First on our list was Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A. This was a breathtaking, magnificent exhibition with a dark and disturbing edge. It was wonderful to get up close to see the intricate embroideries, the detail and quality of materials and workmanship. Halfway through the exhibition we came upon the fabulous Cabinet of Curiosities crammed from floor to ceiling with fantastical dresses and accessories, including my favourite impossible heels. It is a worthy celebration of an incredible artistic talent.
Second on the list was the giant Embroidery of The Magna Carta's Wikipedia page in the British Library.This enormous work, 13 metres in length is stunning, subtle with the majority of stitching being text rather than illustrations. Mirrors are placed at intervals beneath the tapestry and it is fascinating to glimpse the reverse in places.
This work resonated with me feeling very much a portrait of today as our civil rights come under threat.
Cornelia Parker led the work supported by a range of contributors from prisoners, skilled members of the Embroiders' Guild, Royal School of Needlework along with the well-known. It was fascinating to see the significance of the words each of these embroidered.
I came away with a feeling that this will be a lasting contemporary artistic comment on the significance of the Magna Carta.
Finally we were lucky enough to have tickets for the Preview of the Summer Show at the R A.
Interesting as ever with plenty to discuss, the exhibition was easier to view with the work being far less crowded than in previous years. We wondered if there had been less submissions or a more rigorous selection process this year. Although the latter might be in doubt when some works are viewed. Oh to be a fly on the wall when the Selection Committee is discussing in the final selection process!
This year there were fewer pieces I longed to take home with me. Two of the exceptions were unfortunately prohibitive by cost and size: Richard Long's Mississippi River Blues, stunning against the shocking pink wall of show's signature space and Conrad Shawcross' The Dappled Light of the Sun. The fabulous weather enabled us to see the latter in all its glory.