Getting some architectural books at the ETH library today I walked into this by chance:
A very interesting collage of architectural tradition in old imperial China. East Asian Art History was my minor subject at university and I’m very fond of encountering anything reminding me of it.
CHAGALL, Kunsthaus Zurich, March 2013
I have mentioned here before, it was due to my photo in front of a 70 Million Dollar worth Chagall at Art Basel 2011, that Fiddler on the Roof (Anatevka), that quintessential jewish Broadway musical of the 1960ies, was based on the typical fiddler in Chagall’s paintings. I absolutely adore Marc Chagall. He’s a master of symbolism.
Go see the exhibition in Zurich!
Marc Chagall, „Ich und das Dorf“, 1911
Qin- Der unsterbliche Kaiser und seine Terrrakottakrieger, Bern, March 2013
Where haven’t I seen the terra-cotta warriors? I’ve seen them in New York, London, Shanghai and Museum Rietberg in Zurich… and now they’ve come to Bern, home of my alma mater. There is hardly an international museum in the world that doesn’t have at least one terra-cotta soldier of Qin.
My minor subject at uni in Zurich was East Asian Art History and that’s when I learned about China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi (259-210 BC).
He unified the Warring States into China. He ordered the erection of the Great Wall to protect from the northern Nomads from what has become known as Mongolia.
He standardized currencies and had a system of streets, trades and businesses and bureaucracy established.
For movie lovers, there is Zhang Yimou’s 2002 film Hero, a visually captivating and poetic movie about the assassination attempts on Qin Shi Huangdi… a great movie and as beautiful as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and for the sensitive souls: pretty much bloodless.
In 1974 in Xian in the province of Shaanxi local farmers randomly disvorered Qin Shi Huangdi’s tomb and his army of 8’000 terra-cotta soldiers, all of whom had been created with different physiognomies… the rest is history…
Go see the exhibition in Bern!
Becoming Van Gogh at the Denver Art Museum, December 2012
In transit at the great airport of Denver that I’ve mentioned earlier here before I escaped to visit the DAM’s exclusive Van Gogh exhibition the moment I found a slot online (the exhibition has been sold out throughout it’s run and ends mid-January. There were occasional slots for ticket purchases showing up randomly, that’s how I got mine).
Now this was an amazing exhibit! One of the best Van Gogh showings ever! It showcased his humble beginnings and his influence by Japonisme (together with his Eisen-inspired painting (below, to the left) and with Hiroshige and Hokusai paintings next to it! I studied Japonisme after all…)
Sunday in the Park with George, December 2012
That’s how my Christmas vacation started: Sunday December 23rd near Millennium Park, to be exact in the Art Institute in Chicago.
Next to George Seurat’s Sunday in the Park on the Grand Jatte, which apparently is the oeuvre à clef of the Art Institute. Here in the background behind me so one gets an idea of the dimensions. And below I’m standing in front of one of Monet’s Houses of Parliament (the misty one, whereas the fiery one is in Zurich…). One of my favorite paintings! And one of my most popular reproductions. And on the bottom is the original Seascape (The Wave) by Pierre Auguste Renoir, my second most sought reproduction...
The Art Institute is my most treasured museum of all and I’ve been there many times. It is always a very precious and inspiring experience to return to.
I then went on to Omaha’s Museum of Art where I revisited my other favorite: The Pasha’s Grief (Grief of the Pasha) by Jean-Léon Gêrome.
This is my favorite Omaha painting. Anyone who has ever loved an animal can identify with this Gêrome. Besides, in my bathroom back home I have a poster of Gêrome’s Pygmalion and Galatea that I bought at the Metropolitan Museum. George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion is the foundation of My Fair Lady as any English Literature lover might recognize. The Audrey Hepburn version of that musical is a bit outdated. Newer productions have caught up on Bernard Shaw’s spirit who was after all a vegetarian, feminist, abolitionist and human rights activist. So his Pygmalion play was very much about the sophistication of a simple street girl through education. The My Fair Lady productions of this millenium show this improvement! Sorry to say, but beloved Audrey Hepburn’s movie feeded on the misogynist vision of the mid-century. Today’s Eliza Doolittles don’t fetch any slippers anymore! So anyway, Gêrome painted a beautiful yet male-pleasing Pygmalion allegory in the late 1880ies (he creates his perfect vision of a woman statue and falls in love with her and because God is a male he of course grants him his wish and she becomes flesh….)
