Autumn in New York: Chihuly LIVE

Splashes of the Halloween season in the Children’s Park, become a backdrop for the work of Dale Chihuly.

These postcards from the Bronx Botanical Gardens, use many areas of the park as a backdrop for the work of glassmaker Dale Chihuly. Many images are variations of work done before. Chihuly’s work is always worthwhile to see, being the foremost glassmaker since Tiffany, but steeped in the twentieth and the twenty-first century. Don’t miss it if you can before October 29.

The genius of Dale Chihuly.


Goodbye, Irma.

Subtle signs of hurricane passed.

After a loud, blistering night, it is the reverse feeling of Christmas. You are waking up to something you don’t know what will be. The first sight is debris, but my neighbors cars are intact. My fence is still up, as the gate is in the garage, The window in the door boarded, The outside lights inside house. It will not matter as for 3 days there is no power. No school. No stores open, except for one McDonald’s, and Safeway. A few gas stations open. No banks. No mall.

Plenty of debris and then I spot it across the road. . .

What looks picturesque is my neighbor’s tree across the road with power lines. Did not hurt either of 3 houses, not even the mailbox (below) across the street.

Then it begins to set in, you were lucky, but maybe not so for others. A lake overspilled and found its path in a dry creek. Trees so numerous across the roadway, that it was like traveling through a maze with a car.

I had been in New York the weekend before Sandy. That weird moon the nights before. I remember a strange moon the day before this one and had commented on it to a colleague. I remember Christie and Bloomberg on TV, making everyone nervous. And recently, I had started watching the carpenter ants make a strange resurgence this summer, after years of not seeing them. There they were, and it reminded me of Charley.

We were lucky this time. The food got saved with ice, and the old grill came out of the garage. They eventually came and started clearing roads, even though lines remained down. My neighborhood has walls of debris curbside and we got back power. We always had water and a landline. There was some misery in our neighborhood, but it is a nasty thing to capitalize on another’s tragedy. Gawking with a camera.

Some in other areas had backed up sewers and waist high waters. A hurricane is the most boring and unnerving thing to sit through. You spend hours listening to hysteria from news people. Some who have never really been through one. Then the storm rolls in and those awful squalls. And the thuds, this time at night. This time a ton of rain!

As I was driving through Monday (?) a beautiful rainbow, where there was no rain. I guess that was Irma saying bye. That bitch.

Postcards from L.A.

A walk around Long Beach Shore Line area near Parker Lighthouse.

Certain shots are just made on their own. One shoots simply and comes out to find shots which exist on their own, no context, little content. But these shots exist for the beauty of the moment, and like postcards are throwaways. Consumed, then tossed.

Coming from Florida, there is a correspondence to living in an area of the country which allows one to live in and outdoors easily most of the year. Los Angeles light and color is less bright, less intense, but it has a softer beauty to it that makes its skies and especially, the evenings. a rare beauty.

Santa Monica Pier

Venice Beach

Downtown Walt Disney Concert Hall by Gehry

LAlive: Two Days in Another Town

Two views: One via Southwest, the other via the Getty Center.

Janene said, but you’re in Long Beach, you really aren’t in L.A. ? When I talk about Los Angeles, I talk about the whole thing. I know some of the parts think of themselves as separate, but the view from the outside has always been it is ALL L.A.. And in the good way that Los Angelenos think of themselves.

Down at the Convention Center in Long Beach, the Queen Mary sits and there was some kind of Monster convention going on.

Whether day or night, L.A. has its own color.

We figured out right away that North Long Beach looked a little like parts of Winter Park in FL. We found the typical chains, as we found on this coast, Aldi’s and Dollar Tree. Then we found the local In-N-Out Burger, and thought it would be a gas to eat there late that evening.

This is the day we arrived.

The second day we got out to the Getty Center using the Santa Monica Freeway, the one that becomes countless stories, starting with Bob Hope at the Oscars a thousand years ago. This was America’s superhighway, when bumpkins elsewhere couldn’t think what to do with a car, beyond start it.

You will find first rate art at the Getty Center, like van Gogh’s Irises,

and its own tram to transport you,

and first rate architecture by Richard Meier, the same on who did the High in Atlanta

and a Saturday night filled with stuff to do and see.

LA is a lot of things to a lot of different people. Easterners think of LA as a place of kooks, and they have a share, but none so much as places like NYC or DC. As I watch Latino families at an In-N-Out Burger, they look no different than the families I have seen in Apopka.

This baby made her second cross to the West Coast this year!

roma 17: Finding Caravaggio

ft.pngThe Fortune Teller, an early work of the master in the Capitoline collection

Another copy exists in the Louvre.

A while back, I had read the definitive biography, M: The Man Who Became Caravaggio by Robb  and blogged on some of the work of Michelangelo Merisi (1571 – 1610) , or as we know himCaravaggio. Thus, seeing a second version of The Fortune Teller, but with more classic treatment of the male (the Louvre version seems to be a portraits of one of his assistants or friends).

S. Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist) also on view at the Capitoline.

The St. John in the Capitoline is Caravaggio at his classic style. The use of red for the drapery and the chiaroscuro used on the figure, already gives you an idea where Rubens and Correggio will go, with slightly broader palettes. After seeing the Rafaello rooms in the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, you kind of get the reaction to the color constrain that Caravaggio is going for. His concentration of flesh tones and the use of red and medium blue, go far against the black grounds.

