I walked down the Hackney Road which shows all the signs of being gentrified, with new cafés at every street corner. I liked the decoration on the old doctor’s surgery:-
Monthly Archives: December 2015
It being the weekend before Christmas, I set off in search of Christmas shopping to Broadway Market:-
The market is getting smarter and smarter, not just a pseudo-old fashioned butcher called Hill & Szrok:-
Ron Arad RA
I went to Ron Arad’s studio in Chalk Farm this morning to see the huge range of work that he is doing, from a new range of spectacles to a forthcoming installation in St. Pancras Station, a project that he is planning n the RA’s courtyard for this year’s Summer Exhibition, Fiat motor cars flattened in a workshop in Groningen and exhibited in Turin, the interiors of the Watergate Hotel in Washington and a Cancer Hospital near Nazareth in Israel. All the projects are marked by his fluid imagination and interest in material invention which date back to Alvin Boyarsky’s era at the Architectural Association where he was taught by Peter Cook in the year below Zaha Hadid:-
The Christmas Party
Each year the Events Team at the RA organises a Christmas staff party. Each year I forget how much time, effort and creativity goes into the organisation of the outfits. This year the theme was ‘Made in China’. Much to my surprise, the very lean and fit President appeared as a champion Fattypuff, blown up electronically. I’m not sure how Chinese it was, but it was undeniably an impressive sight:-
I was encouraged to read The Snowman by Wallace Stevens at the Royal Academy’s annual Friends’ carol service in St. James’s, Piccadilly. It should really have been read by Edmund de Waal, who wrote in the text to his exhibition that ‘There is nothing whiter than a white page, nothing quieter than a library…In Wallace Stevens’ poem The Snow Man, the exhortation is to behold “nothing that is not there and the nothing that is”‘. He wanted his exhibition to be called The nothing that is instead of White, the title of his new book.
We had a party last night for the residents of Albany, to reassure those people who occupy the highly desirable bachelor sets on either side of the historic ropewalk that we will try to ensure that our major building project involves minimum disruption. I was told that the only sound that is heard at night is seagulls hunting for rubbish.
This is the façade of Melbourne House as it was designed by William Chambers in the early 1770s, just before he embarked on the project of designing Somerset House. It is the residue of one of those grand aristocratic houses which lined the north side of Piccadilly and was converted by Henry Holland in 1802 by the addition of 69 bachelor sets on either side of a courtyard at the back:-
Edmund de Waal (5)
Breakfast with Edmund. He told the story which I hadn’t heard before as to how his exhibition at the RA came about: that as he was undertaking the journeys which led to the writing of his book White, he kept a checklist of objects that he would like to include in an imaginary exhibition. And that he then looked for an appropriate space to show the exhibition, liking the idea of somewhere which was silent and secret, a space for contemplation. But, paradoxically, the exhibition has inspired in its visitors not so much silent contemplation as conversation and discussion:-
Paul Huxley RA
We went to see the group of works which Paul Huxley had assembled in his studio before they are shipped for an exhibition in Santa Fé. It was a treat to see the work, as well as his studio, designed for him by M.J.Long and featured in her book on Artist’s Studios.
This is the studio:-
I spent part of yesterday looking at and leafing through an absurdly fat, but in many ways fascinating book of interviews with the leading figures in the arts, including many RAs (Ron Arad, David Chipperfield, Antony Gormley, Thomas Heatherwick, Grayson Perry, not to forget several recent graduates of the RA Schools – Eddie Peake, Prem Sahib and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye). Half way through reading it, I realised that it is as close as we are likely to get to an analysis as to what makes for the success of London’s creative economy. And what are the answers ? Easy immigration, access to cheap housing and studio space, good quality free art education, a premium on, and belief in, creativity independently of economics, the melding of fashion, the performing and the visual arts. Now there’s an interesting lesson.
I realise that it was fatal to refer to the sociological theory of gatekeepers in a blog. I knew it only by reference to the idea that in any organisation some people have disproportionate influence by acting as a point of intersection, both to people outside the organisation, but, more importantly, to those within. I now discover that the idea stems from the social psychologist Kurt Lewin who published a study of the distribution of food in 1943 and that there have been multiple interpretations of the term ever since.
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