REPORTING ON ART AND FOOD from Troubled Places

Warning : This is a modern-primitive writing website, of impressionist rather than informative character.

The repetitive themes of a generation, or here we go again

29 September - Artemisia Gentileschi

An excellent exhibition “Artemisia” opens this weekend at the National Gallery.

I particularly liked the National Gallery's online media briefing on the subject - it was the first media briefing at which I heard every single word (the subtitles were also a necessary touch, and not only for people with hearing difficulties, but also for visual addicts like myself). Usually, in galleries I can't concentrate on the speeches because there are so many unseen paintings hanging around. This time, with nothing to distract me, I was able to even concentrate on what the curator said. Thus, the media briefings turned out to be the single one thing which is better when online than... “in nature” or “in original environment”? Obviously, only because tomorrow the media will be able to see the paintings in person and in original environment (All media but me, as I am self-isolating).

Here, and despite myself, I will say a word about Google Arts & Culture short zoom-in film on NG's 2018 acquisition - Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria'. The film is a small chef d'oeuvre.

Last but not least, I would like to politely, yet insistently, ask the National Gallery: If we were to succumb to another lockdown, please please keep NG's youtube channel alive with a weekly tour of one of the gallery's halls. It doesn't have to be guided by a lustrous curator, it could be guided by an amateur - as the habitual guided Friday night tours at the NPG were - just walking around and talking about their favourite paintings... I was thinking this throughout the last lockdown, and today when curator Letizia Treves was walking the gallery's halls, the sound of her steps made me realise "I am NG nostalgic"... don’t leave it all in the hands of Google Arts & Culture.

Artemisia is at the National Gallery from 3 October 2020 to 24 January 2021

Curator Letizia Treves at National Gallery's Artemisia media briefing as seen in N1 at about 1030 on 29 September

New on 29 September is “28 September and the Nth Conservative Revolution” under Digestions 2020

 “The White Shirt Series”  and "The Look or Lost in Decency" are under CW WB 2020 here

25 September - It is so good that I am not too keen to mention it - the less people know about it the better. But selfless as I am... here we go:

Live at Lunchtime runs from Fri 2 Oct – Fri 27 Nov 2020, with performances planned twice-weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays at 1pm. Free tickets are bookable on a first-come-first-served basis via the Barbican website

20 September - Thank you Spencer Tunick ❣

I am glad. I am very very glad. That my fashion concept "Masks Only" had taken ground and sprout in "220 naked volunteers with white masks only" at Ally Pally. Thank you ❣ Thank you Spencer Tunick.

By Christmas I would like to see 2020 tattooed naked volunteers with scarlet masks only.... no need of Christmas's trees. Hey, there we go: 2020 tattooed volunteers with scarlet masks only instead of Christmas trees. And not concentrated at one spot, but scarlet scattered around London.

Don't cut Christmass trees no more. The Triumph of the Good News is here despite of us. Not because some silly decoration on a cut tree.

I have no tattoo on my shoulder, but if Spencer Tunick decides to do the 2020 Christmas Tattooed Naked Bodies Dispersed Around London with Scarlet Masks Only Show - obviously all COVIDly (why isn't it CODID 20 by the way? 19 is dépassé) correct masks and distancing show - then I will tattoo a purple pinecone on my left tit and a yellow pineapple on my right arsecheeck and volunteer singing carols by ...hmmm N1 or Seven Dials if need be. Promis-juré.

By the way it seems that in last's, 20th, century 20s there were naked women in red boots on public transport in Moscow to emphasise on the sexual aspect if the October revolution... Quelle avant-garde.


More on Spencer Tunick's Naked Art Imstalation At London’s Alexandra Palace at Fashion here .

Naked for Fashion, Life, Liberty and Love also known as Mask and fanny bag = survival kit

My favourite Renoir Bag Lady Bag is from the National Gallery. It works in the city and at the beach. It is perfect because, just as any other Bag Lady Bag has no weight of its own and can contain tones of belongings. It can be washed and ironed - else to say it has zero-COVID19 carrying emissions - and when folded occupies literally zero space on the shelf, unlike any "normal" statement bag.

15 September - The Bag is Dead, Long Live the Bag

Just by the time I was thinking that the bag, as we knew it, is totally and utterly dead, V&A's exhibition 'Bags: Inside Out' comes as the perfect obituary of the handy item.

