Tag: Miro

Hirshhorn Museum

Hirshhorn Museum

Washington, DistrictofColumbia – August 5, 2012

After breakfast, reading the Sunday newspaper, and cleaning up, I decided to head to the Hirshhorn Museum. It is one of the Smithsonian museums, so it has free entry. What a wonderful museum! It is nowhere near as crowded as the Air and Space Museum (which is directly east) or the Natural History Museum. It houses works by such well-known artists as Andy Warhol, Frank Lloyd Wright, Joan Miro, Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, and of course my favorite, Pablo Picasso.

I came up from the Smithsonian Metro stop and walked the 300 or 400 meters to the museum. After getting my bag checked, I decided to go up to the top floor and work my way back down. Each level is circular with exhibits along the outer and inner portions. That makes it very easy for one to see each item exhibited on each floor.

The first item that caught my eye was Wall Drawing #356 by Sol Lewitt. It is one of those optical illusions that seem to keep switching perspective the more prolonged one stares. On the other side of the same room was Wall Drawing #1113, also by Lewitt. The colors were striking.

Wall Drawing #356 by Sol Lewitt (2003).
Wall Drawing #1113 by Sol Lewitt (2003).
Detail of Wall Drawing #1113 by Sol Lewitt (2003).

In the adjoining room was Flowers by Andy Warhol. He is not one of my favorites; but, how often does one see a Warhol original?

Flowers by Andy Warhol (1964).
Neon Structure by Lucio Fontana (1951).

I was surprised to see two windows done by Frank Lloyd Wright. I appreciate his architectural style, so seeing those was quite a treat. The title of the windows was Composition in Light: Window from the Coonley Playhouse. His design vision was striking.

Composition in Light by Frank Lloyd Wright (1912).

Of course, I had to include a photograph of Woman (Personage) by Joan Miro since he was a Spanish artist. It was not my favorite work, but he was from Spain.

Woman (Personage) by Joan Miro (1947-48).
Untitled by David Hammons (1989).

At this point, I entered one of the most interesting areas of the museum. The exhibit dealt with light. To a certain extent, it reminded me of the shows we saw recently in Colorado Springs at the Fine Arts Center. The first exhibit at Hirshorn by Joseph Kosuth, Four Colors Four Words set the tone. There was a lot of neon. Next was a display of black lights done by David Flavin. I found it interesting to stand there and watch the other patrons marvel at the blue hue.

Four Colors Four Words by Joseph Kosuth (1966).
People walking by Untitled by David Flavin (1974).
Untitled by David Flavin (1974).

The exhibit by Jesus Rafael Soto, Blue Penetrable BBL was the most interactive display in the entire museum. It consisted of multiple strands of some blue plastic string. It was perfectly OK to walk through the exhibit and experience the work from the inside out.

Soto was also responsible for Three and One. It was a mobile of different colored wires floating in front of a background that had multiple parallel black lines. The effect on the eye was fascinating.

A small boy emerges from Blue Pentrable BBL by Jesus Rafael Soto (1999).

Museum patrons walking through Blue Penetrable BBL by Jesus Rafael Soto (1999).
Three and One by Jesus Rafael Soto (1966).
Detail of Three and One by Jesus Rafael Soto (1966).
Light in Movement by Julio Le Parc (1962).

Several rooms later, I stumbled across two works by Pablo Picasso, Woman with Baby Carriage and Head of a Woman. While in Spain I became more and more enthralled with Picasso. I was surprised to see two of his bronze works on display.

Woman with Baby Carriage by Pablo Picasso (1950).
Head of a Woman by Pablo Picasso (1909).
Light in Movement by Julio Le Parc (1962).
Back I by Henri Matisse (1909).
Reclining Nude I (Aurora) by Henri Matisse (1906-07).
Iris, Messenger of the Gods by Auguste Rodin (1890-91).
Head of Sorrow by Auguste Rodin (1882).
Helmet Head No. 3 by Henry Moore (1960).

When I made it to the lower level, there were a couple of things that caught my eye. The first was the installation Belief + Doubt by Barbara Kruger. She had several words and phrases posted all over the walls, floors, and escalators at the lower level. One of my favorite shots by far was the lady in a black burka standing in front of the word Belief.

