This Easter Londonist chose not to jet off to destinations unknown but have a holiday in London, an attempt to appreciate the city as the many hordes of tourists do, or at least that was the justification for our lack of forethought and planning to get any cheap deals the hell out of town.
But what to do? Like every poorly conceived idea we needed a tenuous theme to hold it all together and give it a modicum of respectability.
We eventually settled on Art and Culture. Pubs and Videogames didn't quite have the dignified ring we were after, and Drinking Alone Playing Poker Online is one we tend to save for the Christmas season.
First up, Tate Day.
To be honest, Impressionism leaves us a bit cold, so what better opportunity to challenge our preconceptions than the Turner, Whistler, and Monet exhibition at the Tate Britain.
Unfortunately we weren't the only ones challenging our preconceptions that day (yes, museum busy over Easter shocker), and buying a ticket with a time-slot attached is almost as bad as booking a table in a restaurant with an end time, but we had some art-related momentum up which we weren’t going to lose, so we stumped up the cash and headed in.
Meh. Nice lighting with certain rooms evoking the appropriate painting related moods, the little blurbs next to the official ones done by the public are always a nice touch, and a couple of the Monet pieces definitely had an impact but overall it didn't make us re-evaluate our opinion, although we did enjoy close inspection of Whistler's sketches.
Not much time to check out the main collection as we leg it across the road, down to the Tate Boat which is nicely appointed and after a quick drop off at the London Eye we arrive at Tate Modern.
We did however get Raw Materials, a soundscape by Bruce Nauman, an array of speakers broadcasting an unnerving variety of speeches that blend into one another as you walk down the hall. It's like one of those moments when someone can suddenly hear everyone’s thoughts but cant tune them out and inevitably drop to their knees covering their ears and emitting an "nnnnnnnnnnnnnn" kind of noise. Like that but more subtle, and you don't end up either fighting crime or getting a better appreciation of the opposite sex.
We browsed the always excellent permanent collection and somewhere along the way some Spanish school kids managed to put a small sticker that said "yes" onto our jacket, which we're taking as some kind of Ono-esque positive statement about the appreciation of art, or our jacket, and not just kids mucking about.
They are currently showing Joseph Beuys: Actions, Vitrines, Environments and a collection of writer/painter/photographer/actor/waiter August Strindberg's paintings and photographs as well as some illustrated manuscripts, but more importantly it give us an opportunity point you towards one of our favourite web animations Strindberg and Helium. Heh, cupcake.
We like Matisse, we like textiles, this should be an artistic slam dunk.
It's ok. A really well thought out exhibition that documents the impact textiles, material and clothing had on his art and composition and from a technical perspective it's all very interesting, especially photos of his studios and portable painting "sets", but for us at least it lacked that kick that you expect from Art with a capital "A".
It's ok though because there's Caravaggio: The Final Years on at the National Gallery. These are the final years when he had to flee Rome after killing a man in a duel, whereas now the best we could hope for would be for Damien Hirst to have to flee creditors after another failed restaurant scheme. Caravaggio rules.
He's also very popular as he's sold out. We preferred his earlier work anyway.
We seek refuge at the nearby Hamburger Union and reflect that maybe Easter would have been better for art with a little "a" hitting some of the smaller galleries and save the big gallery trips for Ferris Bueller inspired days off.
Turner, Whistler and Monet is on at Tate Britain until the 15th of May, tickets are £10. At Tate Modern, August Strindberg:
Painter, Photographer, Writer is on until the 15th of May while Joseph Beuys: Actions, Vitrines, Environments is on until may 2nd and a combined ticket while cost you £11. The Tate Boat runs every 40 mins and will cost you £3.40 or £2.30 if you have a Travel Card.
Matisse, His Art and His Textiles is on at the Royal Academy until the 30th of May, we can't remember how much it cost and their website won't load but it was around £7.
Caravaggio: The Final Years is on at the National Gallery until May 22nd with a late night (until 8.25pm) on Wednesdays, tickets are £7.50.