A well trodden route of galleries within blocks of each other.  First, into Blain Southern and Mat Collishaw who, amongst other things, has installed a zoetrope, which gives the illusion of motion though rapid rotation under a strobe light.  It shows us flowers and mating birds and gives us a headache watching it.  Difficult to photograph though.  On to the Gagosian for Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors and over 120 items mainly from private collections, based on his fascination with bullfighting, ranging from a drawing aged 8 to his final years.  Next, Sadie Coles Gallery (Davies Street) for Jordan Wolfson with his red, leering house and vicious puppet boy.  My kind of thing so I thought; but upstairs I put a virtual reality headset and earphones to watch a 2 minute video and lasted all of 30 seconds before ripping the headset off in shock.  Don’t want to give it away but it was pretty gruesome.  Then, the White Cube (Mason’s Yard) and Fred Tomaselli’s subversions of well-known front-pages.  And, finally, a gentle stroll around the Royal Academy’s Print Fair, very tame after Wolfson.

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Great exhibition.  Over 50 portraits by the artist, including his first ever portrait in 1949, aged 17, and his last ever portrait, aged 84, created specially for this exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery 3 months before he died.  As you move through the exhibition the people in the paintings become less recognisable, and the colours start to spill out onto the frames themselves, a style for which Hodgkin became known.  The exhibition is called Absent Friends as many of the subjects were dead at the time of the show, as the artist himself.  A fitting celebration of his life.


Who knew?  The tapestries themselves have been beautifully put together by Dovecote Studios in Edinburgh with bright colours against the grey walls covered top to bottom with dancers.  There are sketches of the component parts put together by the weavers and a video showing them bringing it all together.  Ofili is a big fan of Balotelli and he features in the tapestry pouring a cocktail down from the sky.  It doesn’t actually look like him but it was an interesting fact to find out.  Reviews have been mixed but I thought the room and tapestry were beautiful and imposing. Weaving Magic is at the National Gallery until 28th August.

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Finally got to the David Hockney exhibit at the Tate Britain and whilst there dropped into Queer British Art and the Duveen Galleries.  The surprise is the early work which I’ve never seen and clearly has a lot of influences.  Then he hits LA and it is all swimming pools and bright colours.  The colours never go away and he brings them back to paint Yorkshire in later years.  The Four Seasons video room is beautiful with the road at Woldgate shown in snow, spring light etc.  Found myself trying to decide which scene I would like to go for a hike in.  The final room is fascinating as Hockney has moved onto I-pads and the screens show how he builds a picture up on the screen.  I came out seeing Hockney as a national treasure.

The Queer British Art exhibition was fascinating, not so much for the art, but for the narrative which accompanied each painting.  The history is worth the visit alone.

Then onto the Duveen Galleries with a neon work, Forms in Space … by Light (in Time) by Cerith Wyn Evans, 2 kms of twisted neon  suspended from the ceiling.  Beautiful.




Amnesty International, St Paul’s Cathedral and Mark Wallinger have put Ecce Homo onto the steps of the Cathedral.  The statue was first on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.  The statue of Jesus wearing the barbed wire crown appeared over Easter and will be there throughout May as part of Amnesty campaign to highlight those in prison or being tortured due to their beliefs.



Ashley Bickerton has just opened at the Newport Street Gallery, a collection put together by Damien Hirst.  Did not know the name so all was to be revealed.  It had started with some interesting ideas like the Tormented Self Portrait with the artist representing himself as a series of corporate logos, I’m guessing those that he invests in but after Gallery 1 the change was sudden.  The Sharks and Snake Heads were interesting, Gallery 5 was the bonkers section but liked it just for that.  Overall eclectic, little bit bonkers and up and down.


We walked The Line

Not sure how we’d missed that this existed but on Saturday afternoon we walked The Line. The walk is okay, not my favourite one.  It is a contemporary art walk but they are far and few between although there is a Damian Hirst and a Paolozzi. The best bit is from the Olympic Park, through Three Mills Island (like a French Chateau) and via Cody Dock to Star Lane – I would stop then and get on the DLR to go home, not continue to the 02 as it is so crowded.  My favourite – the shopping trolley sculpture by Abigail Fallis.


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