Saturday 14th June

Now we are only three! Just Mo, Anna and I. Bernt and Peter are continuing on the Camino del Norte for a bit longer. Jude and Derek fly off this morning.

We had THE most fabulous day from 10am to 10pm at the Guggenheim without getting exhibition overload. The programme is so varied and we punctuate it by meeting up for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea to exchange stories. The day is at the same time both stimulating and restful because I spend 2 hours prostrate in the afternoon listening to music.

Spent the morning with Georges (Braque). I was particularly pleased to catch this exhibition because it was on at Le Grand Palais in Paris last autumn when I was there but the queues put me off. All I knew about him was that he was a mate of Picasso and did Cubism. Sludge and slate colours come to mind. But he did a lot more. He started very colourfully inspired by Matisse and the Fauvists at the Salon d’Automne 1901.
Lovely photo of him as a young man (well, aged 40 I’ve just worked out) by Man Ray

He was badly injured in WW1 but recovered. Seem to lead a quieter life than his contemporaries living and painting on the Normandy coast with the same partner for over 50 years. He painted a lot of musical instruments and birds.


And in later life went back to landscapes


But the postcard I bought to remind me of this expo was of his early work and fauvism

It’s my third visit to the Guggenheim and I’ve never done a guided tour of the building before. But this time it was on offer in English and it was well worth it Learnt about the incredible regeneration of Bilbao it has kick started, the fish scale tiles are titanium, the massive ground floor maze sculpture are at different stages in the rusting process. And lots more I’ve forgotten.

When I met up with the others at lunchtime , Anna did a sterling job of trying to persuade us that Yoko Ono was a conceptual artist who in the 60s was well ahead of her time. So I went into her exhibition with an open mind, thoroughly burying my fierce resentment as a 15 year old that she bust up the Beatles, totally aware that the females in artistic partnerships usually get unfairly subordinated to their mate. But could not hack it. Being generous the slow motion magnified film of a fly on a nipple hair was momentarily fascinating. But her ‘music’ made me internally scream as loud as she does. The only good bits were with John in – the ‘bed-in’ film and Give Peace a Chance. Sorry Yoko!

Moving swiftly on, the most surprisingly stimulating and enjoyable experience was the musical installation by Icelandic artist, Ragnar Kjartansson. He filmed and recorded a group of friends playing different instruments and singing in separate rooms, including himself in the bath. Each one was displayed on a giant screen but the sum total was hugely greater than the parts. The effect was electrifying and mesmerising People, including myself, were drawn in, initially disorientated but soon impelled to sit down or lie down to watch and to listen and TO SING!

I was in a well relaxed mood by the time we met up for early evening aperos. For some reason Mo had ordered me a Bloody Mary. Went down a treat! We strolled off site for our last pinxtos and pushed the boat out with some weird and wonderful seafood specimens. Then ice creams on the way back to the Guggenheim for the 9pm outdoor installation.


What a fabulous closing day to this adventure. To be continued …..sometime ……… probably back at