Friday, December 14, 2007

Who Arted?

Visit the Haus der Kunst in Munich. Do it. Go for the Anish Kapoor exhibit but stay for Robin Rhode!

I recognized Rhode's work from a deliberate pilgrimage to the MOMA last October. His show at the Haus der Kunst "Walk Off" was a special treat because his aesthetic really starts coming through after seeing several pieces. Rhodes work is rooted in performance but finished pieces take the shape of film, photo, drawing and sculpture. Rhode draws objects on flat surfaces and films or photographs figures interacting with these objects. The end result ranges in its emotive capacity. At surface level there is evidence of curiosity and play. As the skits progress heavier implications are born. A wall of photographs describes colorful figures interacting violently. One frame shows a figure tossing a brick, the next shows the object colliding into another figure's head.

Rhode developed his medium from juvenile initiation rights he experienced in elementary school. Rhode said that older boys would draw an object on a bathroom wall and bully younger boys into interacting with the false object for comical effect. Other pieces evoke sincere beauty and emotion. One work involves a dancer using his body to unite a drawng of two trees. The dance deliciously describes the violin audio that accompanies the work.

I particularly favor this and other German Museums for their commitment to explanations. You'll find detailed descriptions of teh artists intentions in both German and English.

A Slit of the Rist

Lame. Guess I couldn't ResIST. Serious-Lame. No but the art was actually pretty cool.

If you are fortunate enough to visit the Museum Fur Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany you'll have to make it a point to swing by the ladies room. The middle stall features an intimate film experience by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist. Upon shutting the stall door the lights flick off and a small circle of film is projected on the bathroom floor. The imagery was swirling and colorful as typical or Rist. A female figure in a green space. The imagery suggests nostalgia and longing, which is further enhanced by a faint audio track being played in the stall. There is something soothing about the location of the projection. I have always respected the intimacy of the bathroom as a space and am pleased to see it as a venue.

An Art Forum article notes that this is not the first time Rist has utilized the toilette as an exhibition space. In her piece Closet Circuit (2000), she placed an infrared camera inside the toilet bowl. The participant's could observe themselves going about their business on a monitor in front of the toilet.
If you make it past the ladies room you will have to make it a point to check out an awesome photography exhibit by Tayrn Simon. Really I can't shut up about it. And the rest of the Museum is excellent. I had never seen so many sculptures by Beuys before.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuscan Cooking School

During independant travel we, as students, had to plan a trip. For my trip I was fortunate enough to have my daddy come to visit. This being his first trip to Italy, we went and saw some wonderful sites, a couple of vineyards, and stayed in some great cities. One of the great things we did on this trip was go to a Tuscan cooking school for two days. It was in a villa, which was restored, right outside of Firenze (Florence). The school was amazing and was a great opportunity! We both learned so much in tTuscan cuisine, and ate like kings for those two days! One of our chefs was a man who was born outside of Firenze and became the head chef in the White House for Bush Sr. He was an excellent chef, great teacher, and a really sweet man. Over all a very wonderful experience!

San Matteo Market

In Piazza San Matteo there is a market the first Saturday of every month. At this market they sell antiques, nick-nacks, and all types of interesting pieces. This same market doubles up and becomes the space where the Christmas market is during December. Other locations in the medieval city have these Christmas markets but this is the only location of the antique market each month. Location of this event is near the Piazza Ferrari, less than a block away and is easily located due to the Church of San Matteo being a focal point in this piazza.

Asi Es Mi Peru

Asi Es Mi Peru
A small piece of Peru in the center of the medieval city. This restaurant is an amazing meal, one of a kind in the city and has a great atmosphere. The lunch meal that is only 6 Euro a person consists of soup, rice, chicken, veggies, bread, and water. The beer seen in the picture below is extra but is worth it. It is a beer from Peru and is quite tasty. Also the spiciness of the meal is controlled by you, they give you the spicy sauce to add to your meal as you wish, making this experience as intense or light as you want. Also recommended is the potato appetizer. It is incredible! Check it out!

So Long, Farewell...

I can't believe that the semester has come to an end, it seems like only yesterday that I was boarding a big and scary plane to fly over to Italy... Now I have to go back (major boo). And putting it mildly, the semester has been a real adventure; learning how to navigate through Italy, traveling (and finding our way) in other countries, living with 13 girls.... But every bit, I wouldn't trade for anything.

