International Ceramics at Erskine, Hall & Coe

Lucie RieI’ve been to the Erskine, Hall & Coe gallery in the Royal Arcade again, this time for a mixed exhibition of international ceramics that includes several Japanese ceramists as well as some of the major names in English pottery like Bernard Leach and the modernist Lucie Rie. They all work in a pared-down, honest style that owes a lot to the Mingei movement in Japan pioneered by Shoji Hamada. Continue reading

2015 Cherry Blossom Update 1

cherry blossomI know (from the number of hits on my London Cherry Blossom Guide) that all you folk out there just can’t wait for the cherry blossom season to start. And you want to know what the state of play is, and whether it’s worth going now or not. So I’ve decided to do a regular update on the state of the blooms so you know just where you stand. You’re welcome! Continue reading

Cotton to Gold at Two Temple Place

Cotton to GoldIn the nineteenth century, the textile industry in the North West was booming, making the factory owners rich beyond the dreams of avarice. What did they do with this huge wealth? Well, some of them at least spent it on amassing some amazing collections of art and natural objects. Like Roman coins, medieval manuscripts, Turner watercolours, Tiffany glass, Japanese prints, Byzantine icons, ivory sculptures, preserved beetles and a Peruvian mummy, which all feature in the current exhibition at Two Temple Place. Continue reading

Tadashi’s Kawamata’s staircase at Annely Juda Fine Art

Tadashi KawamataTadashi Kawamata has built a spiral staircase out of scrap and reclaimed wood inside the Annely Juda Gallery. It spans four floors, but counts as fairly small scale compared to some of his other works, in which he’s built massive constructions that attach themselves to the sides of classical buildings like mad wasp nests. It’s an unusual approach, and rather fun. Continue reading

Flowers of Spring

CamelliaHa! I bet when you saw the headline you thought this post was going to be about crocuses and daffodils and suchlike, didn’t you? With perhaps a bit of cherry blossom thrown in. Well, you were wrong. It’s about some spring flowers that are in bloom now that we don’t think about nearly so much as the obvious harbingers of spring. Continue reading

Activist art for Fukushima

Yoi KawakuboYesterday was the fourth anniversary of the March 11th tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster in Tohoku in northern Japan. To commemorate the event, and to encourage us to question our use of nuclear energy, Art Action UK have mounted a small exhibition at the White Conduit Projects in Islington of artworks centring around nuclear power plants and the Fukushima area. Continue reading

Is it cherry blossom time yet?

Priory Park Cherry BlossomEvery year around this time I start getting impatient for the cherry blossom to bloom. I know it’s too soon for the full display, but the beginning of March is when you start to see early cherry blossom, like the delicate flowers in the picture above. If you want to know the best places to go when the season really kicks off, then my London Parks Cherry Blossom Top Five Guide is what you want. But I thought I’d whet your appetite with a reminder of what’s in store. Continue reading

Chu Enoki at the White Rainbow Gallery

Chu EnokiI was in two minds whether to go and see the Chu Enoki exhibition at the White Rainbow gallery. The thing is, it’s mainly about guns. Not something I feel a need for in my life, to be honest. Unlike Enoki, who seems to have had a lifetime obsession with them, beginning when he was a child in the fifties, after the Second World War. But anyway, I took a look, and found that the effect was not what I had expected. Continue reading

They’re taking the axe to the cherry trees in Regent’s Park

Chester GateIt feels like the end of an era – and it is in a way. The avenue of cherries trees along Chester Road leading to Chester Gate, the glory of the cherry blossom season in Regent’s Park, is going. They’ve cut down half of them, and the rest will go on Monday. Not even the stumps are left – just bare earth. Continue reading

New chamber opera Tokaido Road London Premiere

Photo: greg Trezise

Photo: Greg Trezise

Last night I went to the London premiere of chamber opera Tokaido Road at the new Milton Court Theatre on Silk Street. I say chamber opera but it might more accurately be described as music theatre as it tells its tale through a fascinating mixture of music, poetry, mime, dance and visual imagery.  It’s based on Hiroshige’s series of woodblock prints depicting the fifty-three stopping points of the Tokaido, the ancient Eastern Sea Road that ran from Tokyo to Kyoto. Travelling the Tokaido Road was harsh and dangerous and the opera depicts its perils as well as its pleasures. Continue reading