P.S.: here’s the Grief of the Pasha by Gêrome, as seen in the Omaha Joslyn Art Museum.
There’s a Rainer Maria Rilke poem from ca. 1905-07 coming to my mind, „The Panther“, whenever I see this Gêrome, it’s the most haunting poem about an exotic animal in captivity:
His vision, from the constantly passing bars
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.
As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance abound a centre
in which a mighty will is paralysed.
Only at times, the curtain of his pupils
lifts quietly. – And image enters in,
rushes down through the tense, arrested muscles
plunges into the heart and is gone.
The Grief of the Pasha, Jean Léon Gêrome, 1882, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha
Biennale Architettura 2012
I love Venice in the autumn. I love Venice in the spring. I love Venice in the winter when it drizzles. This time it was just pure fog. At least no acqua alta.
On its closing day I visited the architectural Biennale during a foggy last November Sunday. And it was worth it.
In the Giardini we partook the mandatory parcours of the Swiss Pavilion at the right of the entrance, Japan, Korea, Australia, etc. etc. until arriving at the Denmark Pavilion which swept me off my feet with it’s Greenland theme and proposal for a brand new airport/port hybrid in front of the capital Nuuk. Awesome!!! I had no idea they had dedicated much of their exhibition on a new Greenland airport!!! This was my most uplifting experience of the Biennale this year. Greenland, once a colony of Denmark, was the subject of my very first presentation at high school in 1985. I had written to the Danish consulate for some information and they had sent me a whole package of info material. I felt very important then. Ever since I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for this arctic country with it’s beautiful flag and tragic history. And for literature lovers, the perfect Greenland novel is Peter Hoeg’s 1992 eco-thriller „Smilla’s Sense of Snow“. That was one scarily thrilling book and Smilla is one of my all time heroines! (and much better than the film version)
Here is it’s airport proposal on an island. Just awesome! For the record, the first island airport was Renzo Piano’s Osaka, then Hong Kong by Foster, Incheon by Mr. Curtis Fentress and all date back to futuristic visions from industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes who proposed an island airport for New York City in the late 1930s…
In the Arsenale section there were installations by Foster, H&M, I meant H&deM; ETH professor Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid (I couldn’t discern her models from Pier Luigi Nervi’s, but then again I’m no architect…) and a very funny pastiche of newspaper articles and proposals for what to do with Tempelhof Airport, like building a mountain on its site or turning it into a lake, I actually couldn’t keep a straight face there:
The Venice canals are olfactory challenging but still have a nice celadon color. Must be all the toxic waste.
This is the canal right in front of the Biennale Giardini and on the right the typical Italian aqua Lilia. What else.
Besides, the actor who does the What Else? campaign doesn’t drink Nespresso but tea and specifically asks to not be offered Nespresso when on a plane. So much about the globalized advertising industry. I drink acqua Lilia and San Pellegrino lemonades and this advert has not been paid for.
The Houses of Parliament by Monet seem to be the New Black. I’m already painting the fourth such motif since this summer.
Monet (re-)created many of his paintings in different light settings, my favourite Parliament motif is hanging in the Kunsthaus Zurich by the way.
Another great version is at my beloved Art Institute in Chicago. The Zurich version is more fiery, the Chicago version more misty.
I am recreating the Zurich version, here it is, measuring 70*90 cm - though not yet finished, it is far from finished actually and the tower is crooked:
I will post the finished version here in the next few days. Cobra by Talens is definitely my most favourite color, it is brilliant and the best hybrid between acrylic and oil colors there is on the market. When finished, the painting will have to dry for a couple of weeks. Oil colors would need months to dry, Cobra dries in ca. 2-3 weeks.
