We’d both been really looking forward to seeing this exhibition, without quite getting around to seeing it; prioritising other “more urgent” things, as th Abstract Expressionism is running until January and as a member Janie can get us in any time.
We had booked out the time to see the exhibition on this day and were quite determined to see it, although with Janie feeling poorly the day before, I was half expecting us to defer the visit yet again.
But Janie woke up on this Friday feeling better and was keen to go ahead with the visit after getting some other bits and pieces out of the way.
Naturally, it was quite late by the time we set off for the Royal Academy, which actually worked out well with the late night opening. No congestion charge, no parking charges and a reasonably clear run around Mayfair/Piccadilly.
We both really liked the show, without necessarily liking all the work. Barnett Newman has always left me cold and I was not so impressed by the David Smith sculptures. This is big, “wall space” art in truth.
Reviews are a little mixed:
- Adrian Searle in the Guardian thinks the women artists are under-represented – here;
- Whereas Mark Hudson in the Telegraph thinks it is wonderful – here;
- Matthew Collings in the Standard liked some of the works but thought the show was a mess – here.
We thought the show worked very well as a whole. Very colourful. Also very interesting, as we were familiar with some of the works and artists but not really on the Abstract Expressionists as a school. We suspect that many non-expert visitors shared our sense of enjoyment along with the sense that we learnt something too.
Janie was convinced that Cy Twombly should have been in there, even asking one of the shop attendants to look Cy up for her and then explain why Cy was absent. It transpires that Twombly’s work is later, modern romantic symbolism, not abstract expressionism. Bad call, Janie.