London – Day 24

What a great day!

Anna and I took the Alternative London Tour – walking tour of East London. It met near Spitalfields Market and walked the surrounding area to hear the history of the neighborhood and see the street art. It was the coolest thing I have done in London so far. I loved it. My pictures don’t do it justice at all. The tour guy, Doug, from Scotland, is an artist (more on the video side) but could tell us stories about every artist and piece of work we saw. I tried my best to take some notes to remember the artists names. Anna was late and so Doug had to ask me a few times if she was coming, so he learned my name pretty quickly. Then as we were walking to our first stop he pointed to a street post that had a sticker on it and said…”Does anyone know what artist did this?” and I shouted out “Obey!” and he stopped, turned around and looked at me and goes….”What?? How did you know that?” I told him, I just know things. And he was impressed! I however don’t think it is that impressive – Shepard Fairey (aka obey) has been around for awhile and made the famous Obama Hope poster during the 2008 election….which was shown at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I may have been the only American on the tour though, which gives me an edge.

I have to tell the rest of the story through my mediocre images…

IMG_1983These mini columns (not sure what to call them) are markers that separate East London from the City of London. Doug said they were very important because it shows the boundaries of the city. City of London use to have walls around it – now it has these instead. They have these everywhere but the white and red separate them. We also happened to be standing in Diagon Alley when he was showing these to us (Harry Potter fans anyone?) Upon further research this street is also where Jack the Ripper killed his last victim!

IMG_1985This is Doug, and this is a piece of art he helped put up. It is a paste up done by Ben Slow (who I will talk about later). As he explained, he isn’t a visual artist but does document all of this street art through video. He explained the difference between graffiti and street art. And graffiti and tagging. And commissioned and not commissioned. Legal and not legal. This he said….not legal. It is all done in studio then put up really quickly at the site. It is street art – graffiti is strictly spray paint only. Tagging is the things you see around, someones name or a word. Street artists don’t like to do anything on top of another street artists work, but once a picture has been tagged it is considered free space again. He also said there is pretty much zero Banksy (the worlds most famous street artist) in the area because word gets out that there is a new one up and within an hour it is tagged up. So he doesn’t even bother anymore with the area.

IMG_1987See the statue on top of the pole? That is done by an artist named Jonsey. He does them all over the area and it is so cool because you really don’t notice them…until you do. Then you find them everywhere! They are all different and a lot of fun. I found a much bigger one while we were walking and said to Doug, is that a really big Jonesy? And he was so thrilled that I recognized it. I really felt like I was on a trip for class and he was the teacher and I was that student answering all the questions. (and getting them right).

IMG_1988

IMG_1989This church is super interesting. It started out as a French Protestant church in 1743 for all the French Huguenots that lived in the area. They are the ones that started the area as a textile center. Then there was a huge Jewish immigration from Russia and they took over the textile industry and this became a Catholic church because they were trying to convert the Jewish population. When that didn’t work out, it became a Synagogue in 1898. Then the area got bombed terribly, and Doug said that 25,000 people were killed and another 25,000 became homeless. Then there was a huge Bengali immigration and became a Mosque in 1973. Around the corner on Brick Lane there are 52 curry houses…more than any other street! The area is now known as Benglatown.

IMG_1990This was done by an artist known as Stik. So named because of the simple matchstick figures he creates. The story behind him is he was homeless two years ago, and would save enough money for cans of spray paint. He started to get noticed and his popularity grew. He now sells for thousands to people like Rhianna, Bono, Elton John, the Duke of Kent and had his own exhibition. His exhibition had 2,000 people lined up outside to see his art, and before the doors open every painting had already sold. He still regularly volunteers at the soup kitchen nearby that he use to get his meals at.

IMG_1991This was done by artist C215. You know it is his work because there is a little cube at the bottom right hand corner of the picture that when you look at it actually spells out C215. He is from France and does stencil drawings. Doug explained his complicated method but it was beyond me.

IMG_1992I found more Jonesy!

