Three museums and art galleries that are worth visiting this holiday season.
Christmas shopping can be a disillusioning, gong-show event. It can sap the calcium from your bones. It can even eclipse the effervescence of Christmas.
A shopper’s pain is not lost on me. It’s a Herculean effort. You can run laps around the proverbial anxiety pool — ambivalent and woefully conflicted about what to nab your boss, no less, what to buy your darling mother.
I would venture a guess and wager you want to buck the traditional trend of Christmas shopping. Exasperated and miffed, you’re pining to try something new.
Look no further for copacetic, creative, and effortless holiday shopping with the family.
No longer will you have to regift ragtag tschotkes your well-meaning grandmother gave you last holiday. Instead, pick up a spit shined stocking stuffer from a museum store. Support the arts and local artisans while concurrently bolstering the museum's service to the public.
Don’t fret. For the gallery purists in the family, we’ll give them a hall pass. They can linger longer in the renaissance gallery showroom before joining the family for a Christmas shopping haul in the gift shop.
We’ve made you a short-list of three hot-ticket galleries to patron. No longer wracked with doubt and undue stress, belabouring over what to buy, these gallery gifts will help you put an emotional signature onto all of the gifts you dole out.
1.) TATE BRITAIN, London
The Tate Britain is a National treasure. It houses British art, spanning the 1500s to the present day. It boasts some staggering numbers when it comes to showcasing art and lauding artists. It exhibits 78,000 artworks, 4,000 artists, and 22,000 archive items.
The Tate does not rest on its laurels, but constantly ups the ante. It challenges cultural paradigms with performance art, evocative contemporary art, and talks on identity politics and climate change. By virtue of this fact, it’s inevitable that when you exit through the gift shop, you won’t see novelty gifts that are plain-vanilla. Their gifts hold ineffable value and beauty.
For example, you would be sorely remiss if you only reached for the pop-art earrings and overlooked Fox & Chave’s Tate-inspired silk scarf. This beguiling scarf is influenced by the grandiose and gleaming marble floor of the Tate museum. Another cultured Christmas gift idea is, Fox & Chave’s Monet Water Lilies tote bag.
This prolific Impressionist painter is reputably featured throughout the Tate. Bring this sublime impressionist painting beyond the museum walls and into your home for Christmas. This holiday, gift your scholarly aunt or bookish sister with this savant-looking scarf and a charming yet pragmatic tote.
2. NATIONAL GALLERY, London
Rivaling the Louvre, this stately gallery is one of the most-visited museums in the world. It brandishes an exhaustive collection of seminal European history and art. From virtuosso painters like Rembrandt to the renaissance genius of Leonardo da Vinci, there is no shortage of must-see masterpieces.
In the National Gallery's gift shop, you can secure yourself a customizable art print from any artist you previously gawked at in the museum. Beyond printing centrepiece art for your dining room, this gallery shop also gives you the option to wear it.
Fox & Chave showcase a vast collection of chiffon silk scarves for her and bespoke silk ties for him. These scarves come in high-profile prints like Vincent Van Gogh, Odile Redon, Ingres, and Leonardo da Vinci. Or, you can bag a floral still-life gallery trinket like Fox & Chave’s silver-plated Van Kessel Butterfly bangle.
Spare yourself the sweat-equity that comes with scattershot shopping online. Check out the National Gallery’s gift shop.
3. ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM
Above: Ucello's Hunt of the Forest
This scholastic museum is the world’s first University museum. It exhibits notable collections of art and archaeology. Its venerable vestiges include vaulted mummies from Ancient Egypt to Samurai armour from Japan’s antiquity.
This museum is a hotbed for the world’s most curious antiques. Not to mention, it’s neighbouring an alma mater that’s reputable for it’s palatial architecture. If you and your family are in the erudite mood, meander through Ashmoelean’s gift shop. You can send your loved ones seasons greetings with Ashmoelean’s unique collection of Christmas gift cards.
Or, you can send them the same Christmas sentiment and pick up one of Fox & Chave’s silk scarves influenced by the stylings of Ucello's Hunt of the Forest — one of the most recognized paintings in the museum. Alternatively, you can paw Fox & Chave’s Art Deco Jade silk-covered clutch. It’s velvety and supremely soft to the touch.
These ostentatious purses, inspired by the spellbinding textures and colours of Ashmolean’s collection of jades and ceramics from the Neolithic period to contemporary day, comes with magnetic closures and hidden chain shoulder straps for ease.
This Christmas, make a literary outing with your family. Crowbar yourself out of the malaise of online shopping or the frazzled frenzy of shopping centres. Instead, saunter through a visceral and moving art gallery and on the way out, grab a high-concept gift.
There’s no need to be a curmudgeon or Scrooge this holiday. Turn your bah humbug into handcrafted silk bow ties or captivating, chiffon silk scarves. Bid farewell to your Frankensteined collection of second-rate gifts and indulge in one-of-a-kind gallery gifts like Fox & Chave’s hand-rolled, debonair pocket squares, quirky and classy clutches, and tantalizing tote bags.
Do you have a favourite museum or gallery you recommend visiting this holiday season? Please share in the comments below.