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Category: photography

Art break: Kara Walker's Fons Americanus at the Tate Modern

At the end of our Fen Rivers Way walk we spent a couple of nights in London. One of our main goals was to go to the Tate Modern and see the current installation in the Turbine Hall. I’d read about Kara Walker’s new work in the Guardian and we felt really fortunate that our trip would overlap with the exhibit. We were staying in Holborn and it was one of those cloudy/sunny London days, so we walked down to the Tate in the morning. There wasn’t much of a crowd yet, and the Turbine Hall is free to enter.

Walker’s sculpture is a reimagining of the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace. That original piece was commissioned as a celebration of the Queen-Empress and her accomplishments, complete with a Winged Victory statue at the top. Walker’s has Venus in its place, one who spouts water from both breasts as well as from her neck.

It’s a breathtaking piece which interrogates imperialism, the 19thC fetish for nationalist and imperial monuments, and the UK and US’s still under-examined and very partial understanding of the consequences of their imperial enterprises. The nautical aspects of the original work here call forth memories of the Atlantic slave trade, with the ships lost as sea, the families torn apart, and the sharks that filled the waters (the sharks are also a reference to the famous Damien Hirst shark in formaldehyde).

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Vigilant monitoring of stairs and front door.

We are back. We avoided the various storms. Still so much flooding in southern Iowa and northwestern Missouri along the river.

Normal posting will resume shortly.

Friday photo

Still elegant after all these years.

It was 90F yesterday in San Francisco, according to the National Weather Service. I believe it. I had on a sleeveless shirt and a skort. In August! Karl the Fog, why have you forsaken us? Come back, we miss you.

Friday photo

Agave asparagus flowering

The end is near.

Note that the agave at the base of the stalk is dead or dying. The spear itself is turning brown and starting to lean more. But the flowers are still nice.

It’s had an excellent run