King’s

The launch of Jean-Michel’s festschrift was held in the chapel at King’s:-

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I went to have a quick look at the installation of the Rubens (plain black benches have been added to soften the gap between the choir and the ashlar where the seventeenth-century choirstalls used to be):-

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Jean Michel Massing

I went to the launch of the festschrift for Jean Michel Massing, who is retiring as a Professor of Art History at Cambridge after nearly forty years on the teaching staff, hired the year after I graduated.   It was an extraordinarily impressive occasion with paper after paper by his former students, exhibiting the formidable range of his learning, above all on the transmission of ideas through the medium of prints and the relationship of western to non-western art, including the image of the black and Oceania.   More than his own work, he is interested in his extended influence on the work of his students in a way which is wholly admirable:-

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The Heong Gallery

I went to the opening of the new Heong Gallery in Downing College, Cambridge, partly because I was keen to see the new gallery space in the old Edwardian stables, later turned into bicycle sheds and now adapted into a well-judged gallery space by Adam Caruso of Caruso St. John;  and, equally, to see and admire its first exhibition of works from the collection of Sir Alan Bowness, the former Director of the Tate, inventor of the Turner Prize, son-in-law of Barbara Hepworth and, like Michael Baxandall, a graduate of Downing (he read modern languages).   The gallery space is austere and quite minimal, not just in its scale, with a steeply pitched roof light and dark encaustic tiles.   Bowness’s collection is, as one would expect, strong in the St. Ives School – Lanyon, Scott, Terry Frost, a particularly beautiful Patrick Heron.   Then there’s a Kitaj, who he describes as sharing an anarchist background, not how I think of either of them.

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Cambridge University Library

I interviewed Judith Aronson this afternoon in Cambridge University Library where her photographs are on display in the entrance lobby.   I was brought up to regard it as an extremely ugly building, ‘this magnificent erection’ as it was reputedly called by Neville Chamberlain when he opened it in 1934 (or was it George V ?).    I’m not sure how far my views have changed.   But at least I was able to revisit the tearoom and enjoy some of the classical deco, even neo-Egyptian detailing:-

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