IMG_1999Apparently this mannequin got put up there and people have been adding to it. It got a shirt that says RIP Whitney…to which Doug said…where is Whitney? What is that about? And I said…Houston! And Anna looked at me and goes, the city? To which I replied…no the singer.  Later on someone added an Olympic medal. You never know what will show up next.

IMG_1995This Crane is by artist Roa. He is from Belgium and does a lot of critters. He did this one with a cherry picker.

IMG_1996

IMG_1998This was done by Ben Slow (who is one of the other tour guides!). He has a fine art degree, and actually does this with paint. He teamed up with c.a.l.m. (campaign against living miserably) for this piece. It is supposed to represent the cool exterior but the inner turmoil.

IMG_2001This was done by another French artist. It was all done by spray paint.

IMG_2002The side of the wall was done by an artist from Cork.

The following pictures are all from one courtyard. So much in the one tiny courtyard!

IMG_2003This was done by Lister. He signs his name and says how long it takes him. This took him 31 minutes. He is from Australia

IMG_2004Love these arrows, across the courtyard there is a Bow to match.

IMG_2006see the little men on the ledge? They are all around and I didn’t noticed until they were pointed out.

IMG_2005

IMG_2008These are both done by an artist named Vhils. He creates these images by putting like…explosives then covering with plaster, and lighting a single fuse and boom…that image comes out. The picture with the blank image on the left, has a single fuse coming out of the top right side. Who knows if that will be something new soon…or if he is leaving it there to show how his work is done, or to trick people. He is 26 years old, and changing the game of street art!

IMG_2009

This pink car is by Banksy. He lifted it up there and put a figure int he front seat, to see what people would do. They stole the figure and then put this box around it to preserve it. Doug wasn’t a fan of that, he says once you start preserving the art like that..it takes the meaning away. IMG_2011In response this other artist D Face brought his car, then dropped his figure on top of it to promote the opening of his StolenSpace Gallery. Behind it is a Space Invader. To the right is my Obey, Shepherd Fairey, and in front is that Bow. The pink guy I think he was eating money, I can’t remember.

IMG_2015I like this – I am going to go back to see if any street art has been placed there.

IMG_2016

IMG_2017Usain Bolt – done by Australian artist Jimmy C. Huge and awesome.

IMG_2018Artist at work

IMG_2019Another Roa

IMG_2021Art by Kid Acne

IMG_2022

By El Mac and LA artistIMG_2023Another by Vhils. This one done by jack hammer! When you get up close it looks like nothing, it is amazing to think how he created it so perfectly by standing so closely.

And that is the end of my street art tour! I really recommend it to everyone. Of course we heard the story of how the area is changing, and how our tour guides rent has almost doubled in the four years he has lived there. And how companies came in and built this huge apartment buildings and how he would be surprised if they could even have this type of tour in ten years time. I hope that isn’t entirely true. It is though a common story amongst cities. I remember the H street I saw four years ago, and the H Street I’ve seen today. I hope they can work with the neighborhood to preserve some sense of the neighborhood. Anyway!

Afterwards Anna and I went shopping and I bought a dress and skirt, both on sale. So that was exciting!

At night Elizabeth and Mia had the Georgetown girls over to their place for a get together to eat King Cake! It was great! Then I went out and met Elizabeth and Anna at Tonteria where they played Spice Girl music. It was fantastic!

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London – Day 19

Monday – yet another weekend day!

I slept in after staying up super late to watch the Superbowl (and I only made it to the end of the third quarter..). School had an optional visit to Christie’s impressionist and modern art preview. I went to that, and it was in a really cool area of a lot of little art galleries. It was fun seeing what else was around that area hidden away. It was also right next to the Royal Academy of Art which is housing an exhibit on Manet I am hoping to go to soon. We were given a tour of what will be on sale by the head of research for London and NY. He heads the department that writes all the catalogues and online content. He knew so much about art and could ramble on about each of the artists and what things in the painting meant based off of their life, and the historical and cultural context around them. I could really use that kind of brain for my current paper I’m writing. I don’t know if it was because at Sotheby’s we were able to tour after hours, but I just liked Sotheby’s better. At Christie’s the rooms were smaller, and had more artwork on one wall crowded together. It seemed less thought out somehow than Sotheby’s. But maybe there is a bit of a biased there also.

