A Visit To The Tate Modern, Primarily To See Georgia O’Keeffe, 8 July 2016

We booked the day off, primarily to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at the Tate Modern.

I arranged to play real tennis in the morning and had also arranged to collect my new super-duper tennis racket when there, which Janie was very kindly buying for me as my birthday present. Janie and I ummed and ahhed about the logistics for the day, eventually landing on the idea that Janie would come to the flat and we’d go to Lord’s in Dumbo together. Janie quite enjoys sitting in the dedans gallery reading and/or watching the tennis. So that we did.

I had a hard game. We watched Chris playing with a very good player for a while after I showered and then went back to the flat for a quick bite of lunch before heading off by tube to the Tate Modern.

On arrival, we had a quick look at the Mona Hatoum exhibition before going to the O’Keeffe. As Janie is a member with a concession for a guest, we effectively have freedom of the place for all exhibitions.

Some of the Mona Hatoum pieces are very interesting, even stunning, but most of her work is quite stark. Janie described it as violent. Certainly dark.

The highlight of our visit was unquestionably the Georgia O’Keeffe. A rare chance to see her work and a huge one-off collection of it too. I particularly liked her more abstract pieces (both the early and late period abstracts). Janie liked the flower pictures as well as the abstracts – indeed Janie liked most of it. Incredible use of colour. The story of her development as an artist, under the wing of Alfred Stieglitz, is also interesting. Afterwards, I bought Janie a book oriented towards that aspect of O’Keeffe’s story.

Tired, we took some refreshment in the members’ cafe. Then, revived, decided we had time also to see the Bhupen Khakhar and one or two other things as long as we headed straight to the Wigmore Hall to see Christian McBride and Chick Corea after that.

I wasn’t much taken by the Bhupen Khakhar work. Some of the later works were quite interesting and I like the colours he used, but most of the work seemed very crude to me (artistically I mean, although also, as it happens, in terms of subject matter). Still, glad we took the time to see it.

Then we went to have a look at the Mark Rothko Seagram Murals, which we hadn’t seen before. Neither of us felt the contemplative spirituality promised. But again, glad I have seen them now.

Finally, we went across to the Switch House in search of the macaws (which we missed out on last time) only to be disappointed again. The owners have now withdrawn the macaws temporarily because they don’t seem happy being looked at by lots of people…probably not a great idea to exhibit them at the most visited modern art museum in the world, then.


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