Sixty thousand people visited the revamped Ulster Museum over ten days…

This has been revealed by Tim Cooke the Museums’ chief, in Northern Ireland. Seventeen million pounds were spent bringing the Ulster Museum in Stranmillis into the 21st century. The highlight of the re-opening is Sean Scully‘s retrospective which has been afforded the museum’s entire art space. The Scully works date right back to the Seventies. It is the biggest exhibition of any internationally renowned artist to be seen in Belfast for more than thirty years.But one does not sense that the museum has been reconfigured architecturally. The interior feels more like a brand new modern museum one might find in Paris. This latest contribution to tourism in Belfast is destined to attract more people into Northern Ireland.

The re-opening of the Ulster Museum coincides with the restoration of several landmark buildings in the city. St. Malachy’s Catholic Church, St. Peter’s Cathedral, the City Hall, and the Ulster Hall all add up to many reasons why Belfast is well worth seeing. The city started a limited cultural renaissance with the coming on stream of the Waterfront Hall.

  • The Raven

    It’s superb. It isn’t MOMA or the Guggenheim, but really, for the money they spent, they’ve done a great job.

    One low-light though:

    “The highlight of the re-opening is Sean Scully‘s retrospective which has been afforded the museum’s entire art space.”

    Shudder…if that’s the best that was on offer, it was truly pants. Quote from a passerby: “where’s the art at?”

  • parallaxCo

    Very disappointing not seeing more of the permanent art collection on show. My children loved the rest of the exhibits and the interactive section but we were all completely underwhelmed by the Scully show.

  • “Very disappointing not seeing more of the permanent art collection on show. My children loved the rest of the exhibits and the interactive section but we were all completely underwhelmed by the Scully show.”

    A lot of people didnt really ‘get’ the Scully stuff. I really enjoyed it myself – and it makes a nice change from rows and rows of boring Laverys – in my opinion.

  • slug

    I would like to see more Fine Art.

    I believe that perhaps a larger Art Gallery might be developed.

  • Jonathan Kennedy

    “Boring Laverys”? Keith, you philistine!

  • Davros

    A proper art gallery would be nice, Queens has loads of empty space. Tart up the science library and bobs your uncle

  • Marys

    Belfast needs a significant, dedicated, contemporary arts space, the Museum cannot be this.

    Whilst the building is impressive, it is a pity that Curators seem determined to ignore both recent history and local artists response to it – such as Jack Pakenhams major works.

    It may still be unpalatable news to some but international visitors really are interested in “The Troubles” and it would be great to see a major exhibition of artistic comment on the conflict.

  • Marys

    Belfast needs a significant, dedicated, contemporary arts space, the Museum cannot be this.

    Whilst the building is impressive, it is a pity that Curators seem determined to ignore both recent history and local artists response to it – such as Jack Pakenhams major works.

    It may still be unpalatable news to some but international visitors really are interested in “The Troubles” and it would be great to see a major exhibition of artistic comment on the conflict.

  • slug

    I am glad the others agree with my comment about the need for an Art Gallery in Belfast.

    Contrast Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Manchester etc, and you will find they all have a dedicated Art Gallery.

  • hurdy gurdy man

    Local architects Robinson McIlwaine have submitted a proposal for a major art gallery in the Titanic Quarter. You can view it on their website here: http://www.rmi.uk.com under ‘project gallery’.

  • jivaro

    The museum is a good job – once you’re inside it.

    The external appearance of the Francis Pym extension is brutally ugly. It’s a blessing that the trees are now big enough to hide most of it,

    As for the Scully exhibition, underwhelming hardly beings to describe this collection of vapid geometric rug designs.

    Decaf in the café would be nice…

  • parallaxCo

    I just think it is unbelievable that we do not have a good display of all the art bought with public funding over the last 50+ years. Where is it all and why do our public and tourists not have access to it, either online or in reality. As Marys says why has Belfast no exhibition of local artists response to our conflict. Banbridge has the F.E. McWilliam museum. We have, at best, various temporary, revisionist, incomplete, shows in Ormeau Baths, Golden Thread or the Engine Room. I really thought this big revamp of the UM would have given us a glimpse. What a waste of an opportunity.

  • Nope – it ain’t MoMa but then you’ve got to take it for what it is (not what it isn’t). Atleast Belfast now has an art gallery so to speak of.