Apr. 14th, 2017

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Yesterday would have been Olivia's 100th birthday. I was invited to a celebration last night, and decided to make the most of the day by spending it in the British Museum. My membership is a greatly appreciated present! No queues, free exhibitions and the members room which really is just a quiet canteen... Sometimes I like to wander round and just see what takes my fancy. It's a magic house where the rooms keep moving around and changing, a place you get lost between worlds.

This time I got lost betwen British Watercolours, Hockney's etchings and an exhibition on American Art. The former was not as turgid as I expected... Some interesting stuff by Moore, Sargent, Ravilious, and once again that sense of a genius loci haunting so much of our culture, a place that seems ordinary but isn't. We are a displaced people, hoiked from country to town, and we grew out of that trauma to a place of comfort and vague disquiet. Moore's representation of the London skyline stayed with me:

As above

This then was the reality of war, ghosts among the ruins of London. We don't understand because we have made our history a movie forever on loop about the glories of conflict, and we have stopped paying attention to the truth in art.

The American exhibition was full of Warhol, Lichtenstein etc, lithographic experiments, bold bright games of colour. There was threat and beauty there too, behind the blondness of it; Monroe's face over and over again, even down to fridge magnets exemplifying the consumerism and blankness, the repetition. Good, yes, very good, but attempting to read Warhol's diaries was an exercise in staring at water. Nothing really there... He is only his product. I suppose from that point of view, he made himself a fine example of his art. Few of these works truly arrested my attention apart from Kiki Smith's Wolf Girl, and that mattered more than anything else though I don't know why.

As above

Hockney's etchings were meant to be accompaniments to Kavafi's works re Alexandria, They were simple, sometimes beautiful often uneasy.

And then it was time for remembering Olivia, and all her work on the Sacred Feminine, the fun and wisdom and mischief of her. There were old friends from way back, including a marvellous lady who gave me a postcard a friend had made of their May morning procession. The man with the antlers is Rick Gibson, who died years ago.
Rick, Rae Beth, Obby Oss

My favourite story came from this lady, who spoke of a night in a pub where Olivia charged her with creating a play for everyone there, the re-telling of the story of Demeter, Kore and Hades. I was Kore/Persephone, and Hades symbolised my eating of the forbidden pomegranate by feeding me a black jellybaby. The pub was rapt; Olivia had gone off with Rick to watch a boxing match.

It has just occurred to me that I spent my day among kindly ghosts. Now comes Easter and Life...And the hope that Dreamwidth can cope with these images in one entry.


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