Saturday, September 08, 2012

Leaving St Paul's after Evensong

Listening to a choral evensong in St. Paul’s Cathedral, I ended my three days journey to London.  We were asked if we wanted to sit in the choir and so of course I did.  A male choir composed of young boys men sang the Psalms, the Magnificat, and a Poulenc piece.  So lovely to sit quietly after a busy day of museums, underground travel and the hustle and bustle of the City. 

The Writer Putting Herself into the Picture 
It was my first time crossing the Millennium Bridge, a footbridge across the Thames connecting to the Tate Modern and the reconstructed Globe Theater, which was opened by the Queen appropriately in 2000.  I loved the arrangement of the Tate:  the permanent collection was free, with tickets required only for special exhibitions (Munch, for example). 
I began by visiting and re-visiting the Surrealists in an exhibit focusing on the place of dreams in art, and of course the Surrealists were greatly influenced by the new psychological findings of Freud and the role of the unconscious.  Aside from the art, there were letters and photos of the Surrealists in London in the 1920s, and I was interested to see several women about whom I knew nothing – this will be fruitful research for the future:  Dorothea Tanning (married to Max Ernst in the 40s; I think he was later married to Peggy Guggenheim).; Leonora Carrington, influenced by the dream like quality of Irish folklore; Eileen Agar who was involved with Paul Nash; Diana Brinton Lee.  It will be fun exploring books about them and others when I return to the US. 

A contemporary artist had filmed the gardens of Englishman Edward James in Mexico who had created fantastic environments with pieces of old sculpture and concrete pipe and metal in a jungle setting.  Absolutely fantastic.  Edward James is someone else I’d like to know more about.  I believe the artist was Diane Smith.

Post World War II exhibition contained many pieces influenced by abstract expressionism as artists began to turn to personal visions in contrast to the horrors of violence and war.  These included Mark Rothko, one of my favorites and one of his favorite artist, 19th Century landscape painter William Turner, whose paintings of light and color preceded the Impressionists.
Turner Landscape - unfortunately the
photo does not show the color well.
The final exhibit in the series looked at structure and form with two modern artists, including a piece by Richard Sierra, recently profiled in the New Yorker, and including two wonderful  “cut outs” from Matisse that I had not previously viewed.

The Tate is apparently an old power plant that was reconstructed.  The views from the dining floor are spectacular and I had fun taking pictures of my lunch (potato and fennel soup and pan fried brim with salad), especially several showing distortions through my wine glass.
From my Perch at the Tate Looking South

Earlier in the day, I visited the Museum of London, which is beautifully constructed among the old walls of the City and tells the story of London (and England) from prehistoric times to the present.  It was extremely interesting and the displays and films were innovative.  I met Marty and David, lifelong learners from the ship, and we received a guided tour of mid-17-th/18th century social structure of London, including an intriguing story of Jack Sheppard, a young carpenter turned thief and prison escape artist, who became somewhat of a myth in his own time.

Cy Twombly Livens the Bare Walls

London Center of Olympic and Para Olympic Games

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I was sure I had made a comment before -- on the St Martin's in the Field Concert. But it doesn't show up. I'm trying again. I'm loving your London posts. Several years ago Deb Murray was in London for a weekend before a hiking holiday in Cornwall. We met up there and did lots of the things that you did -- went to a concert at St Martin's in the Field walked across the Millenium Bridge and went to the Tate Modern. So it was especially fun for me to read these posts! Continue having a wonderful time!