Closed on Mondays

I have just done a Zoom talk with Dinah Casson and Frances Spalding about Dinah’s lovely, short, interesting book, Closed on Mondays, a meditation on themes and variations connected to her career as a museum designer; and now, of course, I’ve remembered all the things I meant to ask her.

Her book starts with windows and it is striking how the museums which people like the most – Louisiana, the Gulbenkian in Lisbon, the Guggenheim in Venice, Hepworth Wakefield, all have views out, so feel part of the world instead of just being a laboratory for art. Then, I wish she had done more about museum cloakrooms. The National Gallery in London used to have a cloakroom in its front entrance, but Dixon.Jones put it downstairs, based on the model of the National Gallery in Washington – services in the basement, art upstairs. Her book makes me want to see what she did at Lascaux. I don’t think anyone minds reproductions when they are forbidden to see the original and the mood may change now we can’t so easily travel the world, which was, of course, why the Victorians liked casts.

It should have been two hours, instead of one, and then we could have heard from all those fellow museum designers in the audience

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