Sunday, 29 March 2009

The view from here

I was until today drained. Emotionally Physically and Mentally.

Last week I embarked on lengthy negotiations that the UN would have been proud of with Emin. At the heart of our relationship lies the the text book problem of love. Emin loves me unconditionally. He is able to do this because he is able to control the fabric of our life most of the time. For such love he would like 100% commitment, the kind that means I do all the housework and generally bow to most domestic demands. As a colleague once remarked many years ago after glancing over at a sample of his hand writing, he is a "Domestic Tyrant" This can put intolerable pressure on our relationship, add to this melting pot of friction my kids and relations can be strained.
We have come through 12 very turbulent years, but my defense mechanism at all times is to ration affection and love. My love I guess is conditional with Emin. He hurts, I withdraw. This pattern has existed since the beginning when he hurt mine so badly I learnt to use it as a form of control.
So negotiations centered around my commitment to our future. Whilst I often ache to be alone he want to spend his life with someone, unluckily for me I am the 'chosen one' I have agreed that Yes I love him and yes I will always be there, but he has to remember that I have an opinion and I will exercise my right to differ. This rendition is woefully over simplified but this took most of last weekend to resolve.

We moved schools. six years of detritus had to be packed along with all that comes with running an art department. That we did it is a miracle. That my assistant is so organised I am forever grateful. That we unpacked is amazing. That I am physically knackered should come as no surprise.
I have reached an impasse concerning my job. I like the trappings and the autonomy but I really dislike the attitude of the management team as to my worth. I therefore decided to apply for one last job.

The job is at my daughters school. I know I can do it and it would be my dream job but as with Emin if I admit it, I know it will really damage me when I do not get it, yet I know that this will make me appear flippant and so I probably will not get it.
That I have an interview is a measure of how well I can sell myself. I really wish I could do the same at my interview. It is on Wednesday. If I succeed good, If I fail I will cope, It is absolutely my last interview. I will hunker down and take from what I have, what I can. I can no longer go through this incredibly draining experience again.
I finally missed you all on Friday, which was the first chance I had to draw breath. I am still off line at work, and I am having to tap way at Kitty's lap top whilst she is at her dad's. So I will be 'posti lite' for a while.
I am way from next Saturday, for a week. We are staying in Robin Hoods Bay if any one wants to drop by I will see you there.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The view from here line

The network shuts down in 10 min's. I will only be able to post sporadically from home.
We have half packed up and will probably move sites on Monday. I feel sad to the bottom of my boots that this day has come. But it has and I will have to deal with it. Worst of all we leave the school just as the trees are coming into blossom and the daffodils are out.
The view from next week will be a half finished building site, as the new school will not be finished when we move in.

Pop goes Paris: Andy Warhol at the Grand Palais

In 1963, the art collector and taxi-firm founder Robert Scull thought the Marilyn treatment should be applied to his wife. Warhol accepted the commission, pushing Ethel Scull into an automatic ID-photo machine and forcing her to loosen up by telling her jokes. After a tour of booths and 300 passport snaps, he made a vast portrait of 36 images. "She felt she looked alive rather than dead on the canvas," Cueff said

I have seen two Warhol exhibitions this year, if nothing else he brings out the competitive streak in curators because each one I have seen appears to have as much time spent on presentation as was spent creating the art in the first place. This is not a criticism, I have always enjoyed his art more because it lends itself so well to such a wide range of visual interpretations. He is Art Teacher Gold.
Sadly I doubt I will see this one unless I pop! over for the day.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


If I am so spontaneous, why do I always need something to look forward too?

This time last year I was only three weeks away from my trip to Paris. This year I satiated my desire by watching half of Before Sunset (Half because Leyla got bored as there was "no kissing" like there was in the first one!)
Last night I watched one of those travel programmes full of inane useless information about Paris.
--Did you know that there is a Vineyard on the slopes of Montmartre? It appears to produce half bottles of highly sought after red wine and some of the grapes are alleged to be hallucinogenic ( yeah right that’s one hell of a USP)

--Bees are making honey on the roof tops of the opera houses, Garnier and Bastille. Organic, no less. I am always puzzled as to how honey can be guaranteed 100% organic. How do the owners know whether their bees have not been on some orgiastic sojourn to some far flung genetically modified pesticide riddled field of rape. Well I guess because the bees would themselves die which as we know is happening, so I rest my case, there is no such thing as organic honey.
Under the same opera house there was said to be a trout farm!