Initially, I was thinking that the "normal" statement bag is dead for me alone. This, after working on a humanitarian mission with people who had to unexpectedly leave their settled lives and who were carrying their personal documents in self-made pouches sown to their pants, banknote savings incorporated in their belts and familly-jewelry stuffed in their bras. Having wan smuggled mountain-crossings and wild boat-rides these ultimate survival champions had emerged on their second-life shores free of all "normal" statement bags. Else to say the "normal" statement bag is of the items that liveth not a second life.

Having realised that, I then and there started wearing a suede, handmade Belly-Belt Bag, also know as fanny-purse, containing my ids, phones, wallet, portable wifi, external battery and cables - in a word everything needed for a swift evacuation - and never took it off. Everything else, "The things that I won't mind to loose", such as the newspaper, the magazine, the water, the cigarettes and the nuts, I carry, like a Bag Lady, in a simple fabric bag, which I freely leave here and there - say by the door at an exhibition opening, or by the dj panel at a party - and so far had never felt to collect. "There is no force on earth" said I to my Multiple-Furla-Bags-Proprietaire of a friend in Sofia last summer "To make me carry "a normal" handbag anymore. Let alone a leather one. They are heavy - even the lightest of them and unhandy".

Then, I found out that the statement bag is dead not only to me, but surprisingly to women owners of statement bags. It's only that they still don't know it. Say my Multiple-Furla-Bags-Proprietaire of a friend in London - when she goes shoping, or walking her dog in the Heath she doesn't take her Furla bag, probably because she doesn't want to strike too posh of a pose, not even at Waitrose, let alone at tue dog walk, but as she doesn't have cheap bags she throws her sunglasses and wallet in ...well, a Bag Lady's fabric bag just like me.

Since, I've noticed many a well-kept-looking ladies taking the bus "For couple of stops only", or farmers' market-shopping carrying Bag Lady Bags alone. And no other handbag - because they, obviously, don't have a cheap enough handbag, normal enough as to carry on public transport or at commoners' markets. For them too the "normal" statement bag is dead - as they've given it away while on 3/4 of their daily missions, but they are simply not yet conscious of it.

I could go on and on about the death of the "normal" statement bag as we knew it, but let's see first V&A's comprehensive obituary "Bags: Inside Out"

My Belly-Belt Bag has been bought in Monsoon some three (?) years ago. I aim to carry it until it becomes black with adventures dirt and then cary it even more. Together with all personal belongings necessary in times of brisk evacuation it also features a massive sel-added stud. This some 275 carat impure ruby was given to me by my son, who had bought it from a friend of his who mines gems and sells them in his own gem shop. It was later on put in a silver frame by a friend of mine. And now ordains my old Belly-Belt Bag. It serves two purposes : My vanity as one; my survival as two - I imagine it might buy me at least two weeks food supply in times of famine, or a Mad-Max style desert ride in times of climate-change evacuation but above all it has a story. Furla, what can you buy?

"V&A Bags: Inside Out, opening 21 November. Tickets for the exhibition are on sale from today, 15 September with the museum also increasing opening hours to 5 days per week (Wednesday – Sunday) from tomorrow, following popular demand " V&A's press release

Since wrestlers, boxers, judokas, rowers and others stoped being sportsmen and became racketeers posing as "insurers" and "businessmen" in the beginning of the 90s; Bulgarian sport faded into a distant memory and is now merely a sad decoration for subways. More about the current events in the country under LAAF ON TOUR, BG 2020 subpage.


Weapon of Vice, by Bambi, Pipckerying Street or how the symbolism of a piece of art might change from one day to another during a pandemic, mid March

Shamsia the Clairvoyant, Women By Women exhibition, see bellow. 8 March or couple of weeks before the quaranteen.

In the Times of COVID19

I wonder what France does with its ban on face covering...?

"The bill prohibits the wearing of face-coverings in public places and also applies to foreign tourists visiting France. The law imposes a fine of up to €150, and/or participation in citizenship education, for those who violate the law." Wiki

Other contemporary practice that in the Times of COVID19 strikes a particularly rotten pose is the one of the Admin*-Abattoirs as I call them.

