Monday, April 30, 2012

Kate + Will's First Anniversary

We spent Kate and Will's first anniversary paying a visit to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace before pints at the pub. It was a soggy weekend, so we tried to stay indoors, which lead us to the Borough Market, The British Museum, The Tate Modern, and Harrods.
The city was gearing up for the Diamond Jubilee with nearly everything kitted out to celebrate the Queen's 60 year reign. Harrods had cakes and cookies with her likeness, teas to commemorate the big day, and there were dishware and decor with the union jack at nearly every store we visited.
At the Borough Market, as always, there was such an array of produce including things that were new to me, "tomberries" which were the tiniest tomatoes I've ever seen, and purple broccoli, too. It's a test of restraint to walk through the variety of food stalls before deciding what to eat. There are so many incredible options and all along the way people are handing out samples, which only make decision time that much more difficult. I loved the Spice Mountain, which had some of the more unique things I've been unable to find in Munich, including beet powder for natural coloring.
Every time I've visited the British Museum there are plenty of school children in their uniforms. I love seeing them sprawled out on the floors drawing what they see and eavesdropping on their thoughts. They are so fortunate to have such a cultural institution at their doorstep. 
The Tate Modern had their usual collection as well as special exhibits from Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hirst.

There was a particularly unsympathetic letter from Georgia O'Keefe to Kusama that still sticks in my mind. I got the feeling O'Keefe thought of Kusama as a bit of an annoyance, although Kusama remains to be very much an eccentric woman (she currently lives in a mental institution on her own free will). I have to admire her tenacity.

The Hirst retrospective was thought provoking, at times disturbing, but generally fascinating. As the wealthiest living artist it's difficult not to step back and think about how art has evolved and it's commentary on modern life. He also challenges the idea of artists actually creating the art work, since he often has his ideas put into production as opposed to doing things traditionally seen as artisan.

Both special exhibits were very interactive, which provided an interesting element that I appreciated. The last two interactive instillation rooms of Kusama's work were my favorite of hers.

Hirst's diamond skull is on exhibit free of charge on the ground floor of the museum for some of the shock, awe, and those who don't want to part with the 14£ entry.
After the rain let up there was that beautiful after the rain glow of the sun when everything just looks radiant and the colors are more vibrant than ever. I love that. 
I stocked up on books, added a few cook books to my wish list, and look forward to the next time we'll be back to this great city. We're thinking about going back for lunch/dinner at The Cube, which is similar to the Electrolux cooking course, lunch, and New Year's, except with a great view over the Thames and London Eye.

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