*****- Monkey Oral Sex is only the tip of the iceberg.
Darwin: Endless Forms, Fitzwilliam Museum, 16th June – 4th October
Sunglasses instantly make everything cool. That seems to be a universal law on first reading. If you actually think about it though, it’s not particularly true. Paedophiles aren’t any likelier to win over our hearts and minds if they all start wearing wacky coloured Ray Bans. I discovered this fact the hard way, however, by going to see Darwin: Endless Forms at the Fitzwilliam.
It was a bright July Day and, feeling all cultural, I decided to take the blonde to see that new Darwin exhibition the broadsheets had been swooning over. On reaching the museum though and preparing to do my Superman to Clark Kent shift of sunglasses to regular glasses I hit a snag. I’d left my uncool but far more suited to viewing artwork spectacles in the blonde’s car about 20 minutes walk away. The result was that I had to view all the pieces either through a dark shroud or a fuzzy haze of short-sightedness. I also looked like a prick. Wearing sunglasses in a museum is about as suitable as wearing a ‘Wish You Were Her’ T-Shirt to your sister’s funeral.
The exhibit itself, looking at Darwin’s impact on visual art and wider culture in the nineteenth century, is actually not as catastrophic a place to take someone you are romantically involved with as it first sounds. There are enough unintentionally humorous pictures and objects to smooth over the fact that you’ve taken her to a free art exhibition instead of an expensive restaurant or, you know, somewhere actually romantic. The best room, however, has to be what must unofficially be called ‘the Sex Room’. It carries a parental warning and examines randy old Darwin’s influence on depictions of sex and attraction (‘survival of the fittest’ nudge-nudge, wink-wink). It also has some truly fucked up shit in it, such as a realistic drawing of a monkey going down a woman. You can now see why the Telegraph gave it five stars. It was also in this room that we discovered that I wasn’t the most inappropriately dressed person there. A tall blonde crammed into a slutty blouse, mini skirt and white stockings complete with little black bows at their tops was tottering around in hooker-heels. Disappointingly she was not also being pleasured by a monkey. Marvelling at the inappropriateness my own blonde intimated that she must be foreign. I was about to get all high and mighty about prejudice when she promptly started speaking in German. Maybe she was discussing the English tit wearing the sunglasses in a dark museum.
Endless Forms is, in all seriousness, the best thought out exhibition I’ve seen in absolutely ages. If you didn’t see it over the summer, well you probably have more of a social life than me. It finished today though so you’ll now only be able to dream wistfully of what simian cunnilingus looks like