Now here is a thing! I was a big fan of Tate Modern when it opened, not so much because of what was in there but more because it was a Millennium project with integrity which stood in stark contrast to the Dome upriver, that monument to New Labour vacuity.
However, over the years, I have been to Tate Modern only when there is an exhibition to visit. Unlike other London galleries, I do not revisit to see the favourites I have amassed in my hinterland. So, in London recently, I decided to go through their galleries once more in the search for the pieces that resonated.
The two that had the most impact were ‘Family Jules NNN’ and ‘Vietnam 11’. Both were larger scale paintings that dominated the rooms they were exhibited in.
The painting, ‘Family Jules NNN’ is by Barkley L Hendricks and dates from 1974. The subject is George Jules Taylor, a student of the artist on a painting course he ran at Yale University in the USA. It is one of four paintings with the same subject but this is the only one in the Tate collection. What was most striking was the representation of a black person in a gallery in London without it being related to the British Empire!
Also of interest was ‘Vietnam 11’ by Leon Golub. This 1973 work is over three metres high and twelve metres long and is one of a series of paintings made by the artist, an anti- war protester, between 1972 and 1974, a period when Richard Nixon was victorious rather than the anti- war politicians, such as George McGovern, in the USA. This work was one I could stand in front for ages, taking it in. Perhaps I should now track down the others from the series. Where are they?
These works are in my hinterland. What’s in yours?