Following advice from my tutor in my first ‘Formative feedback’ here are photographs of my latest Museum visits from my log book.
In chronological order:
(1) 18/02/2016 (RA: Royal Academy of Arts: London. “Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse”).
Overpriced, flooded with people, packed out with sub standard paintings and second rate Monet’s… more a concept to make money than a serious exhibition.
There were a couple of paintings which stood out for me… the Pissaro featuring a cabbage patch which and a wistful Bethe Morisot – I’d not seen any of her work and this was my favourite painting of the exhibition.
Sadly I didn’t take any notes and can’t remember the which of hers it was – but it had an artistic soul that was lacking in 95% of the other paintings, which were technically good but ’empty’ art.
(2) 21/03/2016 (LACMA: Los Angeles County Art Museum).
Ten day visit to LA with my son. He popped in the gym with my voice coach so I took the opportunity to nip into LACMA for the morning. Great museum with nice cafe outside. Not busy… space and time to study the exhibits… particularly remember the German Expressionists.
And native Pacific and American Indian Art which I didn’t get time to see.
(3) 23/03/2016 (The Getty Centre: Los Angeles).
This is a stunning museum West of LA in the hills. We got an Uber for about £25 as public transport is fairly useless… beware the lack of signal at the Uber pick up/drop off point, you have to order it at the top then jump on the tram quick. Otherwise you can get stranded.
It’s like the villains mansion on a James Bond film – big chunks of stone without concrete like a medieval castle. The garden a work of art in its own right… the plants perfect with not a slug bite or insect nibble in sight. And strangely silent.
Space inside to see all the exhibits – the shop is great and not too expensive – the cafes serve delicious food. The special exhibition was photography as fine art with luscious stills from Maplethorpe… the talk of LA when we were there.
A must and you could probably visit for a week to see all it has to offer.
We just did a day!
(4) 23/04/2016 (RA: Royal Academy of Arts: London. “In the Age of Giorgione”.)
Very expensive unless you’re a member and the food is massively overpriced. The exhibitions vary so I would always read a review as if you’re watching the pennies this might not be a good investment.
However, the Giorgione exhibition was excellently curated. The text and paintings were very instructional and you really got a feel for a moment in time.
It always seems very packed though and is probably worth trying to find a quieter time as you feel rushed and the stress of throngs of people do take away from the contemplation of the art.
There always seem to be lots of Art Twitchers here too. They go along a wall of paintings photographing them without looking at the painting – flash, flash, flash. And students taking photographs, which is less annoying… there was also a guided tour which stopped at paintings for ages and gave talks which made it hard to focus if you weren’t in the tour, a TV expert talking to a friend with a throng of people pretending not to listen but hanging on every word and the normal RA cram of people.
So, not a ‘socially’ pleasant experience.
But the art was excellent!
(5) 13/05/2016 (Manchester Art Gallery – Mosley Street)
My son’s First Year final show at Manchester Met Film School… we had planned to go to the The Whitworth on our free day but were passing here and popped in and spent half a day here.
A surprisingly good range of paintings – lots of pre-raphaelites which were fascinating to see in the flesh… but I still can’t connect. Lots of cold beauty and precision – no passion.
The staff were lovely and very helpful.
I’d certainly recommend it as an ‘undiscovered gem’.
(6) 11/06/2016 (Musee d’Orsay: Paris).
I was lucky enough to have a weekend in Paris, after the floods and during the Euros.
What a beautiful city and the street cafes and friendliness so different to anything I’d experienced in England. We watched the opening match of the Euro’s in a tiny bar serving food, coffees and beer full of French young and old, men couples, families… and an old German man.
It’s amazing how you can’t get a real feel of a place from books. The smell… the character… the architecture… the food.
This is relevant as seeing the expressionists in their host city had a profound effect on how I looked at the art. It connected me in a way to the place and time (the impressionist paintings we saw were displayed as collections of rich patrons.)
It’s difficult to explain but they moved from disconnected works of beauty hanging in a temple to art (bottled beauty almost hermetically sealed from their origin) to real paintings made by real artists at a specific moment in time and place. Almost like you could reach back through time and touch them.
And the Musee d’Orsay being in the old train station all added to the effect.
I found found it deeply moving.
…such as Picasso – SO HE IS PART OF ARTISTIC BRIDGE OLD AND MODERN – not isolated!