February 21, 2008


Ahora-022108.gif Here are some quick notes before I board the plane:

-How was ARCO?

Good. It was my first time there, so I can only compare it to the other fairs. It is physically about three times bigger than Miami, perhaps 75% smaller than Basel. Economically, it is about 1/200th the size of the monster that is the Basel Art Fair. Miami's advantage for me personally is about all the parties, where the social networking is leveraged for maximum chat time (read: art talk of all types philosophy, gossip and business). I saw the lecture/symposium program at ARCO and it seemed better than what I've seen elsewhere but I didn't have a chance to visit any of them. Reports from my undercover agents are that they are worthwhile.

ARCO has evolved into a new level recently, blossoming into the international arena, its history being more about the internal art world in Spain than anything else. No more. I've heard that there are about 25 galleries from Spain that were shut out in favor of an international selection. I'm sure that they aren't happy about that. I heard also that there are many more collectors vectoring in from abroad too, welcome news in these parts.

Madrid. This was a visit where I am starting to feel comfortable with the city, familiar enough with it to get around in the excellent subway. I never took a taxi the whole time I was there. I only had time to visit the Prado, and my impression of what Raphael Moneo did to it was: MEH. He took the linear circulation plan and chopped it up, forcing people to loop in and out of it into it, destroying the feel of the existing building, interrupting the musty classicism with a strange plastic feeling pastel colored generic architectural addition that had no presence of it's own, it was a melange of generic walls, ceilings and surfaces. I'm beginning to think that Moneo is good only with clients who are dead, so he can wax elegiacally with masonry in compression. I'm thinking of his National Museum of Roman Art, a terrible thing to have your new work compared to your old work, isn't it?.

Oh well (pues, nada). At least he didn't utterly destroy the Prado.

Parties around town? Oh yea. I went out with young Alberto and his Madrillenio pals, so I didn't get to noodle into the meat of the art world society... which is good since I wanted to get a sense of the famous Madrid night life from the street level view. I had heard from one art world insider that the the cub to go to is call the "Cock Club". Cock, as in penis. Or fighting cocks, as in poultry? Probably not.

Oooh, so transgressive.

-How was Tossa de Mar?

The house is coming along great! It is a struggle to control the costs, but all the work is worthwhile given that our objective is to complete the transformation of a former restaurant into a home/studio and realize our vision of living both in Europe and the USA simultaneously.

I've got pics to post soon.

Folks in Tossa are wonderful as always. A sleepy town in the winter, much of the social life happens inside friends' homes, cooking great food, smoking and drinking until the wee hours. There were many wee hours spent this week. The conversations were fun, ranging from politics local and international to philosophy and gossip, personal stuff.. good stuff. It was good to show my face in the off season to remind the townfolk that I'm a local too.

The only problem: Bar Josep has undergone a renovation and the musty old man bar is gone and now all the walls are pink and a pink granite countertop has replaced the nasty wonderful varnished wood bartop and the doors and windows are painted brick red. And they have new surveillance cameras. Wuh.

Wuh, wuh, wuh. First the Prado, and now Bar Josep. WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS WORLD???

And Barcelona! Hell yea. I walked my butt off yesterday and I love getting lost in the city. The weather is starting to turn, you can feel the spring just around the corner. I stayed in a hotel off Princesa in the old part of town, not far from the Born. Wondreful, it was.

And the food! Well. Pan Catalan, fish called Rape, wine, wine, beer, chupitos, cortados, calamari, salsuelos, white beans, tapas, torillas, mejillones, octopus, berberechos, rabbit, paella, crema Catalan, cheese and honey, croissants, bikini bocadillos, chorizos...

Then, cigarettes: Camels, Winstons and Malrboroughs. Finally, one porrito I smoked with Nacho and Leslie. Ooof.

Posted by Dennis at February 21, 2008 1:46 AM

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