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A blog about Belgian culture in London. A blog about the arts in London, Brussels and Milan, from a Belgian point of view.

Posts from the Friends Category

Writing this post is against my own interest. I am torn between keeping this a secret and telling everyone how good it is. I’ll go for the latter, since they are very nice people.

Love Art London is one of the most beautiful things to have happened to me since moving to London. Love Art London is, in their own words, the “best god damn behind-the-scenes art club in London”. It is all true.

It was founded by the ever colourfully-dressed Chris, who left his job at Sotheby’s in order to organise a “monthly programme of unique arty happenings exclusively for members”. The club is run by him, aided by the ever-enthusiastic American gal Lindsay. The lovely Emma, a fine art student who interns with them, provides practical assistance.

Love Art London hangs out with Billy Childish (© Lovel Art London)

Love Art London hangs out with Billy Childish, who shows off his woodcut printmaking technique (© Love Art London)

London has a lot to offer culturally and even I, who pretty much live through that (I was about to write “for that”, but that sounded slightly too extreme), find it sometimes overwhelming. There have been times when I thought I was getting close to an arts overdose.

So it is easy to just follow the blockbuster shows at the world-class museums that are Tate, the V&A, the National Gallery and the British Museum. And then to add to them some seasonal events such as the Frieze art fair or the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.

Which is why Love Art London is fab. For £25 a month, you have access to the 4 (or 5) events they organise monthly. These include behind-the-scenes visits to exhibitions, auction houses and museums, usually with their curators or directors. We also often visit artists in their studios, which provides an opportunity to get a first-hand account of their practice.

The following three events have been my favourite so far.

Polly Morgan studio visit and subsequent show at All Visual Art: I’ve already written here why I like this taxidermy artist so much.

Lucian Freud’s drawings at Blain Southern: In conjunction with the retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, Blain Southern was showing over 70 years of drawings by Freud. I found them utterly beautiful and very intimate.

A behind-the-scenes at Phillips de Pury design auction with their in-house specialists: as a design enthusiast I had been hugely looking forward to that visit. I was not disappointed…

This week’s event, a “Walk & Talk” with British sculptor Richard Wentworth, deserves special mention for being one of the most intellectually stimulating events so far.

Other highlights included Renaissance Sculpture at Daniel Katz Gallery; Jelly Sculpture with Bompas & Parr; Alex Hartley in conversation at Victoria Miro; a visit to the studio of Idris Khan & Annie Morris; a behind the scenes at the Mondrian & Nicholson exhibition at The Courtauld Gallery (with the show’s curator Barnaby Wright); the Catlin Art Prize with Curator Justin Hammond; a “Graffiti Connoisseur’s Walking Tour” in Shoreditch (increased my street creds greatly with that one…); “Alexander Calder in India” at Pilar Ordovas; and a behind-the-scenes at the Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret.

Chris Pensa, Love Art London

Sometimes we do “weird” things: here Chris and Karen Howell (from The Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret) demonstrate old amputation techniques.

Last but not least, Love Art London is an excellent way to discover more of London itself. The city is so big, you can easily take to staying in your local area. I live in Stoke Newington, and without Love Art London I probably wouldn’t have set foot yet in Wandsworth, Colindale, or Acton.

A note for Chris:
Having had a thorough look at all the past events, there are some I feel very sorry to have missed indeed. Any way you could repeat Museum Framing Uncovered, Restoration Masterclass, Jewellery Handling – and, above all, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel: Inside a Gothic Masterpiece?

A quick post, to promote the work of a friend, who happens to have Italian roots and is a fellow Dalston resident (well, technically I live in Stoke Newington, but that’s not the point).

His name is Pierluigi Vecchi, and you have until 13th September (hurry!) to see ‘Neon and Water’, his first personal exhibition at the Other Cafe and Gallery.

Babylon Bath © Pierluigi Vecchi

Babylon Bath © Pierluigi Vecchi

His visually hybrid shots are inspired by themes of neon and water, exploring “the introspective worlds of silent inner turmoil and ultimate sublime redemption”.

Neon Revelation © Pierluigi Vecchi

Neon Revelation © Pierluigi Vecchi

All the works from the show are for sale, with a limited signed edition of 5 of each photograph.

Here’s a picture from the private view, which also featured musical performances by some of Pier’s friends.

Neon and Water Private View at Other Cafe and Gallery. Picture by Katja Zapolnova.

Neon and Water Private View at Other Cafe and Gallery. Picture by Katja Zapolnova.

(I’m actually on the picture. You can only see part of my glittery grey cardie though, because I am behind the red frame)

The Other Cafe and Gallery is an independent venue located between Islington and Dalston, which serves home-made food with a great selection of dishes ranging from traditional English breakfast to Italian and South-American dishes, in a lovely environment.

If you want more info about Pier’s work, you can have a look at his website: http://www.pierluigivecchi.com/.