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May 2017
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Review of Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions

Recently I have been to several galleries and exhibitions and here are my thoughts:

Tate Britian
http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/
Its only since I have been back that I have visited this gallery that is 5 mins walk from where we are living.It displays purely British Artists.
Together with Phil and Zarina, a fellow member of the Aussies Unemployed Abroad Anonymous group, we set off one mid week afternoon to catch the 1pm FREE tour of Art from 1900-2008. Our guide was fabulous and enthusiastic. We enjoyed it so much that we quickly decided to come back another day for the 11am (Art from 1500-1800) and the 12pm (Art from 1800-1900). These next two tours (that we did back to back one day) were taken by less charismatic individuals so weren’t quite as good at the first. Still they were interesting and we enjoyed wandering round the gallery after.

The central neo-classical sculpture hall is very impressive and it is here that you can find free drawing materials and chairs scattered around the hall to allow you to sketch to your hearts content (something i dabbled in another morning last week).

Also of note is the impressive Turner Exhibition (FREE). On at the time of writing.

Tate Modern
http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/
Though I haven’t been to the permanent exhibition recently but loved a lot of it when I last went. Admittedly I like futurism and the Dada movement so liked their collection of those. There was some stuff that i found ridiculous so keep in mind that it is free. 😉

At the time of writing the Tate Modern has an excellent temporary exhibition of Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia. If you like their art I highly recommend heading to this exhibition. I went with my cousin Tim and a friend of his from uni. I LOVED it.

National Library
http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/homepage.html
The same day that I had went to the Duchamp Exhibition at the Tate Modern I headed to the National Library’s temporary exhibition “Breaking the Rules: The Printed Face of the European Avant Garde 1900 – 1937”, which was basically a look at the anti art , futurist/dada movement. This exhibition was heavy on reading materials, pamphlets etc so was interesting but should have been seen after the exhibition at the tate modern rather than before. Again if your into this era in art you’ll love the insight it gives.. but be prepared to do a fair bit of reading. 🙂

The permanent collection contains some magnificent manuscripts from various religions, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism etc. All amazing examples of art in religious books. Further this collection contains secular holly documents such as Shakespeare manuscripts and the magna carter – imposing the rule of law to monarchs of England for the first time. I highly recommend the perm collection if your a history buff.

National Gallery
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/
Sensational and always packed gallery with an unmissable collection. On Fridays there is often a session where an artist will lead a drawing class (free!! – materials provided). A few weeks ago Phil, Z and I headed down to check it out and all came away clutching our scribbles with smiles.

National Portrait Gallery
http://www.npg.org.uk/live/index.asp
There is something about portraiture that really grabs me. Whether purely on aesthetic grounds or the way my mind can be captivated into seeing a person behind the 2d materials.. what has the artist captured of the person in the shadow fixed to the wall?

This gallery has had a recent (some time in the past year) renovation making it a maze to both loose. The top floor is the more classic pieces, kings, politicians, busts etc – beautiful but stiff the next floor down looks at portraiture from the 1960s and is much more emotive but it is the ground floor that i love most. Predominantly photography but also various other mediums this is where the collection shines for me. With pop culture and iconic figures there are some great images, great compositions in my opinion. Keep an eye out for their recent acquisition of 9 images of Kate Moss noticeably without airbrushing – just a normal woman with the same imperfections as anyone else.

I only wish that there was more information on the techniques used to create the photographs… but then i guess i really need to take a class to get the technique information. :p

Also currently at the gallery is the Vanity Fair Exhibition (2 for 1 with your oyster card mon-fri) showing 150 iconic images (1918-2008) from the magazine vanity fair. Though there were a few noticeably missing there were some great images. Well worth my half price entry. 😉

Courtard Gallery(Somerset house)
http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/index.shtml
For all of you out there that thought that Somerset house was just the location of a romantic ice rink in winter prepair to be amazed at the little gallery that packs one hell of a punch. Its website prouidly states that it “houses one of the finest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world” and I am inclined to agree. Its quality not quantity in this little gem.

From Monet and Renoir to Seurat and Gauguin – see van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (without shelling out on flights to Amsterdam) or Manet’s last painting The Bar at the Folies-Bergère as well as some lovely works by Cézanne. Also not to be midded the room deddicated to Degas with its paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Too add a little extra cream to the already non diet experience is the current temporary exhibition “Renoir at the Theatre”. Here is a room with some interesting and often very famous works by the great artist.

A delightful museum and FREE on Mondays 10am till 2pm!!!

Lastly I must mention the University College, London (UCL) for its amazing (and FREE) Museums. I discovered each of these through attending free lunch time lectures with my cousin who attends the university.

Grant Museum
This is a tiny museum hidden away on the 2/3 floor of one of the buildings that is a virtual treasure trove of zoological specimens. Z and I did a drawing class (FREE!) here where the hardest task for me was simply selecting a skeleton to draw. I ended up drawing some bats and an elephant skull but was left wanting more! Such a fascinating place and much more personal than the Natural History Museum.

Petrie Museum
This is another junk shop of a museum crammed to bursting with Egyptian artefacts. I always like looking at the jewellery and this museum had an amazing array to look at. Also they have some actual cloth that is very well preserved and some actual mummies I really felt the presence of Indiana Jones walking round the glass cabinets crammed with goodies.

Last and least by appearance is the Strang Print Room. This room houses a tiny selection of the massive collection of prints owned by UCL. I went to a drawing class here on anatomy where we were set the task of drawing three images from various prints: Skeleton, muscle and finally skin. I really enjoyed it and the prints on display were much more interesting to me than those that had been on display moments before the class.

Link for ucl museums: http://www.museums.ucl.ac.uk/

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