London, Part 3: Tate and other titters

By Laura Grimes

JoJo didn’t come out to play much today. It’s possible he was shy, but between you and me, I think he stayed up too late.

He did, however, find this friend in the churchyard at St. Paul’s Cathedral:

JoJo and the angel


We spent most of our time at the Tate Modern, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend. I should be more inspired to write about it, but I’m not. I was looking forward to this more than anything, but it was crowded, rowdy and noisy. People took photos and answered loud ringing phones. I was in the middle of looking at a painting and a red light appeared in the middle of it from someone’s camera. I was in the middle of looking at something else, and a kid right next to my ear hollered to his friends across the room. People stood in doorways so I couldn’t pass and pretty much annoyed me in every possible way. I like a lot of people in a museum. I don’t like inconsiderate behavior. Only once in several hours did I hear a guard talk to someone.

So I’ll share only one small story:

Dieter Roth (1930-98) has an abstract titled Self-portrait of a Drowning Man (1974) made with acrylic, watercolor and glue on cardboard. The image is copyrighted, so I won’t show it, but you can see it here.

The display caption has this excerpt:

In order to bring the work to London in his suitcase, he cut it into a number of pieces. This gesture was characteristic of Roth’s irreverent approach to the art object. He was especially open to changes that would occur after he had “finished” the work, such as the process of cracking which is visible here.


Spoiler alert! I’m happy that I found the coolest ruler ever at the Tate Modern. My friend, Holly, and I have long collected rulers for each other. At first we did it unwittingly, but after several years we realized we had a tradition. I can’t show it so that you get the full effect, but you can see it here. You’ll see what I mean.