“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

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.

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