Friday, June 22, 2012

European reflections

I’ve been back from Europe just over a week, but life’s intervening challenges have made it seem like three. Or maybe I was never there. Perhaps I just dreamed it. Regardless, I will share my hazy memories.

Ranting, as I have recently about museum buildings that are more about architectural hubris than art, it was a pleasure to revisit the Beaubourg for the Richter retrospective and see his work installed in an airy, non-linear context that included natural light and breathtaking views of Paris. See? It can be done. Ironically, one of the architects for the museum, which was built in 1977, was Renzo Piano, who's also responsible for the new, architect-centric Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. But at least, earlier in his career, Piano proved that artwork and architectural statement can happily coexist.

Gerhard Richter at the Centre Pompidou

Also I did go back to the Tate Modern to revisit the Oskar Fischinger installation and, gritting my teeth, walk through the Damien Hirst retrospective. I needn’t have gritted, as the exhibition was so overwhelmingly inconsequential, I couldn’t even get properly annoyed. The ride down in the escalator was terrific, though, as was the cream tea in the café.

The ecstatic ride from Damien Hirst to cream tea.

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