Art – new, old and older still

Monday 28 January 2013 – London

Today was really the first day in ages when I had absolutely nothing planned at all. The forecast was average at best and I really didn’t fancy getting soaked. However I was itching to do something so I made a quick plan with the help of Google maps, packed my camera, got dressed and walked out the door.

My first stop was to hunt down this piece of street art from Space Invader and I was surprised it was still there as it has been here a couple of years apparently. This is on a wall just off Holborn in the central city and there is almost no art or graffiti in the middle of downtown, so a rarity. Apparently there used to be a Banksy around here as well, but that is long gone.

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I walked down Drury Lane (muttering Monty Python sketches as I went) down to The Strand. There is an incredible amount of churches in London city.

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I was visiting Sommerset House and the Courtauld Gallery inside. In a stroke of good luck the gallery is free on Mondays. To balance my good fortune there was an exhibition by Cartier-Bresson that finished yesterday and I had no idea it was on ! I have yet to find a really good single spot to find good exhibitions in London and only stumbled upon the Courtauld by accident.

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The Courtauld is an amazing gallery, quite small but it has an incredible collection of art works, including a really good collection of early 20th century pieces from the likes of Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Degas, Renoir, Seurat etc. Basically the period I like the best, they had some lovely Seurats.

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They also had a good collection of very old religious work and I really liked the altar pieces, especially this one from 1345.

The gallery is great and I highly recommend it to anyone who has not been, unlike the bigger galleries it was also quite empty!

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To counter-balance the work of some of the old masters I crossed the Thames and looked around for some work from more modern, and less appreciated artists! It was cold and starting rain as I crossed Waterloo Bridge and it was looking like my plan would be thwarted before I was halfway.

Like the centre of London the South Bank has few designated areas for graffiti, and someone had obviously broken a rule here as this has mostly been scrubbed off the wall.

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Though these were obviously in the right place.

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I walked past the South Bank skate park and took a couple of pictures, the skaters were a bit off-putting, a bit of macho posturing so I didn’t go far into their lair and take pictures, though what was there was mainly graffiti which is not so much my style. I had lunch after and waited until the rain stopped.

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I love the South Bank in the rain – very few tourists. On a sunny day this area is heaving.

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My last planned visit was the Graffiti Tunnel near Waterloo station, I walked through and took a few pictures, but again, mainly graffiti and not what I call art. At the far end there was a group of the Met’s finest standing around talking to someone so I decided to not take pictures there just in case, you never know what the police think when it comes to cameras!

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I then passed the interestingly shaped Plaza Hotel.

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Before crossing Westminster Bridge

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Past the Houses of Parliament and back to Tottenham Court Rd tube station for the journey home. It was a good few hours out, if a touch damp on occasion.

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My camera had a few hissy fits today, and had to be shutdown a couple of times. Fingers crossed it is not the start of a complete failure – though I guess I could upgrade then 🙂

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Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.