Saturday, June 4, 2011

London Day Three

I planned on started my last day in London with a visit to the Tate Modern. However, due to closures on the Tube, I had to walk a bit to get there; but fate was in my favor because on the way I passed the Hayward Gallery which had on a huge Tracey Emin show, Love is What You Want. I love me some YBAs and Emin especially, so I was really pleased to check it out!

The show had many of her early patchwork blankets, half a dozen of her fantastic witty neon signs, and many of her text-based memorabilia works. There was a whole series of works, including a film, How it Feels, related to her experience when she had a badly botched abortion. The narratives recounted were chilling but powerful; she describes having an abortion as the best worst mistake she's ever made. I'm ardently pro-choice and believe it's really important for all women's abortion stories to be told, for shame to be taken away and to show that the decisions women make about their own bodies are varied and individual.

After the Hayward, I walked up the Thames to the Tate. Wonderful as always; they had on a Joan Miro show which was great, but very crowded. I took a quick rejuvenating break in what is possibly one of my favorite spots in London: the Rothko room. On an individual basis, I don't feel much for Rothko's work, but hung together in this large yet enveloping room, low lit with soft grey walls and nestled within the bustle of the larger, louder galleries, I find it as near to a religious experience as I've ever had. Definitely the sublime at work.


I also loved Jenny Holzer's Blue Purple Tilt. Holzer is definitely my favorite conceptual artists and one of my favorite contemporary artists overall. I love the wit in her pieces as well as the subtle social and political undertones.

After the Tate and a spot of lunch, I walked up toward Tower Bridge. I was luck enough to see it open for some passing boats! After a wander past the Tower, it was time to pick up my luggage and head off to the airport and home.

Next up: Acquisitions!

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