Besides, my constant companion while painting (aside from Pandora radio which I have figured out how to stream over here…) is Giuliano Fournier’s Broadway, Hollywood, Las Vegas radio show on Swiss Italian radio Rete Due. Signor Fournier has influenced my music taste ever since I went to school and through him I have discovered Mario Lanza, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Michael Feinstein, Rosemary Clooney. Especially his stories behind movies and musicals like The Jazz Singer, Show Boat, The Wizard of Oz, Porgy and Bess have been most entertaining. So that’s how I paint.
Now Boarding (Denver Art Museum, July 15th – October 2012)
Denver Airport on the horizon, shot from the shuttle bus. The sculpture in front is called Mustang and belongs to the Denver International Airport Integrated Art Program.
Back when I had watched Casablanca for the first time, as a kid, the iconic end scene stuck with me. No, not the one between Bergman and Bogart, but the one between Bogart and the little French guy, Capt. Renault. Bogart says, while the plane with Bergman is taking off: „Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.“ For me it was, too! The beginning of a beautiful friendship with airplanes, airports and exotic destinations. When years later I happened to fly to Casablanca, I anxiously searched the airport for signs I might recognize from that movie. In vain, that scene had been shot on the Warner Brothers lot and Van Nuys airport. I still watch that movie approximately thrice per year.
Alas, airports definitely symbolize so much for us: longing, desire, adventure, a better future. Or maybe they only do so to movie lovers and explorers like myself.
Museums and exhibitions being the topic of this section, I would like to present one of my biggest passions I care about: airports – a topic I’m writing my dissertation about. Beautiful, meaningful airports that is! I have seen many and traveled to many and I sort of crave the limbo of transit between the real world, airplane and airport. Like that Spielberg movie The Terminal, but without the cheesy romance.
Denver International Airport by fentressarchitects.com is a hybrid of an airport and museum. It is the pinnacle of airport architecture. And it shows the essence of Curtis Fentress, the artist behind the architecture: To create buildings for people in context with the region, nature, heritage and maintain the highest energy and environmental standards. DIA’s canvas teflon roof is an allusion to the nearby Rocky Mountains and the interior of the main terminal hall, the Jeppesen Terminal, is the most inviting place for passengers to hang around, browse coffee shops and just enjoy the natural light pouring in through the roof. And it was the first airport, back when it opened in 1995, with an integrated art program. There are many installations, sculptures, paintings and happenings in the airport premises to create a sense of place for the passengers. This concept of using their space for art displays is being taken over by many other airports worldwide (e.g. the beautiful Mudras in the arrival hall at Delhi’s new Indira Gandhi airport…).
I had the immense honor to meet with Mr. Curtis Fentress at his headquarters in Denver, and he’s a witty and gracious gentleman artist and we talked about airports, architecture and his exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, Now Boarding, which I had visited prior to our meeting. So here I am again, praising an exhibition, but also the creative mind behind it. For anyone interested in architecture, travel, globalization, urban planning, society, the future, then Now Boarding is the most innovative exhibition to look at. It will travel to LA later this year and at some time in the near future to Asia.
Getty Center Los Angeles
Richard Meier’s Getty Center was constructed in 1997 and is supposed to be the Acropolis of LA. The limestone hails from Tuscany and the citadel sitting in the Santa Monica Mountains is very well recognizable, from the 405 as well as from the plane when approaching LAX.
It is home to the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Trust and Research and Conservation Center. It boasts a rich permanent collection of art from all over the world and holds exhibitions - the current one being on Klimt. Entrance is free, as is for the Getty Villa in Malibu, but you pay for parking. According to ETH professor Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani’s book treatise „Museums for a new Millennium“ the Getty Center is one of those new museum forms that emerged after Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Guggenheim Museum from the 1950’s: A museum that no longer is just the stage for it’s art but art itself. The problem herein might be that it upstages it’s art and becomes the reason why people go visit. Stansislaus von Moos wrote in Lampugnani’s book about four prototypes of museums, the museum as a heritage building (The Louvre, the Uffizi!); the „open modern“ museum where technical aspects replace architecture (Centre Pompidou); the Enfilada museum with it’s Palladian suite of rooms and opposing windows and portals (The Getty Center!); the museum that is „plastic architecture“ with it’s organic and expressive forms (The Guggenheim New York and Bilbao). So the Getty is a so called Enfilada museum like in the traditional sense but yet a very inviting and modern place to be as it has different pavilions separated by a vast and beautifully arranged garden landscape with a fountain. When you arrive on top at the Arrival Plaza with the electric tramway that takes you up from the garage level on the ground of the 405, you feel the sensation like walking up the Acropolis or the Spanish Stairs to look at the city from the Trinità dei Monti. But instead of Athens or Rome you have breathtaking views of the Los Angeles basin.
New York July 2012
This is a beautiful little art collection located on Fifth Avenue and 70th Street, right on Central Park East. If you’re scared of the masses of people at the Metropolitan Museum a couple blocks further north or the Moma where you get a backache just from standing in line, then go enjoy some peaceful time in this little gem. The Frick has many bronzes and paintings, I’m of course interested in the latter, so I went straight on to the Gainsboroughs and Turners. Its most famous oeuvre has to be Giovanni Bellinis St. Francis in the Desert (ca. 1480).
This little Museum in what was once the Fricks’ private mansion has a very relaxing interior court with a water fountain.
CIHA 2012 Nuremberg
The Congrès International de l’Histoire de l’Art which takes place every olympian four years is the biggest gathering of art historians in the world. This year it took place in Nuremberg and was my first such event to attend. There were many sections and panels on diverse art topics with speakers from across the globe. I got to meet interesting peers from Finnland and China and listened to many presentations and speakers. So it is my goal now to present my finished PhD work at the next congress which will take place in China in four years!
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Broadway July 2012
Now that is a classic pastiche: something that visually reminds you of a pastel macaron or Swiss chocolate and that makes you feel good. The Broadway musical Nice Work If You Can Get It is a pastiche of the Gershwins’ most popular songs. I planned my New York trip so I could catch this great show and beautiful tribute to George Gershwin’s music and his brother Ira’s lyrics. In 1993 there was another magnificent Gershwin show at London’s West End: Crazy for You. That is still my favourite Gershwin musical ever.
The best music created in the 20th century is without a doubt George and Ira Gershwin’s. (In the 19th and beginning 20th centuries it was Puccini and Tchaikovsky!) The one living contemporary interpreter who truly captures the Gershwins is Michael Feinstein, pictured here with my right arm during an autograph session after his concert in Omaha earlier this year.
Here’s Michael singing an obscure, very little known Gershwin song, Will You Remember Me, which I was thrilled to see featured in Nice Work If You Can Get It.
I have added four new paintings to my portfolio, three were ordered reproductions for an office, one is an extra pastiche for myself: I never get tired of painting Monet’s Houses of Parliament. There’s so much going on there, so much light and darkness and color and every reproduction varies in intensity.
Alas, J.M.W. Turner’s Santa Maria della Salute is a challenge to the senses. There’s a lot left out and just hinted through the early morning mists of Venice. I used my new favorite colors: COBRA by Talens. Cobra is water mixable oil color, a proud successor of the previous H2Oil colors by that great Dutch company. Cobra colors are superbly blendable and dry decently slowly but still not for months as is the case with pure oil colors – whereas acrylic colors dry in a matter of moments.
Pictured here is a „pastiche“ of Cy Twombly’s Hero and Leandro (To Christopher Marlowe). Twombly passed away last year so out of respect and for legal reasons I am not using the term reproduction here, but pastiche. Hero and Leander is a Greek myth about two lovers: Leander tragically drowns while trying to swim to his nightly encounters with Hero, both lovers on opposite sides of the sea between what is modern day Turkey and Greece. When Hero sees him lifeless by the cliffs, she throws herself down to be united with him. That’s basically the allegory of this abstract painting. Remarkably though, Twombly named it „Hero and Leandro (after Christopher Marlowe)“. Marlowe, a contemporary of the Bard, didn’t complete the mythological telling in his poem, it ends with Leandro leaving after one of his nightly encounters with Hero. But this is the last painting of a series of four paintings Twombly created, depicting the mythological tale. So fittingly, this one is dedicated to Christopher Marlowe who in his poem didn’t show this (bloody) part of love, agony and death.
Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades/Malibu, November 2011
Reproduction being the theme of this website, here’s quite a big one: the Getty Villa in Malibu is the reproduction/replica of an old Etruscan Villa built by the late oil tycoon J. Paul Getty as his own Xanadu, so to say. It was recently renovated and reopened. I visited because of a special exhibition, „Picasso, de Chirico, Léger and Picabia“ who based their expressionist, cubist human form on ancient greek statues, thus fitting the overall theme of antiquity that the Villa follows. I rediscovered Francis Picabia, who sadly is not esteemed enough for his work. His were my favourite paintings, especially his „transparencies“ series of superimposed images were very impressive, here is one such oeuvre:
The Getty Villa, as is the Getty Center above LA, are both free to visit, you just pay for the parking.
De Young Museum and Legion of Honor, November 2011
Some six years ago, for an art history seminar, I wrote a paper on the rebuilt De Young Museum in San Francisco.
Its architects were the Swiss duo of Herzog & de Meuron. So whenever in San Francisco, I like to go to this museum located in Golden Gate Park but also to the Legion of Honor. Fresh off the Biennale I wanted to see their exhibition on the Masters of Venice, such as Giorgione, Tintoretto, Titian and Veronese (though the greatest Canalettos I’ve seen were in the Collection Bührle in Zurich which was robbed at gunpoint!!!! That was a lousy time).
It is always an exciting experience to go see the exhibitions on European Masters even though I’ve repeatedly seen many of them. That doesn’t matter though, I go to the Zurich art museum (Kunsthaus) at least once a month just to sit in front of my Monet haystacks...
This time though, the Pissarro exhibition at the Legion of Honor, situated in Lincoln Park, was the more pleasing one. Movie buffs know the Legion from Vertigo, where somnambulic Kim Novak was followed to by James Stewart. It sits on top of Lincoln Park with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge. In its court there is a bronze statue of Rodin’s Thinker! (Rodin also reproduced some of his oevres!)
Internationales Kolloquium: Authentizität in der bildenden Kunst der Moderne 28. 10. 2011,
Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstgeschichte (SIK)
Most interesting lecture by Ms. Barbara Nägeli about connoisseurship in the context of marketing rights with amusing anecdotes of the case of the fictive Sammlung Jägers, which was a highly professional art forgery circle in Germany and the (genius?) culprit was just sentenced to jail this autumn. In general, discussions about reproductions and their meaning for the originals. In many cases reproductions are even more perfect than the originals – does this make them more beautiful? Does it hurt the original? Are reproductions just for the masses, not for the elite? Then again discussions about Walter Benjamin’s „aura“ in his Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (I love this thesis!).
Finally a very interesting lecture by Ms Teresa Ende on the authenticity of the plastic bronze, in general the many bronze casts of Rodin’s and Degas’ famous works (Dancer, Thinker etc...). For instance, there’s Rodin’s Hell’s Gate at the Kunsthaus Zurich and also at the Museum of Western Art in Ueno Park in Tokyo.... and Rodin’s Thinker lives on in the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, in Detroit, in Paris and some other places...
Biennale di Venezia October 2011
The Biennale takes place every two years in the Giardini and Arsenale area of Venice and in a lot of scattered palazzi throughout the city.
Ever since its beginnings, there have been pavilions run by the countries that show their art work, most of them in the Giardini. The Swiss pavilion
is in a prominent location at the right of the entrance to the Giardini.
Oh wonder, this year’s Swiss Pavilion was NOT dominated by Pippilotti Rist. By the way, why is she famous? For close up videos of naked couples? How artistic.... This year’s Swiss Pavilion exposition was created by Thomas Hirschhorn. Swiss artist Urs Fischer had his own art project in the Arsenale area, a burning candle installation, that eventually burns down and disappears.
Hirschhorn’s installation was supposed to be a commentary on the trash(y) society we are and live in. Literally.
Here’s a picture of it:
Swiss Pavilion, Thomas Hirschhorn installation.....
I don’t want to talk here about the German Pavilion’s exhibit on Christoph Schlingensief without insulting him and that’s all I have to say about that.
But the most illuminating realization at the Biennale was that the so called underdogs were the best: The Japanese and Korean Pavilions in the Giardini were breathteaking! The Japanese artist Tabaimo presented a video trompe d’oeil which was very, very poetic, as is Japanese art in general.
