04-05

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Mrs. Monk's Would-be Diary, should have been written by Mrs. Monk, since she is the "Writer" in the family.
However, since she is a writer only in the conceptual sense, I have undertaken to fill these pages on her behalf.
If not by her, these pages will certainly be about her, and other important matters of the day

Leslie Monk, the long suffering.
 

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C H R O N I C L E

20 Feb. 05
Turner Whistler Monet
At last the Turner Whistler Monet show.
I have to say I enjoy these contests between heavyweight painters. The Tate might wish to see the show as an academic exercise, exploring the context and influences of one painter upon another. But it is undoubtedly a contest to decide who is the daddy.
Turner who predates the others invented Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism before anyone had thought of such genres.
Whistlers clever draughtsmanship I admire, but would seem out of place in this show. His clever nocturnals are little more than tricky crowd-pleasers. So many important critics have written up the nocturnals in glowing terms however.
The show was packed with dedicated art lovers at a must see event, and every painting in every room was difficult to view, with the exception of the room occupied by the Monets. I conclude that the public were not impressed. Last years block-busting Monet is this years chopped liver. I had to agree.
Yes, Turner was the only genius amongst these candidates, for sure.

20 Feb. 05
Anthony Caro
Again we take off for the block-busting, Turner, Whistler and Monet, show at the Tate Britain.
The critics have endorsed this show and the great British Public are out in droves.
We arrived at the Tate pretty early for the Monks (11.30 am) but we were surprised to learn that we could not be admitted until 2.30 p m. I blamed Mrs Monk ostentatiously for the entertainment of the Tate Members lady. Mrs Monk quarrelled back, and the Tate Members lady told us to stop quarrelling, go and get some lunch and come back at 2.30 pm.
We would get some lunch, but first we decided to check out the Anthony Caro show.
As we entered the first hall Mrs Monk accused me of flirting with the Tate Members lady, and then had a cathedral epiphany moment as she looked up at the first Anthony Caro sculpture which occupied the first section of the grand hall. Huge flat rusting steel plates that you wanted to climb onto, but were told not to touch. Mrs monk waxed lyrical about the texture and patterns within the texture of the rust. I wondered about an apparent departure by Caro from his trademark primary coloured painted steel sculptures to a medium apparently fully exploited by others.
Beyond in the next hall was an ambitious installation of dark timber pieces assembled as one in a biblical apocalyptic allegory on a grand scale. Somehow the space occupied by this piece seemed inappropriate and we noticed that they had somehow modified the lighting in an attempt to make it work, not altogether successfully.

 

13 Feb. 05
Joseph Beuys
We set out today to see the block buster art show at the Tate, Turner Whistler Monet, apparently loved by the critics and formerly a block buster in Paris and New York. All three painters have Chocolate Box connotations that do not appeal, but we bought the would-be hype and off we went.
As we travelled toward London, I enquired of Mrs Monk, "Are you sure that the show is at the Tate Modern?"
"Yes I am sure" replied Mrs Monk
"You know I have not checked to see if it is at Tate Britain or Tate Modern?" I said
"I am sure" insisted Mrs Monk.
"You know what happened last time, when you said that Gwen and Augustos John was on at the Tate Modern?"
"Yes"
"You were wrong, weren't you? ..........
Silence
"Weren't you?"
"Yes"
"Are you sure that the Turner Whistler Monet show is at the Tate Modern?" I enquired of Mrs Monk
"Yes I am sure" replied Mrs Monk
We parked on Southwark Bridge on the coldest day of the year. We made and our way along the embankment. Mrs Monk was snugly wrapped up in my overcoat that she hates to be seen in but on this cold day was prepared to wear. She thinks we should share my coat since we are married partners, I get my turn with my overcoat during the months of May to August, except when we are in Florida, when I am free to wear it any day I might want.
My freezing bones entered the Tate Modern and I soon learnt the inevitable truth.
Mrs Monk got the cold stare and we silently considered our options In due course we decided to visit the Joseph Beuys show.
Joseph Beuys; I am aware of his reputation and have seen the odd installation usually involving the inauspicious display of lard, felt and medical appliances, the Turner Whistler and Monets of the conceptual world.
How could such raw material move the Monks. It did. Both of us.