Places + Travels

Thursday, Tate Modern.

(I like looking at people looking at art nearly as much as I like looking at art itself.)

Yesterday I had lunch at the Tate Modern and then walked around several of the exhibits, including the Edvard Munch show that’s currently on display. I loved the structure itself, a decommissioned steel-framed brick power station built in the 1950s and converted in the 1990s. It reminded me a bit of DIA:Beacon across the river from Newburgh—the same kind of space is afforded to larger works, something that’s not always possible in a cities where square footage is at a premium.

As overly-familiar as I thought I was with Munch’s work, I had never seen his photographic self-portraits before. There were a huge number of them on display, and that was definitely my favorite part of the show.

I can’t help feeling a little burst of hometown pride whenever I see work Newburgh’s own Ellsworth Kelly on display.

My unabashed love for Joseph Beuys continues! Beuys is one of those artists whose work can never translate well to photos or the printed page, so I’ll take any opportunity I can to see it in person.

And some thoughts about being here in general…

Last night when my London host and I were out, he asked what my impression was of London and its people so far, and I didn’t really have an answer. I thought about it for a minute, and then realized that don’t actually have the sense of “otherness” here that I expected to. Honestly, going to the New Jersey suburbs for a day feels far more foreign to me than the short time I’ve spent in London so far does. It feels different from NYC in the same way the Philadelphia does, I suppose. Earlier in the day when my host was wondering if he should tell me about the history and significance of places we were talking through, I say yes, of course—but then realized that I am the sort of person who tends to regard every new experience in life in sort of the same, equal way. I don’t expect to be awed, but it’s just as likely that I’ll be impressed (for lack of a better word) by a centuries-old building as I would a beautiful contemporary textile or a well-designed book cover. The meaning afforded to locations by the course of history just doesn’t matter much to me if I don’t have a personal connection. I’m not saying that’s a positive, really, it’s just who I am for whatever reason. Interesting to discover these things about myself, in any case.

p.s. Thank you so much for all of the suggestions for Saturday plans on yesterday’s post. So many great ideas!

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  • Reply Sherry October 5, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Interesting. Sounds like your having a good time! Hope the rest of the trip is just as nice.

  • Reply Simone October 5, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Did you see the room with the Rothko’s?
    Have a wonderful day!!!

    • Anna @ D16 October 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      No, somehow I missed it! Too bad, Rothko is one of my favorite painters.

    • Simone October 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

      I heard someone damaged one of the Rothko paintings this weekend. I guess that wasn’t you ;-D?
      Have a wonderful day!!!

    • Simone October 8, 2012 at 9:21 am

      P.S. Now you have something to come back for.

  • Reply Anna October 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Ha, I just saw Joseph Bueys’ work at the Hamburger Bahnhoff in Berlin. Have a great time!

  • Reply Grumble Girl October 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Gorgeous. 🙂

  • Reply Rox October 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    so jealous you got to go to the tate modern!!! love those photos.

  • Reply Sara October 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Love your blog! Inspiring!!!!

  • Reply jbhat October 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    It’s interesting to read how described your reaction to being somewhere new or different. I have never been able to put it into words, but I feel very similarly. Here’s a small example. One of my very favorite books I read in my childhood had the main character (beloved to me) visiting Paris in the 19-teens. She had to visit the American Express office at Onze Rue Scribe. When I visited Paris (right before being in London), I had occasion to go there too. It was the same building! Almost a hundred years later! I was moved by its presence and by being there myself because of the connection I had to the book. I felt less moved by the storied places and landmarks we visted. Some of them got to me, of course, since I was creating my own experience, but I think you know what I mean.


  • Reply js October 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    What I noticed that was different in London was that the buildings were no where near as tall as NYC. There is a geological reason for that.

    Outside of London, I noticed the differences in the “suburbs”/villages, the roads, even the manners of the drivers. History and politics are the reasons for those.

    Knowing the geological, historical, and political differences made the experience much richer for me, and caused me to notice things I otherwise would have glanced at and then forgotten.

  • Reply melinda October 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Somehow your blog always just comes through for me.. we are going to London in December and I was feeling a bit bewildered and overwhelmed.. but I already feel better after yesterday’s post and cannot wait for your take on things. I feel the same way about the gravitas of history versus the ties of an emotional connection so this is really helpful

  • Reply amy h October 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Ooh, London! Enjoy. It didn’t feel terribly foreign to me there either. (I studied there for a summer.) Actually, I felt more at home there than here because people weren’t constantly making comments about my quiet personality — it seemed more normal there. While the museums are amazing, my best memories are from pubs and parks. Cider. Roses.

