Mini Walking Tours of London, Part 2

Borough Market, Breah Ahead school

Day three of our May mini break and London’s Borough Market seemed like a good place to start. Prosecco spritzer anyone? Bread Ahead bakery school at the Cathedral Street entrance to BM is always on my list of things to do.  They offer a wide range of half and full day classes ranging from New York bagel and pretzel baking to gluten-free workshops and (my favourite) Eastern European baking. Would I like to know how to make rye bread and cinnamon strudel babkas? Hell yeah! Courses start from £80 per half day.  To visit the Bread Ahead website for course information and see the phrase Master Bakers used without irony click here.

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Heading away from temptation towards Tate Modern, where the new building will open on 17 June 2016.

Tate Modern on London's South Bank

The Tate’s YouTube channel is a thing of beauty and the short video below about the new buildings design and aspirations is wonderful. The TateShots series (short films exploring artists, artworks and artist practise) is also a real joy and source of constant inspiration.  My current top three are: After Dark at Tate Britain, Phillip King and Everybody Razzle Dazzle.

Meanwhile inside the Turbine Hall giant insects had taken over the construction work.

Giant insect machine invading the Tate Modern Turbine Hall

Work continuing at Tate Modern, London

The bookshop was, as always, one of my favourite rooms in the place.  If I could have bought one book, it would have been The Kitchen by Studio Olafur Eliasson (the Danish-Icelandic artist most famous in Britain for The Weather Project aka the giant sun that is pretty such everyones favourite Turbine Hall installation).  The Kitchen in question is the in-studio kitchen that feeds Eliasson’s assistants in his Berlin studio and the book, featuring over 100 vegetarian recipes, is an extension of the communal lunches that undoubtably ‘fuels their creative process’ (thank you Phaidon website for putting it so eloquently).  For a fantastic article on The Kitchen by Marina O’laughlin visit the Guardian website here. This article is super inspiring, not least for Eliasson’s quote ‘Cooking is caring for others, a gesture of generosity that functions as social glue. It’s also to prevent people from being sick. Keep them healthy.’ You’ve got to love that.  Below: With all the magazines on offer its amazing I made it out of there before sunset and some jazzy mannequins.

Magazine appreciation in Tate Modern's bookshopTate Modern, London

Then it was out of the Tate, along the South Bank, passed the National Theatre …

National Theatre on London's South Bank

… and over the bridge to the National Gallery to see the Dutch Flowers exhibition, on until 29 August 2016.

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It was a short walk up to Grafton Street to see some big bottomed girls (and quite a lot of men of a certain age) at Robert Crumb’s show Art & Beauty at the David Zwirner gallery.  According to the David Zwirner website ‘Crumb has used the popular medium of the comic book to address the absurdity of social conventions, political disillusionment, irony, racial and gender stereotypes, sexual fantasies, and fetishes.’

Robert Crumb

Keeping the saucy vibe alive I headed into Chinatown …

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Then, cheating a bit, I jumped on the tube to South Ken – No trip to London is complete without visiting the V&A.  For the uninitiated the Victoria and Albert Museum houses a collection spanning nearly two thousand years of art and design from around the world.  Now, I love the V&A but I have to mention the fact they have banned sketching in their temporary exhibitions… a decision you have to feel is not quite in keeping with the Museum’s first director, Henry Cole, declaring that the Museum should be a ‘schoolroom for everyone’.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, South Ken

The Victoria and Albert Museum, South Ken

The Victoria and Albert Museum, South Ken

The Victoria and Albert Museum, South Ken

Back out into the sunshine and across Hyde Park to the Serpentine Gallery …

Hyde Park, London

…to see what turned out to be my highlight of the London cultural landscape this time round, Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen.  The Swedish painter who died in 1944 is now thought of as one of the first purely astract painters, an incredible feat as she painted in near isolation throughout her life and stipulated that her paintings should not be shown for 20 years after her death. Bright, bold and beautiful, her paintings inspired some colourful gallery going attire.  It’s also worth mentioning the Serpentine’s new colour blocked website and their Build Your Own Pavilion competition for 8 – 14 year olds – such fun!

Equally bright colours on and off the walls at The Serpentine Gallery

Hilma af Klimt at the Serpentine Gallery

The space in-between - Hilma af Klimt at The Serpentine Gallery

Hilma af Klimt at The Serpentine Gallery

Hilma af Klimt at The Serpentine Gallery

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