Sunday, 26 April 2009

Ice Cream Orchestra....

....Bugsy and I stepped out to Whitechapel Gallery's, 'The Shop', to see, 'Fleet: Ice Cream Orchestra'. We watched six ice cream vans play a specially created composition written by Kelvin Pawsey. It was incredibly surreal as a growing crowd gathered before the vans and proceeded to give them an extended applause once the music ended. A unique Sunday afternoon experience.






Ice Cream Orchestra from Roy Barker on Vimeo.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Supermarket sweep....

Canal dreams....

....A sunny Saturday by Broadway Market and Regents Canal. Lovely.



Raving about Raven Row....

....Alicia and I finally went along to the inaugral show at Raven Row Gallery, E1. An artist called Ray Johnson, whom neither of us had heard of, had a lifetime's work adorning the walls.



Initially attracted by the tag, 'Father of the mail art movement', (ie using the postal service to promote and create his art works), we also found him to be a pioneer of pop art. Raven Row is a vast space occupying two beautiful old townhouses alongside Spitalfield Market, set over three floors the exhibition proved bigger, (and perhaps better), than I have ever seen at a major museum. It was also more rewarding, learning about an artist and realising the influence he has had on many since, (in particular another favourite of mine, Keith Haring).





I strongly recommend this show, that is ending in a couple of weeks, even just for the free catelogue that the gallery have published themselves. (Because to buy any other book on the artist will set you back a tidy sum!)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Porte Monnaie....

....Nick has been making these wallets for some time - I remember him showing me his first designs a couple of years back and loved them then. Since, he has developed them and got them stocked.......very successfully. They can be picked up here if you fancy.





Carousel....

....An ad for Philips that is incredible.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

North East-er sun....

....Easter Sunday on Tynemouth beach proved to be a glorious day. Breakfast at Crusoes and a walk on Long Sands under warm sunshine, (whilst the rest of the UK was under cloud!)

Monday, 13 April 2009

High five! Clive's 65....

....Alicia and I travelled back to Newcastle to join family and friends help Clive celebrate his 65th birthday. He treated us(!) to a slap up meal at Jesmond Dene House, which was absolutely superb.


The Lord in his Manor


Photo reel

Chris & Katie's place....

....Now living on Regent's Park Road, (aka Celebrity-ville), Chris & Katie are a thousand times happier than what Putney afforded them.










Famous former neighbour Sylvia Plath

Thursday, 9 April 2009

New Whitechapel disappoints....

....Maybe I am being too harsh here, but I have just visited the newly re-opened Whitechapel Art Gallery and was sorely disappointed. There has been much press coverage recently on this - mostly commending the new space and that it's great to have one of our premier and most original galleries back open for public consumption. But what of this new space through my eyes? Well immediately as I walk round, I feel a little confused. Almost labyrinth like, doors open in to new sections of gallery - slightly raised up some stairs or tucked away around a corner. There is no fluidity to the layout, it feels disjointed and difficult. Also, perhaps because it has only been open for under a week, many doorways are closed off and those that are in use creak furiously when moved - much to the irritation of Gallery staff I'm sure. (Have they not heard of WD40?!)



One of my biggest gripes is saved for the book shop. I had imagined that after such expansive refurbishment and expansion, that the shop would receive a similar boost. I remember it used to be well stocked, but similarly well cramped. It hasn't changed one bit. In fact it has got worse. When I visited on a Thursday mid afternoon, the shop was moderately busy. What of a Saturday afternoon? Thank god I'm not there to witness it, because the current design means that people queueing at the till, have no choice but to block the narrow entrance. Here there is also a book shelf, that if someone is perusing, doubly blocks the entrance. It seems no one has given it the slightest thought and it is a huge let down.

The art collection and current exhibitions are to personal taste and will be liked I'm sure, but again I felt for a (re)opening show they were a little weak. (Click here for current exhibitors). Also, further press coverage has been given to the fact that in 1939, Picasso's Guernica was unveiled at the Whitechapel. It has remained of huge cultural and historical importance in all those years since and artist Goshka Macuga has managed to persuade the United Nations to lend a tapestry reproduction to the Gallery. This tapestry was created by Jacqueline De La Baume in 1955, in collaboration with Picasso and is a life size reproduction of Guernica. Installed in it's own room, with chairs lined in front of it should you wish to reflect upon it, I can't help but feel it is all a little overblown. Certainly not the historical and tragic event upon which the mural, (and subsequent tapestry is based), but the grandeur and forced attention given to a piece of work that is not even the original - and so for me bears much less significance.



My brief visit really only scraped the barrel of a Gallery that is now being declared more of an institute and lauded from all quarters. Clearly as a visitor, who today anyway, didn't want an institute, but merely a look round a gallery and a nosy in the bookshop, I have been left slightly disappointed with what I experienced. Doubtless this will change over time, but right now, it sticks.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

RoZo published....

....Last year I blogged about an article and illustration that Lorenzo and I had created and submitted to The Ride magazine. We were told just after Christmas that it was to be published and today it finally landed on my desk. The whole magazine looks beautiful and it's particularly satisfying to see the work in print.



Spotted....

....I may be a little late catching wind of this, but Spotify is incredible! This new i-Tunes-style tool allows you to instantly listen to and download any track or album for free. And it's legal.



Fellow blogger and colleague Nicola Davies has a more in depth analysis here, but I strongly urge you to take a look and listen.

New Math(s)....

....Some bloke called Craig Damrauer in the US has come up with this New Math idea, where in a similar vein to GraphJam, he has summarised snippets of life and culture through mathematical equations. It's a funny site, with many ringing true.