What a joy it is to be able to say that the doors are open again to our great array of galleries, museums and other arts spaces and installations. As we ease our way back to normality there are still restrictions in place, and most venues will require that you book online, even when the event is free of charge.
While it might be considered an inconvenience of sorts, I would suggest that this is a good move. With limits on numbers it should make for viewing of exhibitions to be carried out in a more relaxed way, not having to jostle with crowds of people. This indeed might be an opportune time to take advantage of smaller numbers and get to enjoy some of our best-known galleries.
This week, my colleague Anne O’Donoghue has a number of very interesting suggestions for places to visit around the country. I will give you a few options to see if you take advantage of the opening up of inter-county travel and make a day trip to the capital city.
At the top of any list of places to see has to be the outstanding National Gallery of Ireland. In addition to housing an amazing permanent collection, it currently is hosting four special exhibitions. One of these is Living with art: Picasso to Celmins, a British Museum touring exhibition which ends on 7 June.
Spanning a century of modern art, this exhibition showcases highlights from the collection of Alexander Walker, a prolific collector of modern and contemporary prints and drawings who left his life’s work to the British Museum when he died in 2003. This collection is made up of 30 prints and drawings by artists ranging from Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse to Lucian Freud, David Hockney and Vija Celmins.
Permanent home to the Francis Bacon Studio, the Hugh Lane Gallery is another must-see venue in Dublin, and it currently does not require a booking to be made before you visit. From 2 June, for 10 weeks, it will host Maud Cotter’s exhibition a consequence of – a dappled world.
This is the Cork artist’s third iteration of a body of work developed over the past six years. Using everyday materials gathered from a variety of sources, she combines an apparent simplicity with a powerful sense of joy.
If you are planning to visit the National Gallery, it would be a good idea to make use of the fact that the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) Gallery in Ely Place is a short stroll away. It has five current exhibitions, and two of them feature artists with a global reputation. I am a particular fan of the work of Sean Scully, whose life journey was made into a terrific documentary. Meanwhile Robert Ballagh needs no introduction.
As I write, my favourite artistic spot in Dublin, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) at Kilmainham, has five exhibitions. Sadly Paula Rego’s works are only on view until Tuesday, but there are a couple of Lucian Freud exhibitions that will end in the first week of August, bringing to a close their five-year stay in Dublin. Time is running out and I envisage it will be impossible to get tickets for the closing weeks.