Hi there! My name is Olga Grodniewicz and I'm an Art Curator & Museum Professional currently based in Barcelona. I've been in love with museums ever since I can remember - that's why I decided to get started with this blog. I'd like to become your personal Museum Assistant. I am here to share my passion for museums with you. Email me at: olga[at]yourmuseumassistant.com
New year, new beginnings, new ideas, so… I have something special for you! I’d like to get started with a new series on the blog, a one called walkie-talkie. Why so? Because it will be a record of my conversations with people who accompany me while I travel or visit museums. We walk, and we talk. The first person I’m going to introduce to you is Kinga Lubowiecka, artist, photographer, and art curator based in Oxford, UK. Kinga graduated from The Ruskin School of Art in Oxford. Shortly after graduation, she decided to spend some time in her hometown of Krakow (Poland) and she started off with her own independent art gallery called theGreenroom.
It’s been a year today since I decided to introduce myself to you as Museum Assistant. It’s been a good year (and a pretty intense one). I quit my job, I moved over 3000 km away from home, and I started learning a new language. I had a chance to travel a lot: Vienna, Barcelona, Madrid, London, Oxford. I’ve seen several fantastic exhibitions — Bosch. The 5th Centenary Exhibition at Museo del Prado in Madrid, Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Star Wars Identities at MAK Museum in Vienna, two stunning photographic shows (Bruce Davidson and Hiroshi Sugimoto) at Fundación MAPFRE in Barcelona. I fell in love with a couple of places I wouldn’t expect to enjoy that much.
The most wonderful time of year has arrived at last! I’d like to wish you all, my Dear Readers, that these beautiful days may be merry, peaceful, filled with joy and laughter. I sincerely hope that mine will be just as described (although I’m fighting a pretty nasty flu at the moment). Let us fill ourselves with good vibes, spend time with our loved ones, and get ready for the new year that’s approaching faster than I expected. Museum Assistant will soon be celebrating its first birthday, can imagine?
When I heard that CaixaForum Barcelona is planning to open an exhibition displaying masterworks from the collection of Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid alongside those deposited in Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, I knew that’s something I better not miss. Having fresh memories of my visit to Museo Thyssen in Madrid, I sincerely hoped to see the highlights of their collection hanging on the walls of any color except for salmonish orange. Therefore, with a mix of excitation and anxiety, the very first day after the exhibition opened I headed for CaixaForum.
With Christmas time ahead, I suppose that most of you are already hunting for some gifts and stocking fillers for your loved ones, am I right? My advice is pretty simple: if you don’t want to buy another boring tie for your Dad, an absolutely unsurprising hand cream for your Mom, and not particularly creative gift card to a popular chain store for your Partner, visit your closest museum’s shop.
I’m a huge Charles Dickens fan. This year only I’ve read The Pickwick Papers, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities (okay, and an easy Catalan version of A Christmas Carol, let’s count that one, too). I love the juicy and vivid language that Dickens uses in his novels. How can a man develop such a vast, diverse vocabulary? It always astonishes me. I also adore the kind of mild irony that Dickens is an unquestionable master of; seldom is he sarcastic towards his characters, I would rather say that he usually comments on their trials and tribulations with a warm, fatherly smile on his face. He is so compassionate and tender about every human being that appears in his novels, no matter if he or she is a thief, a swindler, or an escaped prisoner. Moreover, Dickens is one of those authors whose writing triggers a kind of multisensory reaction. Every time Dickens’s heroes would celebrate Christmas dinner, or feast in a roadside inn, I couldn’t help getting terribly hungry, and I would end up fetching myself a chunky slice of bread with butter generously spread all over it. That’s what I call the power of literature.
Do you remember when I told you that London is one of those places where I could go at any time? Ever since I visited there for the first time, almost 10 years ago, I’ve been in love with London’s architecture, parks, restaurants, cultural offer, and just the kind of vibe that can’t be compared with an atmosphere of any other city. To start the whole series of posts focused on my recent short London adventure, today I’d like to show you a couple of non-museum related photos I took last week. Gee, I can’t believe it’s already been a week since I arrived at King’s Cross — St. Pancras Station, equipped with a borrowed camera and a copy of The Book of London Place Names by Caroline Taggart, and simply threw myself among my beloved crescents, mews, roads, and parkways. Here, enjoy.
One could easily think that Halloween arrived in Barcelona at least a month ago. The first spooky decorations appeared in the shop windows as soon as the beginning of October. Now that there are just a couple of days left until October 31, everywhere I go I see wickedly grinning pumpkins, thick cobwebs, and a whole arsenal of wizardry accessories. And you know what? It seems that all these artifacts do their job pretty well! I found myself in a somewhat creepy vibe, and I came up with an idea to prepare a set of Halloween inspirations for you.
Have I ever told you about my habit of searching for cheap flights to culturally attractive cities once in a while? I used to do it frequently on the dullest of dull days at work — you know, those days when the time stands still no matter how persistently you’re staring at your watch. My searchings usually intensify around October, with the pre-Christmas time ahead. I love late Autumn afternoons brightened up with a little help of street lanterns, pulsating neons, and garlands of tiny string lights. With this image in mind, two weeks ago I began my investigations, only to end up with a round-trip ticket to London for… 33 EUR! I couldn’t be more excited, especially with the perspective of visiting a couple of grand temporary exhibitions. Today I’d like to tell you a bit about my plans for those three days in London, as well as to ask you for your tips and recommendations. What would you do, where would you go if you were to spend three days in London? I’m all ears!
I was deeply, deeply saddened by the loss of Andrzej Wajda, one of the greatest film directors in the history of Polish cinematography. He passed away on Sunday afternoon, a few weeks after the premiere of his latest film Afterimage, telling the story of Władysław Strzemiński, famous Polish avant-garde painter and theoretician, founder of the Museum of Art in Łódź. As people all around the world pay tribute to the memory of Andrzej Wajda, I’d like to add a few words myself. I hope that he will be remembered not only as a groundbreaking film director, but also as a founder of one of the most important cultural institutions in Poland: the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Krakow.