Sunday, September 20, 2009

Venice Biennale

At last, long overdue, a few images on the Venice Biennale. I wish I had more to say... Having been for the 8 years, there is purely the sportive aspect: will, grit, endurance, surivival (you can imagine the t-shirt -- I survived number 53!). Having said that, this year didn't seem to me quite up to previous years. My own yardstick is how infrequently I was tempted to reach for my camera to create a mental cue card for a fascinating work of art. Having said that, it's big (BIG), so there is always something worth seeing.

But first, taking a step back, way, way back, here's a few images from Pompei. This was the second time I visited and I enjoyed it even more than last time. I'm always captivated by the decorative motifs -- timeless:

Somehow I had never visited the amphitheatre. Well here it is:

And now Venice: Tomas Saraceno "Galaxies forming along filaments..."

Susan Hefuna, "Building" (she works on onion-skin type paper, layering images)

Hans-Peter Feldmann, "Shadow Play"

Sadamasa Motonaga, "Water work"

Mona Hatoum, who I first saw at the Biennale four years ago was back at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia. I wish I had taken more pictures. Much of the collection is decorative 19th C art, where she had brilliant mixed her work into the collection, subtly and subversively. Then she had some newer work on display as well. This cloud of barbed wire was amazing to look at:

Now I've got to get back to work... cooking work that is...


Thursday, September 10, 2009


{a fine activity for a cloudy autumn day is to remember the days of summer...}

{photo credit: me! please do not reproduce without permission}

{photo credit: Tran Huu Dung via Dennis Dutton}

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

That it should come to this...

Last week I was swilling fiano and falanghina, was almost satiated with buffalo mozzarella and even the very fresh and wonderful fior di latte, was touring the biennale like a jaded 10-year veteran (whilst retaining my own native enthusiasm), was eating brioche for breakfast, pasta for lunch, and nice salads and vegetables for dinner (and discovered myself amazing not to have gained a pound while traveling), was sunning my... wrists* on some rocky and sandy beaches, was wandering Rome and Venice with the keys to my kind friends' apartments safely tucked away in my bag, was charmingly overcharged by a Roman taxi driver**, and was invited for a quick coffee at the late Sol Lewitt's Amalfi coast house*** and was looking at his hand-drawn wall decorations and drawing table...

Today I am bouncing in along the motorway in a Greyhound bus from Boston to New York.****


* I sunburn really badly and very quickly. So personally the early 20th C swimsuits are just fine for me... from neck to ankles all nicely covered... It does dampen the sex appeal a little, but what's one to do?

** Have you ever been swindled, known it was happening, but somehow enjoyed the other person going through motions of trying to fool you that you don't object? The taxi driver has the middle seat down covering the meter. Then he mumbled something about extra charges. But he was so much like Roberto Benigni in Last Night that I didn't want to burst his buble. His patter was so obvious, but charming nonetheless...

*** Sol Lewitt is in my personal pantheons of greats. Of course, not only me, but conceptual art is a specialized cup of tea outside the art world, but when I first saw his installation at Dia: Beacon I knew it was my kind of art. Since then I have become something of fanatic. Anyway, Sol Lewitt's widow invited a friend to spend the week at their house, and he invited a friend, who in turn invited me. Lewitt had a half-dozen drawings executed on his walls. And I got to see his drawing table (pictues next time -- not much to see but so inspiring!)

**** In fairness to both Greyhound and myself I should mention that it is one of the new coaches: plugs, internet, and no dirt on the seats. What happened to Champagne cocktaisl cheap white wine on the shuttle? What happend to Amtrak? Priced itself to irrelevance sadly: 5 times the price as the bus and no internet. I'll take it on a snow day, but otherwise, unlikely.

P.S. Could someone who is wiser in such matters please explain the Beatles song "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" to me? I think I get it, but it requires explanation. Today I'm listening to Bach (Well-Tempered Clavier) and the Beatles, a pretty much old-school combination I must admit, but BB has more than a thread of old school in the spine...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to things

Dear all,

Just got back yesterday, and today find myself immersed in that least-favorite sport, the quick-catch-up... Already on my way to Boston after a quick stop in NYC...

Will soon post on the Italian adventure... But in brief it was wonderful!


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