Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Local News & Ealing Life

Very good BBC radio 4 programme ( Local News - what are we missing?)  this morning highlighted the vacuum that now exist in local news (Trinity Mirror a particular culprit) - the job they have holding local politicians and councils to account now this too often goes undone and Grenfell  tragedy was  of course  mentioned .

[In fact for me if the funding for local coverage  is going to come from anywhere it should be Google/online which is what has to a large extent the monster that's eaten local news's lunch.]


So local News from me

Remembering Claudia Manera's death 

First report  - very sad to report the death on local roads of  a cyclist based in Ealing - the roads are very dangerous even in slow moving  city traffic there are too many fatalities (just one would of course be too many).

Here just by Northfields Avenue junction with Uxbridge Road an experienced cyclist was killed a few days back - I noticed the cycle that commemorated the tragedy and found the sad story.

Jump Lead - nice tribute guys

Local Gig

At thew w/e we had our first visit to Ealing's Red Room where many of the London based R & B groups performed (Rolling Stone's and Manfred Mann to name just two) - many in the lineup of the group Jump Lead could well have been around during those halcyon days and they made good efforts in their cover versions. 

Nice too that the gig raised funds for Leukaemia and Cancer charities - from the way the audience were bopping around there were probably a few aching limbs  on the day after the concert.

The Plays's the thing

A sting in the tail?
Last Month I went to see a play at the always excellent Questor's Theatre (Ealing Mattock Lane) - it was Season's Greetings and was written by Alan Ayckbourn.

I really liked the staging  and the acting was good too but I remain puzzled by the plays' ending - seemed too extreme and unlikely it seems a familiar style for Ayckbourn - I recall it from another play where suburbia was under siege (Neighbourhood Watch perhaps?) - seems a shame as a lighthearted play was somewhat derailed by the playwright's desire to make a point.

Ealing's Questors Theatre does some fine productions

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Sad Story of 'Boom for Real' Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

A Ticket to see
I think I've seen some of Jean-Michel Basquiat's work at the Saatchi Gallery before and certainly heard his name mentioned by others so decided to visit exhibition of his work at the Barbican Gallery.

It's a big exhibition with a lot to see including a full length film that he was in (it includes Debbie Harry too) - so if you're going allow enough time.

No longer with us

Basquiat was part of the flowering of an American/New York  rebirth in the late 70's/80's where Keith Haring Fab 5 Freddy and others started to bring work from the street to the attention of galleries and collectors (as well as Andy Warhol).

Early recognition of his gifts meant that he was able to pursue his own passions and he was the epitome of (and listed as in Wikipedia list!) an Auto-Didact.

What came out of the exhibition though for me was something of a rather confused body of work - so sad that Jean- Michel's life was not longer and he was unable to fully realise his early potential and  promise.

UK TV and US Consolidation 

Changes in the US TV market as customers increasingly 'cut their cords' means that Discovery TV has been able to  complete an agreement for merger with Scripps Network.

Discovery TV which has one of the highest paid bosses in the world has performed poorly over recent years and failed to make the strategic changes needed as it is outmanoeuvred by new players like Netflix and Amazon TV.

The repercussions are likely to be felt at UK TV where the BBC's commercial arm mulls over taking full control of UK TV (where Scripps was a major shareholder) - this though is small fry in the mega business that TV has now become. 
UK TV is one of a number of 'second level' TV operations reliant for audiences  on BBC TV re-runs.
It would indeed be sad if Publicly owned  TV was so far weakened that all commercial TV needed to care about was the bottom line - it is (I still think) more important than that -time will tell

Monday, November 20, 2017

Landscape stretching Artistic Genrés at London's National Gallery

This weeks visit to London's National Gallery as part of the CityLit class on looking at paintings was another opportunity to spend some time appreciating what are considered by many to be the cream of the 'Art World'

The National Gallery continues to delight
In fact as we continue down the hierarchy of paintings it becomes increasingly clear that the classification structure is rather a blunt tool for placing a work.

Julia tells us about Constable's use of Red

This week our genré was 'landscape' and unsurprisingly some of the works we looked at encroached on other genrés - was this actually a painting of people/ Did it have a narrative?

 Early works we looked at like Bellini's Madonna of the Meadow felt like a Portrait - (This painting I found a little odd as the building in the background had the feel  to me of a modern Power Station or Multi-storey Car Park) and The Embarkation of Saint Ursula by Claude was surely a Narrative work?

Far more 'Traditional' were landscapes like  Constable's Hay Wain and Cézanne's Landscape with Poplars (1885-7).

Poplars were Popular with Cézanne in the late 19th Century 
We also looked at Some of Turner's paintings both Sea and Land - here's Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway It was interesting to think what of his work was actually finished?

Turner's Rain Steam and Speed - What was finished?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

National Gallery -Monochrome, Painting in B&W

And a sign with a  yellow background has impact 

I suppose I'm aware of some pressure to produce some of my photographic prints in Black and White - there's a certain feeling for it to be considered more 'serious'.

We don't

I had not really considered art (save for drawing) as having a Black and White dimension so was intrigued by the subject of this exhibition at The National Gallery.

First thing to say is that I enjoyed seeing a smaller exhibition that had some thought put into contextualising an interesting topic and where the curation was considered and appropriate - it was good for example to see some modern work in the National Gallery.

Live in a Black

  The exhibition was split over a number of rooms ( 8 I think) -the least satisfactory being the final one where we shown a work by Olafur Eliasson  - Room for One Colour - a neat idea but perhaps not totally successful - it was though the one room where photography was permitted.

Here Sodium Light was used to limit the colour Spectrum

Things I did like that were more modern though included Bridget Riley's Horizontal Vibration (1961) and Richter's Grey Mirror (765).

Also great to see Jasper Johns (a big fan of grey) again with his untitled work from 2007.

In Room 6 there was an interesting work called 'Joel' by Chuck Close showing how a photo had been translated by using a grid.

Also a detailed work by Celestin Joseph (Head of a Girl- 1887) showed how one artist had met head on (literally) the challenge that Photography had made to portraiture.

and White World
  In Room 5 (Painting and Printmaking) there some lovely works from the 18th Century including A Girl at a Window (1799) by Louis Leopold Boilly and  multiple versions of  'Back from the Market' (La Pourvoyeuse)  by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin  (originally) and a Trick of the Eye reinterpretation by  Etienne Moulinneuf.

In Room 3 the paintings were in Grisaille (that is grey) and was struck by Maternity (1896)  from Eugene Carriere which had strong Photographic influences.

In Room 4  (more Tricks of the eye) there was an impressive Tour de Force from Titian - Portrait of a Lady (1510) where the artist answered the question face on regarding painting versus sculpture and even more convincing was Andrea Mantegna's 'The Introduction of the Cult of Cybele in Rome(1505).

All in all I found the exhibition a good way to spend a couple of hours