Summer Exhibition 2013

At the Royal Academy

Being a little overwhelmed and unable to understand much of what was going on at last year’s exhibition (it’s me, not them), I was prepared once more to gaze and under-appreciate the masterworks on display at this year’s show and by George what a silly mistake that was.

To demonstrate, husband and I had managed to make it through just half a room before we realised we needed more, we needed the pocket sized ‘list of works’ yellow booklet, available back at the entrance to participate wholeheartedly in the joy that was taking place in front of our eyes. So quick we dashed there, purchased and dashed back, now armed ready for our expedition through the main galleries.

You see for me (and hopefully him), there is something ambrosial about identifying the art you like and believing it could be yours. For this 214 page pocket sized guide provides the peruser with key information like ‘can I afford it?’, which 9.75 times out of 10 indicates No! – though for that 0.25, you can go into interior design over-drive, discussing where that etching should go (a very easy decision when your home is less than large) or feeling miffed that if only you’d come sooner, it would be your red dot signalling the sale on that great piece which would be perfect above the piano.

In addition to seeking out more affordable finds, I found myself particularly taken by the whole exhibition itself.  The mix is great and along the way I discovered a few things about me.

Number 1: I’ve definitely got a taste for Ken Howard

Number 2: That I really really want End of Empire in the British Museum (1056) by Georgia Hayes – google it, it’s supreme.

Number 3: That you can find exquisite perfection by simply resting your eyes upon Yoko XII (949), an inkjet print by Don Brown

Number 4: Grayson Perry makes me laugh. His works are fabulously filled with cleverness, comment and colour. And…I was reminded also…that I haven’t been determined enough (and must try harder) to persuade someone…anyone…that the silk scarf that he designed (and is on sale currently at the Tate Modern shop), would look simply special around my neck.

I shan’t flatter myself that I really understand art, however I will say I know what I like and I liked this.

It’s on until the 18 August

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Fear not ‘tis almost Friday

With this delicious thought in mind dear reader I shan’t hold back with recommending a super satisfying option for this coming Friday evening’s (28 June) entertainment.

For if you haven’t managed it yet, manage it now and attend a LiveFriday event at the Ashmolean in Oxford.  I believe they have been rolling out the programme since the beginning of the year (well at least that is when I first attended), on the last Friday of each month from 7.00pm until 10.30pm.

Briefly, the focus of the event changes monthly so be prepared to take on the less than usual, though better than great, fun to be had. For instance:

January’s, An Evening with the Gods, was run by the Classics department, so in keeping with the theme, you could take in a little Ancient Greek tuition; play ‘authentic’ Roman board games; hang-out sipping wine in Hades; demonstrate your Greek dancing skill; and fill in the missing spots in your knowledge base in reference to what the Romans really ate.

April’s was marketed as China Night…which I was desperate to attend, however found myself detained elsewhere and have since discovered over 2,300 people passed through the doors that night, so the party excitement factor must have been pretty high.

Luckily, I returned for a fix in May for Wilderness in the City, where I not only revelled in the audience of my first philosophy slam (hopefully not my last); enjoyed the sound and spectacle of an exquisitely talented lady opera singer; floated around the exhibits in a state of excitement; smiled at some beautiful violins; but was also introduced (well not personally, rather was in the crowd listening to), some local live bands down in the basement café.

So, you are very right to deduce at this point the atmosphere on these evenings is buzzy and smiling faces abundant.

Additionally, a big YIPPEE for it’s back on this week and focusing on the creative (however when wasn’t it…).  Anyway, you’ll be entertained and educated by a talented bundle of artists, illustrators, poets and musicians at Come Draw with Me!

Please note, these evenings are best suited for people who love having fun and enjoy the unexpected.

Admission is free and to find out more please head to –www.ashmolean.org/LiveFriday