This is a first for Selfridges – store windows that contain no product.
The whole of the Oxford Street flagship’s frontage has been given over to The Museum of Everything, which began exhibiting its collections of artwork and curiosities in the basement last Friday.
It will run until the end of October and is intended to “give a voice to unknown artists”, according to a spokesman.
What this does do is grab your attention and more or less compel you to make a quick trip downstairs to the ‘Ultralounge’ where a rough-and-ready domestic interior is adorned with naïve art of all shapes and sizes.
The 3,400 sq ft space is divided into many rooms and in spite of time not being on your side, you do tend to drift through all of them, before heading upstairs to take a look at the more commercial side of things in Selfridges’ Wonder Room.
Here many of the paintings that are on view in the exhibition have been turned into limited edition prints, T-shirts and suchlike – in a manner that bears close comparison to the way in which big museums capitalise on major shows.
However, this is Selfridges and not a museum and the fact that such a relatively large area in the basement has been devoted to a non-retail proposition makes this highly unusual.
Couple this with the fact that there is no product of any kind along the Oxford Street frontage and perhaps this comes close to being unique among department store displays.
The timing of the launch is intended to coincide with London’s Frieze art show, which kicks off next month.