Friday, January 7, 2011
The eyes have it
Entry to the National Gallery here is free the first Wednesday each month and we had wanted to visit the special exhibition they have of the 1930s school of Belgian (Wallonny actually) painters who used the name NERVIA and were in the business of celebrating the traditions of the area and also to encourage younger painters in that part of the world. They were unknowns for me - but I am a fan of belgian painting. And it proved to be a wonderful exhibition – with the styles variously reminding me of Renaissance; the great Belgian master Constantin Meunier; and more modern Clydeside painters. The new Glasgow boys are only part of the story - my friend Duncan Goldthorp has a relative who painted stunning realist industrial landscapes before the heavy industry disappeared from the West of Scotland.
In the course of searching the internet for some pictures of the members of the school (it’s Louis Besseret’s painting which heads the post) I found a great art blog - It’s about time.
After the exhibition, we dropped (hardly surprisingly) into the Anthony Frost English bookshop and were warmly received by the staff – a cup of coffee no less! I picked up a copy of Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States and a Thomas Hardy novel. Zinn’s is one of the extremely few bits of radical writing one can get in the States and sparked the thought about the methodology of the global freedom indices. Patently the USA authorities place major restrictions on the availability of alternative world views which are allowed not only in schools, universities and libraries but even in bookshops and publishers – let alone the printed and visual media. On that basis it should be scored badly – but such things are difficult to measure and therefore are not part of the methodology used for these league tables. A diagram could usefully developed to identify the different areas of freedom – unfortunately this blog doesn’t allow me to insert diagrams.
And while we’re on the subject of the media Farewell Fourth Estate is a good overview.