Top Culture Picks 04.03.21

Published on: 
4 March 2021

Art historian, John Francis, our guest editor gives his weekly 'Top culture picks'.

Staying in Lancashire, we travel up the road to Bolton Museum and Art Gallery in the former cotton mill town.

The recent exhibition Richard Slee: Mantlepiece Observations is a fabulous trinity of three different institutions. Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Museum of the Home and The Mass Observation Archive. Together they give us a fascinating insight into the domestic mantelpiece and what we put on it. The exhibition's themes cover the everyday, the surreal and the humorous.

TAKE A VIDEO TOUR. There are 4 videos to choose from. I recommend 'Influences' video (17 mins), an entertaining and informed interview with one of Britain’s leading ceramic artists: Richard Slee and Sonia Solicari of the Museum of the Home.

BE INTRIGUED by what the nation puts on its mantelpiece and why. Richard Slee is inspired by The Mass Observation Archive documents of 1937. Surrealism was new to Britain at that time and the ceramic artist takes the movement as a starting point for his often humorous work.

STROLL AND SCROLL down to the illuminating ‘Humphrey Spender and Surrealism’ video (5 mins). Richard Slee examines the sometimes surreal photography of the social realist photographer, Humphrey Spender, whose work is shown alongside the Mantlepiece Observations.

Richard Slee