St. James-the-Less, Pimlico

I was a bit early for lunch, so called in on St. James-the-Less which I haven’t seen since 1972, during the period when it was still threatened with demolition. It’s remarkably impressive – an intact example of Street’s polychromatic brickwork, designed in 1858, not long after he had published The Brick and Marble Architecture of Northern Italy in 1855 and his first work in London, described by Nairn as ‘taut, curled in, fighting mad – a superb performance’:-


Hastings Contemporary

I was incredibly pleased to be able to attend the opening (or should I call it the re-opening ?) of Hastings Contemporary – the beautiful, well judged art gallery designed by HAT Projects on the shoreline of Hastings Old Town, which first opened seven years ago as the Jerwood Gallery and has now been re-opened as a set of pure exhibition spaces, for which it is admirably well suited.

The building remains as fresh and interesting as when it first opened, surrounded by boats, tar blackened beach huts and the bric-à-brac of the shoreline:-

Inside, the smaller galleries, which were designed to show the Jerwood Collection, domestic in scale, have converted well for exhibitions by Roy Oxlade and David Bomberg, while the main gallery space is dedicated to the work of the Danish artist, Tal R: Eventually All Museums Will Be Ships:-


Warburg Institute

I am posting a link to the editorial in this month’s Burlington Magazine because I am a great admirer and supporter of the plans which have been drawn up by Haworth Tompkins to enlarge and renovate Charles Holden’s austere 1950s building which can have had little money spent on it since opening in 1958 (I find it hard to view Holden as an arts and crafts architect, more a hardline Scandinavian modernist). Already, there are signs of much increased public activity, including its Summer School and many more public events and lectures. These will be housed in the new lecture theatre. There will be scope for the growth of the library and room for more students. It’s a great change from the years of entrenched warfare with the University of London and noble of the University to have invested in the Warburg’s renovation so handsomely.


Roy Strong

I went to a party to celebrate the publication of Roy Strong’s The Elizabethan Image: An Introduction to English Portraiture. There were three past or present directors of the National Portrait Gallery – Nick Cullinan who started in 2015, me who started in 1994 and Roy who took over at the tender age of 31 in 1967, over 50 years ago (only Sandy Nairne was missing). Here Roy is fifty years later writing about portraiture, thinking about it, reading the work of younger scholars, and publishing a book which digests a lifetime of study from when he was a schoolboy and first started visiting the NPG. It’s quite an amazing achievement.


Basquiat Remix

I went back to the Collection Lambert for the private view of their exhibition Basquiat Remix, which looks at the way that Basquiat absorbed the eclectic influences of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, his local museum, where he was taken as a child by his mother, and later at the Museum of Modern Art and the Met.

Picasso’s La Chèvre:-

Basquiat’s Ass (1984):-

Robot Man and Woman (1982):-

La Vieja (1984):-

Icarus Esso (1986):-

Sans Titre (1987):-

She Installs Confidence and Picks his Brain Like a Salad (1988):-

Sans titre (Affiche de l’exposition à la Galerie Yvon Lambert):-


Collection Lambert

I came to see the Collection Lambert which I don’t remember being aware of the days when we spent summers in the hills above L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue: collected by Yvon Lambert and installed in the Hôtel de Caumont on the south side of the city:-

It includes works of minimalist art of the 1970s, like Richard Long:-

Joseph Kosuth:-

A work by Claude Lévêque in the attic:-

And works by Nan Goldin and Douglas Gordon.