And so the end of my first week in London draws to a close and it's been a superb art filled experience.
It all started with a trip to the Royal Academy to see if the media fuss swirling around the huge survey show Australia is warranted. Personally, the theme of the show is problematic on a number of levels, namely it's very narrow - landscape - that's it ... Because of this, huge swaths of Australian art and artists are missing, as are an equitable representation of women artists but perhaps that says more about the nature and culture of art in Australia. Conflicted I think best expresses my feeling about the show.
A short stroll down to St James Square brought me bang up to date with what's currently hot in the international art market, namely Russian Art on view at Christie's and then to White Cube to view the visually arresting images and sculpture of German born, LA based artist, Friedrich Kunath. Combining slap stick humour, pathos and metaphoric allegory, his images and ceramic painted Canadian otter sculptures, Kunath had me submersed in a dreamscape, presenting a world of shifting realities. I loved it!
Bond Street never fails to thrill and an early morning trip on a frosty Sunday morning didn't disappoint when I had a brush with Bob Dylan. His exhibition, Mood Swings is currently on view at Halcyon Gallery and housed in their galleries on both sides of the street are 3 separate bodies of work, composed of paintings, prints and 7 massive steel 'gate' sculptures. All very humorous and a complete surprise. My favourite series was of paintings and prints depicting faux magazine covers with lurid and amusing headlines ... this is one I simply could not resist!
It was a treat to catch up with the dapper and delightful Angus Haldane of Haldane Fine Art over lunch on Wednesday. Angus and I were comrades in arms at Sotheby's for a number of years and I truly value his view and take on the London market and all things arty. Interestingly the lower and tip top ends of the market are incredibly buoyant and healthy with the £20,000 - 100,000 proving problematic. With lots of travel and lecturing under his belt this year, I very much look forward to welcoming him to Sydney in August, 2014 - we're in for a treat!
Tate Modern's galleries have had a re-jig since I was last here in 2011 and I have to say the new hang is fabulous. Beautifully themed and curated, I think this was my most pleasurable visit ever...
Rounding out the week was the annual cocktail party for ex-Sotheby's colleagues, hosted beautifully by Alexandra Reece and Sasha Weld-Forester at Marlborough Fine Art on Albemarle Street. As part of the ex 1744 group, I loved catching up with Andre Zlattinger (now Head of Modern British Pictures at Christie's), Guy Vaisierie (currently at Linley) and James Murray now successfully art dealing and advising (www.jmurrayfineart.com). Boy did we have ALOT to catch up on. Again, they all said that the art market is powering ahead with activity across all categories, with contemporary being, unsurprisingly, top of the tree. Everybody wants in, including active Australian expats in London and Europe, Switzerland was specifically mentioned!
Now it's onto Paris on Monday to revisit some favourite art haunts, and I'm especially excited about visiting more recent gallery connections I've made at the art fairs in Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney. It will be great to see them on their home turf!