Last Sunday we went to see the exhibition of designs by Jewish artists who had fled the Nazi occupation of Europe. It was mainly graphic designs but also the Raleigh bicycle and the toy helter-skelter that gave children so many happy hours.
This magnificent 300-year old brass Menorah was lent by the United Synagogue. There were small menorahs to buy in the shop and a Roman coin on display that had a menorah on it.
I always feel proud to be Jewish and British when I visit the Jewish Museum. This time the temporary exhibition was mainly of graphics by Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe ravaged by the Nazis.
The permanent exhibition chronicles the repeated resistance to immigrants in the past – not only Jews but the irish and Huguenots. When will people accept that the influx of people with different skills and cultures enrich our society?
I didn’t really know Jasper Johns’ work and now I’ve seen it I’m not impressed. The RA provides a very good audio guide free and his one-time assistant is full of praise and how important his work was.
I liked the image on the poster the RA used but thought the real thing – a collage of a physical broom, a hanging cup, with a brass frame and knives forks and spoons embedded in the brass frame just silly. I like lots of modern art but his work just doesn’t speak to me at all. And I prefer the real flag!!
The pleasure was in huge rooms full of Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), most of which I hadn’t seen before and Rothko, (1903-1970) panels in lovely bright colours – one from 1949 subtitled Violet, black, orange, yellow on White and Red – and much more.
I was not surprised to find that two of the paintings by Arshile Gorky (1904-1948) were so like de Kooning’s (1904-1997) when I read that he was Kooning’s mentor.
Though I quite liked the large abstract sculptures in the courtyard outside, only one of the sculptures within the exhibition really excited me – Sky Cathedral – Moon Garden + One by Louise Nevelson 1957-60. A large sculpture composed of turned and shaped wood, I found it mystical and entralling.
The pain was yet again tiny print on the labels so that to read them I had to walk up close to the wall. Since following my heart attack my exercise tolerance is limited, it was literally a pain having to walk nearly twice the distance to read them all. In my view, if an artist gives their work a title, even if Untitled, it is relevant and should be easy to find. bad mark, curator.
I always promise myself that I’m not going to buy one more art book. We have too many on our coffee table already.
But this one was irresistible. Not only is the colour reproduction excellent but the text is interesting and readable.