Today we looked at Kate Edith Gough’s photo collages. These pieces really triggered something. I have books and books filled with magazine collages. My mom has the same books from her childhood.
What I found so fascinating about Gough is that she is working with watercolor and photography in the mid-1800s. I doubt she had the luxury of an endless supply of Elmer’s glue like I had. Gough liked to put human heads on animal bodies. She created these fantasy scenes and as you can see, they are extremely creative. I wanted to share these works with you. Let me know what your thoughts are.
The Tate Modern had so much space. We’ve been emphasizing space a lot in class with our readings of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and China Mieville’s The City and The City, so I probably was still thinking a lot about space when I entered the Tate. However, the Tate Modern did have a lot of open space. When our group needed to crowd around our teacher, Megan, to hear her explain a piece of art, we were not in other visitors’ way. Unlike at the National Gallery where I always felt like our mob was taking over a space of the museum. The Tate Modern was extremely different than the other museums we’ve visited while in London. Both the interior and the exterior of the Tate Modern were different than the Tate Britain, Victoria and Albert, National Gallery, and British Museum. These buildings were old and detailed in their exterior architectural make-up. The Tate Modern was a factory of some-sort in the late 1900s. Now with some glass enclosing added, the Tate houses modern artwork ranging from large two-story structures, which made no sense to me, to famous Picasso pieces.
The first floor of the building was a large open space, which typically houses a sculptural exhibit, but it was not there this time of year. The higher floors looked much more like a traditional museum that I’ve been to, yet it had a very modern flare. The walls were decorated with a Modern Art timeline that displayed art eras and famous artist. The names looked like they were handwritten. I really liked how the art was displayed in the space. It was clean and simple. The walls were white and the art was easy to look at.
Again, we viewed some works that we went over in class. I feel extremely lucky to have first-hand observations with the pieces we go over in class. I bet many art history majors would love to take this class.
I enjoyed a work by Robert Rauschenberg. So much so that I bought a postcard: my first Museum purchase. This piece was a large canvas where Rauschenberg used silkscreen images with oil and acrylic paint. The picture below is one I snapped at the Tate Modern; this picture does not capture the texture or real uniqueness of the piece. I liked the mixing of materials and textures. This made me want to take a silkscreen class and start some arts and crafts right then and there.
I woke up just in time to go to the Portobello Road Market with Mary and other students. Then I had to hurry over to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen and Kate. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in London. It is so neat that their Royal family is allowed to be out in an open carriage waving to the people.
After seeing the Queen again, some of us went to Piccadilly Square to check out tickets for Wicked. Unfortunately, the tickets were all forty plus pounds, which was not in my budget. Although, I would’ve loved to see Wicked for the first time in London, I couldn’t justify the money. It was time to find some food after the ticket ordeal. Sydney Rail found this incredible little Italian place. I ordered a Pizza, which I had as leftovers for days.
I took a nice long nap after lunch. I felt guilty sleeping away a perfect day in London, but I wasn’t going to do anyone any good in my state. I’ve learned from experience that it is important to get some sleep when abroad because the long days and late nights add up and can equal a real fit of sickness. I only have just over a month here in England; I do not have time to be sick. So, all in all, one afternoon spent sleeping isn’t a horrible choice.
After my nap, Winston, Joe, Sunny, Alex and I hit up our corner pub, The Eagle. This pub has a great feel. It is on the corner by our flats. There are lots of windows, which bring in a lot of light and allows for great people watching. The kids in my program are great. They always have something interesting to say and are easy to talk to. I think I got really lucky. We all seem to be like-minded and like to have a good time. Our group really liked to have flat parties. We’d play drinking games and share some really great laughs. This Saturday night was no different. We had a laid-back get-together, where we learned a new ABC’s drinking game. Winston had the funniest things to say, as always. I left the party early to do some journal writings and get a good night’s sleep. I went to bed smiling knowing that I had seen the Queen and Kate all in the same day.