--For a year from September 2005, under the nose of the Panthéon's unsuspecting security officials, a group of intrepid "illegal restorers" set up a secret workshop and lounge in a cavity under the building's famous dome. Under the supervision of group member Jean-Baptiste Viot, a professional clockmaker, they pieced apart and repaired the antique clock that had been left to rust in the building since the 1960s. Only when their clandestine revamp of the elaborate timepiece had been completed did they reveal themselves. More here

--The same group are now secretly mapping and archiving the various underground quarries that Paris is built on and from. Yep when you tuck yourselves into bed in that delightful boutique hotel, remember every brick that is above ground has been quarried from right underneath you. You do the maths and I don’t think you will sleep quite so soundly. I have seen the 300 kilometers of tunnel and that’s a lot of empty space precariously supported by only a few rickety pillars. That is what Paris is built on.

--Finally, In Paris 70% of bread is made by hand. In London 3% So Paris has hit the 21st century and still it can’t make a loaf of bread last till lunchtime. How on earth is it ‘a good thing’ to have to shop twice a day for bread?

Monday, 16 March 2009

The view from here

In a moment of madness I thought it would be nice to take the dog to Greenwich Park. Let him feel the wind between his ears. You know the routine. However the park was more Hieronymus Bosch than Breugel and what I forgot was that whilst I can just about get him to come back to me occasionally, the chance of him coming back when there are picnics to trash, children’s footballs to burst and small children to upend as well as the endless fun that can be had rolling around in your own shit and shamelessly flirting with a rather attractive Blue staff,’ well the chance of a return was some where between fat chance and no chance.
Throw into this heady melting pot of chaos He Who Must be Obeyed walking around with his iPod* in, so every time he tried bellowing for the dog to come back, he managed to bring the park to a standstill that is everyone but the dog.
Mix in Leyla and her friend chasing the dog at every available opportunity and you have a less than satisfying experience.

* Once again I am in the proverbial dog house for crimes against the moral code of conduct that I often forget to adhere to. I am sent to emotional Coventry by the master manipulator, for anything up to a month.
I doubt if there is anyway back from this one simply because there is only so much mental abuse one can tolerate in a life time. The tragedy is of course that the financial entanglement would take so long to unravel it is easier to deflect the abuse than leave it.

Kenji Yoshida

Images from here
What people consider most important is Life and Peace. The most horrible act that destroys them is war. War should not exist. The only way to build Peace and to give importance to Life consists in giving people mutual confidence to discuss these two values and to try to make them become real.
after 1984 he devoted himself almost entirely to ever-bigger works in oil on canvas, usually incorporating gold, silver or platinum leaf in the Japanese tradition. Their themes became increasingly cosmic and mystical, often seeming to be portraits of the created universe itself.
From the Guardian
I need a large slice of this Karma right now.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Always watching Wazowski, always watching...*


Create or Promote?

Well I guess I am 50-50 on this blog but this post is shamelessly promote. Normal service will resume next week.

It has taken hours of sorting, filtering and uploading. If you happen to run a gallery or need a travel photographer for a few days I am more than happy to accommodate. Seriously, really, really more than happy.
The rest of you happy band of bloggers can have a peep too, but you've probably seen most of it and so will be sick to the back teeth of them.
Sadly 'he who must be obeyed' decreed that NO images of 'spawn of the devil' should be loaded, which is a real shame as some of them are quite nice. Hey Ho.

* please tell me you know where this came from?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Living With Teenagers

I still remember how I felt when I read the first instalment of the ­Living with Teenagers column, which ran in the Saturday Family section of this newspaper for two years. I didn't take a breath until I'd reached the end.
The ­column was so good it was chilling – it was beautifully ­written, but also had a rawness to it, an honesty that was breathtaking. It was real. The writer was ruthless in her descriptions of herself – here was a mother who had no idea how to handle her children's tempers and tantrums, and who was bewildered by her conflicting feelings of exasperation, love and loss. And the teenagers!
From the very first episode they were living, breathing, three-dimensional people – appalling, sometimes, but also funny and vulnerable and charming
read more here

"Well FUCK YOU" I hear as I walked downstairs this morning. It was Daisy, and the person on the receiving end was Kitty. The crime? Kitty had failed to co-operate and prepare Daisy's school bag with the correct books for the day. The consequence was a stream of vitriol peppered with more fucks than I ever hear please or thank you. I poked my head round the door to calm troubled waters, after ranting some more Daisy says "Mum can you get my shoes out of the cupboard?" I comply without a mummer.

