2012 Olympics Arts Festival and Olympic Games

by Chris Murray on October 4, 2012

As summer has turned to fall I thought of my time in London this summer at the Olympic Games and the Olympics Arts Festival. I always wanted to attend a summer Olympics and London was the perfect city for it. The games were thrilling and we were able to attend several events including Women’s Gymnastics, Men’s and Women’s Beach Volleyball, and Boxing. Meanwhile, it seemed every museum and gallery in London was celebrating the Olympics with compelling exhibitions. Between the Olympic Games and the Olympics Arts Festival there was never a dull moment. En route to London we were also able to stop by the opening for Gered Mankowitz’s exhibition in Dublin of his Jimi Hendrix photographs. Here are some of the highlights.

Govinda Gallery Director Chris Murray with photographer Gered Mankowitz and Govinda Gallery collector Joey Filosa at Gered Mankowitz’s exhibition of his Jimi Hendrix photographs at the Ebow gallery in Dublin.

British artist Jeremy Deller created a life size Stonehenge bouncy castle that has traveled around England. Deller said it is “a way to get reacquainted with ancient Britain with your shoes off”. Deller just opened an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia called Joy In People, that continues through December 30th. Turner Prize winner Deller performed at Govinda Gallery as part of a duo called The Nice Boys at Christopher Makos’ exhibition of photographs called Architecture and Design in September of 1986. This photograph was taken at Hampstead Heath.

Jeremy Dellers inflatable Stonehenge Sacrilege.

Collector Bruce Kogod admiring Bae Joonsung’s The Costume of Painter and The Nora Collection by Cho Duck Hyunn at Saatchi Gallery London.

The best exhibition in London this summer was at the Saatchi gallery. Korean Eye 2012 presented many of the best contemporary Korean artists working today. The exhibition was extraordinary. The Saatchi has become one of the best museums in London with a wonderful restaurant and cafe next door.

Andy Warhol’s Muhammad Ali and Spring from Philip Haas’ The Four Seasons at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London.

I went with my friend Laura Rivkin to the Dulwich Picture Gallery to see a small but lovely retrospective of Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints. The Dulwich is the oldest gallery in England and is situated on a lovely garden. I enjoyed the exhibition and much of the material on display had been exhibited at Govinda Gallery during the 70’s and 80’s when Andy Warhol had several shows here. On display in the garden was the truly amazing sculpture of American artist Philip Haas.

The Serpentine gallery in Kensington Gardens held a lovely retrospective exhibtion of artist Yoko Ono. The exhibition titled To The Light featured work from throughout her career. The show was beautifully installed and was a pleasure to see.

Christopher Murray in front of one of Damien Hirst butterfly canvases at the Tate Modern.

I had my first visit to the Tate Modern and also saw The Tanks, which is the new exhibition space at the Tate Modern dedicated to installation art. The featured exhibition at the Tate Modern was Damien Hirst, the first major survey of Hirst’s work to be held in London. I first saw Hirst’s work at the Royal Academy in London in 1997 as part of the now legendary Sensation exhibition. To see his retrospective this summer at the Tate showed that sometimes the whole is less than the parts. The exhibition felt like a weird Silence of the Lambs experience, and a number of the galleries had a foul smell… both medicinal and rotting at the same time. At the end of the exhibit the gift shop sold the worst overpriced artist merchandise that I have ever seen in my life.

El Otro Lado del Alma photo exhibition was featured at the Cervantes Institute in Dublin. It included the work of the Cuban artist team Nelson and Liudmila, whose work is represented at Govinda Gallery.

Olympics friends from Washington. Kate Perry, Govinda Gallery Director Chris Murray, Bruce Kogod, Whitney Dellinger, and Cookie Dellinger outside their Olympic flat at Sloan Square.

I took a wonderful day trip to Brighton Beach to visit the author John Masouri, who was busy finishing up his biography of Reggae superstar Peter Tosh. John told me a bit about Brighton Beach’s colorful history, including the battles between the Mods and the Rockers as well as the British Punk Rockers who enjoyed coming to Brighton.

Elvis is still in the house at Brighton Beach. Artist Carlotta Hester enjoys the Ferris Wheel on Brighton Beach.

I enjoyed a visit with publisher and longtime friend Nick Roylance at the Saatchi gallery. Nick is the publisher of Genesis Publications in England. Govinda Gallery enjoyed over a twenty year association with Genesis’ founder Brian Roylance distributing their stunning limited edition books and exhibiting art from the books.

At the Primrose Hill home of Tom Swayne with his beautiful mother Shirley. Tom’s father Eric Swayne is a featured photographer in the recently published book Rolling Stones: 50 x 20, celebrating 50 years of the Rolling Stones. The book is edited by Govinda Gallery’s Chris Murray. Olympic legend Bob Beamon at the Art of the Olympians exhibition at the University College of London’s Camden Campus, showcasing the artwork of Olympics athletes. Both Tom Swayne and Bob Beamon are enjoying the invitation card to Carlotta Hester’s exhibition in Ireland of Irish musicians, singers, and dancers.

Part of the revved up crowd at the Women’s and Men’s beach volleyball Olympic semifinals at the Horse Guards Parade in London.

Outside the ExCel Arena with my tickets for the Olympics Men’s boxing semifinals August 10th, 2012, London.

Category: Blog, Events   
  • Comments

    • Diane Seeger

      You really meet the most interesting people in the most interesting places! I especially appreciated the interview with Deller talking about his work, inspiration, challenges, and lifestyle…lots of great ideas! I enjoyed several of the video’s; the exhibit motivates me to want to see it! thanks for bringing Deller’s creativity into my living room!!!

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