To the staff, Angela, Andreina, & Silvia, of the Villa: Thank you for an amazing experience, without y'all our time here would have been MUCH more complicated and hectic (as if it wasn't enough already).
To our professors, Virginia, Stefano, Saverio, & Ron: Despite our moaning and groaning, I know we all learned a lot and will take this time and experience away and will never forget it.
And last but definitely not least, to the Ragazzi: My fellow artichokies, I will miss you more than words can say... I know it was crazy and (dramatic!) at times but y'all have made these memories together with me and that's something I totes wouldn't want to change... Ever.

Goosh, I am getting emotional.
So Long, Genova... We will miss you...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"La Lanterna"

Promenade and Museum

"La Lanterna," the lighthouse, is a symbol in Genova. Constructed in the middle of the 16th century, it still stands today. It is 77 meters high and rises out of a rock that is 40 meters high. The Lanterna can be seen from several places throughout the city and lights up in the harbour at night. Surrounding the base of the "Lanterna" are ancient fortification walls that house the "Lanterna Museum." The museum has TV screens that show pictures and movies about Genova's history, art, material, culture, land, and traditions. There is also a raised pedestrian path that leads to the Lanterna from the street. This path, or "Promenade" is about 800 meters long and follows the ancient walls allowing visitors to view harbor activities.

Casa del Fascio in Como

View of Interior Courtyard

The Casa del Fascio in Como is a symbol of Fascist Architecture in Italy. Several other cities in Italy have their own Casa del Fascio that was constructed during the Fascist Regime. These buildings were used as a meeting place where Mussolini made his address every Saturday to all of Italy. Giuseppe Terragni designed this one in Como and it was built between 1933-1936. On the exterior, each elevation of the building is different. The interior layout is similar to an Italian palace, in which there is a large central courtyard. In the courtyard the ceiling is composed of small glass blocks, which allow natural light to flood the space. Today it is used by the Guardia di Finanzia, the Italian military police.

mmm....Pesto Pasta

The Villa’s cook, Angela, was gracious enough to share her yummy recipe for Pesto Pasta. Enjoy!

Use food processor to blend:
- Fresh basil leaves from 8 bunches
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 package pinenuts
- 1 or more glasses of olive oil
Next, mix in:
- 3/4 -1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
Add noodles of choice.
Serves 5-6

Calatrava in Barcelona

While people are sure to visit Gaudi's many works in Barcelona, another inspiring piece in the city is that of Spanish Architect: Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava's graceful tower is located on Montjuic Hill near the Olympic venues from 1992. Its function is a simple communications tower, but its form is not. Constructed of steel, the curves and balance of the tower stop many in their tracks. To find out more about this project by Calatrava, or to view some of his other works visit his website.

Memorial to the Books

Nazi Book Burning Memorial

"Heine said: if you burn books today, you burn people tomorrow. But we never imagined what was to come," says 93-year-old Elfrieda Bruenning.

Reality hits strong when you realize that the quote above from Heine was stated over a hundred years before this awful event took place on May 10, 1933.

In Berlin, on the location of the horrible fire, is a glass window. When you are approaching the memorial, there are no tall columns, no huge statues, no warning signs at all. Walking through the square, you suddenly realize there is a window in the pavement. Glancing down, you see a clean, white library. This library is rectangular, well lit, but completely empty and unaccessible. It could potentially hold all the books that were burned by Nazis on the dreadful night in 1933. You can not experience the room except through this little portal. Micha Ullman designed it this way in 1995 because he realized that the past is untouchable and unchangeable. Although this memorial is not as somber as many, it is a very powerful reminder of what happened.

BBC News
More Pictures and Info

Bargain Shopping

While in Marrakech, we spent a lot of time shopping and making deals in the streets on the walk to La place Jemaa el Fnaa. The shopkeepers were excited to show their goods and would sell anything for some dirhams. Bargaining became an afternoon event, because they would make a place for you to sit and offer all the mint tea you could drink. Oh yeah, and the architecture was cool too.

I.M. Pei in Paris

The Louvre Pyramids, by architect I.M. Pei

On a recent trip to Paris, I looked at the works of American Architects. One of the finest examples of work that I found was I.M. Pei's Louvre Pyramids. They are great pieces of modern architecture that achieve success in function and form. Contrastingly they sit within the courtyard of the majestic palace, yet perfectly the two architectural styles work together. The artwork inside the museum is great, but if for no other reason, go see the architecture! For more information on the museum, click here.

Jewish Museum Line

Like most of the students who ventured to Berlin on our independent travel, I went to Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum. I was very intrigued in the building and the lines that cut into it. Upon taking tons of photos on the exterior I ran across this line of the edge of the building that continues into the landscape. This image has not been photoshoped. This is how the museum really is. I was wondering if this was intentional or not?


