North East Spotlight: MIMA

I recently began a series on my blog entitled North East Spotlight, and I am so excited to share the next instalment with you all. Despite opening in 2007, I only very recently visited the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), but I already can’t wait to go back.

The museum is situated in the heart of Middlesbrough next to one of my favourite local icons, the Bottle of Notes. The sculpture was created by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen at a time of economic depression within Middlesbrough, as the town suffered from the steelworks closure. Created in Hebburn, where the closure of the shipyards had created a similar depression, the sculpture focused on a nautical theme, not only to reflect the town it was created in, but to celebrate a Middlesbrough icon – Captain James Cook. A line from one of Cook’s journals was chosen to create the outside of the bottle in Oldenburg’s handwriting, that line being: “We had every advantage we could desire in Observing the whole of the passage of the Planet Venus over the Sun’s disk.” The writing inside the bottle is a line van Bruggen created himself, recalling time spent in Amsterdam and linking the city to Middlesbrough: “I like to remember seagulls in full flight gliding over the ring of canals.”The structure is an impressive and truly iconic piece of Middlesbrough’s culture, and it is fitting that it is neighbour to MIMA.


MIMA describes itself as “a civic institution that promotes art as a tool for social change” which is very apparent in its exhibitions. MIMA believes that “it plays a key role in the cultural ecology of North East England, particularly Teesside, and is internationally recognised for its mission.”

I have captured some of my favourite pieces from MIMA to share with you below, which I hope you will enjoy. The museum is free to enjoy, so you should definitely check it out sooner rather than later.





The last image is of Tracey Emin’s 1999 ‘It never felt like this’. It was such a highlight for me was being able to see a piece of Tracey Emin’s work in real life, and this piece in particular really resonates with me.

What was your favourite piece shown? Will you be visiting MIMA this year? Let me know in the comment and don’t forget to subscribe for more lifestyle posts!


Related post: North East Spotlight: Stewart Park

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