Cunningly, I snuck the key phrase into the very opening paragraph:
‘Generally, museums put on exhibitions so that people can learn about things they don’t already know. The Wellcome Collection does almost the reverse: it prefers to start with something that is familiar – in this case, skin – and make it unfamiliar.’
Skin is another very good exhibition from the Wellcome, who stand almost unique among British galleries and museums as a body that is so rich they have no requirement to go cap-in-hand to the public purse or to private sponsors, and consequently have no need or desire to dumb down or exhibit tedious ‘blockbusters’ (I’m looking at you, British Museum) in a bid to pull a cash-and-existence-justifying audience through the door.
Few establishments are so fortunate and few curators would know what to do with themselves if given this sort of creative and intellectual freedom.
Arts funding is going to take a proper kicking over the next few years. The Wellcome Collection will provide rare shelter from the storm, and one with free wi-fi, a bookshop and Peyton & Byrne cakes. What more can you ask for?