Friday, July 26, 2013

Art is Trash

I have looked at so much art in Barcelona!  Public art, graffiti art, museum art, religious art, ancient art, and even student art.  I may be suffering from art overload because I have started to be underwhelmed by some fantastic stuff.  

For the last field day of the drawing class, the students set up near the Arc de Triomf, which is a giant brick arch built in the late eighteen hundreds.  It is... real big.  It has some sculptural details which feature bat creatures which I enjoyed, but really the best part, in my opinion, was the long rows of sculptural lamp posts and palm trees which flank the walkway leading to the arch.  Also fun to see were the groups of old men shouting, playing cards, and watching some kind of game with hard balls they were throwing in sand pits.  One funny older man was getting a kick out of Brandon's beard, and basically disparaged Brandon's virility when Brandon insisted that his beard was "fantastico" and shouldn't be cut as the man was encouraging.  I won't tell you what hand gestures the man used to get his point across, but he was fluent in dirty old man pantomime and made us laugh.  

At the opposite end of the path of from the Arc de Triomf, was a park featuring a very over the top fountain topped with golden chariot horses and ringed with winged dragons.  Barcelona seems to be a very dog friendly city.  We see dogs on leashes on the streets, outside cafe's, tied to posts outside of shops, and even riding the metro.  Here in this park, the dogs were off leash and chasing each other, which was fun to watch.  Also fun to watch, was a young shirtless and barefooted man, with interesting tattoos and a deep tan, doing some extreme yoga in one of the pavilions.  At one point he was standing on his head and doing the splits in the air.  I told Brandon that he should put a collection cup out because he was putting on a better show that most of the many street performers we have seen.  For some reason Brandon wasn't as impressed as me and didn't think he would make much money.

Who doesn't love zebra graffiti? 

This afternoon Brandon took me to see Parc Guell, which is an elaborate architectural garden designed by Antoni Gaudi in the early nineteen hundreds, and was intended to be a ritzy housing development.  Apparently the housing thing didn't pan out, since there are only two houses, one of which Gaudi lived in, but now the park is owned by the city as is free for all to enjoy.  The grounds are supposed to "bring peace and calm", but we must have visited at a bad time of day because it was packed!  There we so many people that I felt like we were standing in line to see the sights, and the sun was baking everyone.  This was not bringing me peace and calm.  

I think that if I hadn't already seen several of Gaudi's works, hadn't already enjoyed scenic views of the city, and hadn't seen so many other city parks with more elaborate gardens, I would have enjoyed Parc Guell more, despite the crowds and the heat.  Each terrace had street musicians, trinket sellers, and even someone putting on a puppet show.  

I thought one of the best parts of the park was under the terrace, where there are large columns, and the roof was like giant craters with shiny mosaic tiles.  It was cool in the shade, and a great place to watch kids chase pigeons and play hide and seek behind the columns.  It is really like a fantasy land.  

Some of the other collonades were made from earthy stone, and seemed to defy gravity.  

On the walk out of the park this graffiti chicken kept showing up.  What does it mean?  

After fighting the heat in the park, we decided to enjoy the air conditioning in the Antoni Tapies museum, which surprised us both because it was such a good show and the museum was so nice and we practically had the place to ourselves.  Tapies is a Barcelona artist, who has made work since the nineteen forties and is considered one the most famous European artists of his generation, having shows in Paris and New York in the seventies. I don't know how we have never heard of him before but we both liked his work and enjoyed the videos that were made in the sixties of him creating his sculptural mixed media paintings.  

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