Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía - Madrid Spain
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía – Madrid Spain
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía - Madrid Spain
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía – Madrid Spain

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía – a.k.a. “The Sofia” in Madrid Spain is a combination of old and new buildings. It was based on an old hospital building that6 was rebuilt and a new part was added. The museum was inaugurated in 1992 and it was named after the Spanish Queen Sofia. The museum focuses mainly on Spanish art (it is the national Spanish museum for 20:th century art). The two Spanish masters of the 20:th century Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali are well represented and one of the big draws is Picasso’s “Guernica”. At the time of our visit in August 2017 there was a temporary exhibit of “Pity & terror – Picasso’s path to Guernica”, which apart from Guernica itself had many other paintings that illustrated how Picasso got to painting Guernica.

Do not be fooled by the label ‘focus on Spanish art’ because there is also a treasure of art from all around the world, the collection is extensive.

Sculpture garden that has a great Alexander Calder piece on view.
The Sabatini garden has a great Alexander Calder piece on view.
Alexander Calder piece in the garden.
“Carmen” by Alexander Calder piece in the Sabatini garden.

If you plan on visiting more than one museum of the Museo Nacional’s in Spain an annual card might make sense, it can be bought at the ticket office and the cost in August 2017 is €36.06 and that give you entry to a list of museums across Spain for a year, follow this link to see the list.

Oiseau lunaire - "Moonbird" Joan Miró (1893-1983) in the Sabatini garden
Oiseau lunaire – “Moonbird” 1966, Joan Miró (1893-1983) in the Sabatini garden.

The Radical Eye at Tate Modern

The radical Eye exhibit at Tate Modern
The radical Eye exhibit at Tate Modern

The radical Eye exhibition at Tate modern in London exhibits Sir Elton John’s collection of Photography. It includes some really awesome photographers and photographies and it is a pleasure to stroll through the exhibition and take in the extensive collection. I think I can say that my favorite is the photograph by Man Ray used in advertising the exhibition, posters etc. It  is called Glass Tears (Les Larmes) and is from 1932 part of the Collection Elton John © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016.

It also features portraits of many cultural icons and I recommend seeing it if you have a chance! Read more in the press release from Tate modern on March 8 2016:

“Tate Modern today announces a major new exhibition, The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection, opening on 10 November 2016. The show will be drawn from one of the world’s greatest private collections of photography and will present an unrivalled selection of classic modernist images from the 1920s to the 1950s. Featuring over 150 works from more than 60 artists the exhibition will consist entirely of rare vintage prints, all created by the artists themselves. It will showcase works by seminal figures such as Man Ray, André Kertész, Berenice Abbot, Alexandr Rodchenko and Edward Steichen, offering the public a unique opportunity to see remarkable works up close. The quality and depth of the collection will allow the exhibition to tell the story of modernist photography in this way for the first time in the UK. It also marks the beginning of a long term relationship between Tate and the Sir Elton John Collection.

The exhibition introduces a crucial moment in the history of photography – an exciting rupture often referred to as the ‘coming of age’ of the medium, when artists used photography as a tool through which they could redefine and transform visions of the modern world. Technological advancements gave artists the freedom to experiment and test the limits of the medium and present the world through a new, distinctly modern visual language. This exhibition will reveal how the timeless genres of the portrait, nude and still life were reimagined through the camera, as well as exploring its unique ability to capture street life and the modern world from a new perspective.

Featuring portraits of great cultural figures of the 20th century, including Georgia O’Keeffe by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston by Tina Modotti, Jean Cocteau by Berenice Abbott and Igor Stravinsky by Edward Weston, the exhibition will give insight into the relationships and inner circles of the avant-garde. An incredible group of Man Ray portraits will be exhibited together for the first time, having been brought together by Sir Elton John over the past twenty-five years, depicting key surrealist figures such as Andre Breton and Max Ernst alongside artists including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar. Ground-breaking experimentation both in the darkroom and on the surface of the print, such as Herbert Bayer’s photomontage and Maurice Tabard’s solarisation, will examine how artists pushed the accepted conventions of portraiture.

As life underwent rapid changes in the 20th century, photography offered a new means to communicate and represent the world. Alexandr Rodchenko, László Moholy-Nagy and Margaret Bourke-White employed the ‘worm’s eye’ and ‘bird’s eye’ views to create new perspectives of the modern metropolis – techniques associated with constructivism and the Bauhaus. The move towards abstraction will also be charted, from isolated architectural elements to camera-less photography such as Man Ray’s rayographs and Harry Callahan’s light abstractions.

Further themes explored in the exhibition will include new approaches to capturing the human form, highlighted in rare masterpieces such as André Kertész’s Underwater Swimmer, Hungary 1917, while Imogen Cunningham’s Magnolia Blossom, Tower of Jewels 1925 and Tina Modotti’s Bandelier, Corn and Sickle 1927 will feature in a large presentation dedicated to the Still Life. The important role of documentary photography as a tool of mass communication will be demonstrated in Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother 1936 and Walker Evans’ Floyde Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama 1936, from the Farm Security Administration project.

