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Visual Art 8/1/10

By Liz Baird

If early January seems a bit flat it’s a good opportunity to focus on things that lie ahead.

One of the best places to start is the new, modernised Ulster Museum. If you haven’t been yet it is a ‘must’ as soon as possible. There is so much to see and children love the interactive sections.

The art collection is excellent and, perhaps surprisingly, the Modern section, which was collected largely in the 60s, is one of the most important outside London. It’s interesting that at that time the contemporary work was considered challenging and experimental and few museums wanted to collect it. The Ulster Museum, however, had the |foresight to make a number |of purchases. This led to a certain notoriety for its daring acquisition policy.

The collection of Irish Art in general, which was started in the 40s and covers the period from the late 17th Century until the present day, is of national and international significance and forms the backbone of the collection. All of it is wonderful to browse around and if information is what you’re after there are plans for plenty of tours and talks over the next few months.

The first series of these will take place between January 13 and February 10 when Anne Stewart — the Curator of Fine Art — will conduct tours around the Sean Scully exhibition. Scully is probably Ireland’s most internationally celebrated artist and this exhibition, Constantinople or the Sensory Concealed, is a major retrospective charting his career from the early 70s to 2006 when his Wall of Light series showed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Scully’s works are full of layers, physically and metaphorically, and are complex in construction, and emotion. With around 60 paintings, as well as numerous works on paper, a tour by the Curator herself could hardly fail to be informative.

The tours are free but places are limited and are allocated on the day on a first-come, first-served basis.

elizabethobaird@googlemail.com

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