Saturday, January 29, 2011

An Opening at the 'Peggy'

Friday evening there was an opening at the Peggy Guggenheim for the new show:

But more on that later.  

I walked over to the Rialto to catch a vaporetto down to the Salute which is near the Palazzo Venier dei Lione, Peggy's home in Venice, now the Museum.  Dressed with 2 scarves, it is a little nippy- but no snow,
 I boarded the numbero 1, the 'Broadway local' of Venice,
 as it stops at every stop.

Looking ahead the constant traffic is fun to watch, the gondoli e taxi mingle with the barges, delivery boats, and the Vaporetti making their regular stops.

Here, at the Accademia stop, where the east and west moving vessels arrive at the Fermatta simultaneously, we can see not only the great Ponte dell' Accademia, but the Salute in the distance, the Guggenheim hidden by the vaporetto, and the face of the Palazzo Barbaro on the left.

The Barbaro, the white Palazzo next to the yellow one off to port, was purchased by the Curtis family from Boston in the 1870's and it is where they lived and entertained their guests for over a century.  One of those guests, Isabella Stewart Gardiner, from New York as well as Boston, was so enchanted with the ambiance of the Barbaro,  that she based the design of her new home in the Fens outside Boston on it.  She made it her museum.  The Barbaro is across the Grande Canal from the future 'Peggy'...hopefully more later.

The vaporetto continues east, our stop is off to starboard, but a strong cold gust makes itself known.  Check those catspaws ahead.  Can hardly hold the camera.

I arrived at the Guggenheim just in time for the pre-opening tour of the Vorticist Show.  The exhibit is 
an interesting in depth look at the moment in English (and Anglo-American) art at the time of the Cubist ascendance in Europe.  A collection of photography, painting, sculpture and writing,  always the writing which is needed to explain (to Pound into in this case) the ideas of art to those non visually literate.  On the pre-opening tour, the curator Vivien Green, described and explained those ideas, and the events in New York and London which fueled these artists just before the Great War.  A well designed exhibition.  

Anyway, the show officially opened an hour later with a grand Festa in the museum garden and while many were examining the show inside, I was examining the show outside.

The neon art piece on the wall behind the throne is by Mario Merz
'Se la Forma Scompare la sua Radice e Eterna'
If the Form Vanishes Its Root Is Eternal

The Exhibit is officially open and everyone is milling about in the garden with a red wine, prosecco or the favorite of the evening  mulled wine: vino rosso caldo.  Parlano italiano, and after a sip or 2 of the rosso caldo, I could not distinguish, so I followed the Woman Walking...

...there is an aura about her which keeps most at a distance.

In other parts of this wonderful sculpture garden all were talking and bundled up.

And even though it is quite chilly, there is always a reminder, like this grand Palm, of what the Tempo is really like,  not vanished,  always idea to keep close through life and art.

Now back to that walking woman...

....Se le forma sua radici e eterna...

...and that

 is why artists like bronze..after several 'rosso caldi', someone will always wack the art.

On the Fondamenta Guggenheim
all is in control.

The Barking Dog seems now like the prow of the ship Guggenheim,
moving out through the canali di Venezia.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Due Ragazza e Due Musei

Giambattista Piranesi (Venice 1720 - Rome 1778)

A visit to the Piranesi exhibition on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore which is closing this week is first on our list today, and we get down to the Riva degli Schiavoni to get a vaporetto over to the isola.

If you look closely, the giant banner is visible.

We arrived at the isola and rushed to the exhibit hall to see the show.  The interior of the hall was extremely dark with the drawings displayed in little light and  new objects highlighted, a chiaro-scurio display of Piranesi works.

a Capriccio.
This exhibit seems to have Piranesi's complete drawings, a massive display of Capriccio, Prisons, and Archeology.  While we think of Piranesi as the master of the vision of being lost in an architectural hell- his fabulous Prison series, it turns out that by spending so much time and interest in recording exactly what he found in Rome and Paestum and other ancient locations, that he is the father of archeology.

An elegant in situ view of the construction of a Roman wall and arches.
There were a great many of these technical engravings, but the light was very low and you can see the quality of the photos are as well.

After the drawings, and a sophisticated movie which digitized the Prison series allowing the viewer to move through them all in a combined Piranesian world, we moved to objects...and it took a while to comprehend that these were real new objects, created from Piranesi  drawings, through 3D digitizing and fabrication.

This is a true size model of a fireplace design by Piranesi with its wall design.  In this light, as one walks into the room, it was difficult to fully understand what I was looking at, because, actually, this stuff was never actually made.  It became clear, after reading,  that this part of the exhibition was newly created objects and devices that Piranesi had designed and drawn as part of his studies.  
This is an amazing concept, it was developed by Michele De Lucchi together with Factum Arte , Madrid laboratory of Adam Lowe.  

il Cafe degli Inglese

Piranesi lived in Rome while he was engraving his work, and was a great friend of Robert Adam and others in the English community there in the 1760's.   The English had a coffee house where they gathered and talked, and Adam got Piranesi to decorate it.  Using the Egyptian imagery he was studying, Piranesi redid the cafe.  it was very popular.  It has been reinvented in this show.  