Belief + Doubt by Barbara Kruger (2012).
Belieft + Doubt = Sanity by Barbara Kruger (2012).
When was the Last Time You Laughed? by Barbara Kruger (2012).
People observing Belief + Doubt by Barbara Kruger (2012).
Don’t Look Down by Barbara Kruger (2012).
Money Makes Money by Barbara Kruger (2012).
People near Forget by Barbara Kruger (2012).
Question mark detail of a work by Barbara Kruger (2012).
People in front of Belief by Barbara Kruger (2012).
People in front of Belief by Barbara Kruger (2012) II.

The other item in the lower level that caught my eye was Ron Mueck’s Untitled (Big Man). That was because of the realism of the piece. Other than the size of the work, it looks like a real man. I did enjoy seeing the sculpture; however, I could never have such a piece in my home. That would be too eerie for me.

Untitled (Big Man) by Ron Mueck (2000).
Detail of Untitled (Big Man) by Ron Mueck (2000).
Detail of Untitled (Big Man) by Ron Mueck (2000) II.

After a quick stop at the gift shop, I went outside to enjoy the fountain. There were 12 works by Ai Weiwei placed around the fountain, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads.

The building is a four-story, hollow cylinder, supported by four massive columns. Between the columns, it is an open, walk-through space. One of those areas has been glassed in. That is where the main entry and gift shop is located. In two of the areas, there are tables and chairs. They provide a relaxing, shady rest stop.

The center of the cylinder features a large water fountain to which I alluded above. That adds to the relaxing ambiance. Periodically, maybe every 30 minutes or so, the spray stops.

People walking by Circle of Animals by Ai Weiwei (2010) as seen from inside the museum.

People by Circle of Animals by Ai Weiwei (2010).
Circle of Animals by Ai Weiwei (2010) in the courtyard of the museum.
People taking photographs of Circle of Animals by Ai Weiwei (2010).
People walking by Circle of Animals by Ai Weiwei (2010).
Detail of the bull in the installation Circle of Animals by Ai Weiwei (2010).

AMO/Barcelona Quarterly Trip

AMO/Barcelona Quarterly Trip

Barcelona, Spain – June 15, 2011

Tyler and I made our way to the Atocha Train Station in Madrid.  There, we met my Area Management Officer (AMO) and her husband.  As part of her trip to the Madrid embassy, we needed to visit the consulate in Barcelona, therefore the train trip.

Tyler at the Atocha Train Station in Madrid.
View of the Atocha Train Station from the overlook near security.

The high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona was wonderful as always.  This day the train was non-stop, so we got there in about two and one-half hours.  That sure beats the times I have driven there with my friend Ron.  Those trips are usually six or six and one-half hours one way.

We arrived in Barcelona at about 17:30. At the hotel, Tyler said this is his favorite city, even though we had not yet been there two hours!

Tyler thought the Le Meridien is the best hotel in which he has ever stayed.  He thought it was amazing that there were a television and a telephone in the bathroom!

My AMO, Angela, and her husband enjoying an afternoon coffee.
Chillin’ in the room.

For dinner, the four of us decided to go to a restaurant that overlooks the marina, La Gavina (The Seagull).  Supposedly they are known for their paella.  We shared two different types of paella.  I am not a real fan of paella; however, the paella there was very good.

On our way to and from the restaurant, we walked by the Joan Miro sculpture by the marina.  I think it is a fascinating piece of art.

Joan Miro sculpture near the marina.
An arch near the marina and La Gavina.
Many pedestrians passing between the restaurant and the marina.
The La Gavina Restaurant was very busy.
After a wonderful dinner at La Gavina.
Some of those sitting on the wall are selling the items on the fabric.
A larger boat docked at the marina.
People sitting on the wall by the marina, across from La Gavina.
Detail of the Miro sculpture.
The bicycles seem to go on forever.
A couple walking past rental bicycles. The Miro sculpture is in the background.
Another sculpture near the Miro.
A statue on La Rambla.
Oh, the sights one sees after the sun goes down!
A window display at a store near our hotel.

