Monday, July 09, 2007

Visiting the Tate Modern

entrance to the Tate Modern, originally uploaded by supafly.

Wednesday I made my first visit to one of the big British museums. I decided to start with the Tate Modern. I took bus #343 to Borough High street and walked to the Tate Modern from there. On the way, I passed the Rose and Crown, a pub where we ate Thai food last summer when we visited London.

On the ground floor of the Tate Modern was an interesting exhibit on cities. It focused on London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Cairo, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Istanbul. They used photography, sculpture, video, and graphics to compare and contrast the speed, size, density, diversity and form of these ten cities.

Besides the cities exhibit, one of my favorite areas in the museum was the gallery with drawings and sketches by artists. There was one drawing by Alighiero Boetti called "Aerei" that I particularly liked. From far away, it looked like it the blue background of the sky had been created by embroidering blue thread, but when you got closer, it was actually rows and rows of parallel ballpoint pen marks. I am always amazed with artists' ability to put so much time into meticulous detail.

After stopping at the cafe for a snack, I took the Millenium footbridge across the Thames and passed St. Paul's cathedral on my way to a jewelry exhibit at Goldsmiths' Hall on Foster Lane. The building is home to one of the old guilds of London and it had one of the nicest bathrooms I've found in the city. There is a lounge connected to the bathroom with couches and make-up mirrors and I sat there for a while resting.

The jewelry exhibit showcased some of the most accomplished young silversmiths and jewellers in England. My favorite artist at the exhibit was Zoe Arnold, whose jewelry was inspired by stories and poems. They were like wearable illustrations to a poem or story and each piece was quite unique and different from the others.

On my way back down Foster Lane and to the St. Paul's tube station, I found a quiet church courtyard. It was welcome to anyone who needed a space for quiet and meditation. Unfortunately, there was road construction going on right outside, but it was a respite from the dust and business of the street. A dove sat on one of the benches sleeping. On my way home, I stopped for dinner at Food for Thought. It was my second meal there and I liked it because it was healthy, delicious, cheap and filling food. Also, the space is small and you share tables with people so I didn't feel so odd eating alone. In fact, I shared a table with two other people that were there alone.

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