Tag Archives: Art

Rhythm and Reaction. The Age of Jazz in Britain at 2 Temple Place London, WC2R 3BD

At 2 Temple Place

I’m not really into jazz, Classical music is more my style, but I love going to 2 Temple Place, a fine house in a crescent off the Victoria Embankment. And the café is good too!!

The exhibition has been curated by Catherine Tackley, Professor and Head of Music at the University of Liverpool. It sets out to tell the story of the jazz age in new ways, focussing on British depictions of jazz. It helps us to understand what the music meant to artists, to assess the image of jazz in the public sphere and to see how jazz was encountered in everyday, domestic environments.

Rather to our surprise, we both loved the exhibition which was more about the bands and soloists and about the 1920s. And there wasn’t excessively loud jazz playing in the several exhibition rooms. There were displays and information about the 1920s ubiquitous banjos and a display of drums with contemporary film clips running behind them. Amazing to see musicians playing jazz while performing aerial stunts

What about Health and Safety??
Several different combos were on show

 

 

 

 

 

As it’s half-term week this week, there was an event for children event upstairs. A  large throw spread on the floor and delightful toddlers dancing on it to jazz music. Made me feel quite broody!!

Thank you all for coming to my talk at Victoria library on my memoir Woman in a White Coat.

 

Dan Colen’s ‘Sweet Liberty’ at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, London

Dan Colen at the Newport Street Gallery

Another fun exhibition – Dan Colen’s ‘Sweet Liberty’ –  at Damien Hirst’s spacious Newport Street Gallery has now  been extended until January 28th.

Note: There seem to be road works everywhere in Westminster so if you’re driving be persistent – there is a way through!!

Colen examines notions of identity and individuality, set against a portrait of contemporary America.

Haiku (2015-17)

His works are said to be read as self-portraits. Colen (born 1979 in New Jersey) must have been feeling quite down when he made this big sad Scooby Doo (Haiku 2015-17).

There are a variety of fascinating shapes punched through the walls (Livin and Dyin) of Wile E. Coyote, Kool-Aid Man, Roger Rabbit and of Colen naked. The walls are around 1 foot thick. I wonder how they were originally knocked through and whether they will be made good completely or become a permanent display.

Untitled (Me and You) 2006-7

This mysterious painting Untitled (Me and You 2006-7)  is one of my favourite works from this exhibition. It is one of a series of Colen’s paintings based stills from Disney’s Pinocchio showing a candle on the workbench of Pinocchio’s creator – Geppetto.

 

Charles II: Art and Power, Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Charles II with his symbols of power

Charles II: Art and Power – another fascinating exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, more interesting for it’s historical significance than the paintings. After his execution in 1649 most of Charles I’s art collection and other valuables were given away or sold by Oliver Cromwell and his party and few of value were returned.

The Collar Charles II (1630-1685) wears in this painting by John Michael Wright (1617-1694) shows that he is a member of the order of the garter; the Orb represents Christ’s Authority over the world and symbolises that he has been chosen by God to rule; the Parliamentary Robes which are made of crimson velvet with an ermine fur cape and gold lace decorations, represent Charles II’s role as head of state.

Charles II was determined to make his reign as different from that of the Puritans as possible commissioning a variety of valuable artefacts and numerous prints and paintings of himself.

Ornate gold Plate

This rather vulgar set of gold plate is typical of his commissions.

He also commissioned paintings and prints of his numerous mistresses including this delightful print of Nell Gwynn as Venus.

A print of Nell Gwyn as Venus

The print was adapted from a painting by Correggio which had been in the collection of Charles I. There are numerous paintings of his many other mistresses – I lost count of how many illegitimate children he fathered – as well as of his wife, the unpopular catholic Catherine of Braganza

In spite of his decree that all off Charles I’s paintings be returned, in fact very few were given back to the throne, mainly from the English.

Starting January 27th 2018 a blockbuster exhibition of Charles I’s paintings collected from the other beneficiaries of Cromwell’s distribution opens at the Royal Academy, London – ‘Charles I: King and Collector.

Read about my attempt at becoming a fine artist in my memoir Woman in a White Coat

The Jewish Museum in Albert Street Camden

The Jewish Museum 129-131 Albert Street London NW1

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.

It was still Chanukah so 7 of the lights were lit

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.

Designs by Jewish Immigrants

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?

Hoping that as a retired Jewish woman pathologist the shop will stock my memoir Woman in a White Coat

Modigliani at Tate Modern, London

At Tate Modern until April 2nd 2018

Modigliani (1884-1920)  another blockbuster exhibition at Tate Modern with difficult-to-read text. In my view, if a painter chooses to give his/her painting a title, the viewer should be able to find it easily. All round this otherwise superb exhibition there were people peering at the almost unreadable text, hardly different in colour from the background. Why can’t the Tate take a leaf from the Courtauld and other galleries that actually care about their visitors?

Great selection of prints to buy

What a great time to live in Paris at the turn of the 20th century!! Not only Italian born Modigliani but his friends Soutine, Picasso and Brancusi amongst others. Diego Rivera even stayed with him for a time.

And if you’re not into Art – have a swing instead!!

‘ONE, TWO, THREE, SWING!’. SUPERFLEX Hyundai commission in the Turbine Hall and in the grounds outside. Have a swing if you’ve had enough of looking at ART.

 

Monochrome at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London

Monochrome was one of those exhibitions at the National Gallery that  I booked for more out of a sense of duty. How wrong I was!! it was fantastic. It was amazing that drawings and paintings looked so much more 3D in black and white than in colour.

