London 2 – A London Monday….2011

Keeping cool on the Southbank

The hottest London day in 5 years but I will not be deterred from my roller coast through London’s delights;  today is Art.

Before I comment let me say that I am the Monet of tourism…all impressions. Alternatively, Dorothy Parker I ain’t but time and tiredness reduce me to the same  two line critiques…..I make no pretence of serious analysis. So, glib impressions then.


Tracey Emin at the Hayward is a retrospective with fine quilts and lots of representations of vaginas. I’m not sure that all the focus on lust and love lost makes her the feminist artist she is said to be. I do think it seems to have brought her overwhelming misery.

Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is the old Bankside powerstation and is full of splendid spaces. First I see the “house collection” of paintings from 1940 to about 1970, the same period I saw at the Guggenheim. Here is a larger and finer collection but I realize that my first exposure to this period was at MOMA and I think the richness of that has spoiled me being as mind blowing as it was. A high bar to soar!

Lunch with my friend Robert and much catching up after his two years in London and then back to the Tate for the Joan Miro exhibit.

It was wonderfully curated showing the poetic figurative paintings of his early years, one of which, The Farm, was so loved by Hemingway that he took up a collection around the pubs to buy it. I loved it too.

Hemingway drove around the pubs in a taxi to raise the money to buy this early MIRO

The surrealism and symbolism of Miro’s middle years was curated to show both meaning and parallels with the political years of Spain especially during the Franco years.I didn’t respond so well to this but in “1968” he was painting bold Expressionist canvases. The energy in the final Fireworks paintings is said to capture the collapse of Franco. I just found it full of dynamic creative energy.

So I liked the beginning and the end…..the large middle was not my speed.

Walked up the Strand down to Westminster Abbey etc. etc

How could the architecture of London not delight? The Royal Courts in the Strand


More delights

The night ended at the comedy festival in the garden outside my window aka Southbank Festival. Jenny Eclair, a 50 year old with a potty mouth on the issues of getting older was a great choice…oh, yes! Like she doesn’t know now with her pubic hair thinning out, whether to trim it right back or comb it over.

You’d have to have a quid to live in this town – $25 for the Miro  (with audiotapes), $16 for Emin and $30 for the funny lady.

I noticed that the art galleries and the pubs are the only places where people with English accents work. The rest of the service industry is from everywhere with Eastern Europeans being the lastest in the mix.

My feet are really killing me. Tomorrow I met my mate Jo who is back from the Glastonbury festiival. Hopefully not so much walking.

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