Shunga Exhibit

Yesterday, we packed up our bags and headed off to the British Museum in London to wander around the new Shunga exhibit. If you don’t know what Shunga is, here’s a representative example:


Here’s the interesting thing: we couldn’t get in. Despite Annie’s professional credentials, despite there being only a hint of queue, we were refused. It was too busy.

This is a fantastic thing.

Yes, it was a Saturday and yes, it was the exhibition’s first weekend, so it was always going to be popular. But it’s fantastic because we didn’t expect it to be so popular that we would be turned away.

The reason I’m talking about this instead of doing an exhibition review is for a few of reasons:

1.       It’s difficult to review an exhibition to which you’ve been refused access.

2.       Being turned away from somewhere is more interesting than being allowed into somewhere.

3.       It’s more significant than you might expect.


The shunga exhibit being sold out at the British Museum is important, for all of us. I don’t think I even need to explain why, so I won’t patronise you by doing so. But I’ll say this: I’m pretty stunned it was sold out, and very happy too.

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