  • Reply adalgisa October 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    it’s Beuys, not Bueys.
    love your blog and loving to follow this first trip.
    enjoy London!

    • Anna @ D16 October 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Argh, thanks for the typo-notice…fixed! 😉

  • Reply Lizzie October 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    As you said in your previous post, look at you! How wonderful that you’re getting to see such a cool place, and some great artwork on top of it. Very cool. 🙂

    It’s interesting that you say it doesn’t feel too different there, I’ve heard people say that before — and I also heard someone say once that New York was ” a bit like London on steroids”, hah. I’ve never been to either, so going by that alone, it would make sense that you don’t feel so “outsider” there.

    Enjoy it!

  • Reply Kathleen October 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    YES. The connection. That’s what I was missing on my most recent trip to Europe. I thought I was seeking adventure. I thought I was being open to spontaneity – but what I was really craving was that connection. And it just wasn’t quite there (maybe because I wasn’t looking for it?). But I think there is a certain amount of finding yourself in going to new places – regardless of the literal experience you’re having. And that’s kind of rad.

  • Reply nicolezh October 6, 2012 at 3:35 am

    Enjoy your trip!

  • Reply Kiki October 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Anna,
    A while back, you posted about a new album, “PIano Formations” from a British friend of yours, Roger O’Donnell. Based on your recommendation, I bought it and loved it, along with the accompanying DVD. If you catch any of his shows while over there, please be sure to post about it–he’s wonderful!

    • Anna @ D16 October 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      I have passed your message along to him, Kiki!

  • Reply Joan Herlinger October 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Hi Anna,
    Your posts took me back to a London trip I made in 2009. I love London..reminds me of Sydney with lots more to do. I love the Tate Modern andthe Design Museum. Would also recommend the V&A museum and just walking along the Thames. I’m sure you will love London because it’s home to so many wonderful designers and illustrators.

  • Reply jja October 8, 2012 at 4:28 am

    I visitied Munch exibition (not london) couple of months ago. Not really my taste, but it was interesting.

    “. I’ve opted to not really make plans and instead leave that up to my host, a”

    This also helps to reduce stress with I have to see this and this and will I have time to see that?

  • Reply arounna October 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I love the tate modern and jb, big love
    glad to hear your having a fun time

  • Reply Thea October 10, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Did something absolutely terrifying yesterday, and booked my flight to Europe to travel alone for a month! Reading your post about fear of travelling, I was thinking, yes, this is me, and how and why did I book this trip?! But I am so excited for us both to get out of our comfort zones and learn new things about ourselves, thank you so much for showing me it can be scary and wonderful at the same time. PS. I fly into London, so I loved all those suggestions in yesterday’s post too 🙂 Have the most magical time, I can’t wait to hear more about what you do and see.

    • Simone October 12, 2012 at 5:03 am

      Thea, If you visit Amsterdam would you like to meet up for coffea (and tips?)?
      Have a wonderful day (and trip)!!!

  • Reply Sandra October 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Joseph Beuys! I was planning to blog about him after seeing his work at MOMA a few months ago. But you are right – it doesn’t really translate. People, see him in person if you can!

    I remember when I was a kid hearing about this artist who covered himself with grease and felt – my introduction to performance art. I was intrigued…

    And saw some interesting videos of his work at a sculpture class too.

    Ah…London. Have a great friend who lives there – wanna get back there SOON. Next summer perhaps…

  • Reply Halen October 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm


  • Reply Nichole October 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I just got back in August from spending a month in London and I feel like I missed so much. I went to the Tate Modern expecting to not be all that thrilled. The thought of a canvas painted solid black was not intriguing to me but I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed all of it.

    I don’t know if you had time to see any shows while you were there but I hope so. Being from the states we are so used to theatre being so expensive so while I was there I went to at least two to three shows a night and a few matinees. One Man Two Guvnors was very funny, no thinking and The Last of the Haussmans was fabulous.

    I miss that city so much and can’t wait to go back. I have dual UK/US citizenship so I am in the process of trying to convince my husband that we should move there. It has been a long process.

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