Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Culture: Is The Prado Museum Overrated?

(Drivebycuriosity) - Madrid`s Prado Museum belongs to the most famous museums of the world. It seems every tourist who is visiting Madrid has to see this place. Many visitors of Madrid go just to the Prado and ignore the other museums. I think this is a mistake. The Prado is over-hyped and not Madrid`s best choice of museum.

The Prado lacks the variety you can expect from an outstanding museum. It doesn`t have the diversity you can observe @ New York´s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chicago`s Art Institute, Paris` Louvre, London’s National Gallery or even the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Prado´s neighborhood. The Prado shows just art created before the 20th century and focuses on the medieval art and Renaissance artists, mostly from Spain. The Museum reflects the tastes of Spanish kings who once initiated the place. Therefore medieval Spanish painters dominate the collection, but there is no Picasso and no Dali (you can find them @ the Thyssen-Bornemisza & Madrid´s  Reina Sofia). I saw there of course lots of impressive paintings, like Hieronymus Bosch`s Garden of Early Delights, but  I got tired by the seemingly hundreds of crucifixions, portraits of medieval aristocrats and thousands of saints in ecstasy.

The Prado has another disadvantage: There is a strict photo prohibition. The guards are stopping anyone who tries to take a picture. This does not make any sense and it is unusual. Other famous museums - like New York`s Metropolitan & MoMa -  and Madrid`s Reina Sofia & Thyssen-Bornemisza allow taking pictures.

Fortunately was the "Beheading of Saint John the Baptist and Herod`s Banquet" by Bartholomäus Ströbel el Joven (1630/33) not as much guarded as the other jewels so I could take some snapshots. Maybe it is a warning for unduly photographers?

The Prado is certainly worth a visit but so are other museums in Madrid, especially the Reina Sofia & Thyssen-Bornemisza (here my reports sofia  thyssen).  Btw if you buy a museum pass in one of these museums, the admission to the others - including the Prado - is free and you can jump the lines at Prado´s ticket desk.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Street Art New York: A Documentary - Spring 2017 Edition

(Drivebycuriosity) - It´s still spring in New York City. It seems that the season has reawakened the street art scene which had been very sleepy in the winter season (driveby). In the recent weeks I spotted a lot of new murals & graffiti on the Streets of Lower East, Soho & East Village. Here my quarterly report.

Above my favorite which I found on Kenmare Street (between Delancey & Lafayette). Isn`t she pretty?

Above another beauty. This one dwells on Allen Street on the corner of the infamous defunct Epstein´s dive.

And there are more murals on Allen Street.

                                                 New York State Of Mind

Someone sprayed the New York State of Mind on a wall on Ludlow Street.

The Gatsby Hotel on East Houston Street (close to Whole Foods) looks pretty now.

Tictall, a fashion shop on Orchard Street, got a new mural too.

These works are somewhere in SoHo.

And someone glued a poem on a house wall on Suffolk Street.

To be continued!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Contemporary Art: New York Studio School - Stars Of The Future?

(Drivebycuriosity) - New York is famous for finance & business but the metropolis is also a center of science & art. There are a lot of prestigious universities & other schools. The New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture belongs to them ( According to their website the school "is committed to giving a significant education to the aspiring artist that can last a lifetime".

                                                     Early Mastership

My wife and I had the luck to see their 2017 MFA Thesis exhibition on 8 West 8th Street, New York. The show, which runs through May 31, 2017, is open for the public and highly recommended. Btw. the exhibited art works are for sale. According to the laid-out price lists most of the prices are in the range of $1,000-$5,000.

I was really impressed. The School looks like a full fledged art museum. We could see there a nice spectrum of contemporary art. I enjoyed the diversity of styles and ideas and I love many of the exhibited art works.

The young artists show an early mastership. Maybe some of them will belong to the stars of the art scene in a new future. I find it interesting that many artists, including the female, choose erotic subjects. I display here my favorites of the exhibition, a very subjective selection as usual and I apologize to those who didn´t find a place in this post.

Above you can see some works by Natasha Wright. I like her style which reminds of the German  expressionists of the early 20th Century and Bay Area Figurative Movement (wikipedia). Her paintings are exhibited on 3 floors. It seems that she got about as much room than the other artists together.

Above a painting by Minku Kim which reminds me of the elegant Bauhaus movement.

Above works by Louise R. Kerr.

Above works by Bo Jiang.

Above  a glance into a room with works by John N. Erianne.

                                                            Joyful Use Of Colors

I also enjoy the paintings by Ainsley Wilkie which look like a view into outer space.

This portrait by Isabel Barber looks more traditional in my eyes but I can see the expressionist influences and I like the power- and joyful use of colors.


Books: The Spanish Game By Charles Cumming

(Drivebycuriosity) - Alec is a creep. The Englishman likes to stick his nose into other people`s business (amazon). Now he lives in Spain, having an undefined job, and he dreams of his past as he worked for MI6, the British Security Service. His curiosity brings him into contact with ETA, the Basque terror organization, and causes trouble (this is a spoiler free blog). Alec is the leading character of "The Spanish Game. A  Novel" by the British author Charles Cumming. The book is advertised as a spy novel, but it is untypical for the genre and I consider it more as a mystery and an amateur detective story.

Cumming writes about Madrid, Spanish food and Spanish politics. I don´t like Alec and dislike the author`s arrogant left-wing comments about Spain, it´s economy & politics, but I read the book to its end. Cumming can write and the plot has enough twits to be entertaining. "Spanish Game" is easy reading for those who like mysteries and want to learn something about Spain & Madrid.

PS For illustration I used a photography which I shot during my recent vacation in Madrid (here my reports Madrid I   Madrid II)  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Contemporary Art: Fire (America) & More @ Lower East Side Galleries New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - Manhattan´s Lower East Side has an infamous party scene and attracts the bridge-and-tunnel crowds. But the district is also a place of art with more than 100 galleries. I enjoy to visit the art dealers frequently because they usually offer a nice spectrum of contemporary art. I display here my impressions from my latest foray into LES`s art scene, a very subjective selection as usual. Let the images speak for themselves.

 On top of this post you can see an image from Lehmann Maupin on 201 Christie Street (lehmannmaupin). They showed works by Teresita Fernández, the show was called "Fire (America)".

Above some images from gallery Thierry Goldberg on Norfolk Street ( thierrygoldberg). They exhibit paintings by Maya Bloch ("Anybody out there? through June 11, 2017).

Above images from Bitforms Gallery on Allen Street.

Gallery artifact on Orchard Street (artifact), one of my favorite places, shows works by 3 artists as usual. My favorites of this selection are the works by Kentaro Chiba. A series of canvases build a streak of art. I am impressed how elaborat these images are. Above some examples.

To be continued.