Piranesi's drawing of caffe degli inglese above and Le studente below

E rivedersi a il caffe degli inglese.....

The objects  created from drawings are even more amazing, as shown below the gallery and the drawings from which the  urn  and tripod table with alabaster top were created.

This is an overwhelming exhibit with its powerful vision of Piranesi's work.

 Even a coffee pot designed from sea shells was created...

This must be the first slow food 'must have'....

We left the show and spent time checking out the boats in the little yacht harbor on the island.

Then, on the way back to catch a vaporetto on the Fondementa di San Giorgio...
we get a chance to recreate a painting.

maybe with attentive characters.

Poi noi andiamo a la casa di Carlo Goldoni...
the Shakespeare of Italy.

In the casa there are several great  Murano chandeliers

which are most festive.

As well as the puppet theatre from the Ca' Rezonnico.

Marionettes feature large in Venice.   It stems from an Istrian pirate raid in Castello on 31 January 944, when a group of pirates attacked a wedding party, and stole all 12 brides... the Venetians sailed after them, caught them and returned with the brides..on the 2nd of February, the Festa di Marie.  Sometime after that they began making  manikins of the 12 to be paraded at the annual Festa.  The brides were referred to as le Marie and the large dolls were referred to as Marione.  Merchants began having small models of the Marione made for sale at the Festa di Marie, and those -dolls- began to be know as Marionette.  The Marionette began to be used in little bible story plays, and others, such as Punchinello.  The beginnings of the Punch and Judy shows.  The origin of the Marionette, right here in Castello.

The Casa Goldini shows the parts of the 18th century marionette...

As well as fully dressed in the costume of the time.  I was only allowed one photograph here, so we better move along

In case anyone is interested, Ticklepuss is a member of the Burattino family. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Capodanno a Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Alex and Ferry in Peggy's throne.

On New Year's Day the three of us went to the "Peggy" to 
have a free spritz and
 visitano her wonderful collection of early Abstract Expressionism.
We had a great time wondering through the crowded museum that day,
We saw and loved the Pollacks, the great Calder headboard which is really a giant sterling necklace,
As well as the rest of her collection, including that one which I just found this year, the

 Giacometti Woman Walking.

On the Fondementa Guggenheim there are several sculptures
including Calder's Barking Dog.

Overlooking a calm Grande Canal is a perfect spot
for this intrusion into the Venetian eyescape. In Venice actually dogs are not
allowed to bark, and if they become violators, they are given a muzzle.  This one is quiet enough by
 size to its surroundings.  

On to the bar, where Aperol is providing free spritz for all Guggenheim visitors today.

And with spritz in hand we visited the rest of the sculpture garden.  No, the camera did not get a drink, this is the Triangular Solid with Circular Inserts, by Dan Graham.  
An interesting piece at a cocktail party.  We later left
and walked through Dorsoduro on this sunny afternoon until we arrived at our friend's for dinner.

The view over their garden, ending a great First Day for this year.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Epiphany at the Torre dell'Orologio & (a quick tour of the Doge's Palace)

It was an overcast day, but we had to be at Piazza San Marco before noon for the appearance of the Wise Men on Epiphany 2011.  This has been planned since 1493 when the Doge commissioned a giant (cuckoo :) clock for the great nation of Venezia.  It was completed in 1499, so, for 512 years this has been going on (plus the first one about 1500 years earlier). Couldn't miss it, so Ferry and I got down there in time to meet Bob, Ewa, and Felicite, (whom you'll meet).  The scene was casual, not too many people for this event...

And we had good seats...
lower right, there on the Acqua Alta ramps...
Note that those gold doors above the clock face and below the Winged Lion of Venice are closed, as they always are..
and the giant bronze bell, with its 2 giant bronze bellringers ready to ring that bell with their mallets.  And the seagulls, checking out what the population of the piazza may be offloading today.
A door opens, d*** this is amazing.

Why I refocused I have no clue, but it does show that those bells are sounding loud and clear.
There, the 3 Kings from the Orient are being lead by a trumpeter on their yearly journey around the circle.
You've seen the closed doors already, so,
The event is over and everyone, including us is thrilled, bells, giant Venetian dolls, and more belles.

Three of us are off to visit il Palazzo del Doge.  Guess who,(plus no photos allowed).

Just after we got in to the courtyard we began to look for the entry to the palace itself..

With no photography allowed, it requires some thinking, here is the Doge's view of San Georgio Maggiore...and its little yacht harbor from what is probably the world's largest room.  We had to wisk out through a tiny -secret- door to get over to the cafeteria...
Here we are eating lunch at the Doge's palace! with a view of gondolo passing by...

We had to get back to the tour to see the prison cells and the view from the Bridge of Sighs,
Ah, just about the same as the Doge's view...
We went back to the courtyard to check out the "Giant Staircase"

Getting ready for the photoshoot...


This seems to be something between Antonioni and Nabokov...
We got out of there without being totally trampled

...can't let the parents see this in color.

So, just one more shot to show why we went to San Marco on January 6th, 2011

This is about 1/30 of the frame, showing the Holy Family with the Wise Men and their bugler.

A fun afternoon and a rare event.