Since neither of us are huge art aficionados we usually bypass museums, but occasionally we make an exception.
Like when it’s the world-renowned Tate Modern, admission is free, and we find ourselves unexpectedly caught in one of London’s infamous rainstorms without an umbrella.
We’d planned to explore a different district of the city, but upon emerging from the tube station we found the day a little wetter than planned. Over a cup of steaming mocha in a local cafe we decided to wait for a break in the downpour, then scuttle the half-mile to the Millenium Pedestrian Bridge over the Thames and into the welcoming shelter of Tate Modern.
Our reward? A stunning view of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The museum itself, however, was… interesting.
We’re simultaneously intrigued and mystified by modern art. Certain pieces have an undefinable something about them that elevates the piece from the mundane, but I invariably walk away from these exhibits with a little nagging doubt in the back of my mind… why can’t I just splatter paint on a canvas, call it high art, and put it in a museum?
I mean, back in my kindergarten years I was a certifiable genius of abstract multi-media artistry; my preferred instruments were usually crayons, glue, glitter, and feathers.
Those halcyon years saw a prodigious outpouring of artistic compositions, including an entire breathtaking series made on a single day during which, in an inspired burst of creativity, I embarked upon a daring exploration of the artificially-imposed boundary between “paper” and “school walls”.
But back to other people’s art, which is the subject at hand:
This piece, titled “8th Paper Octagonal” (1970) and created by Richard Tuttle, is a pretty good example of my conflicted feelings. What the heck?
I’m intrigued… but mystified.
To be quite honest we were actually disappointed with a number of the exhibits; there was entirely too much portrait photography and not enough oddly-shaped sculptures for our tastes. There were a few pieces that caught our eye, however:
The rain was still pouring at the end of our exploration, so we headed up to the cafe/bar/restaurant on the seventh floor to wait it out before strolling down the River Thames to catch a view of the London skyline.
We had a lovely afternoon tea followed by a scone with fresh raspberry preserves and clotted cream (delicious), as well as a sandwich that tasted like sweaty exercise equipment (slightly less delicious).
The latter was more than made up for by the view, though: