Category Archives: Museums & Galleries in Europe

Our pick of museums and gallerires in Europe, covering some well known, as well as lesser known European museums and galleries. Museums focusing history, art and science fiction to transport, folklore and even art fakes. Galleries featuring modern and traditional art.

Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness at Dundee Contemporary Arts

The Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness exhibition runs until the 27 May 2018 at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA).

It is a exhibition of works by various artists, curated by John Walter.

I really liked the exhibition. There were several colourful sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle, whose work I have saw at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice, France.

Andrew Logan’s sculptures, constructed with broken tiles, mirrors, jewels, resin and glitter, appealed to me. The head in the cage below reminded me of Louise Bourgeois’ cells, which I’ve seen at Tate Modern in London. Although Logan’s subject looked a lot happier, and more glamourous, than the occupants of Bourgeois’ cells.

If you’re in Dundee, why not take a look at Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness at DCA. It’s free to enter. It’s open every day from 10.00 to 18.00, with late opening until 20.00 on Thursday. My Dad is a fan of the Jute Cafe Bar at DCA.

Visiting the Dovecoat Studios in Edinburgh

If you are interested in art, especially textiles, I recommend a visit to the Dovecoat Studios in Edinburgh. They are located in Infirmary Street, around a ten minute walk from Waverley Railway Station. The building was formerly a public baths.

I loved the installation in the stairwell.

There’s a viewing gallery where you can look down on the works in progress in the weaving studio. There’s also information on various commissions on the walls of the viewing gallery.

There’s usually an exhibition. When I visited it was Daughers of Penelope, which showcased the work of female weavers and artists. There’s also a cafe at the Dovecoat Studios.

Carmen Thyssen Museum Malaga Spain

In the Spanish city of Malaga, most museums are free to enter on Sunday in the late afternoon/evening. I was torn between the Picasso Museum and the Carmen Thyssen. Both museums were free from 5pm, the Picasso closed at 7pm and the Carmen Thyssen at 8pm. I’d been warned that I might have to queue for more than 30 minutes to get into either museum. As I didn’t want to stand in queues for more than one hour, I decided to stick to one, the Carmen Thyssen, in order to see the work of a variety of Spanish artists.

I had to queue for 40 minutes to get into the Carmen Thyssen. It appeared that the staff were only permitting a few visitors to enter every few minutes.

Below are some of my favourites pieces from the permanent collection at the Carmen Thyssen.

Carmen en Malaga by Mercedes Lasarte

Landscape at Hernrn by Dario do Regoyos

Avila by Aureliano de Beruete y Moret

Seascape: View of the Bay of Palma de Mallorca by Antonio Munoz Degrain

Rocks at Javea and the White Boat by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

Flamenco Dance by Ricard Canals i Llambi

Valencians by Julia Vila y Prades

Cattle Fair at Salamanca by Franscisco Iturrino

Composition Nude by Celso Lagar

The Baths at Seville by Francesco Iturrino

I could see similarities between some of the pieces at the Carmen Thyssen and paintings by the Scottish Colourist John Fergusson, one of which you can see below.

At My Studio Window at the Fergusson Gallery in Perth, Scotland

Landscape at Dusk with Denatzaris by Valentin de Zubiaurre

I had read that the Carment Thyssen had a roof terrace, so went out there to have a seat and a break.

Even if you are not into art, it’s worth visiting the Carmen Thyssen on a Sunday evening to sit on the terrace, between the flowers and under the huge bell tower.

The Port of Malaga by Manuel Barron y Carillo

Atrium of St Paula Convent by Manyuel Garcia Rodriguez

The Cordoba Fair by Julio Romero de Torres

Courting Spanish Style by Jose Garcia Ramos

Dance for the Priest by Juan Garcia Ramos

I happily spent two hours at the Carmen Thyssen and left feeling vindicated in the choice to focus on one free museum.