The Koreans showed video and photo installations that were disturbingly beautiful:
Korean Pavilion, can you see the juxtaposition?
Then again, the expositions outside of the Giardini and Arsenale areas, which by the way require an entrance fee, were the most interesting! They were even for free!!! The Zimbabwean show presented us with colorful pictures and photographs and the Bulgarians were outstanding!
Proud to say this for once, sharing their heritage after all! The Bulgarian exhibition was hidden in a Palazzo that you were just not supposed to find! It was located somewhere in the Santa Croce area near the Museo di Storia Naturale. As is custom in Venice, when you as a tourist ask for directions, you get the mandatory false direction!!! Well, apparently the Museo di Storia Naturale had no idea there even was a Biennale taking place, so of course no idea about the whereabouts of the Palazzo Carmini – ma che modi! – where the three Bulgarian artists Houben Tcherkelov, Greddy Assa and Pavel Koychev were exposing.
When in Venice.... don’t ask for directions! You’ll be brushed off and despised. Just look for them yourself. I was looking for the Bulgarian Pavilion for 35 minutes, wandering Santa Croce up and down und crossing dozens of bridges and eventually stumbled upon it. That’s how you find things in Venice! Sadly, with the economy so low, the Palazzo Carmini is a bit run down and actually occupied by a middle school... on the 2nd and 3rd floors as it seems. in between were the exhibitions of the Bulgarian artists.
Here are some pictures of the Bulgarian exhibition,
the theme there was about the value of money, about building and creating: So I can honestly say, with these artists I’m proud of my Bulgarian heritage.
MoMA July 2011
A view onto the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, as seen from the Cy Twombly gallery on the fourth floor. My favourites are the fourth and fifth floors with Pollocks, Twomblys, Warhols and the impressionists and expressionists respectively. The recent remodeling of the MoMA by Yoshio Taniguchi offers the perfect museum experience as the museum collection and special exhibits are kept neatly organized on five floors that are distinguished by themes and trends. So sculpture and painting is very well assessable in one single museum visit.
This is a bad iPhone pic of Cy Twombly’s allegoric Leda and the Swan, on the fourth floor. Jupiter visits Leda disguised as a swan and their offspring Helena is later the cause of the Trojan war. So in this strangely violent painting Twombly depicts what happens when a swan comes visit you at night. Helena was born out of a swan’s egg, together with twins Castor and Pollux whose brotherly love of each other resulted in the sign of Gemini which I’m doubly inclined to so I have always felt akin to these two brothers who have traditionally guided seafarers on their journeys. And I am a seafarer and I love stars and I’m full of awe of Mauna Kea Observatory where I have searched the Castor and Pollux constellation. So that’s why I love this tale.
I fondly remember Twombly’s abstract impressionism-graffiti-paintings of the classical mythology from my oral exam at my Masters at University.
Twombly is quite the enigma or as the NY Times called him in an obituary, quite idiosyncratic. He passed away on the fifth of July in Rome, a week later I reminisced about his oeuvre at his sculpture gallery on the fifth floor. I loved most of his beautiful - but kitschy (as my professor would say) mythological paintings but couldn’t quite warm up to his sculptures.
May he rest in peace between the stars watched over by Castor and Pollux.
And of course, one of my favourites.....
Claude Monet’s lily pond, in vivo.
Art Basel 2011
How beautiful is this nice little Chagall here? I guess it is worth around 70 Million USD. It was in the booth of Landau Fine Art Gallery from Montreal. I tried to pull a Warhol here with the photograph. So I love art and literature and of course Broadway, which imperatively go together. When encountering a Chagall I always think of the musical Anatevka - or as it’s better known, Fiddler on the Roof, which was inspired by Chagall’s lonely fiddlers in his works of art. Jewish mysticism in Chagall’s paintings is most beautifully symbolized by the floating figures and fiddlers. Not that there is a fiddler in this painting, but still. Fiddler on the Roof is the musicalized version of a Chagall painting. If I Were a Rich man and Sunrise, Sunset are its best known songs. Speaking of musicals, nothing beats South Pacific, the 2008 Lincoln Center Production with Paolo Szot is unforgettable.
