Monday, December 04, 2017

At Tate Modern (and Ben Wilson again)

Kevin plays on the swings 

Every few months on a fairly random basis I meet up with Kevin who is an 'old' school friend who I have known for nearly 50 years - Kevin and I have both developed the pleasurable habit of exhibition visiting so it was that last Thursday we spent the greater part of the day at Tate Modern chatting and looking.


Being a 'Friend of The Tate'  means I get the chance to visit (with a guest) all the 'paid for' exhibitions throughout the year at all the Tate venues - Tate Modern currently has two shows, Modigliani the Italian Jewish artist  who died tragically young at just 36 and an exhibition that looks at the Art of Soviet Russia   - Red Star over Russia.


The impressively enormous Turbine Hall is currently the perfect place to arrange a meet as you can watch from the swings that are part of the 'Anywhen by Philippe Parreno'.





After a cup of coffee in the Member's Lounge it was time to look around the popular works on show from  Modigliani- paintings and sculpture were available - Modigliani abandoned sculpture (noticeably African influenced) as a result of the bad effect it had on his health as a Tuberculosis sufferer the dust from the stone seriously aggravated his condition.

On until April next year


Part of the interest in Modigliani is that he was active in Paris at the time of Picasso (and he was in the same crowd) along with other Artists who were breaking new ground in the arts -Looking at his work  I felt that he was perhaps a bit of 'a one trick pony', the work on show was mainly figurative portraiture some of nudes (An early exhibition of his was closed to to the sexual nature of his work).

A great view across a brilliant city


After Modigliani we had a very acceptable snack lunch and then took in some of the new Tate Extension' things like the work of  Marina Abramovic which generally  generate provoke discussion if not unreserved admiration & the view from the top was particularly good in the late November afternoon.





Red Star Over Russia 

Challenging in many ways

The exhibition 'Red Star Over Russia' looking at Soviet Communist  Art was a very different proposition confronting a failed (most I think would say)  Utopia tinged by Torture, Mass Murder and the sublimation of the intelligentsia- Lots of examples of Propaganda  and early  mass media manipulation (Trotsky being removed from news photographs for example) - I'm not too sure that this was an exhibition for Tate Modern and certainly the comments posted outside made clear the subject and angle was not for everyone - this 100 years anniversary has a lot to answer for -  all major Museums it seems feel that they must  'comment in some way' -despite my own misgivings I do recognise that it is  important that we pay witness and observe in the hope of avoiding similar tragic mistakes in the future. 

Lightening the mood (Ben Wilson)

An example of Ben's work

After the Propaganda exhibition a walk across the Millennium bridge was areal mood lifter as we got the chance to see Ben Wilson - Chewing Gum Artist  in action (again)  - he's a lovely friendly man who despite the cold keeps his commitment to his own particular mission on the bridge - Nice one Ben.

He's really approachable and was very happy to chat and have his photo taken.

Ben Wilson, Chewing Gum Artist  and Inspirational Mood Lifter 


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