Art in Summer 2010

It's that time of time of year again, so we've been doing our limited art seeing thing. Specifically, we went to the BP portrait competition at the National Portrait Gallery, followed by the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, both of which I tend to enjoy. David came along, and was wonderfully quiet throughout (sleeping through most of the RA!).

The portait competition was happily a bit more varied than last year. Not so much in the way of photo-realism, so there was a bit more opportunity for personality to be expressed. There were a few I didn't care for, but on the whole I really rather enjoyed it.

After brunch at the NPG's rather nice restaurant, we decided we'd attack the Summer Exhibition. We wondered if they'd cope with a push-chair, but it turned out to be fine. Critics have panned it, but I enjoy it pretty much for the same reason as they hate it. I love looking through the higgledy-piggledy of the entries from the hoi polloi in the Weston rooms, and I enjoy looking on in horror at the overpriced rubbish from the more famous artists (special prize here for Tracy Emin's awful, awful tat). Generally, though, I enjoy trying to find those few items I think utterly lovely.

The prices have rather increased this year - what that's doing with a recession, I don't know. So instead of looking at my favourite things that are almost on the edge of affordable (ha!), I thought I'd just ignore price and list my favourites:

  • River Flood - Antony Whishaw RA Wonderfully atmospheric abstract painting.
  • Personal Creation Myth - Grayson Perry How he produces such beautiful, yet disturbed objects, I have no idea.
  • Blue Hold - Elizabeth Magill A moody and desolate picture of some trees, somehow brought to life by bright yellow paint. Much more lovely than it sounds. She won the 'Sunny Dupree Family Award for a woman artist' award, which seems almost offensive to me, since its loveliness seems entirely independent of the gender of the painter...
  • Einschuesse - Anselm Kiefer Huge, looming and highly textured oil painting. A huge grey mountain and fields, with sinister red spots. The title appears to be 'bullet hole'.
  • Various Fred Cumings Four rather nice landscape paintings.

Posted 2010-07-19.