A few weeks ago I finally got round to buying a National Art Pass. I've been meaning to get one for ages. Basically it's a card that gets you half price entry into lots of exhibitions or in some cases free entry. The card cost me £45 and I am determined to get my money's worth.
I used the card a couple of weeks ago for the first time.
#1 Hayward Gallery: Carsten-Holler Decision
This exhibition has had a fair bit of publicity. A few years ago Carsten-Holler had a huge exhibition in the turbine hall in Tate Modern. The exhibition consisted of a series of tubular slides, the longest of which went 6 stories down from the top floor to the ground floor. I visited it with London Sister, my niece Neesh and the children of a friend of my sister. All of us, with the exception of LS, went into the slides. It was a very frightening experience for anyone over the age of 35. For anyone under that age it was either thrilling or a bit tame. The other thing I remember about that visit is that Russell Brand was visiting the gallery at the same time as us and my niece Neesh was very unimpressed by him. As this was in the days before he became a revolutionary none of us were that impressed although I have somewhat revised my opinion of him.
I liked how the slides looked so I was looking forward to Decision. The exhibition is interactive and how you experience it depends on the decisions you make. These start right at the beginning when you have to opt for which door to enter by. I cannot tell you what happens when you pick your entrance in case you decide to go to the exhibition yourself but it was quite frightening. The rest of the exhibition I found quite silly. I tried to like it but it seemed utterly banal and the attendants were particularly bad-tempered with the exception of one who was responsible for managing the children's card game. Here is a tip. If you go to the exhibition don't eat one of the pills. Not because you will have an out-of-body experience but because they taste disgusting. I have to say only one other person apart from me ate one but at least he swallowed his unlike me who had to spit it out. I was in two minds about whether to exit by the slides which snaked down the outside of the gallery. In the end that was one decision I wasn't allowed to make as I was carrying my camera so I was barred from entering the slide.
I'm glad I saw this but wouldn't recommend it to anyone else.
Full price: £13.50 Saving £6.75 Total Saved To Date £6.75
#2 2 Willow Road
I've been to Willow Road, the home of Erno Goldfinger, a couple of times before. This time I went with London Sister who had never been before.
Erno Goldfinger came to England in the 1930s, from Hungary via Paris. He designed his house in the 1930s but it wasn't built until after the war. Many of his neighbours were infuriated at the idea of a concrete monstrosity being erected in Hampstead.
To those who might not have a liking for mid century modernism the house, or rather terrace as it is in fact three houses, probably looks like Council housing. Goldfinger famously went on to design Trellick and Balfour Towers. I love this house. Every room with the exception of the kitchen is filled with light and space is used to the maximum. Goldfinger designed every detail including the light switches and sockets. It is filled with his own furniture, art and artefacts and is pretty much as it was when he died in the late 80s.
(The kitchen is windowless and tiny. Despite this his wife catered for huge dinner parties and other events in a room that is half the size of my kitchen.)
By all accounts Goldfinger was a force to be reckoned with. In one of my first jobs I worked with an architect who was then in her 60s. As a young woman she had worked in his practice and she told me how frightening he was.
I would definitely recommend a visit to 2 Willow Road and it worth going for the guided tour as you will find out lots of details about the contents of the house as well as its history.
Full price £6.00 Saving £6.00 Total Saving To Date £12.75