Some Enchanted Evening.
Which sums up my evening at Art Basel: it was an enchanted one, albeit amusing. There was not only most interesting and peculiar art on exhibit but also artsy people (or tourists dressed like artsy connoisseurs) were crowding the booths and critically eyeing the objects of desire. That’s why art fairs shall always be taken with an open mind, humor and lordliness. What I like most about Art Basel is the little booths of galleries from all over the world that show off their concepts and collections. I love to browse through theses booths and chat to the owners and art dealers. That’s how I came upon the highlight of my Art Basel visit, the oeuvre of Mike Bidlo, who I realized is spiritually akin to me. He’s (drip-)painting replicas of Jackson Pollock. The most fun thing is that he wantonly calls his Pollock replicas: „Not Jackson Pollock“.
I of course was most delighted by him. Here is my picture of one of his two „Not Jackson Pollock“ paintings at Art Basel:
I think that’s really witty to call your reproduction „not so-and-so“.
In general, Art Basel broke all records again, in regard to visitors and art sold. Supposedly the art market is booming again.
So the art market is seemingly very stable which rounds up to this: art > oil
quod erat demonstrandum.
Next up will be the Venice Biennale which I will visit this summer.
By the way, am still painting on a couple of Turners and will upload them soon.
And speaking of musicals... all I know about life I know from Giuliano Fournier’s trasmissione „Broadway, Hollywood, Las Vegas“, ogni sabato sera alla Radio Svizzera Italiana, Rete Due. Stavo ascoltando Signor Fournier’s famosissima trasmissione già al liceo. Prima era trasmessa la domenica sera, adesso sabato sera. „Cari ascoltatrici e ascoltatori, buona sera, rieccomi con voi“ disse Giuliano Fournier. Da Mario Lanza a Gene Kelly c’è tutto sul palcoscenico e la musica.
Today I attended an international symposium organized by the Institute of Art History at the University of Zurich.
The event that took place in the building where Dadaism was invented, the Cabaret Voltaire, was aptly named Eurotrash ? There were interesting recitals on modern simulacra of renaissance art, such as the grotesque hotel palaces of Las Vegas that copy Italian and French renaissance styles, but also the cannibalization of art icons such as Michelangelo’s David, the Mona Lisa etc.... So in a certain way simulacra, replicas, palimpsests and reproductions of art and architecture are a thriving business in this day and age and though looked upon as kitschy and often tasteless by scholars, they still are part of critical art history of our modern culture. The title, as one of the lecturers said, is a reference to trash and possibly white trash, a comical concoction that highlights where that kind of trashy art derives from anyway: European art.
I try hard not to be trashy with what I do here, even though it might look kitschy. And why not! If you wish to have a reproduction of a certain artist, painted by me using the same materials (oil on canvas, acrylic or watercolors) then why not? L’art pour l’art. Ars gratia artis. With a vengeance.
Il giappone è uno dei miei paesi preferiti. Tutto è così differente da qua. Mistico, bello, tranquillo, morale, buddistico, shintoistico. Lì sono stata qualche volta e mi sono sempre trovata a proprio agio. La mentalità è curiosa ma onorevole e sincera. Tutto sembra funzionare così meglio che a casa: l’infrastruttura è puntuale, tutto è di migliore qualità, la gente si ingegna di aiutarti incessante e sebbene essi sperduto e sfollato, non hai mai paura perchè ti senti così sicuro in giappone. Ed io mi sono sfollata talvolta... ma non ho mai avuto paura, invece era un’avventura piacevole ritrovarmi nei vicoli minuscoli dietro il Narita-san... Scoprire dietro le quinte le charatteristice giapponesi, visitare i musei del Ueno Park, i fiori di cigliegio, Ginza, Shinjuku, Roppongi... anni fa magari conoscere Osaka e il suo aeroporto famoso e castello, ma adesso sopratutto l’orrore successo agli amici a Tokyo... mi sento tanta indifesa.
Qualunque cosa, tutti questi piccoli favori e noncuranze sono spariti una settimana fà. Ho sentito una stretta al cuore, è un calvario. Vorrei fare le mie condoglianze al popolo giapponese.
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