For personal travel I visited Marrakech, Morrocco. The experience was impossible to capture with photos, but I feel like this picture from the cab shows how chaotic the streets are. From cars to trucks to bicycles to donkeys, anything goes for transportation on the dirt roads around the city.

Bahia Palace

While on independent travel in Marrakech, we went to the Bahia Palace. Intended to be the greatest palaces of it's time, it is an excellent example of the Islamic and Moroccan style. It was built in the late 19th century by Si Moussa, the grand vizier of the sultan. Two courtyards surrounded by bedrooms create the harem, with a lush, small one for his four wives, and a larger one to house his countless concubines.

For more info on the Bahia Palace, visit:

The Charles Bridge in Prague, CZ

Looking at the Charles Bridge at Night

On our Independent Travels to Prague we visited the Charles Bridge. I think that this is one of my favorite atmospheres in Prague. During the day while walking across a bridge, one can come into contact with street vendors that have many good items to look at. There are also bands that make their way to the bridge to serenade people as they absorb the amazing views. However, during the evening and night hours the bridge becomes a romantic stroll that one can find a serene atmosphere. Of course, if you go to Prague the Charles Bridge is on anyone's must do list because it is a tourist attraction, but not even that disturbs the amazing feeling that you can encounter while walking across.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Stonehenge as it is now

Artists rendering of what Stonehenge would have looked like completed

is a famous site that many people have heard of. While not the largest henge it is very unique because of the fact that it was built from stone. The sarsen stones that are the tall inner ring and the bluestones that are the smaller ring would have all been interconnected and formed a perfect circle. Stonehenge is an UNESCO world heritage site, and a very mystical place. Many people who have visited the ring of stones say they feel strange things while standing around the historic monument. Believed to have been built in three distinct periods, no one is clear if there was any plan for the final design of the henge or each of the additions was made to suit the purpose of the individual builders. There are many myths and speculations about this fact. For more information on the construction of Stonehenge:

For some of the myths:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Reichstag - Berlin

The Reichstag

Mirrored cone looking into the Parliament chambers

The Reichstag building has seen much history in the course of its lifetime. Built to originally house the Reichstag, the government of the German Empire in 1894 it stood as the parliament building until 1933 when it was allegedly burnt down by a Dutch Communist. Many believe that it was burnt down under the order of Adolf Hitler to ensure his rise to power.Now the rooftop and café are open to the public. From the roof you can look down into the parliamentary chambers to remind the elected officials who they work for.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Brandenburg Gate - Berlin

The Brandenburg Gate is the iconic symbol for freedom and victory in Berlin. Built in the late 1700s the gate was one of several gates into the city. The Brandenburg Gate is the only one that still remains. During WWII the gate was heavily damaged but has since been restored to its original splendor. The gate has been used as a backdrop for many important events in history from the entrance point by Napolean into Berlin to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Berlin Olympic Stadium

Built under Hitler, this stadium was home to the 1936 Olympic Games. This was also the first year that the Olympic Games were televised. The stadium is built of concrete with Travertine marble cladding. The stadium has remained relatively unchaged since 1936. The building was renovated in 2004 adding a roof, restaurants, underground parking, and state-of-the-art lighting, sound, and video technology. It is currently home to soccer matches and held the World Cup Championship in 2006.

St. Francis of Assisi Church Organ

The first night in Prague, I went to an Ave Maria concert at St. Francis of Assisi. The organ, tenor and soprano were incredibly beautiful. The acoustics were just as impressive as the architectural ornamentation and made the concert come to a end all too soon. The video does not even come close to what the music really sounded like. There are concerts very often at St. Francis of Assisi and it is a very enjoyable experience. For more information, I found this website very helpful. Click here!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bergisel Ski Jump

By Zaha Hadid Architects
Innsbruck, Austria

This international ski jump has a fabulous panoramic view of the small city of Innsbruck. Its location is 250 m above Innsbruck. The highest point of the tower is 50 m high where viewers can look out from an observation tower. Directly underneath the observation tower is the tower café. The inrun is 98 meters long and the total capacity for viewers is 28,000.

The World's Highest Glacier Palace

Klein Matterhorn (3820 m or about 12,100 ft) and 15 meters below the surface
Reachable from Zermatt, Switzerland

The glacier palace is free of charge and open from 9.00 – 15.00. I wouldn’t advise going if you’re afraid of heights. The lifts have an enormous height difference from you and the ground. At the top of the mountain it is very cold and windy, so bring plenty of layers of clothing. At some points there may be no visibility due to the amount of wind.