We have to admit that we fell down on the job and didn’t cover much of the opening of the Museum of Everything, London’s new showcase for Outsider art. Subconscious ambivalence or just oversight? Who knows. But to make amends, let’s let Kate Sutton tell about her visit in ArtForum:
HAILING A CAB to Primrose Hill last Tuesday for the opening of the modestly titled Museum of Everything, one of many events coinciding with the Frieze Art Fair, I found the queue to get in stretching around the block, with rumors of an estimated forty-minute wait. Thankfully, I’d had the foresight to share my cab with a prominent London dealer––it helps to have an in when it comes to outsider art––and we were discreetly shuffled inside.
The Museum of Everything was masterminded by collector James Brett, who invited noteworthy figures from Hans Ulrich Obrist and Jeremy Deller to Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker to curate selections from his enormous collection of “outsider” art. The museum had been attracting plenty of attention over the week, with a delightfully silly (and ubiquitous) advertising campaign that included a pin-peddling nun stationed outside the entrance to Frieze.
Inside, all manner of self-taught art covered the walls (and ceilings) in a dazzling display that demanded a second trip—minus the crowd. As it was, there were art-world insiders as far as the eye could see (which wasn’t actually that far, given the crush of faux couture). The space, a former dairy, was divided by strange stairwells and narrow hallways, making navigation near impossible—a leitmotif of the week.
At one point, when wedged between a stairwell and a mop-haired New York dealer, Museum of Old and New Art curator Olivier Varenne came to my aid. “Here, drink this,” he said, thrusting a tall blond cocktail into my hand. Given the atmosphere, I half-expected moonshine or some magic Carrollian drink; whatever it was, it was appallingly palatable, heightening the giddy dizziness of the evening.
Everything Counts (ArtForum)