Sir Elton John said: “It is a great honour for David and I to lend part of our collection to Tate Modern for this groundbreaking exhibition. The modernist era in photography is one of the key moments within the medium and collecting work from this period has brought me great joy over the last 25 years. Each of these photographs serves as inspiration for me in my life; they line the walls of my homes and I consider them precious gems. We are thrilled to be part of this collaboration with Tate Modern and hope that the exhibition audience experiences as much joy in seeing the works as I have had in finding them.”

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: “This will be a truly unique exhibition. There are few collections of modernist photography in the UK, so we are delighted that Sir Elton John has allowed us to draw on his incredible collection and give everyone a chance to see these iconic works. Coming face-to-face with such masterpieces of photography will be a rare and rewarding experience.”

The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection at Tate Modern will run from 10 November 2016 until 7 May 2017. It is curated by Shoair Mavlian with senior curator Simon Baker and Newell Harbin, Director of the Sir Elton John Photography Collection, assisted by Emma Lewis. It will be accompanied by a major new catalogue from Tate Publishing, featuring an interview with Sir Elton John by Jane Jackson and an essay by Dawn Ades, Professor Emerita at the University of Essex. “

Season Greetings from London Town

Christmas tree in St James's Place London
Christmas tree in St James’s Place London

This is a compilation of pictures of different season decorations around London. Except where otherwise noted all pictures were taken in December 2016 by our correspondent/photographer.

All images in the blog are copyright TheLosAngeleno.com
Boots pharmacy on Oxford Street London
Boots pharmacy on Oxford Street London
Carnaby Street W1 City of Westminster
Carnaby Street W1
City of Westminster
Carnaby Street W1 City of Westminster
Carnaby Street W1
City of Westminster
Carnaby Street W1 City of Westminster
Carnaby Street W1
City of Westminster
Carnaby Street W1 City of Westminster
Carnaby Street W1
City of Westminster
House of Fraser Oxford Street side street entrance
House of Fraser Oxford Street side street entrance
Kensington High Street
Kensington High Street
Whole Foods Kensington High Street Veuve Clicquot window display
Whole Foods Kensington High Street Veuve Clicquot window display
Somewhere in London
Somewhere in London
Oxford Street decorations
Oxford Street decorations
Piccadilly Circus with the Eros staatue
Piccadilly Circus with the Eros staatue
Closeup of the statue on the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain as the formal name is
Closeup of the statue on the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain as the formal name is

Even though the fountain and the statue is generally referred to as just Eros, the name of the fountain is the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. It was constructed in 1892-93 to commemorate the philanthropic work of Lord Shaftesbury, famous Victorian politician and philanthropist. The sculpture is actually not of Eros but rather Eros brother Anteros. The sculptor Alfred Gilbert had already made a sculpture of Anteros and he used this again for the Shaftesbury memorial fountain statue.

Covent Garden market
Covent Garden market
2014 Reindeer Covent Garden
2014 Reindeer Covent Garden

The silver Reindeer was not there this year, but we like it so much that we decided to put this picture from 2014 up.

From one street around Covent Garden
From one street around Covent Garden
Christmas tree Covent Garden
Christmas tree Covent Garden
Shirazeh Houshiary’s Christmas Tree at tate Britain Millbank entrance
Shirazeh Houshiary’s Christmas Tree at Tate Britain the Millbank entrance

The upside down Christmas Tree at Tate Britain is quite spectacular and well worth a visit on it’s own, but there’s more… a lot of really good art.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from TheLosAngeleno!
A view of the tree from below
A view of the tree from below

Elizabeth Tower with Big Ben to be refurbished

Palace of Westminster the Parliament building in London with the Elisabeth Tower witch houses "Big Ben".
Palace of Westminster the Parliament building in London with the Elizabeth Tower which houses the bell “Big Ben”.

If you want to look at the Elizabeth Tower (as the proper name is since 2012 when it was renamed in honor of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II from being called “the Clock Tower”) with the Big Ben bell, you need to hurry up. Otherwise you risk having to wait three years or so to experience it in it’s full glory since it is to be renovated and scaffolding is going up in the beginning of 2017. The Tower was built in 1859 and it’s clock work as well as the tower itself need to be refurbished every so often and when this happens the bell will also be silent for times during the process. The tower and the clock is of course better known as the name of the big bell inside the tower, “Big Ben”.

Here is an excerpt from the Parliament website: “A three-year programme of essential works to conserve the Elizabeth Tower, the Great Clock and the Great Bell, also known as Big Ben are due to begin early 2017.”

For more information on the Parliament website click here.

Elizabeth Tower.
Elizabeth Tower.
Close up of one of the four sides of the clock face in the Elizabeth Tower.
Close up of one of the four sides of the clock face in the Elizabeth Tower.
Union Jack
Union Jack