I call it “3 + 3″– first go, Rome!

After having just spent a month and a half in Europe, I have spent a lot of time since my return (about 2.5 weeks) reliving and retelling my experiences there.  Within three weeks, Mark and I visited five cities in three countries.  I have finally uploaded all travel photos to my flickr page, but I want to blog about the trip a bit too.  Of course I have already concentrated heavily on my three weeks at the residency in Budapest, but now it’s time to explore the rest of the trip leading up to that.

So, since our purpose in going to Europe was to see and experience artwork, in each of the next few entries which will correspond to the cities we visited in order, I will post three photos of art that is somehow noteworthy in it’s own right (at least as I see it) and three of my own “artful” photos- perhaps of artwork or anything, really.

Here goes round 1- first stop: Rome!

Let’s start with three notable artworks or experiences with art:

It started with a visit to the Vatican Museum and extended throughout our time in Europe: my infatuation with Italian Grotesque painting.  I love that sur-realism existed prior to Surrealism.

Again at the Vatican Museum (one of the few museums we visited that allows photographs) is the Room of the Animals.  These two gallery rooms contain carved stone statues of every type of animal imaginable.  They reflect the age-old obsession with conquering and collecting animals to form a sort of menagerie.  A private garden full of exotic animals was a sign of wealth.  An excellent book on the larger subject is called Dominance and Affection: The Making of Pets by Yi-Fu Tuan.

Foil she-wolves placed on the walls that line the Tiber, a public art-installation by Kristin Jones.  Here’s one that was close enough for us to see in detail, but hundreds of them  line the wall that recedes downward from the upper walkways on both sides of the river for a stretch.  The way they reflect the city’s lights at night is a mystical spectacle.  I like this photo because it captures the reason for Jones’ embarking on the project in the first place: neglect.  The barricade, graffiti and litter form an environment against which this momma wolf  snarls and bristles as she protects her young–human and wolf alike.  Here’s a New Yorker article on how this project came about.

Okay, now for my three “artful” photos, whatever that means.  They might be photos of or containing someone else’s artwork, or they might just be a shot by me that I think turned out particularly well.

Palm trees against the bluey blue of a sky nearing dusk.  Taken on our first night in Rome.

We were fortunate to travel with our friends Mary and Chris for the Rome-Florence-Venice portion of our trip.  We had traveled with them to Toronto, CA and London, UK on separate trips in the past, and when we started to hatch this trip to Europe around my residency and the Venice Biennale, it coincided with vacation plans they were making for the summer.  Here is an amazing photo of Chris having a great time at a cafe that we joked would be perfect in a travel guide.  We really were having a good time, but this photo is almost hyperbolic in it’s quintessential just-kicking-back-in-Rome-ness, complete with the token accordion player.

I was able to momentarily stop time at a fountain near the Coliseum.

Next stop: Florence!

Posted July 26th, 2009 in Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , , , , .

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