The British Museum is now the world’s private collection

Agnes Martin gave us space to think beyond everything we see, what’s left when civilization is removed, before we impose language and thought, ‘My paintings are not about what is seen. They are about what is known forever in the mind’.

Agnes Martin Press Call, Tate Modern 2.6.15
Agnes Martin Press Call, Tate Modern 2.6.15

And so if Martin takes us outside time, provides the backdrop, the British Museum leads us through time, providing the props, wherever and whenever we want to set the play, the dressing room of civilization.

The museum’s objects play out, across vast distances and ostensibly disconnected cultures, our shared consciousness and show us humanity’s history. A history of diversity  and integration, overlaid with repeating, universal patterns, indicating that we are all united by the same underlying needs, truths and impulses, wherever we are, whatever our culture and religion.

At this time of earth-shaking social friction and division, whether or not we, as autonomous individuals, understand and respect the universal nature of humanity is now a matter of life and death.

Cue for the British Museum to open its curtains and show the world the world – how no one race or culture is without connection to another and how every dominant race or culture eventually recedes.

In answer to accusations of colonialist hoarding piracy, the British Museum is now entirely open to everyone. Via its new online gallery tour, anyone can see everything that real visitors can see. Be you a shepherd in Afghanistan, a Greek in Athens, an Aborigine in Australia, a skater in LA……If you have a screen and broadband that is…

In its own words:

“The more we can work with partners in the technology sphere, and the more we rise to the challenge of making our world a digital one, the greater will be our impact on community cohesion and understanding, domestically and internationally. Through technology, the Museum’s collection can become the private collection of the entire world. And so our great Enlightenment vision moves into a phase our founders in the 18th century couldn’t even have dreamed of.”

Read the museum’s blog article introducing the online gallery.

Egyptian dwarf god Bes,
Egyptian dwarf god Bes, protector of the family , childbirth and sexuality. 100 BC/AD. British Museum

 

A weekend with Agnes Martin

Pic of the window to the Turbine Hall, Tate Moders, London
The window to the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, reminds me of an Agnes Martin

As I stood in front of her works in her recent exhibition at the Tate I thought:

The Stars were and are like that, somehow. The Sea and Gratitude are like that, precisely, point for point and line for line. Here is a genius that transcends all previous attempts to capture beauty through art. She understands that beauty and nature cannot be trapped, nor can the complexity of their underlying symmetry be seen or understood. She shortcuts, with immeasurable generosity, to the harmony and ecstasy that can only be experienced through complete negation – shapes, curves, colours are all byproducts of the truth. Truth is infinitely simple and, being true, it is infinite.

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It is the function of the artist to evoke the experience of surprised recognition: to show the viewer what he knows but does not know that he knows. (William Burroughs)

Portrait of the artist sitting infront of her picture
‘My paintings are not about what is seen. They are about what is known forever in the mind.’