Exhibiting Strange Tendencies

A new exhibition at the Ashmolean which questions the experience of museum visiting.

'Pompey was decapitated in 48BC by a power-crazed Egyptian Eunuch on the Exotic Shores of the Nile Delta' reads the positively tabloid-style caption accompanying a bust wrapped in opaque plastic, lying next to an axe and oozing fake blood. Nearby two identical plastic models of Venus are labelled respectively, 'Do Not Touch' and 'Please Replace After Use'.

What kind of an exhibition is this? You may well ask. The answer is an exhibition, currently running at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, that sets out to question the experience of museum visiting, and the underlying assumptions behind both the presentation of material on display – and how it is received.

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