Stiletto and wheels Stiletto title Sole to sole Stiletto

STILETTO – a high pointed HEEL on a woman’s shoe or a small dagger.

WHEELS – a medieval instrument of torture or a vehicle for personal mobility. title
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ARTS - April 2011

With our regular art buddies, we caught the last weekend of the Modern British Sculpture exhibition at The Royal Academy (RA) last Saturday and found it somewhat mystifying.

It was just all too disparate. Early on, a display of some very non-modern pieces that, we are told, inspired some of the modern sculptors … but we see no development of this theme as we go forward. One room contains the massive marble figure, Adam, by Jacob Epstein. This is followed by a huge baroque piece by Gilbert, alongside some Hepworth then Henry Moore and more Hepworth followed by one Anthony Caro piece; next up, a Damien Hirst alongside a Jeff Koons (USA?); and, it was all like this – a jumble, a muddle.

Both choice and juxtaposition of everything seemed ‘odd’, begging more questions than yielding answers … and not in a good way. No clarity was provided from the headset guide which simply focused on each piece in isolation.

The final room, in particular, was … bizarre. One wall covered in newspaper/journal articles about sculptors and works that might have been included, but were not. Opposite this was a wall of newspaper clippings: a mul-tit-ude of Page 3 girls from The Sun! Modern British Sculpture? Not to my eyes!

Taken as a whole, there was just not enough cohesion, representation or narrative provided for this exhibition to satisfy the generic description of Modern British Sculpture - they should have tagged it 'Some Random Pieces of...'. Very disappointing.

With the exhibition closing at 6pm, we went down to eat at the new RA restaurant and very nice it was. Totally revamped – a bit like The Whistler restaurant at Tate Britain – the food was reasonable in £ and quality, though a crab starter had a load of shell in (they immediately offered to deduct it from the bill). But, on a Saturday evening, the restaurant was almost empty - no atmosphere at all.

Why would you keep the restaurant open late and not the exhibition too? It’s just so RA isn’t it? You always get the feeling that the people running it haven't quite hauled ass into this century yet!

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