Thursday, 30 April 2015

Modern Art and Skip Diving!

Well the weather has been a bit changeable recently hasn't it? Within the space of a few days we've had glorious sun, torrential rain, high winds and then back to sun! English weather - don't you just love it? 
Today I went to the Modern Art gallery in Oxford. I'd seen it advertised and, never having been before, thought I could combine a visit with seeing L. 
The exterior didn't appeal to me that much:
A few years ago we saw an exhibition at the Royal College of Art - we hadn't gone into London specifically to see it, but rather were killing time waiting for something else. The exhibition was a real eye opener - near the entrance was a sort of wooden barrier and R started speculating about the deep meaning behind the 'fence'. I muttered a few comments along the lines of 'come away and stop making a show of us - it's only a partition!' As it turned out, it was actually one of the exhibits and that set the tone for the whole show. There were bits of screwed up tissue on the floor, shampoo bottles painted pink below a smudge on the wall, a pile of juicy fruit chewing gum - in the end we came across a photocopier in the hall and I'm still not sure if it was one of the exhibits or not. Most of the work resembled the junk modelling beloved of nursery children and the deep meaning went way over our heads. Still, it was memorable.
The current exhibition at Modern Art Oxford left me feeling just as bewildered. There was a lot of topiary decorated with litter, hub caps and hair pieces.

L decided that her favourite bit was a photo of someone lying down in Tiananmen Square breathing on the ground until their breath formed a patch of ice. I didn't take a photo, I was too underwhelmed. I think what it boils down to is that the art I appreciate is something that I know I could never do myself and, quite frankly, I could put a wig on a bush and throw a few hub caps around the place. Please tell me if I'm missing something here - I suppose the topiary took some skill but the guide wasn't clear if the artist did that bit or not. I spent a lot of time thinking 'I don't get it' and fighting the urge to giggle childishly. I think maybe I'm just a philistine.  
There were some bits of my trip that I enjoyed:
Lunch in the Vaults and Garden:
Sweet potato and coconut curry and carrot, parsnip and lentil soup - Yum!
Ice cream in G&D's:
Coffee on the right (mine), Blueberry Lemonade on the left (L's)!
Lots of lovely fruit and veg in the covered market:

Admiring some beautiful buildings waiting for L's tutorial to finish:

Whilst waiting for her to come out, I happened to be standing by a skip, watching 2 men filling it with old metal filing cabinets, broken chairs etc. When L emerged, I hugged her and whispered in her ear that there was a small table in said skip that I had my eye on. When we came back later, it was still there, so a little skip diving later (we did ask the college porter's permission too!) and the little wooden Oxford table was ours. It could do with a bit of a revamp (sorry, I didn't take a photo) but it's currently in L's room waiting for the end of term - she needed somewhere to put her mugs as her 'coffee' table is usually buried under books!
A few final happies from my week:
Cypriot olive and oregano bread:
The cherry tree - smaller and much less magnificent than my neighbour's but I love it!
The crabapple - not as bright but beautiful none the less:
My lovely pink carnations - one of my favourites because they last for weeks!
This week's library books:
.... and finally, my hostas - I have to appreciate them at this stage before the snails find them!

That's all for this week - I'd just like to wish everyone a relaxing and sunny Bank Holiday weekend.
Toodle Pip for now. x


  1. The plants with wigs are pretty funny! I think in this case the artist is using these symbols of luxury to poke fun at the fake aspect of that kind of lifestyle (I could be really wrong as I haven't seen the exhibition). There's a lot of fun/ humour in modern and contemporary art but we're a bit scared to laugh in case other people think we don't "get it".

  2. A lovely pile of library books. I took a photo of one of my hostas today as well, before the snails get to it. It looked so nice in the dappled sunlight, but I know it won't last. I went round Tate Modern a few years ago and one of the rooms had a load of decorating stuff in it, including a trestle table. To this day I don't know whether they were re-painting the room or whether it was Art. CJ xx

  3. I saw a different exhibition at the same gallery in February and I didn't get it either, or the ones I saw last week in Cornwall at the Tate St Ives and the Newlyn Gallery. I thought it was just me, but it seems that it isn't! Your trees are beautiful aren't they, such amazing blossoms!! Focus on that instead, that really is art to me!! xx

  4. Your comments on the modern art exhibition made me smile - I can definitely identify with them :) I have to say your lunch out looks delicious and is making my tummy rumble. How lovely that you found that table, and that you got to spend a lovely day in Oxford with your daughter :)
    Cathy x

  5. love the tale of the skip diving, have a lovely weekend x

  6. What a full and wonderful week. I could spend a happy hour with your library books.

  7. I am so with you on the Modern Art Exhibition. I once went to an exhibition at Winchester School of Art and had exactly the same feeling, I just didn't get it. I remember looking at a mattress laid out in the ground with a deep slash across it and daubs of paint splattered on the ground around, everyone was raving about it except for me it seemed! Your lunch looks delicious. xx

  8. I'm totally with you re most modern art, I like to think that an artist has learned his/her trade through discipline and graft with a hefty chunk of talent thrown in! I rarely get them too, I remember taking daughter to the Tate and she sat on a pink chair, suddenly people were hollering as it turned out to be an exhibit!
    Is the topiary sporting the wig supposed to be a woman? I did laugh at you thinking the fence was just a barrier!
    What a gorgeous lunch, there are so many wonderful veggie options now.....lovely that you rescued the little table too, I must confess to having delved into skips myself!!!!xxx

  9. I love reading about your exploits, and seeing your photos. So beautiful there, and the food looks so tempting. What luck to find your little table!

    Thank you for sharing your day.
    Julie @ Pink Doxies

  10. I just nominated your blog as part of the 'Two Good Reads' Tag. Check my blog for details.

  11. Aaah yes, my Hostas get ravaged every year too. No matter how much I try and protect them. I have been to some dodgy art exhibitions in my time, and I live in a town where everyone seems to be an artist. For me a piece of art has to resonate with me on some level. Be it abstract, fine art, sculpture, whatever. I'm not sure I would have appreciated wig clad topiary either ;))
    Leanne xx

  12. I think I would have giggled too. Lunch looks good!

  13. Hmm, glad I didn't make the journey to see that. We're going to ALL THE WAY DOWN to London in June to see some exhibitions and I hope they're better attuned to my narrow band of tolerance!
    In the middle photo of your beautiful buildings - wasn't that lane in a scene from the TV series 'Lewis', where someone gets murdered while out jogging? Has your daughter every noticed the filming going on?
    Lovely hostas - I had to give up, as the snails ripped them to shreds as they emerged.

  14. Well spotted - I think they were injected with something nasty! If I remember correctly, Hathaway was stabbed in his neck brace in the covered market! L has seen a few (including Endeavour episodes) and gets very excited. Have a brilliant time in London. xx