I totally echo the review above, the column was the first thing I read every Saturday morning, I would save it for Daisy to read as she loved it too. Beautifully written it had laugh out loud moments, as well as elements of real sadness tinged with the frustration that resonates with any parent of a teenager.
I missed it when it was gone and thought little about it until the latest brouhaha erupted over the publication of Myerson's new book The Lost Child which elaborates further the disintegration of Myerson's relationship with her eldest son.
I do absolutely count my blessings that both my teenagers appear very 'clean cut' I am Edina to their Saffy most of the time.
Reading Myerson's account of life with her eldest son, I can not help think that 'there but for the grace of God'. That Myerson has been so vilified for telling the story, especially of course by female journalists very sad and not a little unnecessary.
Many of us bloggers frequently recount tales of woe and destruction. Like Myerson theirs and my feeling is that a problem shared is a problem halved. I do not feel that I am using my own children for the entertainment of others, rather I am retaining my sanity in an often quite fragile environment.

Eva Gustavsson

This relationship was identified by recurring patterns, shapes or colours and the images derived from fragments and details of specific objects and places fixed or imprinted in my memory.

The method of working in series, groups and pairs were also reflected in the presentation of the work, where my intention was for the paintings to hang unframed closely together on the wall in the gallery allowing the viewer to make associations across the space.
This body of work comprised abstract paintings that were created in series or pairs, establishing a relationship between each image.

Eva Gustavsson, I have not featured paintings recently, primarily because the photography takes up more time ergo I see more photos than paintings however I am in the process of weeding my HUGE collection of journals down into a more manageable size and so I have been flicking through some very old a-n magazine back issues. Gustavsson's work appeared in a back issue from 1999! Told you I had issues.
The work very much resonates with my mood at present.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Dear Daisy

I am very sorry I advised you to forsake Biology for Physics. I now realise that this was a big mistake and I have single handedly scuppered your dream of going to medical school. I realise that your failure to work beyond the hours of the school day has had absolutely no impact on your grades and that had you had the opportunity to take Biology all your dreams would have born the delicious fruit of an offer from Oxford. I of course now realise that with this goal would have come the necessary desire to achieve. It had nothing at all to do with your poor grades for this subject last year.
I realise that you work your socks off; it is just that I don’t see it. Yes, you are quite right I must be blind. Of course you must be exhausted which is why you have to go to bed when you get home every night and absolutely, you need to unwind by watching inane comedy clips on You Tube.
I must of course take full responsibility for your lacks-a-daisical approach to independent study, because I foolishly guided you through the early years collecting resources and helping present your projects. I confess I remain very proud of the A* that I gained (on your behalf) for that excellent piece on the ‘Long March’ and treasure still the letter of commendation you received from the Head Teacher.
Yes of course you are right to have taken my guidance for granted and by way of an apology I have of course spent most of yesterday tracking down a range of under graduate courses that will inspire and delight you for the next three years.
I appreciate that you will move out to your Nan’s house but I thought maybe just a little further might be in order, hence my suggestion of Dundee. It does have the very best reputation.
I realise that to secure such a prestigious place you will need evidence of a work experience placement and I can assure you that it is all hands to the deck on that front, and I promise to have your CV written by tomorrow.

Monday, 9 March 2009

The view from here

My week began with not one but two new arrivals

This little package from La Belette Rouge A VERY BIG THANK YOU

Second new arrival, this is a rare contemplative moment, he maybe over 5 years old but he has the body and enthusiasm of a puppy. We spent over 5 hours at Battersea Dogs Home last Sunday and decided on this abandoned Staff. We have named him Firat, a Turkish name that I had chosen if I was carrying a boy and coincidentally the Au-pairs boyfriends name too!
He is a joy such a lovely dog we spend all day shaking our heads as to how anyone would not want this dog.

On Friday I took my year 12 students to The Photographers Gallery
to see Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

Taryn Simon (b.1975, USA) nominated for her exhibition An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar at The Photographers' Gallery, London (13 September -11 November 2007).

Tod Papageorge (b.1940, USA) nominated for the exhibition Passing Through Eden - Photographs of Central Park at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London (7 March - 12 April 2008).
Emily Jacir (b.1970, Palestine) nominated for her installation, Material for a Film, presented at the 2007 Venice Biennale (7 June – 21 November 2007).

Paul Graham (b. 1956, UK) nominated for his publication, A Shimmer of Possibility (steidlMACK, October 2007).
My vote went to Emily Jacir, but most of the girls voted for Tod Papageorge, I was really heartened to see an artist being nominated for a publication rather than an exhibition. I would have no idea how to get my work in a gallery but there are now a number of really good publishers that you can access via the web now that make publishing a book a very real proposition.
The way an image is laid out on the page and juxtaposed with other images is as creative as curating any exhibition.

I do not know why, but the sight of such hideously kitch plastic flowers in the gallery's toilet made me laugh.

