Tag: sculpture


At last, I am able to bring you some travel photos. I did a lot of travelling in 2017, particularly to the Netherlands, including two trips to Rotterdam. It is NL’s second largest city and Europe’s biggest port.


Rotterdam was bombed very badly in WW2. Consequently, there are lots of sculptures and pieces of public art which memorialise that event.


You sometimes see red lights in the ground and these mark the exact spots where bombs fell during the war.

red light

The war also explains Rotterdam’s famous abundance of modern architecture and even its wide roads which were once canals. Before that, Rotterdam would have looked more like Amsterdam.

A mix of modern and historic architecture exactly captures the appearance of Rotterdam.

It’s easy to find the cool district of Rotterdam, simply go to the self-titled Cool District (this is such a practical, Dutch thing to do). It has shopping, art, bars & restaurants etc.

Cool District Shopping

Check out the animatronic penguins at the Xmas shop.

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art

 This is a very fashionable contemporary art museum. I was there in August and there was an exhibition about the relationship between hip hop, minority groups and architecture in Rotterdam. I’m now a particular fan of Dutch artist Navin Thakoer, aka Nafer Loves You.
An impressive, if oddly-curated, collection of art from the Middle Ages to the present.

Markthal is a spectacular achievement of design and architecture in the Cool District and the place to go for foodie snacks and speciality items to take home. There’s also an Albert Heijn supermarket directly downstairs for more everyday groceries.

More Food & Drink

The Fenix Food Factory is a great place for an evening meal and has interesting independent shops, selling food, a huge range of beers and ciders and also books. It is in a converted warehouse in what was once the red light district.

Bitterballen, a local dish.


Where to get bitterballen, as well as strong beer. Bars and cafes in the Cool District.

More food and drink around Rotterdam.

Pelgrim is a brewery with great beer and food in an attractive setting.

Coming soon: Amsterdam, Delft and Den Bosch.

South Africa at the British Museum

This exhibition is on until 26 February, so you still have time to go. It was highly relevant for me because I was just in South Africa a few months ago, learning as much as possible about the country and culture.

Items in the exhibition include some very ancient artefacts but the aspects I found the most interesting were the political items from the 1980s and 90s and then the contemporary art.

I want to point out several things without writing a blog post that’s the length of a book. See how many of these things you can spot.

  • A black cherub with an AK-47 and a red nose. The red nose was made famous by British charity Comic Relief, which has been criticised for investing the money it raises in oppressive companies and industries in the countries it claims to help. Artist Johannes Phokela says: “Once I bought a red nose and it fell off when I tried to fit it on to my nose. That’s when I found out that the noses were not designed to be worn by someone with a flat nose like mine.”
  • A maid in a Victorian dress. When I was in South Africa, I saw cleaners in shops and also domestic maids wearing dresses that were not much better than this, just with knee-length instead of floor-length skirts. Sculpture by Mary Sibande.
  • A conspicuously white person absurdly inserted into a black African soap opera (Candice Breitz).
  • A sangoma (a shaman, a healer) holding a consultation (Siyazama Project).
  • Human figures with horns (Jane Alexander).
  • Steve Biko, who died in police custody (Sam Nhlengethwa).
  • A 1994 ballot paper, showing both Nelson Mandela (ANC) and F W de Klerk (National Party).
  • Black workers sleeping on a bus (David Goldblatt). Public transport is important in South Africa. When apartheid was introduced, black people were evicted from their homes and forced to relocate to designated areas which of course were in undesirable and inconvenient locations on the outskirts of cities. Therefore the cleaners and domestic workers who I mentioned above, who aren’t being paid a whole lot, are travelling very long distances for the privilege of getting to these demeaning jobs. A significant amount of their time and their money is sunk into bus travel. The workers in this picture are sleeping because they do not get adequate time for sleeping at home.

Art in Philadelphia, Part 1

Right, it’s nearly time to go travelling again so I need to get all caught up on those Philadelphia art posts that I promised you, otherwise it won’t happen. I have almost no time to write so we will have to make do with the pictures.

Some works from the very famous Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

wang yunfeng103

Philadelphia has been at the centre of American politics since the Declaration of Independence, so of course there’s lot of political art.

grooms red




veca mark



lichtenstein roy


chunn nancy



Fifty Shades of the British Museum

I had a couple of days of being out and about in London, the sun shone and I found myself in pleasant and sometimes entertaining environments, so here is the story in photos.

