The Sainsbury Centre at UEA

My daughter and I made our first trip to the Sainsbury Centre to see the Giacometti show. It’s a neat little exhibition; not enough Giacometti to be exciting, but enough to make the journey from London worthwhile. I enjoyed the subtlety of the themes being developed around other artists, although there was the very slight feeling that the curators had decided that because the Sainsbury collection contains things by Bacon etc they might as well see if they could weave some of them in.

It was fascinating to see 3 works by Isabelle Rawsthorne. Her work almost never comes up in London auctions and I thought at least 2 of the pictures were very good.

It was also, of course, a great pleasure to see Freud’s drawing of Peter Watson which lives in the V and A. Watson knew Giacometti and was painted by him. The portrait is now in MOMA.

Giacometti is a “hard” artist, both to describe and to understand. The more clever shows we can have like this, the better. The one at the NPG was similarly insightful.

What a very strange place to have a gallery: in the middle of the bizarre goings-on one reads about at UEA, their students banning strangely chosen things. The juxtaposition with the horrible university buildings is not beneficial to the gallery, which could otherwise be on a beautiful country estate somewhere, like Compton Verney. Still, that isn’t going to change now. One wonders how many students visit the gallery.