well, I’m not sure what CLF made of the Rubens… I still can’t get over how bright and clean it is. In some sense this makes it seem more of a fake, but the Delila figure is so obviously his, I’m going to side with the ‘authentic’ camp. Anyway, it was good fun, and seeing as we had made it all the way to Trafalgar Square, we figured it would be rude to not check out the BP portrait show at the NPG.
The BP show was surprising in that it lacked a single arresting, original or interesting image. Ok, I’m exaggerating, there was a set of works looking at tensions inherent in immigration/culture clash in the Asian community (I’m guessing) which managed to be both beautiful and funny (a portrait of Mother Father and Son is hung next to portrait of two gay skinheads, lots of pcs in uniform sitting next to their parent on the couch - this sort of thing), but on the whole the show left the three of us cold.
On the bright side, the NPG also had the Kobal retrospective. This is a show which is approximately 34% up its own arse, but the remaining 66% make it a must see;-) I used to enter the Kobal award when I was a photographer (spurred on by having a print in the Victoria and Albert for being short listed in another competition). Every time I entered, I lost, but every time I was stunned by the winners. The judges have consistently picked winners that are truly challenging. In fact, most years my initial reaction is “god, how did that win?” only to come round shortly thereafter kicking myself for not “having understood” the work in question. Anyway, the NPG is free, so get your ass down there.