suggestions can be brought to their attention. If you would like to know more about the art collection at the Ulster Museum you can explore the Art UK website. Unfortunately as I am working remotely I can’t send you a link to this site on this email however I will try to send it separately.
With best wishes
What made this very satisfactory is that I made my first visit to the museum since ‘lock-down’. It was a surreal experience in that I had to book my visit first online, then on arrival, I had to queue to have my ticket validated and have the route explained as everything is one-way.
Obviously the standing exhibits have not changed, and whilst I did stop at one or two, I moved quickly on to see the art exhibitions which are always my main interest points.
In the main gallery, there is an exhibit of Ursula Burke ‘A False Dawn’ which is on display carried over from lock-down. Ursula’s work explores abuses of power in the social and political realms of the West (National Museums NI) The main room consists of busts and other individual pieces on separate stands. For me, it was interesting to look at the pieces and in particular the faces of what was white males and compare against that of the one black man’s head – the difference in the facial expression does stop you in your tracks and make you think.
There was another wonderful exhibition on art which had been produced before the realm of posters, postcards, television etc as a means of educating people about exotic places. Two striking pieces are those of Susanna Drury (fl.1733 – 1770) which she had painted of the Giant’s Causeway. It is even more poignant as the museum has pointed out that little is know about her.