Think of the new Camden Municipality building, the one next to Google at the otherwise so luring new Pancras Square, with the exciting postcode N1C. Or also think of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation HR, the one at Chelsea Harbour (this shamelessly boggling expression of greed that hadn't allowed the growth of a single tree amongst the sardinesquashed buildings...posh? mon queue). I am saying these admin-abbatoirs where up to hundred people are jammed desk to desk with not as much as a cubicle, like the ones in American films, to separate them; and where staff 'meets clients' in massive equally unpersonalized lobbies (overheated or hipper cold respectively), I mean these monstrosities are as a pure health hazard as a chemical attack.

And before my Lady of Elevation, the Starry Badger ** nags me for sueshoutingattea***, which is the contemporary English for unconstructive criticism, I will say : Nay, I am not sueshoutingattea and here is my sconeandclottedcream which is the contemporary English for "having a positive idea nearly solution":

Whenever you've created a workplace for humans - step back, squint your eyes and examine the creation. If it looks like admin-abattoir, start again thinking aesthetics and respect. If aesthetic and respect are incorporated health conditions would be bettered too.

Admin Life Matters.

*By Admin I mean all working for public institutions.

**Caitlin Moran aka CW

*** For contemporary English entry 'sueshoutingattea' follow the link and read N1 ' Yorkshire Tea' here


Shield! by Shamsia and Shamsia by Tahmina, at Women By Women exhibition, by ActionAid at OXO Tower, until 8 March

Women By Women and Niqab for Men

An example of strongly talented clairvoyance : Shamsia wears a mask before everybody else. Unfortunately the photos on this exhibition are not dated, so we don't know how much before everybody else exactly.

Shamsia was born as Afghan refugee in Tehran, where the Women-Fearing regime did not allow her to study art (as in addition to Women-Fearing the regime in Tehran is also a Muslim-slaying one - not only it slays Syrians but it also deprives from all rights and dignity the Afghani refugees seeking shelter on its lands).

Today, Shamsia is a street artist, fine arts lecturer and professor in sculpture at the University of Kabul. And hopefully for many a year to come despite all manmade wars and batmade viruses. Else to speak despite all Batmen.


By the way, suddenly, in the eternal match Iran vs Saudi Arabia, SA scores yet another goal - Saudi women's gear is more en vogue with the last virus fighting trends. Lately, I am thinking shouldn't we all, women and men, start wearing full niqab?... for couple of months at least. 

Women By Women exhibition, by ActionAid is at OXO Tower, until 8 March

Extinction Rebelion visiting Antony Gormley

Fly now Pay Later - Extinction Rebellion at Antony Gormley

An endearing, lonely extinction rebellionist was a live female sculpture amidst Gormley's Iron Men.

Sea of Tranquility Sea of Plastic by Polite Extinction, @politeextinction

Sea of Tranquility Sea of Plastic

Mare Tranquilitatis is a lunar mare that sits within the Tranquilitatis Basin on the Moon.

Polite Extinction, went to Goldsmiths BA, MA, Museology in Ed, PGCE university of Brighton and is currently in artistic residence at Budapest.

Here We Go Again or Screaming Brexit

Credit @art_decoded. Follow @art_decoded on Instagram

Screaming Johnson, an ahead of its time image of Boris as captured in September 2020 by Francis Bacon

"Oh, Theresa tried so hard but in the end you couldn't make Brexit happen. We just hope that you are not taking it as badly as this painting is making you out to be." @art_decoded

"If this seems familiar, it is because it is based on Francis Bacon's 'Study of Velasquez's Portrait of Pop Innocent X' or The Screaming Pope as it is otherwise known.", @art_decoded continues its strict analysis.

Yet, Laaf just discovered an apocryphal edition of Nostradamus' Chronicles in which it is revealed that Bacon's inspiration for The Screaming Pope wasn't his tumultuous relationship with Peter Lacy as largely thought, but a vision of Britain's Prime Minister in September 2020.

The apocryphal chronicles reveal that the vision came to Bacon at about 0710 at the junction of Greek Street and Old Compton Street, Soho on 25th of May 1967, after a drinking night with Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach, Henrietta Moraes and Lady Caroline Blackwood.

"You will paint a Prime Minister caught in a scary stuff called Brexit, ne cherche pas a comprendre, and you will call it Screaming Pope" a mighty voice whispered in Bacon's ear the chronicles further unveil.

Inspiration courtesy @art_decoded.

Follow @art_decoded on Instagram

It's one of Laaf's favourites

For Brexit Free gigs, spaces and events visit B-Free subpage