Glamorous international travel is always very inspiring. Much of what I know & do as an artist comes from the places I've lived in or visited. This year, I've had the fortune to make several trips to Europe, including a recent jaunt to London. It's always been one of my fave cities, period. The fact that it's also an international artistic & cultural capital, well, that just makes it all the more special. Even Specialer.
Recently, I got the chance to hop the pond, as it were, and spend 9 days with 3 of my best friends. We had a myriad of adventures, including museum visits, high tea, rock & roll, palaces, and cocktails. I mean seriously, what's not to love about that? Here are a few of the highlights....
Balenciaga at the Victoria & Albert Museum
One of the coolest formal exhibits just happened to be at the V&A (one of my favorite museums in the entire world). Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is a fascinating couture fashion exhibit. The tailoring is truly exquisite, and they x-rayed the garments so that you can see how they're really structured. So simple, so beautiful, so incredibly classic. Plus, we met Michael Kors. The exhibit runs until Feb. 18, 2018.
The National Gallery, London
As expected, the National Gallery was a slam dunk – from floor to ceiling & everything in between. Outside, on Trafalgar Square, there's a piece called "Really Good" by David Shrigley....a 7 meter high hand giving a thumbs up as a point of positivity. Inside, the floors on the stair landings have incredible mosaics, that fill one with wonder and curiosity. Also filling one with wonder was the Chris Ofili piece "Weaving Magic," which really is kind of magical (On display until Aug. 28).
Tate Modern, London
This is, hands down, one of my favorite (cocktail-free) places in London. The collection is truly amazing, with Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Mark Rothko, a roomful of amazing large works by Gerhard Richter. (I had no idea I loved his work so much! His process is so interesting, with masterful use of color. I will definitely be exploring more soon.) There was a concentration of work by black American artists. One that was particularly moving was a piece by Carrie Mae Weems called "From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried", which is photographs and commentary that describe the African American experience from the 1850's through the civil rights movement. I don't know how to express how powerful and heartbreaking this work is. I didn't take any photos, because I feel like any one photo of part of it doesn't do it justice. But if you ever have the opportunity to see her work, I would highly recommend it.
Plus, we got to see the Hokusai exhibit at the British Museum (and the Rosetta Stone, and the Elgin Marbles, of course). And the Courtald, which was also a nice collection. Plus all of the art in the castles and palaces and churches (which are works of art in and of themselves.) And we were there the week before Pride, and London made it very clear that love is love is love (and that it happens here.)
And, of course, there were Flaming Zombies!
Okay, this may not SEEM like art, but you have got to see this little dude blow his flaming top at the Escapologist. Because, really, nothing is more artistic than a fiery beverage served in a skull.