The Museum of Everything is perhaps one of my best finds since moving to London two years ago. Its former incarnation was tucked away down a side road in the quite unlikely and rather flash setting of Primrose Hill. They are a corporation who celebrate unknown and obscure artists, exhibiting their work in haphazard and cobbled together ways.
They generally do a new exhibition each year, here is my review of the last one, which was rather splendi
Whats most refreshing about the Museum of Everything is its total disregard for capital gain. You make a donation to a gallery volunteer when you go in in exchange for a sticker and after you have finished looking around you can go and have an almost free coffee or tea in the cafe. Quite a break from £3 lattes in the likes of other London galleries.
I left feeling quite inspired and proceeded to take a number of friends and relatives there to experience the same. You can imagine then, the general excitement at the announcement of Exhibition #4, promised to celebrate more self-taught artists work from around the planet. The only puzzling aspect is that this time the exhibition is not in the usual cosy Primrose Hill abode but in fact in Selfridges. Eh?
Dont get me wrong, I am not anti-yellow bag, I am very fond of Selfridges and their window displays in particular but this just seemed like a very unusual marriage, and it was.
Outside, The Museum of Everything took over a few of the Selfridges windows, the flashiness of the store coupled with the thrown-together look of Everything's cardboard cut outs and hand drawn signs didn't really grab the attention very much. You then follow some white and red signage down to the basement where the 'Ultralounge' is located, which is basically the whole Primrose Hill set up, moved into the middle of a department stall. It was crammed with 400 paintings, etchings, sculpture and collage, all in the trademark homegrown style. It wasn't as much of a visual feast as Exhibition #3 with all it's fairground glossiness and stuffed animal intrigue but we still left feeling inspired to pick up a paintbrush which is surely the point. As usual entry was a donation and a sticker. All good so far.
The curators then direct you upstairs to 'The Wonder Room' which houses 'The Shop of Everything' which gave us a shock. Despite still being able to cash in on the 'almost free' coffee the shop was otherwise crammed with as much overpriced merchandise based on the exhibition that the marketing team and sponsors Cass Art could possibly dream up. There were dresses with prints of the paintings on, £1 postcards, sketch pads, skateboards and themed stationary. It also seemed like all the polished signage and pretty packaging was saved for the shop rather than the museum which should surely be the main attraction?
I don't know what the deal is with them and Selfridges, maybe Selfridges are raking in the profits from the shop in return for providing the impressive exhibition space but it all seems very odd to me, particularly as MOE is a registered charity.
I couldn't help leaving massively disappointed in my favourite gallery, wondering why Primrose Hill is no longer good enough for them when it matched it's ethos perfectly and people came from far and wide to sniff it out.