Perks of the job
There’s something very cool about being invited to a press preview? It’s not just because you feel special getting in before the general public – although not having to battle to get to the front of an overcrowded event/gallery or ‘elbows at the ready!’ show garden at Chelsea flower show is a massive benefit. No, it’s the getting to know the behind the scenes stuff that makes it fab. It’s asking the curators in person where they store all the art while it’s being gathered for an exhibition, how they know where to put every item in an installation piece or hearing stories about the artists who are being exhibited that day. And that brings me on to The Tate Modern.
Art is within the eye of the interiors beholder!
For me, being invited to press previews at The Tate Modern is a real perk of the job. I know what you’re thinking – “but we’re interior stylists! What has art got to do with interiors?” Well, here’s my take. A few years ago I went to the press preview of the Lichtenstein exhibition at the Tate Modern and soon afterwards decorating shoots in big interior glossies were all about Pop art. Hockney last year at The Tate Britain had the same effect on colour blocking in shoots. Art is an interiors trend setter. There’s no two ways about it. Well, that’s my reasoning and I’m sticking to it! Art= interiors inspiration. Oh and readers want to know about exhibitions in news pages too!
This wanting to be inspired by art and see what trends are on the horizon has absolutely nothing to do with the time I snuck off with a colleague (back when I was Home Editor on Woman & Home magazine at the Blue Fin building -right next to the Tate Modern) to have a go on the Carsten Höller ‘Test slide’ the day before the exhibit closed. I recall mumbling something about having an appointment first thing in the morning to the editors PA so we could sneak off and head straight to the Tate the next day. It backfired massively when I got hugely motion sickness after going down the longest, fastest most winding slide and felt awful all day. Little did I know that the whole ‘art’ element to the five slides was to see how they affected users. In my experience – badly! There’s another story about the Carsten Höller slide at the Olympic park but I’ll save that for another time!
Editorial and blogging staff.
It’s not just the art critics and editorial staff from magazines and newspapers who are now invited to press previews. Bloggers and Instagram influencers are also welcomed into the mix which means as long as you share the arty love you have a very valid reason to be there. And they make it easy for you to share that love too. When you go to a gallery on a press preview day you can take photos and share them all over social media. If you so much as whip out your phone once the general public are allowed in you’re watched like a hawk and told not to snap by the very observant beady-eyed security staff.
Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy
The most recent exhibition I was invited to is the truly amazing Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy at The Tate Modern. I knew this one was coming. I cleared my diary. I arranged to meet a friend at the preview- as it’s so much more enjoyable going with someone else – especially when that person studied fine art and can really appreciate it and won’t laugh too much when you get a bit teary seeing a real masterpiece in the flesh. Yeah, I know. I’m one of those who gets ‘moved’ by art. Can’t help it. I just love it – especially when it’s a really famous piece and it’s huge! So you can imagine my excitement when the Picasso exhibition was announced!
What I learnt about Picasso at this exhibition
The biggest benefit to attending a press preview is doing the curator’s tour. I find this fascinating so I’m going to share some snippits of what I learnt about Picasso here. Just in case you’re interested.
- Every piece of work in this exhibition was created in 1932. Picasso was so prolific it makes your mind boggle.
- It took three years to gather up the exhibits from 25 private collectors. It’s interesting to see how the private owners have framed their art in such different ways.
- 75% of the pieces have never been seen before some being reunited first time in 85 years and it’s thanks to the generosity, enthusiasm and support of family members that made it possible.
- The gallery takes you through the year starting with three paintings done together. Rest. Sleep. Dream. Three paintings in three days.
- Picasso painted his lover – Marie-Théresè, many times early in 1932 without revealing her face to keep her identity hidden. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How can anyone look like such an abstract image of a woman?” but when you see photos of her and then look at the paintings you can see that it is definitely her.
- In early March 1932 Picasso had the status to be able to afford a country house and had a studio that no one was allowed to enter – not even to clean. He wanted a place all of his own. He painted six out of ten days. It is then that he created the vibrant painting ‘The girl in the mirror’ seen below
- It’s around this time that his art took on a metamorphosis. One thing turns into another. In this painting- The dream (below), you can see that the “erotic nature of the painting” of Marie-Théresè shows his errr? ‘love’ for her? If you catch my meaning? See the phalic smbol of his love on her head? You’ll never look at this painting the same way again now – trust me. I’ve seen it all over the tube and all I see is his ‘love’!
- Picasso loved a book about goddesses and weird creatures and his art was influenced by this. In one painting ‘the reclining nude’ (below left) the subject appears to be an octopus that has comic book eyes. This was intentional.
There really were so many other interesting things about this time in Picasso’s life. I could go on and on (I took a lot of notes!) but I don’t want to spoil it for you if you plan on going. All the information and details are in the descriptions on the walls. And I really would highly recommend going if you can.
So drop the press office of your chosen gallery a line and ask to be put on their mailing list. They want you there to share. News pages, exhibition goodies from the shop are other ways to spread the word. So what are you waiting for? Get inspired.