I then walked up past St James's park

past offices with beautiful and very real flowers

under a stunning blue sky

to WHITE LIGHT / WHITE HEAT at Hauser & Wirth

This dog was not for sale but was so beautifully regal I had to take a snap.
I then went to see Georg Baselitz: Mrs Lenin and the Nightingale at the White Cube
It blew my socks off, the colours were stunning and such fluid brush strokes too.

White Cube in Masons Yard is a superb space for displaying large pieces of art work, it is a large square block countersunk into the ground and juxtaposes brilliantly with its more traditional neighbours

Downstairs were these water colours which were exceptionally covetable

Axel Hütte: Out of Darkness at Waddington Galleries Cork Street


A wonderful retired couple walked in whilst I was looking and I overheard them say they had bought a couple of his paintings but could not live with them so sold them. How wonderful to be able to breeze around Cork St buying up a little of what you fancy.

One of my favourite colour combinations at Nicole Farhi.

I have far too many clothes but this top from COS was irresistible. I love that colour blue as it brightens up both grey black and brown. However having had a sort out this weekend, memo to self "you do not NEED any more clothes"
Apart from a loose black Tee. I tried on three in Banana Republic and all three clung to my belly like a cling film body wrap. They put far too much elastaine in their jersey to be flattering when you have a thickening waist line
Exhausted I slumped atTerroirs, a wine bar with 'rustic food' I met my sister after she had finished work, the wine list is brilliant but two things really niggled me.
First, I walked in without a booking and after a 'builders' sharp intake of breath and pulling a few faces they agreed to give us a table as long as we were out by 7pm, fine but when we left at 7pm it was a third empty, so why the rush. So many places do this what on earth do they hope to achieve other than irritation.
Second, was that we sat down to eat at 5.30pm but we were then told that only bar snacks were available until 6pm! seriously what on earth is that all about. The rest of the menu is cold apart from 4 hot dishes that only needed to be warmed up, what a stupid system. Other minor niggles were the olives I like an olive to place hairs on my chest and make my eyes water. They gave me a bowl of insipid Briny berry's and they charged for the bread, which at the prices they were charging was unacceptable. Most of the food is very protein and carbohydrate heavy but utterly delicious a triumph of good sourcing. I will return, but only for a snack and a glass of rosé.

And so to bed...

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Now that's what I call style

Nancy Cunard was always my No 1 style icon although..

image from here

The beautiful Georgia O'Keefe ran her a close second as I got older

image from here

But now jostling for first place is Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson by Richard Avedon

I do hope Paul Pincus does not mind me 'lifting' this from his blog. The image is so amazing and I have never seen it before. The more I see of Avedons work the more I love it. What a talent he has for bringing out the inner character of his sitters.
One of my year 13 students has been studying the work of Tim Walker who worked for Avedon and some of the stories she found about Avedons relationship with his sitters was fascinating, (far more so than most of Tim Walkers work sadly).

Now for some Sartorialist gold. This image is my favourite from this years shows

and this one too

images from here
This is not dissimilar to how I dress, give or take a few kilos! OK a lot of kilo's.
I am always slightly bemused at how Scott Schuman is able to take so many good images from both the New York, Milan and Paris shows and yet despite visiting London for the second time, very little has appeared on his own blog. I would have thought London has to be a brilliant place to record street style.
Can it be true that the Sartorialist doesn't 'get' London? (I mean this in the nicest possible way) or does it just rain far too much!


OMG I was trailing through some old posts when I saw the work of Zoe Arnold, finally the penny dropped, I taught her art. She was an amazing artist even at the age of 13, that she has gone on to produce work as exquisite as this is heartening.
True talent will always shine.
Flickr update, Seriously this is taking FAR too long, it looks good so far, but I am only up to 230 images and that has taken a week. The best place to load I have discovered is on Daisy's Apple Mac. I always thought they were over hyped but having used one they are, by a country mile the best P.C's to use ever.
Tomorrow I am dragging my poor year 12 students to the Photographers Gallery but I am itching to post a photograph of our new arrival if he would just sit still for 2 consecutive minutes

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Guy Tillim

Guy Tillim's most recent body of work examines the modern history of Africa through its civic architecture. Avenue Patrice Lumumba travels through several countries in Africa, including Mozambique, Angola and The Democratic Republic of Congo.
The series reflects on the architecture of colonial and post-colonial Africa, looking at the many city streets named after Patrice Lumumba, one of the first elected African leaders of modern times. Lumumba became the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1960 but was assassinated in 1961. Streets that bear his name have come to represent both the idealism and decay of an African dream
Currently on at The Photographers Gallery

It would be too trite to comment on the politics of Africa, but these images are very beautiful and more subtle than some of the more text book photographs that so often come out of Africa.