There are few places in London that keep me going back to them and Museum of Everything has definitely become one of them since it’s opened back in October. It’s located in Chalk Farm just off Regent Park Road, which is one of the most quaint streets in north London. The street serves as a good ‘afterparty’ location for the museum with its cosy cafes and little restaurants (one of my favourite discoveries is Troika, a medium-sized cafe restaurant that serves delicious Russian food, cakes and tea). When you pass the bridge at the top of the road remember to look to your right to see another sight – the lone standing group of skyscrapers against the bridge’s graffiti.
Museum of Everything is filled with what it calls ‘outsider art’, i.e. art created by people living outside of artist societies and anyone from jailbirds to janitors can be found among the artists. I really like the idea of ‘outsider art’ actually whether the museum is about it or not – in a way I think that seeing art created by those who didn’t have the luxury of being an artist is even more interesting than seeing the art conceived by those surrounded by it on a daily basis. Could it not also be more relevant to real life and have the chance of being more original since it’s not plugged into any art trends or pressures?
For these artists there are o studios, no press junkets, no art fairs, no magazine spreads. Instead there are treasure troves of untrained work, discovered under rocks, in basements and attics, its creators often unaware their art would ever see the light of day.
James Brett, the founder, says that the ‘outsider art’ is not much but a catchphrase and that the art that’s inside the museum is there because it’s just interesting. In our short phone conversation he also said that art is normally too pre-occupied with big ideas and that the art world might be too caught up in itself, perhaps like a patient who is so focused on analysing his problems that he becomes unable to overcome them.
The Museum of Everything is located in an old dairy factory and with its warehouse feeling really reminds me of Shunt in some ways. The rooms are filled with intricate decor, windy corridors and an impressive array of art pieces. The collection ranges from mosaic sculptures and miniscule illustrations to temples made out of transistors to somewhat resemble Lost City structures. The first exhibition includes the first public show of Henry Darger’s artwork and was curated by a group of renown artists from Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker to Eva Rothschild.
Entry to the museum and all events held there are free – in fact, the entire organisation runs on donation. The setup has its flaws though – the museum is not getting enough donations at the moment and might have to start charging for tickets in the future.
So anyway, hurry up, go see it, have some tea and be generous when you leave!
You can find the Museum of Everything on Twitter too at @Musevery.
[Image courtesy of Christoffer Rudquist]