Somerset House’s Mushroom Exhibition

Somerset House’s mushroom exhibition sets out to prove that there is more to the humble mushroom than meets the eye. Peter Gray reports.

Credit: Seana Gavin

Somerset House’s mushroom exhibition may have closed in March due to the Coronavirus Crisis, but there is good news for anyone who is still yearning to see the show as it is now available online.

 ‘Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi’ may have seemed like a slightly odd subject for a major exhibition but Somerset House’s first show of 2020 quickly highlighted how little we actually know about the humble shroom.

They are closer to animals than plants, for one thing. Yes, you did hear that correct. Odd as it may seem, DNA wise, mushrooms have more in common with animals than they do to plants. Scientists have found that animals and fungi share a common ancestor and both groups deviated from plant evolution about a billion years ago. It was only much that animals began to evolve away from fungi.

It is revelations like this that make Somerset House’s mushroom exhibition so fascinating. The show builds on this premise to re-evaluate our understanding of the mushroom, highlighting the influence of the shroom on a range of disciplines, from art to architecture.

Although it is not quite the same thing as being there in person, this virtual version of ‘Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi’ still makes for an eye opening exhibition. It will certainly dramatically increase our knowledge of the humble mushroom, but whether you will want to eat one again is anyone’s guess.

Somerset House’s Mushroom Exhibition can be found here.

For information on other great virtual exhibitions in London, please click here.

-London's Best Events-
What: virtual exhibition
When: it's on now
Where: online