Special Exhibitions

I’ve been to a couple really fantastic art exhibitions this spring.

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One rainy March morning after dropping off E at nursery school, Baby R and I headed to the Tate Britain for the David Hockney exhibit.

I love Hockney, a Brit who has also lived many years in America. This exhibit was fantastically done. Each room was more exciting than the last.

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Not allowed to take pictures, so I was just sort of taking one of my pram…

In the very last room, there are video screens on the walls displaying how he creates amazing artwork by drawing right on his iPad. That was so cool to watch it morph from a blank screen to a piece of art, right before your eyes.

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Hockney’s iPad art in progress
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Baby R and me making our own art in the Tate. I call it, “Mother and Child: Selfie Reflection With Burp Cloth”

The other really well done exhibition M and I enjoyed together was the British Museum’s “The American Dream: Pop to the Present.”

M won tickets to a lecture on the new exhibit, which included passes to the exhibit (most of the museums in London are free, but special exhibitions are ticketed), so we went to that on a Friday night in March as a date night. The bummer was that by the time the lecture ended, we didn’t have time to go to the actual exhibit before the museum was to close for the night!

So we ended up wandering around the Egyptian rooms, where we saw the Rosetta Stone and Cleopatra’s mummy.

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I like this guy. He looks like he’s checking his phone for directions, which is basically how I walk around all the time too.

Then we went out to a delicious dinner at Salt Yard, a Spanish tapas restaurant I would definitely recommend.

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Amount of daylight in the British Museum on a Friday evening in March

We went on a repeat date night to the British Museum last week so we could finally view the exhibition.

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Amount of daylight in the British Museum on a Friday evening in May

It was worth the wait. We spent nearly two hours in the exhibit, until they kicked us out because it was closing time. It was 12 rooms of incredible prints by American artists from the 1960s to now that really tells the story of America and what was happening in the country through the art. The curators did an amazing job in how they chose to group the works.

I also happen to love prints, and that’s what this was. All different printmaking processes were incorporated, and in some cases multiple stages of the process were displayed. It took me back to when I studied abroad in Bath and I took a semester-long printmaking course. I was remembering some of the techniques I’d forgotten I’d learned back then. M and I both said we probably couldn’t choose a top 10 of our favorite pieces from the exhibit; there were too many we loved.

After we closed out the exhibit, we walked over to Bao, a hot restaurant in Soho I’d been wanting to try. It’s so popular there’s always a queue across the road.

It was already fairly late by then, so the wait wasn’t too terribly bad. It was made bearable by the fact that you can get a pint from the pub next door to drink in the queue. Also, we felt young and hip for going to a hot restaurant in Soho on a Friday night. (Actually, we felt really tired and old and kind of cold and hungry, and tried not to think about how we were paying a babysitter by the hour while we stood in a line. But at least there was beer.)

Like the exhibit, the food was also worth the wait.

I don’t normally eat pork, but I tried a bite of M’s classic bao bun and immediately ordered another. It was the clear winner. I also had the fried chicken one (also good) and the daikon (not nearly as good).

Our order
Fried chicken, scallop, and daikon bao bun

The fluffy bao buns were perfection.

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Horlicks ice cream in a fried bao bun

Great museums, great art exhibitions, and great food. We definitely enjoy our date nights in London when we can get them!

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