Art is Everywhere

Last week I attended a brilliant Art Walk arranged by the University of Birmingham Research and Cultural Collections department. Clare Mullett and her colleague Chloe Lund delivered a captivating tour of some of the art and sculpture around the University of Birmingham campus.

I have studied there for years and always thought that it was a special place. Now I know it is. Clare and Chloe led our group around the campus through wind and rain, shining a light on each piece and each neglected corner with enthusiasm. Their words and stories about  works from Paolozzi, Hepworth and Lanyon brought the pieces to life. I can’t replicate that but can recommend their work. Some of this can be seen here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/culture/index.aspx .

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Staff House.
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Clare on Paolozzi
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Groovy Law Building Entrance
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Our Group. Someone is giving me a suspicious look.
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My Enlightened Friend
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Peter Lanyon accommodated his mural’s habitat.
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The Ashley Building.
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The Ashley building interior.
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Spiral staircase.
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Feeling dizzy.
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Metallurgy and Materials Building designed by Arup Associates. Chloe.
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Metallurgy and Materials Interior.
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Metallurgy and Materials Interior. Last talk.

Spanning Time

These photographs were taken during a visit to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It’s haven of Culture, History and Art. For all of the wonderful and amazing things inside, it is quieter than it should be. But I am glad that I can float and ponder in peace.  I love the building as much as its contents, even the spaces and the steps.

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There’s a great display following the history of Birmingham from its Anglo Saxon roots to its cosmopolitan present. This was the one for me today.

It features the HP sauce sign, our equivalent of Gotham’s Bat-signal. Unlike the Bat-signal however, Birmingham’s distress has probably increased since its removal along with the manufacturing jobs it represented. But you can’t base an economy on sauce; times and markets change.

 

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There was a deranged looking horse.

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A photo of old Birmingham.

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I really liked the way that these chunks of concrete from Spaghetti Junction were displayed, more like gems than industrial materials. I want one.

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Money.

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These ancient friends are Zapotecs. My best friend has a band called Zatopeks, they formed in Birmingham.

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I noticed these lines on my way out.

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For a lot more information, here is a link to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Website http://www.bmag.org.uk/ .

Shadows Collide With People

After weeks of compulsory thinking and compulsory writing, I am back.  Thinking about slanting rays and meandering shadows let loose by the afternoon sun.

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These pleasant chaps consented to a group shot. But their friend Jim didn’t want to be in it. I’d like to thank them for the beaming smiles and hope they like this photo.

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Digbeth

This is Digbeth, part of Birmingham City Centre. There are lots of historical buildings, some pretty and some ‘ugly’. I like the combination of the two.

Here you get the Edwardian Police Station reflecting on its much younger commercial neighbour, Smithfield House.

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Bollards.

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As I snapped this quiet grey building, I was reminded of many other underused buildings. It’s a shame, especially in the current financial climate, that we are not getting the full value of our assets as a city. Of course, I’m really talking about my beloved library (again).

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My meditations were soon interrupted by these chaps indicating that they wanted a photo.

Conclusion: Brummies are great and we should make the best use of what we have.

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Blue Skies

Today I visited my first love, the old Central Library and took a few photos.  P1020328

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My view of this place may be rose-tinted, but I love it. Saying this, I love the interior even more than the Brutalist exterior. There were orange carpets, exceedingly well laid out books and great desks.  The place is currently closed and soon to be demolished so the interior shots below are old.

I took these a couple of years ago in my favourite corner: the intersection between Foreign Literature, Architecture and Art History on the second floor.

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I would come to this spot to grab books on Dostoyevsky, Haiku and Calligraphy. They were all located in conveniently close proximity. But a clever Greek once said: ‘without change, there would be no World’.

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Sunday in LDN

       East End Adventuring                            

This post is about a trip to London on the day of rest, Sunday.

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A hot tip from a savvy source led me to Columbia Road Flower Market and Shops. Despite getting there relatively early in the morning, the place was heaving with families, joggers, hipsters and floral entrepreneurs. “This is London” I was told, “there’s no such thing as a secret here, not even on a Sunday”.

It took me two circuits, but on the second I pulled out my camera and started snapping. I hope you get a hint of how lovely it is to be on Columbia Road.

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I eventually decided to follow what looked like a vague procession and found myself on Brick Lane where there was even more colour and even more life.

Including watchful dolls…

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Eldorado,

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all the shoes you could want,

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and a whole lot more.

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In one corner I found a stall where the owner had created a mixed-media mosaic from plastic toys, crockery and decorations. His partner told me that she had no clue what it all meant. The artist/owner is a quiet man who kindly agreed to these photographs.

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Conclusion: People Make Places

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I hope you enjoyed this post. My smile was as big as the cat below (minus any hint of his grimace) thanks to my savvy guide, one DW.

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