Tag Archives: MALBA

Art and Mausoleums

A day of visiting the newest and latest and the oldest and deadest. MALBA is the equivalent of MOMA in that it shows the best in what was happening here during the 20th century. I’m so used to the NYC-centric scene in the States that a bit of gear-shifting was in order. What became obvious was that the artists in the collection were looking at Europe—primarily Paris—as a source, not New York. But, the early 20th century NYC artists were looking at Paris, also, so it’s all the same. I sensed a more vibrant palette, more figurative work, and references to indigenous culture, in general.

What I’ll miss is a show opening in a few days of the work of Mario Testino, a Peruvian  photographer who someone said is the South American Mapplethorpe. Not sure about that. I’d say he’s more like Helmet Newton.

20140311-095210.jpgMy last stop of the day was the Recoleta Cemetery, a small city of mausoleums. Nice, but I’m just not into dead people and their over-the-top monuments to themselves. Sorry. But, I’ll admit that these structures kept an awful lot of designers, modelers, pattern makers, bronze foundry men, stone carvers and more very busy.

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Buenos Aires

I’m now into the third and final leg of my great adventure, ten days in Buenos Aires. My Concordia friend Juan Corradi, Westray, suggested his favorite, the Unique Hotel, which is in the heart of the Recoleta area where he grew up. The hotel is funky, quiet and seemingly in the center of almost everything that I’m interested in walking to.

My initial impression of both the hotel and the city is that they are like an elderly wealthy dowager who is running out of money at the same rate that she’s running out of time. The city is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but it needs a good scrubbing behind the ears, a bit of TLC and she’ll be set for another century. I can’t help compare Buenos Aires to Paris since much of the architecture and design here derived from the best of the turn of the last century’s equivalent in Europe, particularly Paris and Madrid.

Sunday, yesterday, my first full day here, was spent walking around the old dockyard area which has, like so many other waterfronts, been turned into a tourist destination. And, of course, I cannot get away from Antarctica, it seems. Tied up along the quay is the Buque Museo Corbeta A. R. A. Uruguay, a barque-rigged, steam-powered, steel-hulled ship built in 1872 and acquired by the Argentina Navy two years later. She was used extensively by the navy before being modified for use in the Antarctic. One feat includes an early rescue of a Swedish scientific team that lost its ship to the ice in 1903. Later, she functioned as a supply ship for the Argentine Antarctic stations. But, I’m glad I did our Antarctic adventure on Pelagic Australis. Creature comforts for the crew seemed lacking on Uruguay, and Rupert’s cooking is probably far better than the real gruel served aboard this ship.

Off to the museum of modern art [Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (MALBA)] today to check out what’s happening in that scene. One problem I have is that the not-so-cheap point-and-shoot camera I brought specifically to photograph here had a stroke and went into a coma at about the time we stepped aboard in Porto Williams. The advice is not to carry or flaunt a real camera here, or for that matter, anything else of value, so I’m not sure yet how to deal with images. Play it by ear, as they say.

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