‘La Grande Odalisque’ in black and white. The pillars are in the glaring yellow colour of the last room of the exhibition

Ingres’s  (1780-1867) La Grande Odalisque was so much more sensual and fleshy in monochrome than in colour. You have to go to the exhibition and see Ingres’s own black and white version to see just what I mean.

Ingres’s La Grande Odalisque in colour

The  paintings and drawings of stone sculptures were so life-like you could imagine that seen by candlelight without bright daylight or electricity viewers would believe they were real. Some incredible trompe l’oeil. A must see.

Image of a young girl painted to look like a photograph

 

Once photography became commonplace, some artists regarded it as an enemy. Others like the author of this delightful portrait of a young girl meant his work  to be like a photograph. Artists were told to Imitate,  Rival or Challenge.

My only caveat. The last room deigned by Olaf Eliasson  was lit entirely in very bright yellow – ostensibly to make it easier to see details. But I ended up with flickering lights behind my left eye for ages. I think there should have been a warning and the possibility of missing that room – though I couldn’t have known it would affect me so adversely.

Chaïm Soutine’s Portraits at the Courtauld Gallery, London

Scrumptious cakes and my favourite Fruit Scones

I always enjoy exhibitions at the Courtauld Gallery – and tea or coffee in the café in the basement afterwards.

 

 

The exhibition leads out of the rooms housing the Courtauld galleries own interesting collection of mainly Impressionist paintings

Chaïm Soutine’s portraits of Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys is a delightful study of men and a couple of women who serve us in restaurants and hotels. They show varying degrees of boredom, insolence and occasional pleasure as they stare out at us from his brightly coloured paintings.

Not a large exhibition – only two rooms compared with the much larger exhibition of Cezanne’s portraits at the National Portrait gallery,  but I much preferred it.

Girl in a White Blouse (around 1923) from their permanent collection

Though not as well known as some of his friends and colleagues, the Russian – French Expressionist painter,  Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943) was one of the leading painters in Paris in the 1920s.

Soutine was born Chaïm Sutin, the tenth child of eleven children of Jewish parentage in Lithuania in 1893. He studied art at the Vilna Academy of Fine Arts, moving to Paris in 1913 where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. A close friend of Modigliani, he lived in poverty for many years until he caught the attention of major collectors such as the American Albert Barnes.

I’m delighted with the response to my memoir Woman in a White Coat and the very complimentary reviews on Amazon. Thank you all.

Dali and Duchamp at the Royal Academy, London. Delirium and Delusions

An Art Lover’s Feast

Dali/Duchamp exhibition at the Royal Academy was an eye-opener. I had no idea Salvador Dali (1904-1989) and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) were such great friends. I knew little about Duchamp’s work other than that he pioneered the display of ready made objects as works of art including his infamous Fountain – a urinal inscribed R. MUTT 1917  and had seen and admired The bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The large glass). it was interesting to see that early on he was a conventional representational artist.  Having teenage children at the height of the Surrealist craze I got to know Dali’s work and visited a fascinating exhibition of his work in Richmond, Virginia which included a jewelled beating heart.

The Persistence of Memory 1931

The strange thing for me about seeing the exhibition is that I saw the bent watches in the famous Dali painting The Persistence of Memory 1931 (not shown in this exhibition) as well as some artefacts by Jeff Coons,  in one of my delusions while in Critical Care following my heart attack last year.

Balloon Monkey (Blue) 2006-2013

Up to 80% of patients in Intensive Care suffer periods of delirium and I had several. My very caring consultant was concerned that the memory of some of my delusions might be upsetting but they gave me just the material I needed for the last chapter of my memoir Woman in a White Coat.

Lots of lobster souvenirs including chocolate ones

The exhibition included some interesting short videos as well as lots of works I hadn’t seen before.

 

I always enjoy wandering around the Royal Academy shop though I was easily able to resist the chocolate lobsters that referenced Dali’s lobster telephone.

Wouldn’t fancy holding THAT receiver!!

Cézanne Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London

At the National Portrait Gallery until February 11th 2018

An interesting exhibition of Cézanne Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, though the best thing was that our daughter Jane, here for the weekend from Switzerland with her partner, was with us. And the coffee and scones in the basement café were good – certainly improved on the last time we had mid-morning snacks in the basement café.

Born in Aix-en-Provence in 1839, Cézanne enrolled in law school to please his father but left for Paris and a career in art in 1861. He was much influenced by Pisarro but developed a style of his own. His work was exhibited in the first exhibition of the Salon de Refusés in 1863.

One of my favorite Cézanne paintings

I like his work but was disappointed by his portraits except those of the ‘ordinary’ people’ in the last two rooms of the exhibition. I know he said he didn’t want to obey the stereotypes of pretty simpering women and tough handsome men, but except for the portrait of Mme Cézanne sewing I thought his many portraits of his wife too bland and expressionless and the few men too alike.

His Boy in a Red Waistcoat 1888-1890 – a portrait of the professional model Michelangelo de Rosa  and one of my favourite Cézanne paintings – has been used on the cover of the catalogue and there are prints on the wall of the downstairs café showing some of his more familiar and popular paintings.

Autumn Again – Leaves and More Leaves. Jasper Johns’ Broom required

Great for kids!!

How the kids must love sliding down into the piles of gorgeous leaves.

You can’t help wondering where they all go. There’s no way these layers and layers of leaves could be swept up.

Fool’s House 1962

 

What is desperately needed is a mega broom of the type in Jasper johns’ collage!!

This collage by Jasper Johns is painted in oil on canvas with a broom, sculptural towel, stretcher and cup. On the poster it looks like a painting but in the flesh the objects are real and attached to a painted background.

 

You can read my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Amazon Kindle as well as Google, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.
Email me on mailto:abby@abbyjw.com and I will send the first responders a free copy to review.