Losing My Religion in London. Four.

The Tate Modern is my favourite gallery in the world. Obviously a must-see on this, my holiday from religion and talking about church.

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The building is a converted power station on the bank of the Thames. Its one of my regular pilgrimage sites for art and new experiences.

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The humungous installation this time was Rachel Whiteread’s "Embankment". Her polystyrene blocks are made from the inside of boxes.

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Its an inside-outside space thing that only the truly artsy-fartsy will
fully appreciate, but its fun to walk through it and become part of the
installation.

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I was really impressed with two pieces by Barnett Newman. The first was Adam. This slice of his large oil painting shows God, earth and Adam represented by lines and colour.

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It brought to mind the scarlet thread of Rahab and the image of Christ through the Scriptures.

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"Eve" was depicted in purple and over to the side. I was not sure if this spoke of time or of a marginalisation issue.

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This artist dealt with marginalisation and power, related to what side of the line we fall on. The privileged are usually just on the other side and those unlucky enough to be "looked over" are not. Jesus spent his time  on earth with those on the other side. He also told his disciples to throw their nets on "the other side" to find fish.

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After Tate Modern I walked across the Millenium Bridge towards St Paul’s Cathedral.

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Walked by the Salvation Army HQ. Great to see some good graphics on the building.

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The message is good but the aesthetics are also tasteful and nestle in well to the local art scene. After walking out of the Tate, the Bible verses and their chosen font and style seem to resonate. Wish I could say the same for other religious organisations and their aesthetics.

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So i walk through the doors of St Paul’s Cathedral . . .

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. . .  to find today’s first demand that I unpocket my wallet. Something weird about seeing the words "cathedral" and "worship" and "VISA" in the same frame. I decided NOT to purchase a God-experience from this vendor.

Anyway . . I was supposed to be LOSING my religion today and doing non-religious things. What the heck was I doing here anyway???????

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I slipped away to the Tate Britain.

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I guess I ended up with more questions from the Tate Britain. Is there a relationship between the Pre-Raphaelites and the Lomographers of the early 21st Century?

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And an exhibition of the joint works of William Blake and his contemporary John Flaxman was amazing.

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Flaxman was better known and made more money from his "mainstream’ pieces than Blake who was more mystical and appealed to a small elite crowd. But Blake is more famous today.

Made me think of movements where the well-known leaders (apostles) are credited highly in the begining and the prophets and mystics are ignored until much later.

Another exhibition celebrating the "Cult of Youth" around the turn of the century stirred up my curiosity. I wonder what relation the sudden interest in youth in both literature and painting had on the youth movements in missions around the same time, in particular the International Missionary Conference in Edinburugh (1910)

Anyway, that was basically my day off from religion. Feeling cleansed and refreshed, and having put religion out of my mind for an entire day . ..  I made my way back down to the Underground . . .

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. . . hopped on a train and called it a day.

Thanks for listening to my story. Come back soon and I will tell you about my visit yesterday to Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle. Yes . . . after a day off from religion, I was feeling ready to go to a church service. But thats another story.

The Whole Day:
Losing My Religion in London. Part One, Two, Three, and Four

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

4 Comments

  • Andrew,
    Consider me a lurker outing myself; apologies for taking three months to do so.
    I have to say, I admire your tenacity in attempting to avoid religious themes for a day — perhaps they pursue you about as strongly as you pursue them.
    The admissions fee at St. Paul’s is sad; I expect that a large amount of it goes to paying for upkeep (tourists tend not to “take only pictures and leave only footprints…”), but those amounts are outrageous. It appears that the Winchester Cathedral has followed suit, now charging about US$7 per visitor. At least you’ve managed to avoid both drive-in and drive-thru churches your side of the pond.
    Again, thanks for your words (and today, the photos!).
    best,
    c. scott andreas

  • Hey Andrew…
    I love the way you try to avoid religion and yet your thoughts are often on the Lord.
    Its a whole-of-me experience that I appreciate…He isn’t with us on Sunday… He’s there on Monday too…
    Thanks for the tourist tips for London too… I’ll keep them handy for when I venture down from deepest, darkest Lanarkshire.
    Peace
    Thomas

  • What struck me about St Paul’s recently is that, while they do charge for entry, if you tell them that you are there to pray (as I was on this particular day) you can go in for free. That exception is in print, too. Perhaps that is something of a redeeming feature, though your point is taken: Jesus did have a thing or two to say (or throw?!) at people who turned temples into markets.

  • thanks for sharing your great day in london! it brought back many fun memories! sorry you missed the lindesfarne gospels this time!
    great to see a photo of shannon and hear she is doing well!
    tell all the sheffield folk hey from the lewin clan!
    have a great week!
    lilly

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