By Nick Horne • 16 March 2020 • 15:02
Easter is coming and the northern hemisphere is warming. Well made plans long laid are falling to pieces.
The news is full of the latest steps being taken by the authorities globally to try to deal with the effects of the Covid-19 virus that emerged in a wet meat market in the city of Wuhan in China.
One of the reverberations of the crisis was seen and felt as Spain closed its airspace to incoming tourist flights with two laden jets heading for Spanish warmth turned back to the chilly rain and sleet of the UK in March.
No one, absolutely no one wanted this to occur. Everyone I think I am safe in claiming would rather that the tourists from the UK who had long planned their dose of Spanish sunshine, tapas and wine should indeed be holding a full glass in the sun rather than warming their hands nursing a mug of warm tea Up-North.
London like many global cities, Madrid among them, is steadily emptying its streets and avenues. Visit a museum or gallery and the air is oddly chill.
The penny eventually dropped, the cooling systems have so few warm human bodies to deal with the atmosphere is much cooler than usual or expected.
The view of the artworks is much improved, however we did feel just a little lonely. Walking across one of the major bridges that cross the River Thames we did not at first note the absence of other people as we were busy chatting to each other.
The lack of crowds on the train was taken as a bonus, the absence of the more usual crush accepted as good luck. Over a lovely lunch a realisation that we were few in number. That we did not have to search for space and a clear table.
It dawned that people were staying away, from trains, from galleries and even missing the opportunity of a lovely lunch.
I had planned to go to this exhibition of Aubrey Beardsley for absolute ages and I suspect even Gabriel’s Last Trump would not have stopped me visiting Tate Britain for this show.
The last time a major exhibition of his work occurred was in 1966 at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
The English artist born in the seaside town of Brighton had a career spanning just eight frenetic years, he died at Menton in the South of France on the 16 March 1898 aged just 25 years. Dandy, aesthete and artist his influence reached even to the young Picasso.
In the interim Aubrey Beardsley the artist faded into obscurity the revival of interest indeed fascination in his work following on from the 1966 V&A exhibition reverberates still.
To some his art presaged Art Nouveau and much else, to others he was the epitome of outrageous art.
Andy Warhol has an exhibition on right now though at the Tate Modern; I am not so driven to go and experience that one.
We all make plans and in these uncertain times I suspect your plans and mine will have to adapt to the exigencies of these days. Once we are past the pervading Covid-19 crisis we can all start to make God laugh again.
Nick Horne, London, England
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