A great antidote to the summer heat is the air-conditioned peace of an art gallery.
This week, I’ve done more in two days than in the past six months I think. Yesterday, I saw the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly. There are some gems but a couple of rooms had the air of an overcrowded art fair – unfortunately I can’t find a list of works online and couldn’t be arsed to fork out 3.50 for a paper one. So I’ll just say Teddy Bears, Swimming Pools and a giant Domino woman, that huge drawing of a rock and . I’m dead cultured me.
Today, I popped down to the Tate Modern for the Frida Kahlo exhibition. Wow. It’s still very busy (I think it only opened last week or something) and by the end I was getting a little prickly with the Japanese schoolgirls pressing their noses up against everything to have the absolutely closest look and other people absently wandering into me. Back to the art. It was really nice to see so much of her work. I guess I’d only seen the self-portraits with monkeys and suchlike before. I was ashamed to admit that I had no idea that she was married to Diego Rivera, let alone that she had an affair with Trotsky! What I found most fascinating was to see bits of the early 20th Century European and North American avant-garde (elements of surrealism, cubism, expressionism) through Mexican eyes, with a Latin American vibe. Favourites were the wedding portrait dramatically over-emphasising the contrast between Rivera’s huge frame and her petite self in a huge dress – love the little feet poking out. Also the self portrait that was part of a pair (with Rivera) for Sigmund Firestone in 1940 (the copy above doesn’t give you the yellowness of the yellow background, or the detail of the amazing braiding in her hair).
And afterwards it started to rain. There was thunder and lightning but it was over by the time I got home. I’d have liked a go at a wineresque thundercast. Maybe there’ll be more – it’s still hot.
Oh boy, and right now as I finish writing, the Gillmor Gang, live from Gnomedex is coming out of my speakers (well it will be when they get the mics working!). Coolest.