Spyre // Ron Arad RA
Resembling a tall brown tree trunk in the middle of the Royal Academy courtyard is Ron Arad’s kinetic sculpture Spyre. Standing 16 meters high this moving work of art has a camera on the external limb. As it moves it captures a video recording of the people below and projects this footage on the huge screen hanging above the entrance to the gallery. So come, walk around and become part of the digital archive of this work!
It is summer time in the city! In London do you know what that means? It is time for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. This special exhibition is open to anyone who submits a work and is curated by a range of individuals. So come escape the unpredictable London weather, grab a G&T by Sipsmith and enjoy perusing the exhibition. Like a work? Guess what, they are also for sale. These are some of my personal favorites. Thoughts?
Currently on view at the Royal Academy in London is an exhibition of 82 portraits and 1 still life by David Hockney. He only paints portraits of his friends set against a blue or green background. Each sitter can choose what they wear and how to sit. His only rule, they sit in the same chair. Hockney expertly portrays each individual’s personality, allowing you to feel as though you know the person even if only for a moment. Walking through the exhibition I kept thinking I wish I could be the subject one of his portraits!
The Virgin & Child with the Infant St. John (Taddei Tondo) // Michelangelo Buonarroti // c. 1504-1505 // marble
On view at the Royal Academy is the only marble sculpture in the UK by Michelangelo. “The Virgin & Child with the Infant St. John” also known as the Taddei Tondo, is an unfinished work. St. John the Baptist is shown on the left holding out a baptismal bowl towards Christ, who sits on the Virgin’s lap. The soft curves of the figures mimic the arc of the circle and provide for a intimate viewing experience.
What works can we attribute to Giorgione? That is a question that scholars have been asking for quite some time. In the exhibition, In the Age of Giorgione at the Royal Academy, curators have placed works by Bellini, Dürer, Titian, del Piombo and Lotto with works attributed to Giorgione as a way to highlight the influences of these artists on the 16th century Venetian Renaissance painter. Since little is currently known about Giorgione, this exhibition seeks to provide more context and understanding about this remarkable painter.
Want a retreat from city life without having to travel far? Take a trip to the Royal Academy to see their current exhibition Painting the Modern Garden from Monet to Matisse. The cool blue and green tones of the wall color to the relaxing nature of some of the most famous garden paintings create a tranquil haven. You can view the evolution of garden paintings, see the influence of Japanese woodblock prints on artists such as Monet as well as review botanical archive material from Kew Gardens. This exhibition is sure to let you unwind and enjoy nature’s beauty.
Chained to a black fence outside the Royal Academy in London rests a black bicycle with a basket of flowers. To someone walking by, it could be mistaken for a visitor’s bike, someone who locked up their mode of transportation while they visit the collection. However, this bike is not one for recreation. It serves as a reminder of Ai Weiwei. When his passport was revoked on November 30, 2013, Ai kept his bike outside his studio and placed a fresh bouquet of flowers in its basket every morning until he was given back his passport on July 22, 2015. A bicycle with a basket of flowers is now parked outside of the Royal Academy, where his retrospective show is located, as a tribute to Ai Weiwei.
Coca Cola Vase // Ai Weiwei // 2014 // Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) // Vase with paint // 42 x 42 x 35 cm
“Enjoy Coca-Cola” is a slogan known all around the world. As someone who loves Coca-Cola, I was immediately drawn to Ai Weiwei’s Cocoa Cola Vase [now on view in the Royal Academy of Art in London]. The vase is not one Ai Weiwei created. Instead, it is a Han Dynasty vase that Ai painted over with the famed international logo. By painting over a historic ceramic to create a new work of art, Ai questions society’s view of what is important. Was the work more valuable before Ai painted it or after? This poses an interesting question on what society deems worthy. Ai doesn’t stop with the Coca Cola Vase. He continues this idea with his series of sixteen vases, twelve from the Han Dynasty and four Neolithic, that he dips in various colors of industrial paint.
Colored Vases // Ai Weiwei // 2015 // Twelve Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and four Neolithic (5000-3000 BC) vases with industrial paint // dimensions variable
Sex Toys // Ai Weiwei // 2014 // Jade
Is that what I think it is? It can’t possibly be. It’s on a wood pedestal covered in glass in the Royal Academy of Art in London. But it is. It is in fact a sex toy. But not one. There are two. But it looks so delicate. These sex toys are not made of ordinary materials. They are carved in jade by contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. By using an expensive material such as jade, Ai Weiwei plays with our idea of everyday consumer products made in a not so everyday material. Interested in seeing more of Ai Weiwei? The Royal Academy of Art currently has a retrospective of his work on view until December 13. Go see these toys as well as many other works!