Since I got back I have been working on my paper! Boring but necessary. I have a lot of activities planned for the week nights again so it is good to get the bulk of it done now. I know a lot about Rubens now so feel free to ask me anything you’d like to know!

Christie's

Christie’s

The Show Room

The Show Room

Rene Magritte - This is not an apple. Estimated at 1 million to 1.5 million pounds

Rene Magritte – This is not an apple. Estimated at 1 million to 1.5 million pounds

London – Day 18

Superbowl Sunday!

I spent the morning working on my visual analysis paper that is due this week. I even went back to the Wallace Collection to stare at the painting some more!

I met up for afternoon tea (aka hot chocolate) with a friend of a friend who lives here in London and works for Christies. She is American, and came over to do their masters program and as stayed. She is a specialist and also an auctioneer! She gave me some great tips on things to do in and outside of London. I had walked to where we were meeting in her neighborhood, so I didn’t realize it at the time but I had ventured out into Zone 2! My first steps outside of central London. I could tell it was different from where I live. It was less busy and more strollers. I had wanted to walk because it gave me the opportunity to walk up Baker Street, and see Sherlock Holmes’ house! Which is a very touristy looking museum…which means I will have to go back. After our meeting she walked me back to the Tube and showed me the canal along the way. Apparently London has canals…like Venice! I took the Tube back to Baker Street. Even though it wasn’t the closest to my place, I wanted to get off there because it is the oldest station…in the oldest underground in the world! Pretty cool. It has all sorts of Sherlock Holmes references in the tiles, and the walls, and there is a statue outside.

At night, Anna and I went to the official NFL watch party. The info says it was “the only official place to watch Super Bowl XLVII, outside of New Orleans. It was at this really cool old venue that now does concerts. They had a huge projector on the stage, and then TVs all around. There were two NFL Pro Bowl Players… Fred Taylor and Daunte Culpepper (no idea). We received voucher booklets that had tickets for free beer, and food! I had ‘nachos’ and a cheeseburger. They call it nachos…but what it really was, was a giant bag of the British version of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Which was disappointing, but not disappointing enough to not eat it. The only huge bummer was…no commercials! So I missed all the great commercials that aired in the states, though I’m sure I can find them online later. Quite a different experience. I thought Beyonce was amazing, but there needed to be more Destiny’s Child for sure. We ended up leaving during the power failure, and I watched the rest of the third quarter at home. Then it was so late I had to go to bed. I wish I could have stayed up till 4 to watch it. The best thing to come out of going to this watch party, was learning the name of a bar close to me that shows hockey! It is called…Maple Leaf.

Inside the Watch Party

Inside the Watch Party

Outside the Watch Party - at Koko

Outside the Watch Party – at Koko

Wallace Collection

Wallace Collection

Sherlock Holmes Museum

Sherlock Holmes Museum

Sotheby’s Preview

Some of my favorite art from the preview. What is cool about it is they are all from private collections and will probably go back into private collections and not museums. So it is a time to see the art that will most likely never be shown in public again!

Sotheby's

Sotheby’s

Renoir 1903 - Madame Valtat - Estimate 1,000,000-1,500,000 pounds

Renoir 1903 – Madame Valtat – Estimate 1,000,000-1,500,000 pounds

Monet 1885 - Le Givre A Giverny - Estimate 4,000,000

Monet 1885 – Le Givre A Giverny – Estimate 4,000,000

Degas 1887 - Danseuse Rajustant Son Chausson - Estimate 3,000,000-5,000,000 Pounds

Degas 1887 – Danseuse Rajustant Son Chausson – Estimate 3,000,000-5,000,000 Pounds

Degas Circa 1882-85 - Apres le Bain - Estimated 2,500,000-3,500,000

Degas Circa 1882-85 – Apres le Bain – Estimated 2,500,000-3,500,000

Monet 1914-17 - Nympheas Avec Reflets De Hautes Herbes - Estimate 12,000,000-18,000,000 pounds

