On Friday I went to the opening of the stunning new “Kiss and Tell” exhibition at Christchurch Mansion, writes Council Leader, David Ellesmere.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is Auguste Rodin’s iconic sculpture “The Kiss”, on loan to Ipswich from the Tate Gallery.
This is a real coup for Ipswich. The Kiss has never been exhibited in Suffolk before. This show is of such significance that it ran as a feature by BBC arts editor Will Gompertz on the national BBC news on Friday.
It is the fruit of many years of successful collaboration between our amazing museums’ staff and national museums and galleries that has seen us attract other major exhibitions such as Wolsey’s Angels and Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows.
It shows that, when it comes to the arts, Ipswich is punching well above its weight and is getting noticed on the national stage.
We saw this recently with the Clarion Call artwork which gained Ipswich international attention.
It doesn’t matter that not everyone liked it. Great art is meant to be challenging.
The Kiss was a hugely controversial sculpture when it was first exhibited in Britain. Is was given to Lewes Town Council but they handed it back after a campaign by some local residents who thought it was indecent. I bet they are regretting that now!
The other great thing about “Kiss and Tell” is that it includes so many works from Ipswich’s own collections.
Like most museums, we only have space to display a tiny fraction of the objects we own. This exhibition, and a generous donation by the Friends of Ipswich Museums to pay for conservation work, has enabled us to put some of these on display.
I’m pleased that even more objects from our collections will be on display next month when another new exhibition opens at the High Street Art Gallery featuring 100 works by women artists owned by the council to mark 100 years since women got the vote.
This was made possible by a £16,000 grant from the Government – another great win from our museums team.
The “Kiss and Tell” exhibition is open until April and admission is free. Don’t miss it!