Anselm Kiefer

More epic, grand ruination (and rumination) in Anselm Kiefer’s latest exhibition at White Cube in Bermondsey.

Superstrings (2018):-

Superstrings (2018-19):-

Der Gordische Knoten (2019):-

Die Stuben Siegel, die geheime Offenbarung des Johannes (2019):-


The Artists Rifles

It’s odd how the sun makes one notice things one otherwise doesn’t. This afternoon I was walking up St. George Street when I noticed a roundel, which I must have walked past a thousand times, commemorating the founding of the Artists’ Rifle Brigade, which I had thought, and indeed it says in Wikipedia, was first established in Burlington House, but, at least according to the roundel, was first thought of in the painting rooms on the first floor of No.8, George Street by Henry Wyndham Phillips, younger son of Thomas, and Frederic Leighton:-


The role of the national museums

I was asked by Apollo to write a short opinion piece on some of the issues facing national museums, alongside one by Bendor Grosvenor. We did not confer, and it turns out that we would both like to share the national collections more widely and spread the funding more evenly across the country as a whole, rather than concentrating it in the capital cities:-


Frescoes from Florence

While on the subject of Carlo Scarpa, I had forgotten that he was responsible for the design of Frescoes from Florence, the exhibition at the Hayward Gallery held in 1969 as a thank-offering to the British for the help that they had given after the floods of 1966. He stayed at the Ritz, bought shoes from Lobb, and was taken by Stefan Buzas with whom he worked on the design of the exhibition to see the Soane Museum. ‘His lightning-quick eye made him understand the purpose of our visit, and the contact between two so closely related spirits was immediate’.


Carlo Scarpa’s Library

After the loss of a chunk of my library in a warehouse fire, I was touched to read what Carlo Scarpa’s brother said of his library after his death (he had over 1,000 works of fiction): ‘It was not just a library made up of books, but of relationships lived with friends, with conversations and exchanges of ideas and arguments with artists and men of letters, colleagues and friends, who used to drop by and for whom his house and library were open at all times and to everyone’.


Reynolds Stone

I was once gently chastised by Humphrey Stone for describing his father, the wood engraver, Reynolds Stone, as an Old Etonian, which he was, the son of an Eton master and the grandson as well, but now that Humphrey has written a short, but highly evocative and, not surprisingly, beautifully illustrated biography of his father, I can see that the description is annoying, if not irrelevant, when applied to someone who was such a thoughtful and intense craftsman. He was the designer, which I knew, of the bookplate of the London Library, but also, which I did not, of the Economist masthead, the New English Bible and the logo for Dolcis shoes, as well as multiple carved inscriptions, all of them intelligently well judged, based on Renaissance letter forms, which he learned originally from studying type at Cambridge University Press.


Ted Cullinan (2)

I went to the memorial event for Ted Cullinan, held at St. James’, Spanish Place, where his parents were parishioners, but it was scarcely religious, apart from singing Jerusalem, with much poetry, guitars and a stirring rendition of ‘He’ll be coming round the mountain’. As often, one learns a lot from a memorial service: the size of his family – children and grandchildren; their devotion to him; his gentle and passionate anarchy, which included driving through the pedestrian entrance at Tesco’s. Reading his obituaries, I wasn’t surprised that he had studied at Berkeley, California in the early 1960s, which helps explain his bicycling utopianism. ‘A libertarian socialist’ was how he described himself.