I was lucky enough to spend the first weekend of the year in London combining a Lizzy House Meadow Quilt class (more of that later) with a visit to my brother and some much needed cultural arty top up.
Grayson Perry's Who Are You display is on at the National Portrait Gallery. It made for a fascinating TV series and the art work is engaging, beautiful and emotional. You can find his various artworks intermingled around the nineteenth and twentieth century rooms at the NPG. It's a free display and very much worth seeing. It helps to have watched the series first and had an introduction to the individuals behind the portraits.
Somerset House is close to the National Portrait Gallery-they are both central and near Trafalgar Square. I hadn't been before and the cold, bright winter weather was a perfect way to see it. It its he most delightful setting, the Christmas ice rink was still in place- we arrived mid afternoon as the ice was being prepared for the skaters. Its a cultural and arts centre that hosts big cinema events, displays and exhibitions. There was a lot of free stuff to see, Wounded: the Legacy of War by Bryan Adams, a truly humbling collection of recent war photographs, and yes, that is Bryan Adams the musician. There is also the Chris Stein Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk. A great mix of pics, I especially liked a picture of Debbie Harry cooking wearing singed vintage dress with flames flying up the pan and burnt debris all around.
The V&A never disappoints. We started off with Disobedient Objects , a chaotic, loud exhibition; cluttered and noisy, full of protest and dissent. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. It was so busy and absorbing, and apart from crimes against font choice on display boards, I loved it. The Tikki Love Truck celebrating day of the dead shocked and surprised me. You can't see the death mask in this photo- it's at the front of the truck. The video told the story and despite a packed room with audio blasting out from other exhibits, I was totally immersed, just me and the video. Textiles and subversive sewing are well represented as objects of protest with banners, Mexican memory handkerchiefs, Chilean arpilleras- documenting turbulent lives through appliqué- and more. The Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh appears to have been a main impetus for such an exhibition at the V&A.