Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Whitechapel Gallery, Freedom and the Bagel Shop. Ah! England.
Paid a visit to the now reopened Whitechapel Gallery today. Mmm. Not sure really. I mean there is no doubt that an outstanding job has been made of the refurbishment and I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of those involved but I can't help feeling that the loss of the old library may not have been worth it. The exhibitions are certainly well worth a visit, Goshka Macuga's installation in particular. It was heartening to see contemporary posters and leaflets by Whitechapel Anarchists displayed alongside Picasso's Guernica and memorabilia of the East End's radical past but I even have my doubts about this. I suppose that I feel uneasy about propaganda being reduced to objects of contemplation in a museum. Recuperation is not just an idea put about by the Situationists to frighten the horses. It's for real.
In this unquiet frame of mind I popped next door to Freedom Books. The new downstairs shop is a great improvement. Nice atmosphere as well. From Freedom it was a stroll up Brick Lane to the Bagel Shop for a salt beef roll and a cuppa. At least some things never change.