Art Viewing in London and Paris

Anytime is the best time to travel to London and Paris to see art. I had to go this February to visit the Shchukin exhibition in Paris at the Fondation Louis Vuitton because the show was closing soon.

My first stop in London was the Tate Modern to see the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition. After, I walked across the lobby to visit the new Switch House that shows art from the 1960’s to now. On view, “The Radical Eye: Modernist Photographs from the Sir Elton John Collection” was a stunning show and beautifully curated. A video showed how John lived with his collection and was extremely interesting. Room after room was filled with vintage photographs hung salon style in his home in Atlanta. It was a treat to see how he lived with his collection that he clearly loves.

On view at the V&A was the most uplifting exhibition in London. “You Say You Want A REVOLUTION: Records and Rebels 1966–1970”.

This exhibit explores the significance of the late 1960s and 1970s. As you adjust your headset one walks through various galleries, it is a delight to hear the significant music of that decade. Installations of film, design, civil rights activism of that era are highlighted. The best gallery looped a film on Woodstock. One could spend hours there enjoying the music from that event. Seeing Jimi Hendrix playing the “Star Spangle Banner” was mind blowing.

On view at the National Portraits Gallery was “Picasso Portraits” a major exhibition of over 80 works focusing on the artist’s family, friends and lovers. Picasso Portraits shows the astonishing variety and breadth of his oeuvre.

It is always exciting to meet artists in their studios. I had the good fortune to visit the studios of Zadok Ben-David, Ron Arad, and Anish Kapoor. Edmund de Waal’s installation of porcelain vessels were showing at the Gagosian Gallery. Waal was there to explain his art and how he came to make larger works in black. He is extremely charming and articulate. Waal gifted his book “The Hair With The Amber Eyes” to his visitors.

The Anslem Kiefer show at the White Cube Gallery was a museum quality exhibition. Kiefer’s lead works, paintings and towers were highlighted. It was a breathtaking art experience.

Traveling to Paris for the day just to see the Sergei Shchukin Collection took stamina but I was determined to see this show before it closed.

Dazzling beyond comprehension are the words that I would use to describe this unique experience. It was amazing that the Louis Vuitton foundation was able to obtain the rights from the two different museums in Russia to put the collection together for the first time in Paris. The foundation did a wonderful job curating each gallery to show off these stunning masterpieces. My favorite room exhibited works by Gauguin. The art in this room felt mysterious, primitive and spiritual. These vibrant paintings were so fascinating it was hard to leave.

Shchukin was a collecting genius and I will share a quote about him:
“Here is a collector-hero coupled with a researcher-experimenter possessing some of the traits of the ‘old art lover.’” -Alexandre Benoit

Returning back to London I looked over the catalog and felt very priviledge that I saw theses masterpieces in real life. This trip was an “art highlight” that I will always remember.