Category Archives: Modern Art

All things Modern Art from my blog

National Portrait Gallery, London

National Portrait Gallery front door; home to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition

National Portrait Gallery front door; home to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition

Yesterday  I went to the National Portrait Gallery in London; it was fabulous!

National Portrait Gallery If you like head and shoulder shots, you will not be disappointed!

National Portrait Gallery
If you like head and shoulder shots, you will not be disappointed!

My main objective was to get into the ground floor Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition – a very reasonable £4 charge was levied and I was in.

The blurb says this is the leading competition to celebrate and promote the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world.

Certainly the many images were spread across both traditional and contemporary approaches to photographic portraits, I don’t even know who Taylor Wessing are, but well done on them, because this was a great show.

National Portrait Gallery front door; home to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition

National Portrait Gallery front door; home to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition

Having moved on upstairs, I was allowed to get my camera out; I only took a couple of pictures, I hope you like them.

National Portrait Gallery, a group are given a quided tour and hang on every word in the Tudor section

National Portrait Gallery, a group are given a guided tour and hang on every word in the Tudor section




I don’t think they like you taking pictures in here….of course there was one addition that was rather poignant; Mr Bowie.

David Bowie at the National Portrait Gallery

David Bowie at the National Portrait Gallery

And that’s all I have to say about that. Except that afterwards I had to get some fresh air and walk around Trafalgar Square,  and say hello to some old friends my wife and I had both been perched upon for pictures as young children.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square L1004082


Chatsworth Sculptures

The Chatsworth Sculptures are well worth seeing

Kay and her mates had a fantastic day out at Chatsworth while I was wallowing around with man-flu.

The Landscape of British Sculpture 1950 – 2015

Sotheby’s Beyond Limits is now firmly established as one of the leading events in the artistic calendar with artists including Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, Jaume Plensa, Manolo Valdés and Thomas Heatherwick (designer of London’s Olympic Cauldron), having exhibited in recent years. Spread out across the garden, the diversity of these international artists’ works represents some of the most original monumental sculpture being made today.

Guest curated by Tim Marlow, Director of Artistic Programmes at The Royal Academy of Arts, the 2015 exhibition will feature more than 30 monumental sculptures created by Britain’s leading artists from the past 65 years. Find out more at

Kay’s pictures are taken on a rather old iPhone, so don’t expect the usual Leica sharpness!

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Louisiana Museum of Modern Art


LOUISIANA M– USEUM OF MODERN ART is a leading international museum of modern art. Located on the coast it strikes that rarest of balances between landscape, architecture, and art in a unique interaction that attracts visitors from around the world and makes a visit to Louisiana something special throughout the year.


The museum, which is located 25 miles north of Copenhagen, with a panoramic view of Sweden across the Sound, presents six to ten special exhibitions annually and has a distinguished permanent collection with over 3,500 works.

Louisiana is also a vibrant cultural centre open in the evening Tuesday to Friday until 22:00 and offers a rich variety of activities and events.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art can be found at

We visited this museum with friends five years ago this week, yet it has taken me until now to stumble across these pictures and get them out there. For that I am truly sorry!

This is a great Museum, i feel a blog post coming up Nikon D200

This is a great Museum, i feel a blog post coming up
Nikon D200

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Louisiana Museaum of Modern Art, Denmark

Louisiana Museaum of Modern Art, Denmark

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Giant Rabbit at YSP

Giant Rabbit at YSP

Following on from Brimham Rocks, here is another fantastic Yorkshire day out – man-made rather than natural, but if you are looking for true inspiration outdoors, then Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the place to go.

Relax at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Relax at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
















One of the Galleries at YSP

One of the Galleries at YSP

Yorkshire Sculpture Park – something for everyone

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a pioneering place that aims to challenge, inspire, inform and delight, welcoming over 300,000 visitors, including 40,000 learning visits each year.

“Probably the finest exhibition site for sculpture in the world.” Bill Packer, Financial Times

“In my experience, you get things from visiting these 500 acres of rolling rural north that are rarely available at other art locations.” Waldemar Januszczak, The Sunday Times

“A great way to combine culture, exercise and fresh air for all the family.” The People

YSP seeks to provide a centre of international, national and regional importance for the production, exhibition and appreciation of modern and contemporary sculpture. Many inspirational elements combine here to create a unique and exceptional balance of art, heritage, learning, space and landscape.

YSP’s success is a testament to personal commitment and vision. The organisation has grown over the last 35 years: from humble beginnings with £1,000 to fund a small exhibition of 31 sculptures, to now contribute £5 million to the local economy and is responsible for five indoor galleries set in 500 acres of the 18th century-designed Bretton Estate, reunited in recent years under YSP’s stewardship.

Within a national and European context YSP is unique, offering artists and visitors experiences and opportunities unlike anywhere else. ‘Great art for everyone’ has been YSP’s goal since opening to the public in 1977, enabling access, understanding and enjoyment of art and landscape for everyone, whilst dismantling many of the barriers that often exist between the public and contemporary art. This vision remains as strong as ever.

The revelatory nature of the Park’s setting opens up many possibilities and encourages exploration of the relationship between art and nature, stimulating engagement and adventure in the surroundings.

You have to hand it to him...You have to hand it to him…

To look out across carefully designed vistas in the parkland, to chance upon a sculpture in the landscape, to make personal discoveries whilst seeing and touching sculptures by some of the leading artists of the 20th century – there is nowhere else like Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

You have to hand it to him..
Inside the metal mesh cage looking out across the landscape




Beautiful countryside to walk in at YSP

Beautiful countryside to walk in at YSP

Crosby Beach, another place in fact

What are those cast iron men doing out there?

Crosby Beach, another place in fact

Crosby beach is located on the North West corner of England, stretching about 3 miles North-West from the Seaforth Dock in the Port of Liverpool, through Waterloo, where it separates the sea from the Marina, past Crosby Swimming Baths, up beyond the coastguard station in Blundellsands to the estuary of the River Alt.


The navigable shipping channel in Liverpool Bay, connecting the River Mersey to the Irish Sea, runs parallel to the beach to around the coastguard station where it swings out to sea. This is a very busy shipping canal – if a little quieter than it used to be.

The beach has only really been stabilised in the last half a century or so. Previous to this at high tides the sea could come in as far as the first row of houses. Dune management, which is still ongoing to the present day (including the planting of old Christmas trees) and the building of a sea wall have now reduced the problems.

In the older dunes north of the coastguard station, between the sea and the West Lancashire Golf Club, there are still some remains of the old wartime defences.


The Another Place sculptures by Antony Gormley are found on Crosby Beach,  after a Sefton Council meeting on 7 March 2007, it was agreed that after being displayed at several locations in Europe, these sculptures were to remain permanently erected in northwestern England. rather than having to move to yet another location, this amazing piece of art would now stay permanently.

Not everybody was as happy as I was.

Originally the statues were due to be relocated in November 2006. Those who use the front for watersports voiced the strongest resistance to the iron men staying, as the statues posed a safety problem – especially as the local marina was being closed to public use at the time.

Art lovers and local businesses lobbied for the statues to stay. Gormley himself was very happy to keep the statues at Crosby Beach, saying that the location is “ideal”.


The amazing work consists of 100 sculptures of the artist’s own body, facing towards the sea.

Each cast iron figure, all of which face out to sea,  are spread over a 2 mile (3.2 km) stretch of the beach between Waterloo and Blundellsands.

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Each figure is 189 cm tall (nearly 6 feet 2½ inches) and weighs around 650 kg (over 1400 lb).

In common with most of Gormley’s work, the figures are cast replicas of his own body. As the tides ebb and flow, the figures are revealed and submerged by the sea. The figures were cast at two foundries, Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and Joseph and Jesse Siddons Foundry in West Bromwich.

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Another Place was first exhibited on the beach of Cuxhaven, Germany, in 1997 and after that in Stavanger in Norway and De Panne in Belgium.


The works became a major tourist attraction on Crosby Beach north of Liverpool.

Looking back at these pictures from 2006 and 2007 taken on a Nikon D40 and a small compact, makes me want to get back there with my Leica, the figures are amazing; truly from Another Place.




Madrid and the Museo del Prado


Madrid and the Museo del Prado

Madrid (/məˈdrɪd/, Spanish: [maˈðɾið], locally: [maˈðɾiθ, -ˈðɾi]) is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is almost 3.2 million[4] and that of the Madrid metropolitan area, around 6.3 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-largest in the European Union after London andParis.[5][6][7][8] The city spans a total of 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi).[9]

The city is located on the Manzanares River in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid (which comprises the city of Madrid, its conurbation and extended suburbs and villages); this community is bordered by theautonomous communities of Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, andresidence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political, economic and cultural centre of Spain.[10] The current mayor is Ana Botella from the People’s Party (PP).