Day 10: Sunday 12 June
I woke up at a decent hour after a really good night’s sleep. At around ten, I headed out of the flat alone to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum. After some hardcore navigating, I made it the museum. I didn’t love the V&A because the pieces were so spread out. Although they were set up by category, everything seems random. The coolest exhibits cost extra, which I was not about to pay. I was on a mission. I needed to find a painting to write about for my art history paper. I found this really neat picture of Cinderella and wrote most of the paper while sitting in this big room full of art. It was a great way to spend the morning.
Unfortunately, it took as hour to get home because of an event going on in London. I ate some delicious left-over pizza for lunch from an Italian piazza. Alex, Sunny and I made our way to the Accent center in the rain, so that I could get online. My internet still does not work in my flat – that’s my luck.
I spent all afternoon uploading these blog entries. It is so fun looking back at what I’ve been doing over the past week. I can’t believe I’ve been in London for a week. There is not enough time in a day to do and see all that I want to. Also, our program is so incredibly jam-packed. We have a really intensive itinerary; however, the schedule is filled with such amazing things that there is nothing to complain about (except how much your feet hurt).
Before we knew it, it was five o’clock and time to get ready for a peer-planned group dinner. My dear friend, Alex Anderson, whom I met in Spain, lives here in London and met us for dinner at Wahaca, a Mexican restaurant in China town. Alex and I met in July 2009 in Pamplona, where we both went running with the bulls. Afterward, we went on an impromptu road trip. I got to know Alex really well and was so pleased to see him again two years later here in London.
We had so much to catch up on and to reminisce about. Talking with Alex reminded me how lucky I am for all my travels and all the friendships my travels have brought. After dinner, a few of us stopped by a pub in Inslington, which is the neighborhood we live in. I love the conversations that happen at the pub. I was speaking with a friend of mine that I wish American culture had more of a pub culture. I’d love to meet my friends after a day of work for a beer, or preferably English cider, and good conversation. We were at the pub to talk and enjoy a drink; we weren’t there to get our buzz on or at least, I wasn’t.
I am kicking myself for not snapping at least one picture of Alex Anderson and I. When I come back to London, I plan on catching up with him and will be sure to take a few pictures. It isn’t everyday that you have a reunion in London with an Australian, whom you met in Spain.
Class came way too early the next day. After heading the wrong way on Bus 38, we were thirty minutes late. Being late on the first day can be expected, but that doesn’t mean it is appreciated. Class was fun. You heard me right; I liked class. We talked about three poems that I didn’t understand when I read them. But after some fun with Eric, our incredibly adorable teacher, I not only understood the poems but even liked them. You heard me right; now, I even like poetry. London could change me for the better. I even took notes on art history vocabulary and hope to use it soon.
After class, we visited the British Museum. It was incredible to see parts of the Parthenon called the Elgin Marbles and Egyptian artifacts. We made looking at art really fun!
After class the teachers and I went to the Museum Pub across the street from the British Museum. I had my first glass of Pimm’s. It is a type of summer brew with lots of fresh fruit put in. It is delicious. It was so fun to drink with our teachers and get to know them. They are both PhD students at KU and have great things to say. We’re so lucky to have teachers that have so much knowledge to pass on and do so in a fun way.
After a pub crawl, we headed over to Pizza Express, where we had our first group dinner, which I want to rename Family Dinner. It was a great way to get to know the people on my program better and the night was filled with many laughs.
Then post-dinner was our first night of clubbing in London. Club promoters are all over trying to get you to pay them to take you to a club. We got suckered in and got taken all across town just to find out the club wasn’t open. It was a disaster and everyone was mad. I wish we would’ve been smarter. Then finally we went to Jewel, which was a pretty club with dancing and lots of seating. The ceiling was covered in mirror tiles and the chandeliers were beautiful. The people were a good mix. There were loads of Hen parties, which are English bachelorette parties. They dress up in what they call “fancy dress,” what we call costumes.
After Jewel, some of us went to Tiger Tiger, which is a dance club. This is where I was later left by the group and had to roam home alone. It was pretty horrible, but I learned a good lesson in trusting people and communicating. I am thankful everything turned out fine, but I was not happy to be left in such a big city. I made it home safe and sound. Thankfully, I am used to navigating and traveling alone.