a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Stopping by Rome’s MAXXI on a September afternoon

Posted on the September 4th, 2011

Popped into Rome this afternoon to have our first look at the MAXXI museum which opened only last year. Full name: MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts.

As the name reveals, the MAXXI’s official mission is to celebrate modern art and architecture (see website here). The museum was designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid.

I liked the reflection of the blue sky, white clouds and nearby buildings in the museum’s big window high above, so I snapped a few photos, as you see.

The Guardian has a slide show here, if you want to see more.

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Romulus and Remus and the She Wolf: La sala della Lupa (Palazzo Montecitorio)

Posted on the July 1st, 2011

Life-sized bronze statue of She-Wolf nursing Romulus and Remus in the namesake hall, La sala della Lupa, of the seat of the Italian parliament in Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome. Photo by Tarcisio Arzuffi (June 2011).

Describing the photo in an email to me, Tarcisio wrote:

This year Italy celebrates its 150th year of national unity. Last week I had the opportunity to be in Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian parliament, and there I took this picture. It represents the symbol of Rome — the two children Romulus and Remus raised by a She Wolf. This bronze statue sculpted in natural dimensions gives its name to the most known hall of representatives in Montecitorio: La sala della Lupa.  The colors you see next to the Lupa in the photo are the Italian flag.

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Assolutamente incredibile! RomaEuropa FakeFactory

Posted on the November 20th, 2010

The phrase you have to see it to believe it truly earns its meaning with the project, RomaEuropa FakeFactory: the book! If you want to put that statement to the test, watch the video above (Italian). (Excerpts below from REFF press releases)

Where did FakeFactory come from?

The story begins with the opening of the Romaeuropa WebFactory, a digital art competition launched in 2008 by the Romaeuropa Foundation (Fondazione Romaeuropa) and Telecom Italia….

What is its purpose?

FakeFactory (www.romaeuropa.org) was an act of artivism, in favor of free culture and non-proprietary rights for authors. This network confronted the themes of art and hacking, political activism and technology, copyright and intellectual property and extended to access, cultural politics, crowdsourcing, open source models, peer-to-peer economic governance and the reinvention of the real…

How does it work?

The REFF experiment is more than its content, designing a new possibility for publishing: the book comes  fully integrated with a digital dimension through the use of Augmented Reality in the form of QRCodes and Fiducial Markers. These devices transform the experience of reading, enhancing it with an interactive dimension through the REFF network and global social networks, in a way that is completely uncensored.

The software is deposited on paper as hypertext, making it clickable, expandable, commentable and reactive, opening a virtually unlimited space for comparison between authors and readers on issues and debates on the book, dissolving the traditional boundaries that separate them. This book develops a new prototype of infinite potential for the intersection between digital and paper dimensions…

Who participates and why?

Supporters of the REFF are found all over the world: over 80 partners among universities, artists, academies, associations, hackers, researchers, designers, journalists, politicians, magazines, networks, activitst, art critics, architects, musicians and entrepreneurs together with all the people who share a belief that art, design and new technologies can unite towards a critical, yet positive vision of a world that can create new opportunities and new ways of being, collaborating and communicating.

To learn more about the REFF project, see here. And you may want to see this.

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Beauty confronts violence: Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar

Posted on the January 29th, 2010

“There’s no such thing as an innocent bystander anywhere on earth,” Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar says, explaining why she uses art to challenge others to join her in acts of political provocation. From Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster.

Video intro:

Her parents were opposition politicians who were murdered in Tehran in 1998. Since then,their daughter Parastou Forouhar has used both judicial and artistic means to fight for an investigation into their murder.Her struggle has put Forouhar,an installation artist living in Germany,under increasing pressure. She is met by Iran’s secret police each time she visits her parents’ graves. Forouhar talks with ARTS.21 about recent developments in Iran,the power of the opposition movement and the future of the Islamic state.

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Love flowers? Museums? Italy?

Posted on the January 26th, 2010

Monet, Waterlilies

If you love flowers, and Italy, and you’re so inclined, you might want to plan a trip to a small museum in a small town in Emilia-Romagna that is mounting quite a big show. From ANSA.IT (“Floral magic over centuries of art” Jan 22, 2010):

The San Domenico Museum in Forli is staging an entire show devoted to depictions of blossoms and blooms, including paintings by a host of masters from the 1500s to the early 20th century.

Work by Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh, Caravaggio, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Giovanni Boldini and Giuseppe De Nittis will be among those featured. ”This exhibition charts the history of still life paintings, specifically a history starring flowers,” explained curator Antonio Paolucci.

The San Domenico exhibition titled “Fiori. Natura e simbolo dal Seicento a Van Gogh” opened last Sunday and will continue through June 10th. The guiding idea for the exhibit is to feature works by great painters who occasionally chose to paint flowers, rather than the “niche artist” who specialized in floral works only, according to the ANSA.IT article.

As it happens, we’re going to be in the general area of Forli this weekend, so we may just drop by. If so, watch this space for more to come on the exhibition.

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In Venice. “The Ethics of Dust”

Posted on the September 17th, 2009


The Ethics of Dust: Doges Palace, Venice, 2009 by Jorge Otero-Pailos

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TateShots: Paul Harrison and John Wood

Posted on the April 28th, 2008

Each month, TateShots posts some videos online focusing on modern and contemporary art exhibitions at The Tate in London. Last month, artists Paul Harrison and John Wood were featured talking about the ideas behind some of their works. The duo are described by TateShots as “an art-world equivalent to Laurel and Hardy.”

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