Deposizione (The Entombment of Christ) at the Pinacoteca at the Vatican Museums

The last time I saw this was at a terrific show of Caravaggio, at Scuderie del Quirinale. Desposizione was as striking as it is today. The sculptural effects he creates in this tight space is amazing, including the way the stone they are standing on juts out. Of all his work the faces are beautifully done, especially the women, watch how the hands lead in and out of space of the group.

 Mary Magdalena (center) is truly one of the most beautiful women Caravaggio has ever painted for me.

Look at the slight angle change of the heads from John to Nicedomus

Too bad the lighting of the painting led to a flair, but overall the beauty of the faces in this one is incredible.  The beauty of simplicity, the great use of drawing. It will always be amazing to me, that Caravaggio began painting directly on canvas without dozens of preliminary drawings!

But BINGO! San Luigi dei Francesi holds three Caravaggio’s in one small chapel.

In Rome you can explore and find artist’s work onsite, as they were intended to be displayed. This is the story of Caravaggio’s series on St. Matthew. East of the Piazza Navona, in the beautiful church of San Luigi dei Francesci in a little corner chapel, for nothing, but a few coins, if you wish, you can see a display of at least two of his finest paintings. In order to really see the paintings, everyone takes turns popping in coins for the lights to stay on.

As you cannot enter the chapel it is difficult to photograph both The Calling of Saint Matthew and The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew, as they are on right angles. The reason for the fuzziness of the images are due to correction of the parallax with photoshop. The vantage point also led way to the unwanted glare.

San Matteo e angelo (The Inspiration of Saint Matthew)

It is a shame that they are set so closely and the vantage point harder to see. Especially the The Calling of Saint Matthew, which is incredible in its darkness. Like a light out of darkness, Jesus stumbles into a den of dandies (check the get-ups) to call out St. Matthew, either drunk or afraid. The compressing of the action into areas leaving lots of space above, and the  gesture Christ’s hand already begin hands moving all over. Things learned from Leonardo and Michelangelo, and passed on to artists like Caravaggio and Andrea del Sarto.

Vocazione di San Matteo (The Calling of Saint Matthew), best I could do.

Vocazione di San Matteo (The Calling of Saint Matthew) (detail)

Notice how the two younger males at the right end of the table nearer to Christ, actually seem to move away from the table to open up space. Notice that face of the boy is probably Cecco at the back end. This is the face of Caravaggio’s apprentice and is seen in several paintings here, including , the angel in The Inspiration of Saint Matthew, as well as St. John the Baptist. He is probably also the boy in The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew. 

This is one painting in spite of the neutral background, where the colors the dandy’s wear, seem so outstanding. The tone here is less somber than The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew where everything is almost the same color and the figures more in a deeper space.

Martirio di San Matteo (The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew)

The space is more an indication of the work he will do beginning in Naples. A good link from the space created in Raphael’s work and eventually moving full force in the work of Correggio and Tiepolo.


Roma 17: At home and Rome

Unlike Orlando which bulldozes it’s history, Rome does not destroy its history.

Reflections on Rome and 10 great things about it:

1  Does not destroy its history.

2  Arts

3  People know how to move.

4  Food

5 Clean (not the Metro)

6  Remains open at night

7.Interactions among citizens

8. Walking city

9. Public transportation

10.Site specific neighborhoods

Only two complaints: more signage, often poof or obscure, and better pavements.


romALIVE 17: “Once upon a time. . . “

The holy father really got people out of their seats.

I am not a religious person, nor ever been mistaken as one. I don’t like dogma in any dish it comes in. I don’t like the meanness religiousness can sometimes take on. But I am not against religiosity, nor people who profess and show real religious conviction.

He is a resourceful and interesting man, in some ways worldly and cloistered.

This is my third time at St. Peters, and I finally am able to put it into words. I know about the pomp and ceremony, the tradition as well. This is a modern man, compared to some earlier popes. He is not one of position and power. Which is what makes him so attractive. And it is so different from how I feel about St. Peter’s church.

The one piece of art for me there that has a beautiful feeling.

There are many beautiful churches throughout the world. There are many beautiful churches in Rome, but this is not one of them. Bernini and anyone else who worked on this thing got so carried away, they lost the religiosity. There are signs of real feeling but they are few and far in between. Yes, it is a beautiful dome. Yes, the altar is exquisite. There is a ton of gold leaf. Raphael’s Transfiguration is there, a copy, eaten up by the overbearing scale. But it is all pomp. And perhaps no pope.

This is another one of those rare pieces.

Ancient Rome via Cinecittà

Set from The Borgias

What I am saying is make-believe should take on a different level. That afternoon of the same day, we travelled to the Cinecittà studios for a tour of another kind. Mussolini was instrumental in devising a modern movie studio, where he could deliver “his” message like a genie in a bottle. After the period of the white telephone films, and neo-realist discontent and defeat of Il Duce, Cinecittà went on to be the place for Americans to go for big extravaganza productions. Followed by Fellini, and modern Italian film.

Remember Anita’s Vatican dress?

It was great being at that studio for a tour, great seeing that it is alive and kicking today, a place where Americans, like Scorsese, go to deliver extravaganza’s like the Gangs of New York. If I need to be in make believe, this one makes me happier.