I’ve liked Rachel Whiteread’s work ever since I saw her House in Bethnal Green and though I don’t care for the insides of rubber hot water bottles shown on the Tate Britain poster I pretty much liked everything else in her exhibition.
I think this resin hive was my favourite though I found it hard to choose. I loved the way the light was reflected inside it.
It made me want to crawl inside.
I’d forgotten that Rachel Whiteread’s Untitled Monument 2001 was the third project to be placed on Trafalgar Square’s 4th plinth.
The first project in 1999 was Mark Wallinger’s Ecce Homo, a life sized figure of Christ and the 2nd was Bill Woodrow’s Regardless of History 2000 which is a head crushed between a book and the roots of a tree.
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We always book tickets for as early as possible, usually as soon as exhibitions open. In that way, they’re not still full of the viewers from previous slots. We were amazed at the long queues in both directions from Tate Britain’s side entrance. There is usually a gaggle of people waiting to get in but we’ve never seen crowds like these.
I booked rather as a duty than because I was thrilled at the thought of the exhibition. When I think of Hockney it’s of very pink nude male bottoms in a swimming pool but this exhibition was of much, much more, charting Hockney’s progress from his early student wok – more like graffiti than anything – up to his more recent exciting landscape videos – previously shown at the Royal Academy – and his iPad images.
Hockney’s painting of Celia and Ossie Clark is definitely my favourite. It was interesting seeing Celia Birtwell – now in her mid-seventies – interviewed on television and by the Independent, though for me she will always be that fresh-faced blonde in Hockney’s painting.
Note: Now that my memoir Woman in a White Coat is well on its way to its a final edit, if you email me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org I will send you the first chapter and if you comment I will send you another. Hope to hear from you.
What a fantastic, shaming, inspiring, huge exhibition. So much to read; so much to think about.
At school in the 1940s and 50s, we had a pageant every Empire Day, May 24th – Queen Victoria’s Birthday. We celebrated the amount of pink colouring on our map of the world showing which countries or states were under British Rule, and we repeated that The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire. The prettiest girl would be Britannia, symbol of British values, complete with Neptune’s trident, lion and British Union Jack flag, while the rest of us would be dressed in various ‘native’ costumes and sing Rule Britannia – confirming that Britain rules the waves (hence the trident) and that we never never shall be slaves – though we did jolly well out of the slave trade in its heyday. Rebadged in1958 as Commonwealth Day, Empire Day was changed in 1977 to the second Monday in March.
The iconic portrait by the Austin artist Rodolf Swoboda shown in the Tate Britain poster was one of three portraits commissioned by Queen Victoria. Though exhibited at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition in London in 1886 as ‘Genuine Artists’, they are of prisoners in Agra gaol who were being rehabilitated by training in a variety of handicrafts. Ramlal, a 9-year old boy, (and what crime could a 9-year old have committed?) was a carpet weaver while Mohammed Hosein was a 26-year old coppersmith.
Paintings, photographs, cartoons, banners, sculptures, Benin bronzes and wood carvings – a lot to take in during one visit.
Another excellent tour, this time at Tate Britain, with familiar paintings given a different slant by our guide.
In this portrait of Queen Elizabeth 1st her jewelled dress, the gold background, the expensive imported carpet and her stance are all the attributes of a queen but her face is a white characterless blank. I had thought it was because ladies in the 16th century painted their faces white but the tour guide told us that until much later royalty and aristocracy were painted with these bland faces so as not to show the effects of ageing.
These two Cholmondeley Ladies (pronounced Chumley) were married to two Cholmondeley brothers. Born and married on the same days they gave birth on the same day.
They were previously thought to be sisters, rather than sisters-in-law, and I had been under the impression that they were twins. it’s those bland white faces again!!
You can’t take photos in the Barbara Hepworth exhibition so this is Henry Moore’s Family Group which is situated off the main concourse in Tate Britain.
I think I have always undervalued Barbara Hepworth’s work – I’ve mainly seen large formless works. I particularly liked her use of wood, especially those with threads like László Moholy-Nagy’s works. Like him, she was also interested in photograms – images produced by holding an object in front of a light sensitive plate.
Another of the fantastic museums we have in London. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!!