The Madrid urban agglomeration has the third-largest GDP[11] in the European Union and its influences in politics,education, entertainment, environment, media, fashion, science, culture, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities.[12][13] Due to its economic output, high standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre of Southern Europe[14][15] and the Iberian Peninsula; it hosts the head offices of the vast majority of the major Spanish companies, such as Telefónica, Iberia or Repsol. Madrid is the 17th most livable city in the worldaccording to Monocle magazine, in its 2014 index.[16][17]

Madrid houses the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), belonging to the United Nations Organization(UN), the SEGIB, the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), and the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB). It also hosts major international regulators of Spanish: the Standing Committee of the Association of Spanish Language Academies, headquarters of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), the Cervantes Institute and the Foundation of Urgent Spanish (Fundéu BBVA). Madrid organizes fairs such as FITUR,[18] ARCO,[19] SIMO TCI[20] and the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week.[21]


Museo del Prado, Madrid 2.3 million visitors a year make this a busy spot!


The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in centralMadrid. It features one of the world’s finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture in 1819, it also contains important collections of other types of works. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world, and is considered one the greatest museums of art in the world. The numerous works by Francisco de Goya, the single most extensively represented artist, as well as by Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens and Hieronymus Bosch are some of the highlights of the collection.

The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, in addition to a large number of other works of art and historic documents. By 2012 the Museum will be displaying about 1,300 works in the main buildings, while around 3,100 works are on temporary loan to various museums and official institutions. The remainder are in storage.[3] The museum received 2.8 million visitors in 2012.[4]

The best-known work on display at the museum is Las Meninas by Velázquez. Velázquez not only provided the Prado with his own works, but his keen eye and sensibility were also responsible for bringing much of the museum’s fine collection of Italian masters to Spain, now the largest outside of Italy.

We stayed at the Hotel Vincci Soho, a modern 4* boutique hotel in the centre of the 

A nice place, near the Prado, the royal palace and some good bars and eateries.



Pompidou Centre, Martial Raysse

Another day, another gallery – or in this case,


Welcome to the Pompidou Centre!

Welcome to the Pompidou Centre!

Welcome to the Pompidou Centre – a sophisticated mix of modern art and overpriced cafe’s in the heart of Paris just up from Hotel du Ville.

Following a bumpy ride on the 69 bus from Boulevard Voltaire,  refrshed with coffee and cake, we arived ready to tackle the Martial Raysse exhibition on the sixth floor – with a great view over Paris thrown in for 11 euros.

What a fun show it turned out to be – amazing!

Obviously, Raysse is a French painter; a self-taught artist whose early works were assemblages which included plastic objects.

This appropriation of prefabricated materials led to his association with Nouveau réalisme. Raysse exhibited a world, new, antiseptic and modern. His approach anticipated that of the Pop artists, who likewise used objects and images deriving from advertising.

During the 1960s Raysse began to make more pictorial compositions, based on images from advertising as well as on high art. He also produced paintings in which a deliberate roughness of execution is emphasised by the superimposition of a single neon line. Raysse began at this time to create his own prototypes as another way of continuing to elevate bad taste and falsity to the level of art.

In the mid 1960s Raysse’s work developed around a number of recurrent themes; in particular he concentrated on the contours of a portrait, a mouth or an eye, repeating them endlessly using all kinds of visual formulae, and drawing on the most diverse types of materials.

He gave up his pictorial explorations in the atmosphere of the events of 1968 in France. When he returned to painting, his work had undergone an important change. Little by little he moved away from the urban world towards a return to nature, a bucolic ideal of a gentle and calm community with reminiscences of Poussin and of mythology. He used pastel and tempera to depict timeless magical or fantastic scenes, anticipating the vogue for mythological subjects that appeared in the work of other painters in the 1980s.

His more recent work, including ‘ici Plage, comme ici-bas’  a huge room-filling beach scene (pictured below) and produced as recently as 2012, is both highly entertaining and also most pleasing to the eye.

I’m no art critic, but it reminded me of the Grayson Perry tapestries ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ in London a few years ago – I like it a lot.

Here are some snaps.

photocrati gallery

and here is a more substantial Guardian review of the same retrospective show

You really can’t go wrong in Paris, still off to Verona tomorrow, so that’s enough of that!

Musée d’Orsay & the left bank, Paris

Of all the places we come back to time and time again in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay  is our favourite.

Musee d’Orsay

Sitting calmly on the left bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900.

The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography.

It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including MonetManetDegasRenoir,CézanneSeuratSisleyGauguin and Van Gogh.

Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum’s opening in 1986.

We took a guided tour this time, well worth the six euros, an hour and a half duration starting at the information kiosk, it was a good way to see the highlights, with an audio commentary from a highly knowledgeable french art historian.

After the tour, we took a stroll along the left bank, a drink here, a sandwich there, and a game of ping pong for good measure – always lots to do, a great part of Paris!