An incredible exhibition of works carried out by Picasso in only one year – 1932. Great to exhibit so many paintings I’ve never seen before and, for once, with labels large enough to read with ease.
Hard to believe one man could produce this much work in one year though much of the colour is in flat sheets. A film of Picasso painting on glass showed just how quickly he could draw. However, I would defy him to produce this number of paintings in the styled of Las Meninas by Velasquez that he admired and of which he painted simplified derivative images.
A few sculptures and examples of his ceramics as well as images of his ‘castle’ in France.
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?
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.
‘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.
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 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.
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.
The exhibition included some interesting short videos as well as lots of works I hadn’t seen before.
Loved our trip to the Astrup Fearnley Modern Art Museum on the bay. Couldn’t understand why the collector bothered with so many of Damien Hirst’s half animals in formalin. When there was a scandal about keeping children’s brains I turned out my mounted specimens of cancers but I thought of offering the museum the head of my fractured right femur. I still have it in a jar in my bathroom cabinet – much more interesting and educational that half a cow.
Lovely view of the harbour complete with two-masted sailing vessel. Just not enough time to go across to the Viking museum.
I very much liked their collection of Cindy Sherman’s photographs. Amazing what she can turn herself into.
Hard to realise that this painting Untitled #152 of what apprears to be a bald man is also her.
We both liked Jeff Koons’porcelain Michael Jackson andBubbles, his chimpanzee, in white and gold. Seeing Koons’ name reminded me of the hallucinations i had in the High Dependency Unit (HDU; dependant on care not on drugs) following my heart attack last August after I came off the ventilator.
Memoir extract from Chapter 28 of Woman in a White Coat
The show held in the Mary Ward House in Bloomsbury is the most convenient for us though we traipsed out to Canada Water for their excellent show in March. Perhaps one year we’ll go to Brighton for their show there and we look forward to their fair in Marylebone this October.
Now that Josh and I are 87 and 85 respectively, over the years we’ve accumulated so many ‘things’ that it’s hard to find something to buy. Our four children are near to their fifties too so they’re in a similar position.
This year the MADE Design and Craft Fair was held in the Mary Ward House Grade 1 listed building in Tavistock Place. Founded by the Victorian novelist Mary Augustus Ward and financed by the wealthy philanthropist Passmore Edwards, it was built in 1898 as a settlement for the wealthy to improve the education of the urban poor. It is now a conference centre.
There was a wealth of different crafts on display – woodwork, wirework, pottery, jewellery, clothing and more. Unfortunately by the time you get to your 80s you have so many ‘things’ there is little incentive to buy and we just admired the beauty and craftsmanship of much of the work.
We loved the beauty and varied wood grains of the Shaker boxes by Murray Markovitch and have fond memories of the Shaker shop in Marylebone High Street we used to visit when we lived just round the corner – unfortunately long since gone, like so many of the craft shops in the area.
An eye-catching display of wired figures was just inside the door with this leaping winged figure ‘Wishful thinking’ by Linda Lewin, whose website also shows off her silver jewellery.
Amazing striped plates, bowls and jars by the ceramic artist Jin Eui Kim which he says are inspired by visual phenomena. We wished our cupboards weren’t already overfull of the ‘things’ we have collected in 60 years of marriage,
It was too early for us to have coffee and sandwiches or cake, but the food display in the café looked so elegant and appetising we were sorely tempted.
Not free, but very good value at £12, the British Museum runs 90 minute Highlight Tours of some of the most well-known of its millions of artefacts from all over the world including the Rosetta Stone, the Lewis Chessmen, the enormous Easter Island basalt statue known as Hoa Hakanai’a, the fabulous human-headed winged bulls from Assyria and much more.
For me, the British Museum has above all been about the wonderful sculptures and wall paintings from ancient Egypt – though as a child the mummies in their sarcophagi used to terrify me. The Pharaohs may have been cruel and incestuous and probably quite ugly to boot, but their statues and masks speak of a transcendent serenity.
Trying to decide on which further education classes to enrol on for the New Year I saw that there were several courses of gallery visits at major London Museums and Galleries. Now funding has been cut for Further Education these courses are now expensive so I decided to investigate the free tours, starting with the V&A. the purchase of the land for which was funded by the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Once again the tour guide took as to rooms I had either not visited or just passed though. I had no idea there was such a vast collection of ceramics or that the galleries showed their development over the ages with so many excellent examples.
Another craft fair I heard about through my friend Fliff Carr, a ceramicist. What I particularly liked about this fair, held in St Mary-the Virgin church, was the very wide variety of objects on show, not all from the UK.
Chelsea Town Hall is another great venue for craft fairs.
Unfortunately when we went to handmade In Britain 15, it was pouring and we got soaked just in the short walk from the bus stop.
There were lots of things I liked but by the time you’ve been married nigh on 60 years you have accumulated too many ‘things’ but I couldn’t resist this lovely silk scarf by the young Scottish designer, Taisir Gibreel – just what I needed to go with my new Roxy ski jacket