The Hunt for Art in Limerick

View from the Hunt Museum windows

View from the Hunt Museum windows

Our tour of Limerick included several museum visits. One of these was the Hunt Museum, which contains the Hunt family’s private collection of art. Gertrude and John Hunt (who weirdly named their children Gertrude and John, as well) amassed an eclectic mix of artifacts that include rarities such as 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas for the betrayal of Christ, Greek and Roman artifacts, modern abstract paintings, and heirloom tapestries. But what makes this museum such a treat is that you actually have to hunt for these treasures. You have to peek inside drawers, and open cabinets. Inside, you might be surprised to find a Renoir, or a Picasso that would be featured prominently on a wall at any other museum. At the Hunt Museum, it’s almost all about the “hunt.”



We also made a trip to the Limerick City Gallery of Art. The exhibit on display commemorated the centennial of the 1913 labour crisis and was called Labour & Lockout.

The first thing I saw when I walked in was a pile of peat — which looked like a pile of something else from a distance. It represented the demise of the peat farming industry in Ireland, but I didn’t learn this until I studied the displays and literature surrounding the peat. This is where contemporary art trips me up. The visual displays never make sense to me. Perhaps it’s the writer in me, but I need words to explain the concept, and usually, the words are enough. The visualization means little. But to each his own.

That's a pile of peat in the background.

That’s a pile of peat in the background.

We wandered into another room and there was a sculpture of paper. I love paper. I saw this and felt dreamy inside, the way I do when I enter an office supply or stationary store. I know it’s not ecologically-correct, but I can’t help myself. I see paper and I swoon.


But what this piece of art was actually intended to represent was something quite different:
The installation image below shows the 6 feet high stack of A4 paper also titled The Normalisation of Deviance as part of the installation. This equates to the findings by a Chicago-based researcher of the number of global positions taken through the use of algorithms on one stock in one nanosecond. The total was 14,000 and equates to this amount of paper if this data was printed out.

In between museum visits, I spotted some street art just outside King John’s Castle. It captured my attention more than most of the museum exhibits. There’s something so appealing and provocative about street art. I almost wish I had a guidebook to tell me what the Hello Kitty and the eyeball in the ice cream represent here. But I don’t really need it. I’ll take the piece of art as it stands; an oddity in the colorful city of Limerick. That’s enough for me.

Across the street from King John's Castle.

Across the street from King John’s Castle.



What kind of art moves you?


22 responses to “The Hunt for Art in Limerick

  1. I’m fascinated by the Hunt Museum: for one, the idea of hunting for the art work is so original. I wonder how it changes the viewing experience and it makes me think of my own hidden ‘treasures’. Secondly, naming one’s children exactly the same as both the mother and the father is so odd. And potentially confusing (surely there were nicknames, but imagine trying to sort the mail!). What a fun post!

    • We had the good fortune of having Dominique, the curator, take us on a tour. She had a great sense of humor and incredible insight. The museum really represented the Hunts well. They showcased prominent art in their kitchen and probably really did keep paintings in their drawers.

  2. Always game for a treasure hunt, and these look like worthwhile prizes ๐Ÿ™‚ The street art is indeed very intriguing! And good!! I also like the glimpse of the painted horses out side the museum.

  3. Love provincial museums. The street art is good. In Ireland (elsewhere as well probably) there is a circular debate about whether it’s art or vandalism. I suppose it depends on the ownership of the wall.

  4. Contemporary art is often just a touch too smart to work out what it’s supposed to represent without some kind of explanation from the artist who conceived it so I wouldn’t stress over that. Personally having worked for many years in the design industry I suppose, I quite like typefaces and the way they are used on all kinds of things from shop fronts to gravestones. I also love the Pre-Raphaelites, Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and most modernism. Bit of a visual magpie me

    • You have a very different eye than I do. I know that from experience. I worked with a group of designers and never could see what they saw. I do love typefaces though. Maybe it’s that connection to words and combination of art and letters.

  5. That is some seriously great street art. I’m quite a visual person myself but at the same time, I always appreciate some words to explain or frame the art piece. Modern art can be fascinating but also confusing (or downright WTF, not gonna lie).

  6. I can see why the street art captured your attention! I love stumbling on graffiti like that. Hunting for treasures in a museum is a fun idea. I also swoon at the sight of paper, especially if words are already written there. Those blank pieces of paper can be a little scary though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. That street art is amazing! Love the Hello Kitty tattoo. I’m usually more of a fan of street art than museum art, personally. One of my favorite things about Berlin was wandering around and soaking in the unexpected art everywhere.

  8. I feel the same way you do about paper and stationary stores and love browing in them. However, that stack of paper, as a writer, could also be titled “Rejection Slips”. LOL!

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