Tate Britain: Kenneth Clark

4 JUNE 2014


Yesterday I went to the Tate Britain with an old friend from foundation for the Kenneth Clark exhibition. No, it was not about the politician, which I thought at first – his name is Clarke not Clark! I did think, if George Bush has time for his own art exhibition, then maybe Kenneth would too. But never mind.  However, I wonder if the Tate would do an exhibition about him…. what would it be about? I was discussing this with my friend’s fiancee and he said that George’s paintings were of other famous leaders he had met, though the paintings were taken from google images. Couldn’t he have just asked them for a good photo? Maybe Kenneth would have done marble busts of other leaders partially naked, in the style of the Romans…just for a little pizzaz.

Ok ok, back to the kenneth clark exhibition. ..I thought that this might be about Kenneth’s own work… which there was very little of. I didn’t know much about him before I went, but I think they should have made a bigger deal of it, it was not very obvious at all. He had one piece on show which was very clearly influenced by Aubrey Beardsley and Japanese block prints. I feel that anyone who is as passionate about art as he was, should have a go at making their own, and as I said I really believe they should have gone into more depth about his own experiments. He was an art collector and TV presenter launching BBC2 with his series “Civilisation”, but he clearly made his own work.

He funded many artists during WWII to make work which reflected the war. I remember after 9/11 and the beginning of the war, was being held the 54th International (2004-5) The Carnegie International is held every four years at the Carnegie Museum of Art, its a large exhibition of various artists and is the oldest North American exhibition of contemporary art from around the world. I went with my mother  and took my sketchbook. After leaving I remember feeling sick. The majority of the art made me feel sick, and disturbed. The International that year was mainly in response to the attacks and the war. A lot of the work in the WWII section of Clark’s exhibition made me feel a similar uneasiness.  Paintings of twisted steel bulkheads deformed just like the bodies hit by bombs. Drawings of people wrapped up in blankets in the London Underground with sickening looks on their faces.

This is just one major highlight from the exhibition which I have been thinking about. Another thing  I noticed, on a less serious note was how strange baby Jesus looked all of the Renaissance paintings. He looked deformed in most of them like his face was melting. I am assuming this was not the intention…. as a matter of  fact the babies who were not Jesus looked the most infantile. Maybe its because the artist tried to put an adult face on a baby’s’ body. Been there… doesn’t work without looking creepy. Speaking of creepy in certain photographs Kenneth Clark looks a little like Jack Nicholson… just in my opinion.







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