Saturday, April 20, 2019

Kew Gardens & It's the economy stupid

A crowd admire

One of the most dramatic aspects of the V&A is the reception area that's entered from the Cromwell entrance, above the ticketing area is a glass Sculpture from Dale Chihuly it's called the 'Rotunda Chandelier' and having spent Thursday morning at the museum it came as something of a (pleasant) surprise to enter a Kew Gardens dotted with more of Dale's glass sculptures.

Blown Glass amongst the Japanese Garden

Near the main entrance 

Almost like a crazy dream

A view from one of the Glass Houses 

Having marvelled at the works I was intrigued to find out more about the artist behind the works - check out some stuff about him here.

I'm not sure if some of the visitors to Kew were avoiding the centre of London while it's besieged by the Extinction rebellion  crowd but not sure I've seen so many visitors (away from the Music events)

Extinction Rebellion

Climate change activists are now dominating  UK news while parliament is in recess, like Brexit the debate is heated and not always logical - emotions are fuelled by use of  dog whistle terms like 'Children and Grandchildren'.

 I heard a radio discussion where a younger caller was somewhat patronised as he critiqued the 'middle class hippies' - he made the point that UK is not the prime polluter (we're 15th) , and if you look at the figures he has a very good point, be much better if large scale demo's were held in Beijing (China is the worst polluter),  and UK consumers avoided buying products from worst polluters -

(Note what Australia does with a fairly low population it has less than half the UK's population and its overall pollution is surprisingly close to the UK's figures)

It's the economy stupid.
Cut it - Yesterday was another meat free day for me

One of the (many) appealing things about Bernie Sanders progressive campaign to be US president is that he recognises that vast inequalities in income and rate of taxation in the USA is a major issue in tackling the big issues of today.

Higher taxation and fairer wealth as well as income distribution would mean that poverty, ill health and poor husbandry of  the earth's resources could at least be  debated - for me he's a beacon of hope for our collective future.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Ealing Library (and more of my back pages)

Ealing's Libraries seem to be under an existential threat (as do others throughout the UK) - this matters, much as Education has become a marketplace about training for jobs, the nature of the debate over their purpose seems to have moved from the original concept (or at least the idea that i was accustomed to). 

I'm not too sure how old I was when I got my first Public library card - but it was in Chelmsford and I'd be less than 10 - I remember going downstairs there and reading the newspapers (The Sun was broadsheet and had a Batman Strip).
Smaller premises now

When we moved to Braintree (I was 10)  I became a member there and started reading adult books, I discovered amongst others Auberon Waugh and John Wain and also developed an interest in books about cars.

At University I spent time in the library often looking at books with little connection to my course (architecture had some fine volumes).

When I moved to London I joined the Ealing library (it's where the Pitzhanger Gallery now is) - I've ranged widely across volumes and subjects there too, when I was out of the country (about 4 and a half years)  I didn't visit libraries so much apart from the one at Hong Kong University which I used  when I was studying for my MA.

Ealing's library moved to the Broadway Centre and I used it (as well as the one at the local university) when I studied for more further education - I was aware of many (much younger) students studying there too.

The main branch has now moved to  smaller premises next door  (and as a result been closed for several months) -

So fast forward (as they say) and now Ealing is now stepping back from the provision of Library services - this is not what should happen, of course the service should change and become more up to date.

And Pitzhanger Gallery.

As I mentioned the local Museum and Gallery was for quite a while a library, it's been closed for a couple of years and has now been refurbished reflecting its place as John Soane's 'Country residence' and being a place for contemporary Art.

The refurbished Gallery/Museum

I visited a couple of weeks back with a friend , the Sir John Soane side of things is a bit disappointing (when compared to his house in town) but the gallery exhibition was good -I like Anish Kapoor and the reflective nature  of the work on show is great. (it's on until 16th August)

Nev reflects 

Anish work 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Good News (and some more catch up)

Fantastic to learn that the threat over Northfields Allotment (London's Oldest) has gone away (at least for the time being).
An asset  (AVC) say the council 

The Council recognise the site as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and local politician (including Rupa Huq MP)  have given their support.

The Charity that manages the site has had a rethink (and a change in it's leadership) - we've been luck to have some great campaigners and have a victory for now..

London's RA 


At the end of February I spent some time at the RA, main reason to go was to see work by Phyllida Barlow - I've been quite taken by her work at Tate Modern and Tate Britain- to be honest I wasn't knocked out by the work shown at the RA (not sure if it was how the work was shown?)

I noticed that many of the visitors focused on how the work had been moved and assembled - this doesn't feel like a great comment.

A big piece 

I did though notice plenty of other good stuff while I was there like this 'Anatomical Crucifixion of  James Legg'  by the important sculptor  Thomas Banks RA (1801).

Crucifixion by  Thomas Banks

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

I'm Back (#2 Wallace Collection)

Artefacts adorn 

The CityLit course of 100 Paintings  has been running along nicely and it was rather a pleasure to have time art galleries other than The National Gallery (which is of course great).

The Devonshire Arms

Walking along to Manchester Square (where the collection is) saw an old drinking haunt - somethings don't change!

The  Wallace collection is rather super and includes great art from Rembrandt as well as Canaletto  (perhaps not that unusual, below a Painting of Venice ) - some of the delight comes from the nature of the setting which features Furniture and other artefacts too.

Venice: the Bacino di San Marco from San Giorgio Maggiore 

I also was pleased to see another of the rightly acclaimed   Dutch Golden Age artist  Jan Steens's works 'Celebrating the birth' - The painting is  full of life and humour.