On Saturday, I took my brother and my sister to London for the day. We went to South Kensington to see the Banksy Exhibition in the Andipa Gallery. The exhibition itself is very small, but worth going to see just to be near to an original Banksy. The gallery owner, Acoris, told us that the exhibition had won him over 4,000 visitors in less than a month, but the gallery was very quiet when we got there and he had the place to ourselves until a man walked in with a woman. I paid them no attention until my sister started to gesture frantically at me and told me that the man was Ricky Gervais. I looked up and she was absolutely right. This made my brother's day perfect and taught me that, as ever, I am crap at celebrity shopping as I stood there goggling. The picture above is the one that I think may have elicited a loud giggle from him.
The one thing we all found hard to work out was whether Banksy had been directly involved with the exhibition at all. When I asked Akoris, who he had been dealing with in the organization of the exhibition, what with Banksy being so elusive and all, he told me that he had a team of scouts who had worked for several months to source the works on display. He said that he had always wanted to exhibit Banksy's work in his gallery as he is such a fan - I must admit, I thought there was a certain irony about the gallery and its location that I had previously assumed was a deliberate statement by the artist. What I couldn't work out was whether this means that the gallery could have bought many or all of these pieces without involving Banksy at all, from private collections, other dealers, other exhibitions etc.
Given that some of the artist's other exhibitions have featured a room full of rats and a live elephant, it would certainly explain why this one was a lot more tame. I wish the price tags had been just ironic too, as the cheapest one on sale was approximately £5,000 and the most expensive £170,000. Finally, I find a video which answers the question and reveals that it is an entirely private exhibition.
We spent the rest of the day at the Natural History Museum, which was refreshingly free and I bought the best recycled wine glasses, made from old beer bottles. Awesome. Matt took a few pictures of the day, but my sister steadfastly refused to appear in any of them as she had burnt her neck on her hair straighteners and the resulting mark was shaped like the Armani logo. This one nicely captures the back of her head though, as she looks on in awe while I present a turtle to the viewer.
The next day, my brother had another celebration (we were now at day four, I don't know how he gets away with it) when the whole of our family went to Arundel Castle for the day. This almost never happens and we were joined by my Elaine's parents, who is my brother's girlfriend - Elaine not her parents, obviously - so we were all on our most normal behaviour. My sister and I have discovered since Hearst Castle in the USA that we love touring stately homes together, tripping around the maze of corridors as if we own the places and passing judgement on every facet of the interior design and decoration. Amy was not, however, so much a fan of the stuffed animal heads, of which Arundel has a curiously large collection, including several huge cow heads in one gallery.
Why cows? I mean, I can't imagine they pose much of a challenge, can they?
"Good Lord, Sir Tarquin, how bold you are to have caught and captured and hacked the bleeding head orf that most fearsome of creatures - the cow!"
"Actually," said Bean, catching me mid-observation, "Cows are very dangerous. A surprising number of people are killed every year by cows."
He nodded at me, sanguine, before wandering away again, murmuring to me to come and see the triptych. I could only take his word for it as I reconsidered the Bovine Head Hall one more time and tried to deduce the exact nature of a surprising number.
So, I'm forced to ask, of anyone who might know, just how dangerous are cows?