Ah, the activists, now that is Madrid. My mother says that she could never get over how clean Madrid is. I have been before to Spain. It looked rougher around the edges this time, because of the monetary troubles, less hopeful, and gladly more outspoken against the EU, like their Greek compatriots. Countries like Spain gave up so much, as savings of the common person being wiped out. while their currency devalued. Spain is a premier country which has seen so much heartache in a century, and so much hope. Being another dumb American, I cannot image. Inside the walls of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, or the Reina Sofia. Like others, the Riena Sofia is one of those brainchildren of curators, and their architects, utilizing old structures and turning them into something historic, academic and fun. Examples like the Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian American in DC, PS1 in New York, the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, etc. The housing is quite beautiful as it was once an 18th century hospital, and has a wonderful sense of light and space in its hallways. Part of the collection, I did not shoot, I was unsure if you could. So I didn’t bother. But you can shoot almost anything, excepting Picasso’s Guernica. It has been many years since I have seen this grisaille painting. It will be among many of us, along with Goya’s etchings, an essential illustration against war. Sort of what the church paintings are to the bible. I used to make my visit to Picasso’s masterwork at the MoMA centuries ago. There was a time when we thought Franco would never die, and it would never leave us. Like the Elgin Marbles are to Greece, it is fitting for it to return to the Spanish. It came home. New York was luck to have held it for Picasso so long. Antonio Recalcati, Eduardo Arroyo and Gilles Aillaud Vivre et laisser mourir la fin tragique de Marcel Duchamp It took 3 painters of this 1965 painting, to have me scrambling to find out if the CIA had killed Marcel Duchamp. From Wikipedia, rather than Wikileaks, I found these three painters assassinated Duchamp metaphorically. I noted a character that looked a lot like Warhol in the panel to the far right. Hm, when you get to places like this, and the Pomidon’t in Paris, you better brush up on your history. ‘Cause these European intellectuals don’t play. Rafael Solbes and Manuel Valdés, one of many, Equipo Crónica Edward Keinholz’ Drawing for Commercial #2 Guddmunsson Erro’s The Victors of Leningrad supported by the Colour-Blind Monster Matisse Pablo Picasso’s Bust and Palette Oscar Dominquez’ Guanche Cave and Joan Miró’s Painting (Head of a Smoker) Joan Miró’s There was a little Magpie, cover and text Francis Picabia’s The Totalizer Martial Raysse’ Tri-color Modern (left) and Kurt Switters’ untitled (right). It is great to get a chance to see anything by Kurt Switters, much less be able to photograph it. I was in one collection recently where there was a chance to photograph quite a few, but the light level was deadly to shoot. At another museum the glare was so bad it was worthless. Man Ray’s Indestructable Object (left). Salvador Dali and Man Ray’s Portrait of Joella (center and right). Salvador Dali Face of the Great Masturbator Could we be in Spain without experiencing numerous Dali’s. After all, in Florida, we have a whole building of him! The one I could not shoot well was the Enigma of Hitler. The one above suffices. Mark Rothko’s Untitled (orange plum yellow) and Jose Guerrero Green Encounter Robert Motherwell’s Totemic Figure And so in between the activists, Atocha train station and a block or two down along the Paseo del Prado, we re-enter the twentieth century. Perhaps it is Guernica, or the evening visit to the Prado to be among Las Meninas. Or to see Velazquez’ characters alive once more at their balaconies along Paseo del Prado. Whichever, it makes Madrid special in my heart. Gracias, Madrid, siempre.