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.
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.
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!
Museum Assistant (and her Companion) has just returned from a short trip to Madrid, and is ready to tell you a bit about what did she manage to see there in just two days! Madrid is a huge city, but once you find an accommodation in the very city center (like we did), you are able to squeeze a lot into your visiting plan, even if you have just a couple of days. We arrived in Madrid late in the afternoon on Saturday, on Tuesday morning we headed for beautiful Toledo to spend a couple of hours there, and returned to Madrid in order to catch a bus back to Barcelona. So, as you can see, we had actually just two days to enjoy all that Madrid has to offer.
I’m a big Star Wars fan. My love for Star Wars is true and passionate — a kind of love typical for neophytes. I saw the original trilogy, as well as the prequels when I was 18, so I couldn’t say that George Lucas has shaped my childhood in any significant way. He did affect many of my relationships with people, though — I think that what Star Wars enthusiasts have in common is the strong feeling of being a part of a very special community.
It’s amazing how a decision that seems to be of no importance at all, can turn into a great experience. I chose to begin my Viennese museum marathon with Naturhistorisches Museum for a very simple reason: it was the only one that opens before 10:00 AM. Later on that day, while wandering through Joseph Cornell’s exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum, I realised that I couldn’t have planned it better.
I can’t think of a better way to begin the New Year than a short trip to some lovely place packed with museums — it has already become a tradition for me. Last year I spent a few remarkable days in London, one of those cities that are especially close to my heart. I’ve been there twice, and if someone told me I could go there right now, I’d be ready in, like, 30 seconds. My first visit to London was a real milestone in my cultural education. It was there that I fell in love with Mark Rothko, discovered that a collection of decorative arts can be truly fascinating (long live the V&A Museum!), and got obsessed with museum shops and all those pretty gadgets that I’d like to purchase, although I’m not quite sure if they are of any use. This year I headed for Vienna, a city that is a real treat for museum lovers.