On Wednesday I went to London to visit the V&A and Tate Britain. I saw the Modern British Design Exhibition at the V&A which was, over all, well worth a visit. There were few surprises in terms of the selected works but I was really pleased to see how much space was devoted to Denys Lasdon, the architect of the original UEA buildings and the National Theatre, who I‘ve been researching recently. His work on the National Theatre was cleverly linked in to some of the early poster designs done for the same place. Other than this the graphic design on display included magazines such as Ark, The Face and early i-D which I had read plenty about but not seen in the flesh before.
Picasso and Modern British Painting, which I saw at the Tate Britain, was a very interesting exhibition even though it covered the fine artist’s whose work I’ve seen most often. Unlike the British Design exhibition, this had a ‘proper’ art historical underpinning to all the works and it made one see artists such as Sutherland, Bacon, Hockney and Nicholson within the international context of the early to mid twentieth century. This exhibition is by no means as successful at ‘flag waving’ as the V&A show due to the fact it ends up proving that the great British 20th C painters all effectively copied Picasso in their own way, Sutherland coming off especially bad at points (there are even copies of Picasso paintings to be seen in his sketchbooks).
I’ve also been to see Waiting for Godot recently, which I really enjoyed. The production wasn’t on the same level as the recent all-star cast version (according to a friend who had seen both, anyway) but I found the existential, absurdest ‘plot’ interesting; it makes a good companion piece to the above mentioned 20th C painters’ work, albeit Beckett’s play takes rather longer to absorb and has a little more humour.