Birthday parties and modern art

It got hot here in London this weekend. It wasn’t always dry, but at least it’s feeling summery now.

Saturday was a birthday get-together for the She-Aussie. We had a picnic on Primrose Hill with a gang of folks. At least we did until the rains came. I got some frisbee in, so it counts as a proper park visit. We finished off back at her place.

Today I went to the Tate Britain to see a couple of free exhibits they have on.

  • Classified. A few rooms of modern British art. I’m not quite sure why they’re showing this here instead of at the Tate Modern. In fact, I’d seen a couple of the pieces (Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy and Simon Patterson’s The Great Bear) there before. A few left me cold (Rebecca Warren’s found-item In The Bois), and a few I quite liked (Mark Dion’s Tate Thames Dig, Gillian Carnegie’s Black Square).
  • A William Blake exhibit. It’s a replication of an 1809 exhibit of his work that was incredibly unpopular. You can see why: his style was vastly different from the portraits and real-life scenes that were popular at the time (some of which are here for contrast). I
    don’t particularly like his stuff, either. But his ambition was great: he wanted art to have grand themes, and he wanted a public place for it in Britain like you find in, say, Italy.

Afterward I chilled and had lunch at The Harrison, a cool backstreet pub near King’s Cross. They do a decent Sunday roast and play good music: two jazz records and a Doors album today.


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