Monet 1914-17 – Nympheas Avec Reflets De Hautes Herbes – Estimate 12,000,000-18,000,000 pounds

Picasso circa 1942-43 - Portrait de Femme - Estimated 20,000-30,000 pounds

Picasso circa 1942-43 – Portrait de Femme – Estimated 20,000-30,000 pounds

Basquiat 1982-83 - Untitled - Estimated 7,000,000-9,000,000 pounds

Basquiat 1982-83 – Untitled – Estimated 7,000,000-9,000,000 pounds

Basquiat 1983 - Five Fish Species - Estimated 4,250,000-6,250,000 pounds

Basquiat 1983 – Five Fish Species – Estimated 4,250,000-6,250,000 pounds

Picasso 1952 - Femme Assise Pres D'une Fenetre - Estimate - 25,000,000 - 35,000,000 Pounds ($40,020,000-$56,020,000)

Picasso 1952 – Femme Assise Pres D’une Fenetre – Estimate – 25,000,000 – 35,000,000 Pounds ($40,020,000-$56,020,000)

London – Day 15

Thursday. Another long day! It was back to art history. The morning lecture was on French Classical Baroque Architecture. We talked a lot about the Louvre! Now another place I need to go back to.

Then I went back to the Wallace Collection to do some research in their library. The librarian had pulled books out for me on Rubens and on his technique and landscapes. I spent an hour there looking through the books, and taking notes for my paper. It was my first time doing research in a museum library and I loved it. I felt very official. I’m looking forward to doing it again!

After that, I went back to school for a short private tutorial with the head of the art history programs. And for the afternoon session, our class went to the preview of the Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale which happens next week. They put up all the work that will be sold at auction so people can come in, browse, look at what they want to buy, view the estimated price, etc. It really is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. They explained how they chose the order of the auction, also how they present the art that will be sold. They chose different paints, fabrics, how they hang it, what they hang it next to and what they don’t. These works of art are mainly from private collections, so all things I have never seen before. They had Monet, Degas, Picasso and also a big section on surrealism with Dali and Magritte. They also had Jean-Michel Basquiat. All which we were allowed to take pictures of!

Afterwards I met up with my British friend Oli, and his friend Simon with my roommate Anna at a bar called The Bookings Office Bar inside of Pancras Station. After that I went to a birthday party with Elizabeth in Sloane Square to a Mexican restaurant called Tonteria. The birthday party was for the guy that owns it. In this Time Out article they describe him as “pal of the princes, head of light entertainment for London’s high society”. I went hoping to see a royal, sadly there were none, but it was fun anyway.

A non stop day but full of fun! Pictures to follow.

London – Day 14

Today was a non-stop day. I had my second business day. The morning started out with the Auction Process. The director of auctions of Sotheby’s came in to talk to us about all things auction (did you know you could bid online now?) Quite intense. The next session was the first of our art law class. Another class with tons of new information, but all very cool. (Export tariffs, reserve price vs market price..yikes!) Then after that I had my group session for the week where we talked about the state of the art market. This is a smaller group where we get to talk more than listen. We were split into groups and had to argue either the art market is on the way up, or the way down. I had the way down and almost found it too easy to defend. We’ll see! I think I am glad though that I want to work in museums, and not an auction house. I also went to the library in school and picked up books on Rubens for my essay that is due next week. I’m looking forward to writing it. It will be my first real art history paper!

Tonight, school had a reception at the Josh Lilley Gallery, which is owned by two alumni. It was for all different units so I was able to catch up with the girls from Georgetown who are doing Decorative Arts, and Arts of Asia and Their Markets. The gallery was very much a white cube gallery. Not the history museums I am use to working in!

Josh Lilley Gallery

Josh Lilley Gallery

The Art at Josh Lilley Gallery

The Art at Josh Lilley Gallery

Close up

Close up

Elizabeth, Marni, Brittany and Deanna

Elizabeth, Marni, Brittany and Deanna