Tag Archives: Exhibition

Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy

One of the world’s greatest living artists is in London for a huge exhibition!

This incredible collection of works by Anselm Kiefer just opened at The Royal Academy, so I sped right over to spend an afternoon floating through its maze of galleries.

RA Burlington House

I brought along a fellow culture-seeker and together we entered the courtyard of Burlington House.

RA Burlington House Cord Blazer

RA Burlington House Arcade

RA Anselm Kiefer Sign

I fell in love with Kiefer’s art back in 2006 when I saw his Heaven and Earth exhibition at Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. For someone who didn’t know too much about contemporary art at the time, his work made a lasting impression on me. Huge, monumental pieces full of symbolism – history, theology, war. I had never been so drawn to modern art as I was to his.

Upon entering the gateway from Piccadilly into the palatial courtyard, we encountered two of Kiefer’s large-scale installations – big lead submarines suspended inside humongous glass cases.

RA Courtyard

RA Anselm Kiefer Courtyard Exhibition

RA Burlington House Courtyard Subs

RA Courtyard Anselm Kiefer

RA Kiefer vitrines

RA Courtyard Sun

The Royal Academy has an arcane policy on non-flash photography inside their exhibitions – which is to say they don’t allow it. So, sadly, no photos of any of the wonderful pieces from the show, many of which are on loan from private collections and may not be seen again in public for decades.

It’s frustrating – like most galleries, the Royal Academy encourage visitors to engage with their social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but they fail to recognize that our global culture increasingly communicates through images.

I assume it’s only a matter of time before they get it together, like the world’s top museums such as the Louvre, Smithsonian, and Metropolitan, all of whom currently allow non-flash photography in thier galleries. But you can always count on these stuffy ol’ Brits to be the very last ones to improve their dated methods of doing things – sheesh!

RA Anselm Keifer Wings

RA Anselm Kiefer Canvas

I was allowed to get a few snaps from the entrance of the exhibition, but if you are lucky enough to get to London this fall to see it for yourself, it’s definitely worth it!

After the show, we headed downtown to have a drink. Seeing as it was looking like one of those rare clearsky London evenings, we headed to ME London and hit their Radio Rooftop Bar.

Radio Bar Lounge area

The views of the London skyline were jaw-dropping.

Radio Bar Shard

Radio Bar Somerset House Sunset

Radio Bar French 75

I like my sunsets while holding a flute of something bubbly.

In this case, a classic French 75. Champagne, gin, bitters, and a sugar cube. Radio Bar threw an orange twist in mine.

Radio Bar French 75 Sunset

Radio Bar Smile

Radio Bar Strand Aldwych

Radio Bar Sofas

We hung out until nightfall when the temperature dipped; then we headed off into the chilly autumn night.

East London

East London might as well be Narnia. It seems so far off and inaccessible, yet I’m always hearing how very trendy it is and yearning to be transported to this magical land of hipsters where everything cool seems to happen.

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So this Saturday I donned my hipster uniform (rolled-up jorts and low top Jack Purcells) and journeyed east in search of off-beat Cockney fun. I arrived in Hackney somewhat dazed and daunted; so many strange characters swarmed around me – a woman in a bikini eating chicken out of a box as she hurried down the sidewalk, a stylish dude in a sassy full-length Grover shag fur coat, and strollers – lots of lots of strollers. Apparently, I’d been beamed into a hidden hipster breeding ground where young Londoners come to hatch their brood.

I squeezed past the buggies and highchairs in Lardo for brunch. Industrial chic Italian food in the urban hotspot Arthaus building. The baked egg skillet was scorched in a glittering dome oven and served hot enough to incinerate the roof of my mouth. The bloody marys were delicious but – holy, salt! – garnished with your yearly recommended sodium intake. To be fair, the cured meats and pizzas looked amazing and I certainly finished every bite of my breakfast; appetite sated, we headed off to lovely Dalston.

Lardo

Lardo

Lardo

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Baked Eggs | cannellini beans, spinach & feta

Baked Eggs | cannellini beans, spinach & feta

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And by lovely, I mean a graffitied gravel lot – and site of the Barbican-commissioned “Dalston House” installation by Leandro Erlich. Exploring themes of architecture, urbanism, and perception, the interactive exhibition gives visitors a tactile experience and optical illusion using a specially designed Victorian terraced house facade. Have a look:

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Barb7Very cool.

As we retreated back west, we passed through Camden on a pilgrimage for a word-of-mouth Japanese restaurant recomendation. Asakusa in Mornington Crescent is a relatively underground favorite for authentic sushi – despite its dingy outer appearance, it was jam-packed with reservations inside. Faded Tokyo kitsch cheers the otherwise passe dining room, and a matronly bespectacled woman calls out orders and “Hai!” from behind a counter covered in little cat figurines and stacks of Japanese newspapers.

Asakusa

Meneki-neko (beckoning cats)

Meneki-neko (beckoning cats)

Accomplished - and very busy - sushi chef

Accomplished – and very busy – sushi chef

Japanese pickles

Japanese pickles

A fine bottle of junmai sake

A fine bottle of junmai sake

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It was a looooong wait for the sushi, but we had been warned. When it finally came, the delay was entirely forgiven because it was superb – fresh as could be, it dissolved on the tongue. The tempura and chicken katsu that followed were further triumphs. Dessert just put the whole meal into the top percentile of Japanese dining.

Yellowtail sashimi

Yellowtail sashimi

Katsu chicken

Katsu chicken

Mochi | Green tea ice cream

Mochi | Green tea ice cream

Red bean mochi

Red bean mochi

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This was a prolonged and drowsy dinner, which we waited for and lingered over for three hours – but with plenty of sake at hand, we hardly minded.

As I drifted down the underground tunnels, through the wardrobe so to speak, I was so gratified by my cross-city trip. I was a little woozy, but glad to be home – safe from the sad, traitorous Mr. Tumnus’ of London. Thankful as I was for the adventure, I had left him behind half-heartedly – knowing he was too weak and helpless from being sucked into the evil, frightening depths of Narnia. Life isn’t too far from a fairytale sometimes.

Afternoon at the National Portrait Gallery

Living in a city with such a temperamental (aka rainy) climate, one must always be prepared with lots of ways to stay entertained indoors. This past weekend, London was especially cold and damp, so I hopped on the tube to Leicester Square for a visit to the National Portrait Gallery. Public museums have always been a safe haven from the outside world for me since I was a teenager, when I would skip high school and wonder the national galleries in Washington, DC. Later, as an Art History undergraduate at NYU, such visits became a part of my weekly Manhattan routine.

On exhibition at the moment is a wonderful collection of George Catlin American Indian Portraits (7 March – 23 June 2013) organised by my old employer Smithsonian Institution. Weekends are always a busy time to visit but I managed to pop in during a loll in the crowds and had a chance to enjoy the portraits and learn a little bit about the different tribes. I collect exhibition catalogues, so I grabbed one on my way out as I headed to lunch.

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A freezing walk down The Strand left me shivering with a chapped nose by the time I nipped into The Delaunay.

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Felt Hat, Saks Fifth Avenue; Crystal Cut Necklace, J Crew; Trench, Vince

The sister restaurant of The Wolsley, this Euro-style cafe is one of my personal favourites. Having missed the cut-off for booking reservations the day before, I did have to wait 20 minutes for a table but I passed the time at the bar with a glass of bubbles.

The rock oysters were worth the wait!

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Living in the UK, I often yearn for decent service when dining out. At The Delaunay, it is exceptional! And with a lobster roll like this, they get top marks in my book.

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For reservations, call ahead by one day or book online via their website.