Coincident but not causal on our arrival in the city, Dublin was announced as a UNESCO City of Literature; not sure what that will actually mean but I have observed in this and previous visits that it does seem to have a lot of readers – it is noticeable that many more people seem to read books in public places, parks and cafes. Anyway, as it was a shortbreak, my only literary tourism was a visit to the Chester Beattie Library; European Museum of the year in 2002, this is a must certainly for visual poets with its magnificent collection of rare and ancient manuscripts.
My only gallery experience was my habitual return to the Douglas Hyde Gallery.
The gallery has unusual but interesting levels and is always very thoughtfully hung. On this visit I saw Dana Schutz’s Tourette’s Paintings and a tiny display of photography (+ 1 painting) by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. The latter was mildly interesting with its hinted at Secessionist outsider aesthetic in the exotic photos of his wife, but was also slightly disappointing as the brochure talked about his massive range of activity so the show was inhabited by its absence. I didn’t think I was going to like the Schutz paintings and certainly some of them didn’t quite work, mainly because there was on occasion a sense that she didn’t know when to stop painting so that especially some of the backgrounds were over-decorated. But the interweaving of art historical references with the visceral dysfunction, irrational jerks, the human humiliations, and the contradictorily sweet colours made it a show I was pleased to see.