Is the Soul for Sale? The Museum of Everything: Exhibition #4

Posted on August 21, 2011


This article was originally written for MouthLondon magazine

It all began back in 2009 with Exhibition #1 (ambitiously named, you might think). The Museum of Everything‘s first exhibition was comprised of a collection of artworks created by relative unknowns, but chosen by leading artists, curators and cultural figures, such as Grayson PerryJarvis Cocker and Nick Cave. This innovative exhibition of ‘outsider art’ was called “one of the most unmissable art exhibitions in recent memory”.

Exhibition #2 followed shortly, in May 2010. This time the project was invited away from its home, an old dairy in Primrose Hill, by the “gods of the art world”: Tate Modern. All the unknown artists of Great Britain were asked to submit their artwork, which were then exhibited for three days in the Turbine Hall. The exhibition, also dubbed: No Soul for Sale: A festival of independentsdivided critics. Jonathan Jones callously described it as: “Not so much a festival of independents as a carnival of jerks.”

Later that year, with Exhibition #3, The Museum of Everything changed tack a little and exhibited the lifetime collection of art and artefacts of Sir Peter Blake. It was the project’s most successful exhibition to date. I reviewed Exhibition #3 for MouthLondon. I found this haphazard exhibition intriguing and even somewhat charming, although the treatment (or lack there of) of some of the more controversial items in the collection left me feeling a little uneasy.

Soon to open, Exhibition #4 is seeing another trip away from home and into a major London institution – this time to Selfridges. From 2 September, Selfridges will be showcasing over 200 drawings, paintings and sculptures by international contemporary artists. Meanwhile, on the ground floor, The Shop of Everything will be selling boutique goods that will “benefit the museum and its artists”.

Is the soul now for sale? You’ll have to brave Oxford Street to find out.