Wednesday, August 15, 2018

All Too Human

I mentioned the other day that I'd been to see All Too Human at Tate Britain.

Tate does suggest in its guides at the signs within that Photography is not sanctioned - seems increasingly difficult to Police this   (we've got the same rule at Museum of Brands), I don't mind too much especially as when it is permitted many visitors seem to take it that capturing an image on their camera is the same as looking - generally that's not the case and most of us don't go back and look at the pictures we took..

Any way here are the notes I made about what I thought was a pretty good exhibition

Room 1
The crowds always cause congestion at the start of exhibitions and there was a fair reason to gather here - work by Soutine (I saw some of his at The Courtauld at the start of the year) , Sickert's Nuite D'Été stood out for me as did Bomberg's Self Portrait and two portraits by Stanley Spencer's of Patricia Reece (she was his second wife and her life appeared to be one of a high degree of drama and intrigue).

Room 2

Again a busy room but only two artists on show here, Giacometti in sculptural mode (not a special favourite of mine) and Bacon whose work I'm increasingly drawn too - Study of a Baboon (1953) seemed definitively impressive and I began to recognise the Velazquez influence.

Room 3

Was all about FN Souza an Indian artist who is new to me - I liked  the painting Citadel which reminded me of a stained glass window.

Room 4

Was about  William Coldstream who when he was Professor at The Slade School of Fine Art, his work was considered analytic and he  employed Lucien Freud as a visiting teacher..

Room 5/6
There's a real connection between several of the artists in this exhibition and Bomberg who taught at The Borough Polytechnic had amongst his students Kossoff and Auerbach who are in room 5 - both artists embraced Bomberg's  ideas around physicality of the painting experience - key for this were Auerbach's Rebuilding Empire Cinema(1962)  and Kossoff's Building Site Victoria Street(1961) 

Room 9
Had work from  Michael Andrews and R B Kitaj – I liked To Live in Peace (The Singers) by him and found that Andrews's work was evocative (Melanie and me Swimming felt very warm)- both artists were interested in their own personal family and social groups as subjects, R B Kitaj was an American but spent much time in the UK.
All Too Human - going into Tate Britain 

Room 10

Paula Rego in this room made quite an impression with her unsettling works (and her back story around her Portuguese nationality and her husband's illness ) - I liked the Hogarth link in The Betrothal .

 I certainly preferred  'All too Human' to the  'Aftermath' exhibition - Tate Britain is strong on context and history of the large exhibitions it puts on and that one felt to  me to be more about the history than the work (perhaps that was their goal anyway).

 [There's a room by room video of the exhibition by Rober Dunt  here which is not too bad at all.]

Monday, August 13, 2018

More on Art

Tate Britain -Popular but not over crowded 

Back at Tate Britain yesterday, second visit within the week - while it's popular it's numbers are manageable at this time of year quite a few places are getting excessively crowded - before I reflect on what I saw recently I wanted to mention how seeing 'Fake or Fortune' with Fiona Bruce this is generally an enjoyable show and something of a credit to BBC for showing on their mass TV channel during peak times on a Sunday.

A previous owner of the painting had lived here

Why I felt warm about yesterdays's programme was because a) I'd been to Tate Britain that day and b) because one of the previous owners of the (possible) Sir William Nicholson painting under question had live at what became George Michael's house which I recently saw on a recent London Villages walk.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

My Manor (End of the London Villages Walks)

Eric's behaviour  is now questioned

Yesterday was the end of the rather splendid London Walks led by Paul Sinclair and booked through London's CityLit (100 years old next year).

We started where we finished last week at the Argyll Arms and then onto Langham Place where the BBC is situated with it's controversial statue by Eric Gill. (I'm a fan of his brother Max's maps)

 Just nearby is the Langham Hotel where the idea of afternoon Tea was fostered and also the rather splendid All Souls Church designed by Paul Nash.

All Souls  designed by Paul Nash

Langham Hotel - home of Afternoon Tea

We went on to Oxford Market - this is associated with The Earl of Oxford and radicals  who met there rather than the later Oxford Street shopping road, we then walked on the Surprisingly 'High' Church of  All Saints in Margaret Street- I was also surprised at the number of people inside laid out and snoring!

As well as being beautifully decorated with stained glass windows the church although an Anglican church it has confession!

Paul talks about Oxford Market 

A lovely high Church - with snorers

We walked through an area associated with Charles Dickens towards the famous BT Tower (where I worked for a few years) and also saw Boulting's Stone Manufacturers and it's Art Nouveau lettering .

Look at the letters
Just close by was another pub I know well The Green Man, it's about 38 years since I first visited this when I was at ITN (ITV's News Organisation) before it moved to Gray's Inn Road.

Green Man - A short dash  from ITN's Wells St Offices

Here's one of many places with a Dickens Blue Plaque - it was an area also associated with Brothels, Royalty and a possible Jack the Ripper connection.

Dickens lived here

Another place with memories for me

There's a workhouse nearby (now preserved) - that helped inform Dickens writing too.

The Workhouse
 we walked through the Robert Adams designed  Fitzroy Square where Virginia Woolf  lived (as did GB Shaw).
Fitzroy Square - like so many we've seen has evidence of stops and starts of the build as funds became available 

And we looked at Heals the famous furniture store whose site once abutted farm land:

Heals in Tottenham Court Road - a modern day connection to the Arts and Crafts movement 

Sunday, August 05, 2018

London's Soho - More London Villages Walk

Centre Point can't be ignored 
So on Wednesday met up with the CityLit course where we walk around various bits of London - enjoyed this one as it's an area I know something of - CentrePoint is iconic and was clearly in view for a lot of the walk.

We met at St Giles Church, plenty of people who are on edges of society seemed to be around the churchyard but despite this it was quite impressive and well looked after inside.

The church has an interesting history and was connected with the care and treatment  of  Cholera - partly caused by poor sanitation

A church 
Nice inside 

The area around Soho square is fascinating too - what looks like a Tudor cottage is in fact a  disguise for an Electricity  Transformer/Sub-station.

Not actually Tudor

A couple of interesting sculptures in the square which also has Sir Paul McCartney's MPL offices, one is Charles II the other a more modern Slithery Ways item by the  Dutch sculptor Pieter Obels.

Not aged well 
Slithery Way by a Dutch Sculptor 

There's a French Protestant Church on the square too.

MPL offices in Soho 

A French Protestant Church 

Nearby the Gay Hussar (once a popular restaurant for left wing MPs) and Quo Vadis  can be seen, on the site of Quo Vadis  Karl Marx lived for a while (it was a Brothel too apparently).

Quo Vadis with Plaque to Karl Marx 

Not so Gay now

We then moved on towards Chinatown and passed a pub, with a Dutch flavour (still) it's called De Hems I used to drink at on occasion when I was at BT Broadcast Services.

De Hems has a history 
A Gate to China-Town 

Walking towards Piccadilly Circus we took a look in Zedel a really well decorated restaurant and bar.

In the Carnabay Street area we  saw a public work of art by Julian Opie - it's called Shaida Walking 

Zedel Restaurant and Bar

A modern walking piece 

Next week we're meeting at The Argyll Arms Pub where in the past  I had the odd drink with Ian Grant.