We had booked the evening out for Hockney members’ evening ages ago; we decided to book out the whole day once our holiday plans had been fixed.
Thus the idea of going to see Revolution before the Hockney was hatched.
Still, events conspired against us earlier in the day and it ended up a bit of a rush to get in to see Revolution before closing time.
We got to the RA about 17:15. The young lady on the door warned us that they start closing about 17:55 (five minutes before actual closing time). I explained that the revolution wouldn’t take us all that long as we are seasoned revolutionaries. That seemed to convince her – at least she let us through without further ado.
In truth, we didn’t need all that long to see that exhibition. There were a few really good works of art, but the rest was interesting from an historical point of view rather than jaw-dropping art that you want to look at for ages.
I expected to like the Chagalls and the Kandinsky. More surprising was that I liked some of the Kazimir Malevich and the Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (in the latter case, not the one depicted on the resource link above, but I did like several others).
I read The Noise Of Time by Julian Barnes on holiday, so the stuff about Stalin purging the arty folk was fresh in my mind.
Janie commented that, in many ways, reading the leaflet was more interesting than much of the art itself.
We then took a welcome break at the RA bar, where a Lenin-lookalike barman took an age to serve our wine as he was busy making up cocktails for a little group of barflies who were knocking them back.
Then on to Tate Britain for the Hockney. We had seen many of the works before, not least the more recent iPad work, the colourful East Riding of Yorkshire works and (some years ago) the sixties and seventies portrait stuff around pools in California and the like.
The art critics tend to favour the earlier stuff over the later stuff, whereas Janie and I are both fans of the later work. Seeing this retrospective on his whole oeuvre, our feelings were reconfirmed.
As it was a members evening, the exhibition was actually rather busy at the start. We chose to go round it backwards, starting with the later work and ending with the earlier. This seemed to work well enough for us, as we are familiar with much of his work. Perhaps not such a good idea for an artist with whom you are less familiar.
Then home (i.e. the flat) via the Ranoush shawarma bar in Kensington High Street.
What a pleasant late afternoon/evening.