Above Below Beyond by Janeanne Gilchrist at the Fergusson Gallery, Perth, Scotland

When I visited the Fergusson Gallery in mid November 2017, it was the day before the Above Below Beyond exhibition was due to open. The photographer Janeanne Gilchrist is the recipient of the 2018 Fergusson Arts Award.

These underwater images were taken by Gilchrist when free diving off the Scottish coast.

The Above Below Beyond exhibition at Perth’s Fergusson Gallery runs until the 13th of April 2018.

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art Porto

The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art was high on my must-visit list in Porto. The museum is located to the west of the city centre. Fortunately, there was a direct bus from close to our apartment.

There’s a 10 Euro admission fee to the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, which includes admission to Serralves Park. As I had a Porto Card, I received a 25% discount on the entrance charge.

I started my visit in the PHOTOstructurism exhibition.

I loved the lights suspended from the ceiling above the library.

My favourite exhibition was the Serralves Collection 1960-1980.

I liked a couple of the painting by Ethiopian artist Julie Mehretu.

I really appreciated that the building, by architect Alvora Siza, made the most of the location withe some large picture windows.

As I didn’t spot any restaurants in the vicinity of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, I decided to have lunch in the museum restaurant. I sat inside, as I didn’t want any exposure to the sun. I had a table by the window which overlooked the park.

It cost 17 Euro for a very tasty buffet including a small bottle of sparking water.

I have to admit that I wouldn’t rate Serralves that highly among the European museums of contemporary art which I’ve visited. The building is beautiful, I just wasn’t impressed by many of the pieces being exhibited.

Visiting the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis in Porto

I visited the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis in Porto on a Sunday when I thought that it was free to enter. It was rather embarassing as when I sauntered in, a member of staff came after me saying that I had to pay an admission fee. I turned out that free admission is only on the first Sunday of the month.

As I had a Porto Card, I received a 50% discount on the standard adult charge of 5 Euro.

I went out to the museum’s garden upon arrival. There was beautiful blue tiling on the walls and some outdoor seating for cafe customers.

I would’ve liked to sit in the garden for a few minutes, but In the upper part of the garden there was only one bench which was in the sun.

Below is a selection of my favourites at the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis.

The Yellow Skirt by Joaquin Lopes

Boats to Dischare into the River Douro by Joaquin Lopes

D Maria Bridge View of the City of Porto by Eduardo Viana

Old Porto by Dordio Gomes

Mother and Daughter by Sarah Alfonso

Lisbon by Joao Hogan

View of Portalegre by Miguel de Cantaloupe Barrias

Meditation by Manuel D’Assmupcao

Girls by Antonio Quadros

Self Portrait by Jose Tagarro

Baiser by Ernesto Canto Da Maya

Decorative Arts section

View to garden from landing

There were a lot of paintings that were too traditional and dark for my personal taste at Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis. I most enjoyed some of the more contemporary pieces.

Daughters of Penelope Exhibition at the Dovecoat Studios Edinburgh

The Daughters of Penelope exhibition at the Dovecoat Studios in Edinburgh runs until 20 January 2018. The exhibition features work by various female weavers and artists.

Below are some of my personal favourite pieces.

‘True Love (Her)’ and ‘True Love (Him)’ were very striking.

‘Shadow series 1-18’ is a piece by Finnish textile artist Aino Karjaniemi. She describes her work as “impressionism in tapestry”.

‘Moss circle/square by Caroline Dear had an ethereal feel.

TI’d have liked to walk through Caroline Dear’s ‘Soundings iv – hearing the reed’s voice’.

Joanne Soroka was the most prolific artist on display at the Daughters of Penelope exhibition at the Dovecoat Studios.

I loved the textures in Soroka’s ‘For Irene Sendler’ tapestry.

‘Water of Life’ is a early piece by Soroka dating from the 1980s.

Another exhibit by Soroka was ‘quick, slow’.

When I first saw Maureen Hodge’s ‘Field of Endeavour, Territory II‘ it made me think of WW1 graves. I watched a video by the creator and learnt that the tapestry was a commission for the new Scottish Parliament building in 2004, in which Hodge examined the concept of home.