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Archive for the ‘art exhibits’ Category

You can see two of the attic windows in this photo of Charleston taken in 2019.

I have been fascinated by attics since I was a little girl, when the bed in my childhood bedroom bumped up against the door to our home’s attic, where family treasures were left to collect dust.

Now, visitors to Charleston have the rare opportunity to visit that home’s attic, the former studio of Vanessa Bell and the site of a new free exhibit, “Near Heaven.” The title comes from a quote from Vanessa’s daughter Angelica Garnett, in which she explained how important the attic space was to her mother.

A steep climb to a place of escape

After a climb up two flights of steep and uneven steps, visitors can view this new exhibit by Langlands & Bell. It is billed as “exploring the space as an artistic refuge and a place of escape” and contemplation from the domestic demands Vanessa faced.

Lord knows they were many and pressing. Her letters housed in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library show the many domestic concerns Vanessa had to juggle — living arrangements, house guests, child rearing, and personality conflicts — all while creating art.

While entry to the free exhibit does not include a tour of the home itself or its other exhibitions, visitors can get a view of the home’s famous garden from the attic windows.

How to book

“Near Heaven” is the first contemporary exhibit ever to be installed at the house. While free, it does require booking a specific time slot. The exhibit is open from April 2 through Aug. 29. 

Charleston is based in the heart of the South Downs National Park in East Sussex, UK.

Another exterior view of Charleston, 2019

 

 

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So many wonderful events, performances, and exhibits related to the Bloomsbury Group take place in England. Here is another I wish I could view — and it’s free. “Beyond Bloomsbury: Life, Love and Legacy,” an exhibit that chronicles the “lives, loves and work” of the group opens at the Millennium Gallery of the Sheffield Museums Nov. 25 and runs until Feb. 13, 2022.

The Vanessa Bell portrait of Leonard Woolf that graces the cover of his biography by Victoria Glendinning is just one of the Bloomsbury Group portraits included in the exhibit.

Curated through a partnership between Sheffield Museums, York Museums Trust and the National Portrait Gallery, the exhibition includes portraits of those who were intimately associated with the Bloomsbury Group, along with their peripheral friends and colleagues.

More than 140 works

Beyond Bloomsbury brings together more than 140 paintings, sculpture, works on paper and supporting material to celebrate key figures, including Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. Most of the portraits included in the exhibit are informal and intimate.

It include paintings by Bell, Dora Carrington, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, sculpture by Marcel Gimmond and Stephen Tomlin, and drawings and photographs by Cecil Beaton, George Charles Beresford, Lady Ottoline Morrell and John Nash.

Get introduced at a tour

The gallery is offering two free lunchtime tours to introduce viewers to the exhibit. Titled “Beyond Bloomsbury,” they will be held from 1-1:45 p.m. on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14.

Sheffield Museums are located at Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 2PP.

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Have we killed the self-sacrificing Angel in the House? If an exhibit by photographer Lanie McNulty is to be believed, the answer is no.

Virginia Woolf advocated for such a death. In “Professions for Women” read to the Women’s Service League in 1931 and published posthumously in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942), she wrote that “Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer.”

A woman writer, she believed, had to kill off the respectable Victorian “angel,” popularized by Coventry Patmore in his 1858 poem. The angel, an ideal woman who lives to serve others, particularly males, neglects her own personal needs and certainly never considers herself to have any professional aspirations.

Pandemic forces women into angel roles

McNulty, a New York based photographer and social activist, was inspired by the current pandemic to turn her lens on domestic interiors. In doing so, she produced stunning photographs that depict women at home alone and with children, husbands, parents, and friends.

Created in collaboration with her subjects, McNulty’s photographs starkly expose what the pandemic year has made clearer than ever — that women play an outsized role trying to keep it all together. Her photos make up the exhibit “The Angel in the House.”

McNulty is not the first to make a play on the death of the angel for an artistic purpose. A literary journal titled Killing the Angel (pictured above) launched in 2013 but now appears to be defunct.

Exhibit and book

Now on display at New York’s Planthouse, The Angel in the House opened today and runs through Oct. 23 by appointment.

If you can’t make it to the exhibit, you can buy the book.

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Online art exhibit

Louisa Amelia Albani, whose pamphlet and companion exhibit on Virginia Woolf we featured in July, is currently holding an online art exhibition inspired by Woolf’s essay “Oxford Street Tide.” Take a look.

Online reading group

Starting Monday, Jan. 11, and running through Monday, April 12, 2021, Anne Fernald will lead a Zoom reading group dubbed “All Woolf” at the Center for Fiction, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit dedicated to fiction writing. The fee is $120 for four sessions, with an additional fee charged for books. Meetings begin at 6 p.m. EST.

Online view of The Bloomsbury Look

View “The Bloomsbury Look,” Saturday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. via a free virtual event with author Wendy Hitchmough as she speaks live from the Charleston studio to art historian Frances Spalding. The event will include the opportunity to submit questions live, and signed copies of The Bloomsbury Look are available to purchase through the Charleston online shop. However, the link to the event is not up right now, and unfortunately the book is out of stock.

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Not everyone can say they spent the 4th of July with Virginia Woolf. But Kathleen Donnelly and I can.

Three years ago, on July 4, 2017, Kathleen and I spent a day together in London. While there we visited a life-sized wax figure of Woolf on display in the foyer of the Virginia Woolf Building at 22 Kingsway at King’s College. It was installed Oct. 21, 2015, by artist Eleanor Crook.

Gaining entry

We were not able to walk right in, however, as entry to the building is secure. However, a kind security guard allowed us inside after noticing us standing out front with our noses pressed against the window. There, we were able to look around and take photos of the wax figure and the exhibit that surrounds it.

The location is significant, as Woolf was a student at the former King’s Ladies’ Department where she took classes in Greek, Latin, history and German between 1897 and 1902.

The Virginia Woolf display in the Virginia Woolf Building at King’s College, London, is straight up this set of stairs on the left.

The life-size wax figure of Virginia Woolf in a wardrobe of her own installed in the foyer of the Virginia Woolf Building at King’s College, London.

The Woolf figure holds a copy of “A Room of One’s Own” with a Vanessa Bell cover.

One panel in the Woolf display in the foyer of the Virginia Woolf Building at King’s College, London

A quote on a panel in the Woolf display in the foyer of the Virginia Woolf Building, King’s College, London

 

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