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Why art exhibitions are returning to domestic settings

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IN THE dining room at Kettle’s Yard, a lemon sits on a pewter dish. Replaced every week, it directs viewers’ eyes to the adjacent wall, where the yellow spot in a painting by Joan Miró gleams a little brighter. Illuminated by an everyday object, “Tic Tic” is one of the many artworks in Kettle’s Yard which proves that intimate and domestic spaces are the best places to appreciate art.

The Cambridge home of the late Jim Ede—a former curator at the Tate—and his wife Helen, Kettle’s Yard is filled with work by the likes of Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo and Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi and Elisabeth Vellacott. When the Edes donated their home and its collection to Cambridge University, their caveat was that it be left without labels or plaques; visitors view artworks as equals to the domestic collage of furniture, flowers and ornamental objects. The relationship between viewer and subject is solely personal: where one person is drawn to a glass sculpture by Gregorio Vardanega, another is pulled to the sprawling pot…Continue reading

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