Went to a client lunch meeting at the Aldwych Hotel. As I loitered outside in the sun, having arrived slightly early, I snapped the early 19th-century Lyceum Theatre which is just across the road.


The Novello Theatre, 1905, viewed from outside the Aldwych Hotel.


Later in the day there was an hour to kill prior to another meeting, which brought me to the British Museum, est. 1753, what a wonderful achievement of the 18th century. Here is the famous ceiling in the entrance area.


In the British Museum, there is a huge, human-headed, winged lion. It is Assyrian and is nearly 1,000 years older than Jebus, which makes you think, doesn’t it. I, for one, welcome our winged overlords.


There is also this lion, which has similar origins. It weighs 15 tonnes. It symbolises Ishtar, the Assyrian goddess of war and guarded the entrance to her temple. It is covered in intricate cuneiform writing.

lion 3

When I ran out of time, I exited through the gift shop, pausing to admire this lovely Chinese-inspired tea pot. It is called Golden Carp and it is by Alison Appleton. Isn’t that beautiful. It costs £65. I am not certain that spending £65 on a tea pot is a great idea for me right now, so I am glad that I have this photo because it makes me happy.


The next evening found me in Leicester Square, here we are approaching the Odeon Cinema.


I was at the Odeon to meet someone, sadly not the Head Honcho, to go and see Fifty Shades. I was amused and only slightly appalled to find out that the Odeon is screening 50 Shades at intervals of 30-45 minutes, because there is that much demand, and indeed the room in which we viewed the film at about 6.15 in the evening was packed solid. It was an audience of 97% women, of all ages. There was a lot of tittering. Quite a jolly atmosphere as well, women who didn’t know each other were laughing and joking around as we all filed in. The film itself was okay. There isn’t that much sex. What there is, is well filmed. The cinematography is great. The lighting is great, the sets are all great. I liked Dakota’s shoes and Jamie was quite good as Mr Grey. I would say that Sam Taylor-Johnson did with it what I hoped she would, which is to make it glossy and sumptuous and to edit out most of the vapid dialogue that is in the original text. Oh, Ana’s and Mr Grey’s emails and text messages are really nicely handled, they appear as discreet pop-up windows on the screen as you continue to view the action. Elegantly done. Overall, 5/10.

Over the last couple of days I’ve scored two Friends points and additionally, my friend who I went to the cinema with is a New Friend, which means I’ve just completed all the requirements for the Friends Brownie Badge.

And that’s all the news.

Yorkshire: Sculpture

So I got off Eurostar in London, met Leroy and we got on another train to Yorkshire to make my highly-prized annual trip to visit my dear friend C, who kindly accommodated us both at her house. If you are wondering, C and Leroy thoroughly bonded, despite a superficial 35-year age gap that might have been a stumbling block to anyone else. C gave Leroy some business advice. Leroy cooked. It was great. Leroy fitted right in like a Yorkshire native. We all went to visit C’s mom. She is 80 and she does not take any shit. I love her to bits and she is a highlight of my annual trip and something of a role model for how to be a kick-ass old lady. She’s also extremely glamorous and attractive, if I look anywhere near that good when I am 80 then I will be amazed.

We went to the Barbara Hepworth gallery at Wakefield and saw some terrific sculpture.

A typical Hepworth. Organic, rounded shapes, holes, string. I have another photo of this sculpture that I wish I could share with you, where Leroy is standing behind it, staring at it intently while holding my coat.

hepworth 1

hepworth 2

Barbara Hepworth screenprint, Winter Solstice, 1970.


Reclining figure by Hepworth’s partner, Henry Moore, 1936.


If you can get to the Hepworth Gallery before 1 July, you will also be able to see an exhibition of sculpture by American artist Lynda Benglis. It is delicious! Look at this huge fan. It is pleated wire mesh, decorated with all manner of beautiful trinkets, much as one might decorate a Christmas tree. I so wish I had any wall space, I would make one.

Zanzidae: Peacock Series, 1979, wire mesh, enamel, glass and plastic.


Want to see some close-ups?

fan close 1

fan close 2

More Benglis.


gold 2



So that was Saturday, 1 Friends point and 1 Art point. Stay tuned for painting and ceramics in the village of Saltaire.