19 December 2013

London: Art on and off the street

Tate Modern

So, I got the obligatory (as I see it) HEYO LONDON post out of the way. There's a pattern that has developed over the years. I've been to London a handful of times now and every time I go, the first day always includes a beeline to Trafalgar Square, a walk down to Westminster Abbey and Parliament, across the bridge and along the Southbank, and then at some point back north of the river, catching the tube to whatever part of town I'm staying in that time. This time I was just north of Hyde Park in a nice little hotel, just far enough out of the central insanity of the Christmas shopping mecca, but still very close to it.

The first full I day in the city was spent walking around a bit, but the weather dissolved into steady rain so it was indoors entertainment for most of the afternoon. This included a major high point: Tate Modern. A little while ago they did a major rehang of their permanent collection (I'm not sure I'm 100% on board with it, but let's not go there), but I was particularly interested in seeing the Paul Klee exhibition (through 9 March 2014). Klee is one of the big guns of European modern art, involved closely with the Bauhaus, where he taught for ten years. He was meticulous about cataloguing his work and also note-taking about the artistic process, creating sketchbooks and notepads of diagrams and notes for use in his classes. A couple of these took the form of books, such as The Thinking Eye and Pedagogical Sketchbook (which I have an early edition of, which I'll unabashedly boast!)... it was a good show. Klee was the focus of much of my senior year as an undergraduate student, so it was cool to go back and revisit some of his work.

But I was surprised to find that I actually liked another show better. The Klee ticket could be bought in conjunction with the retrospective of Brazilian modern artist Mira Schendel for a pretty deep discount, so I decided, what the hell. I'd never heard of her, but for an extra £2 I could handle checking it out! And I have to say, it was love at first sight. Her work is totally rad, and yes, that is the technical term for it. The Tate Modern exhibition is only on for another month, through 19 January, but I would highly recommend it if you're interested in abstract art and sculpture with a firm connection to philosophy and language. I spent probably twice as much time in the Schendel show than in the Klee one, so it just goes to show... you never know.
Just some random shots outside those exhibitions at the Tate, and of course, one of the best places to snap colorful photos, the skate park with an ever-changing and encouraged array of spray art.

Paul Klee Tate Modern Dan Flavin at Tate Modern Dan Flavin Tate Modern Skate park, Southbank Cheers! Kate x

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