Guarding the Pergamon

I’m beginning to think that I’m not very good at going to museums.  I get sleepy quickly when the lighting is low, and audio guides often make me go a little bit loco (with the notable exception of Mr Ro-co-co who has to be heard to be appreciated but made my first Sanssouci visit even more of a pleasure than it otherwise would have been).  Escorts have had to top me up with tea and cake in the past, to avert a serious case of the droops.  I think it runs in the genes, Mum always needed regular tea breaks too.

This little bit of self knowledge comes as a result of my Sunday culture vulture effort wherein I finally made it to the Pergamon part of the Museum Isle.

- from flickr

The ‘gigantic’ Pergamon Altar that gives the museum it’s name was pretty impressive but I enjoyed the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way rather more.   That’s probably because I’m a magpie the Babylonians didn’t bother with unadorned stone, they had glazed tiles in indigo, turquoise and ochre, with lions, bulls and chimeras that paced alongside you. Or maybe because they were commissioned by Nebuchadnezzar II, and I just like that name.

Despite enjoying all the statues very much, I was getting serious artefact fatigue after about an hour, and so I almost missed what turned out to be for me the best part of the museum – dedicated to Islamic Art.

from David Baggins on flickr

Here I found examples of everything which I love: beautifully carved wood  and stone, lustrous ceramics, sumptous tiles, glowing carpets and tapestries, geometric patterns, flowers and script in a breathtaking variety of forms.

Each room had something new and wonderful, and I was both completely overwhelmed and loving every minute.

But the guards, they take their work seeeeriously.  They were hundreds of them wandering around in blazers and watching everyone most intently for the slightest hint of misdeed.  And they never smiled.  I find this most disconcerting in museum guards.  And once I made the mistake of resting my hands on a rail guarding a mosaic – a guardman rushed over and told me not to lean on it.  They should learn, if you put a rail up, tired tourists will lean.  Anyway, the moral of this story is that as I forgot to take my camera with me I was going to go back and take some pics of the most beautiful things, but the guards scare me so I won’t (this means you have internet images).  However, you should go there, avoid all rails and see everything for yourself.  The end.

Tacheles and touristing

Another apology is due, I just saw yesterday’s post and realised that I’d managed to get some of the text out of order.  That was due to extreme sleepiness and surely some kind of bad tech magic.  Sigh.  It’s now corrected, I hope it makes more sense.

Anyhoo, here in short order are some pictures from Tacheles, after I finally made it there, and touristing with the girls.  Aren’t they (the girls) beee-u-diful?

London calling, art is about

I can’t begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to my visit home. Of course I’m talking about both my recent homes, London and Fingest (homehome), both have such a strong pull.  The London part is taking a little more organisation though, so many fabulous people to see, and things to do. The social planning is going well so far and I’ve turned my sights on the cultural dimension of my days on the town.

I might try to swing by the Pick Me Up Graphic Art Fair at Somerset House. I really enjoyed it last year, particularly the magnificent Mister Rob Ryan‘s studio recreated, with the man himself in residence.  This year, my attention has been caught by this fabulous thing.  I adore it.

Untitled (cover for a book) (2009), Tom Gauld, via the Guardian website.

I’m definitely going to see the Evolving English exhibition at the British Library.  Firstly because I’m a bit interested in English, as you may have gathered. Secondly, it’s applicable to work now.  Thirdly, it’s curated by Mr Jonnie Robinson, legend of Borlase, inspirational teacher and all round hero of mine.  I can’t wait.  Look, they even have a blog I can follow and podcasts.  Ah, happy Nicky.  Check out this rather fabulous star item I found on the exhibition website, if there’s a poster of it available then it’s going to be mine…

I find this utterly magnificent.  To see why, you have to realise that time after time, my favourite pieces in exhibitions will a) be really quite graphic (in the design sense, not the shocking sense) or b) have words in or c) both.  This is both.  Isn’t it beautiful?

Strangely, it reminds me a little bit of my favourite map in the British Library’s maps exhibition (wot I went to wiv Mr Dom), Tea Revives the World – created by MacDonald Gill, 1940 (picture via the Guardian again).  I think the association is that I identify closely with this message, and when you can see the detail of each of the little scrolls, it’s pure genius.  I want to own a copy of this one too.

It’s also been suggested that I go to see the British Art Show 7 (thank you Mr Cosimo).  I’m currently undecided, it could be a little bit odd for me, but on the other hand you don’t get to see new ‘exciting’ contemporary pieces gathered together that often, and somehow I’ve still not been to the Hayward so maybe I should now.  Have a look at their video and let me know what you think…..