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.
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.
Hello everyone! Museum Assistant is finally back from her cultural rehab (which lasted way too long, won’t you agree?). I spent two exceptionally busy weeks in Poland, with no slightest chance of finding a moment or two to try the current offer of museums and galleries in Krakow. It’s a shame, as for some time already May has been one of the most diverse and lively months of the cultural calendar in Krakow. There is a bunch of huge cultural festivals taking place in May, only to mention Krakow Photomonth Festival, Krakow Photo Fringe, Copernicus Festival, or Netia Off Camera International Festival of Independent Cinema. You really should pity me, guys, for I missed out on an awful lot of (presumably attractive) cultural events. Here are some of the exhibitions I DIDN’T SEE and events I DIDN’T PARTICIPATE IN while I was in Krakow:
Yesterday was my first Diada de Sant Jordi (cat. St. George’s Day), one of the greatest celebrations I’ve seen in Barcelona so far. Are you familiar with the legend of St. George? It features everything that comes to one’s mind when thinking of a proper medieval ballad: a dragon, a sword, a knight, and a princess. The story begins with a city of Silene, in which one bloodthirsty dragon delighted so much, that it decided to arrange its nest on the spring that provided water for the whole town. Every time the citizens wanted to collect water from the spring, they would offer the dragon a sheep, and if they were lacking one, there was only one substitute: a virgin maiden. As poor virgins were chosen by drawing lots, there was little to be done when the selected maiden happened to be the princess. Luckily enough, just as she was about to be presented to the dragon, Saint George appeared, and protecting himself with a sign of the cross, slaughtered the dragon with a sword, and freed the princess. It is believed that out of the dragon’s blood a beautiful scarlet rose bush bloomed. That’s why in many places (including Catalunya), the St. George’s day is known as the day of a book & a rose. Women are given red roses by their partners or friends, and in return, they are expected to give them books.
Last week I was spending most of my time online on Twitter, in order to catch up with one of the biggest international social media events dedicated to museums and culture — the #MuseumWeek2016. 7 days, 7 different themes, 7 hashtags, and thousands of participants from all around the world — museums, foundations, cultural centres, curators & museum professionals. The idea of encouraging museums to spend a whole week sharing their secrets and connecting with their followers was born two years ago in France. At first, the participants of #MuseumWeek were European institutions only, but as the event turned out to be a great success, the next edition became global.