Leonard Nimoy died today. The man who made aliens real but very logical, died aged 83, in Los Angeles. From all accounts, he was a lovely man and will be missed.
Not a lot to report from work today. I spent most of the day fixing up minor details from two weeks ago. More interesting was my lunchtime.
The Cast Courts at the V&A have been closed for ages. They were given a massive restoration and general clean up and have once more opened to the public.
I love the Cast Courts. Massive great plaster replicas of great European objects. There’s lots of church doors and sculpture as well as a wonderful copy of the David. And Trajan’s column, which cannot be completely seen properly in situ, is handily cut into two halves so the top can be seen.
The Courts were opened in 1873 and were a perfect way for people to see some of the wonders of neo-classical Europe. Given that very few people could afford to travel as extensively as we do now, it was like going on a Grand Tour without leaving London.
There’s a lot of stuff to read about the Cast Courts (further reading can be found here) but one of my favourite stories revolves around the David.
It was a gift from the Duke of Tuscany to Queen Victoria but she was a bit upset by the giant naked man and commissioned a sculptor to fashion a fig leaf (half a metre in size) to spare the blushes of female visitors to the museum. It no longer covers David. Rather, it is housed in a glass box behind him, on the plinth.
Apparently there was a bit of a hoo ha in the early 20th century when a Mr Dobson complained about the amount of nudity in the V&A but the then director made the argument that plenty of young female teachers had visited with their female art classes and they’d never had a complaint before so Mr Dobson could just not visit if it offended him so much.
I spent a delightful half hour, strolling around the fake treasures of Europe, leaving by the Cromwell Road entrance of the V&A. Before leaving, I spotted this:
Apparently, it’s a piñata, an installation by Rachael House. It’s called Challenge Heteronormativity. The idea is that by representing the concept in a form that is designed to be hit with a big stick and battered to bits, you are challenging the actual concept.
Heteronormativity is the belief that couples should only be male and female because it’s believed to be the only normal way of things. This is, clearly, bollocks and deserves to be bashed into tiny, tiny bits of papier mache.
My afternoon continued until it was time to go home…as is the way of things.
Tonight we went to our first Girls and Guitars for 2015 (and, in fact, the first for quite a while). We were delightfully entertained by Hannah Marshall, a Nottingham lass with a fantastic voice. It was a great start to the weekend.