On the first full day in Barcelona, Angela and I had work to do at the consulate.  While I was on the grounds of the consulate, I could not help but admire the water fountain and some 1920s-era murals.

For lunch, we took out one of the Locally Employed Staff, Josefina.  She suggested Moncho’s on Travessera de Gracia.  The three of us shared three different dishes; croquetas, calamari, and a salad.  It was a delicious meal.

Detail of the water fountain at the U.S. Consulate.
Detail of another mural on the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona.
Detail of a mural on the U. S. Consulate in Barcelona.
The bar at Moncho’s. The jamon serrano seems to go on and on…

When I returned to the hotel late that afternoon, Tyler and I decided to walk around the area near the hotel.

Initially, we walked north on La Rambla to Plaza Catalunya.  It so happened that there were many protesters occupying the plaza.  There were tents, tarps, and ramshackle living areas.  We were both surprised that many of the protesters had staked out camping spots in the trees.  I am not exactly sure what the protests were for, but there did not seem to be anything happening when we walked through the plaza.

The other thing that was odd that afternoon were the pigeons.  There were hundreds of them in the plaza.  Many others had noticed that, so there were a lot of people in the plaza taking photos of the pigeons.

A mirror at the base of a sculpture in our hotel.
Some of the volumes on the shelves.
Inside a music store on La Rambla.
The pigeons seemed to be everywhere in Plaza Catalunya that day. Some of the tents in the background were for the protesters.
A sculpture in the water fountain at Plaza Catalunya.
A small boy running through some of the pigeons.
A multitude of pigeons in Plaza Catalunya.
A woman posing with the pigeons.
The blue tarp is a makeshift sleeping area too. A pigeon flew through the frame just as the shutter opened.
Detail of the treehouse.
A house in the tree for some of the protesters at Plaza Catalunya.
Some people on the benches in and among the signs. The meaning is unclear, but this sign reads something about, “the police don’t let artists work that sand sculptures to thieves.”
One of the protest signs in Plaza Catalunya.
A memorial in Plaza Catalunya.
An El Corte Ingles store across the street from Plaza Catalunya.
The start of La Rambla, looking south from Plaza Catalunya.
Shopping on La Rambla.
A typical pastry store on one of the sidestreets.
More concert posters in the music store. The caption on the television reads, “because you need something to keep it fun.”
A Pink Floyd poster in the music store.
Inside a music store.
The Beatles or KISS??
A bicyclist on a sidestreet.
A small market on one of the sidestreets. Please note a banana costs 1.75€ (US$2.14) and one orange costs 0.75€ (US$0.92)!
A fairytale?
Stockings and leggings for sale.
A musical instrument store.
Sign for a second-hand clothing store.
Stickers on a mirror-finish window on a sidestreet.
A small guitar Tyler bought for his sister.

Tyler returned to the hotel and I continued on to a nearby church, the Parrish of the Mother of God of Bethlehem.  There were some beautiful sights in the church.

A side aisle in the Parrish of the Mother of God of Bethlehem.
A statue of Mary and Jesus.
A statue of Jesus.
Detail of the Holy Family on display in the Parrish of the Mother of God of Bethlehem.
Detail of the ceiling.
Several of the prayer candles.
The tabernacle is below the painting of the last supper. The Latin above reads, “Let us adore forever the most Holy Sacrament.”
A woman contemplating the crucifix.
The front of the Parrish of the Mother of God of Bethlehem.
Prayer candles below a crucifix. The Latin reads, “For God so loved the world.”

For dinner that night, the four of us went to El Asador de Aranda.  It is in a unique building.  Its architecture sort of has a Moorish influence.  The restaurant specializes in lamb; however, both Tyler and I had steak instead.  It was good.  I would go back.

Lighted globes in the lobby of our hotel.
A home across the street from the restaurant.
A view of the restaurant when we arrived.
View of the restaurant as we departed.
The lamb emblem of the restaurant, Asador de Aranda.
More of the taxi light show.
The view from our taxi from dinner to the hotel.

The following day, Angela and I went with consulate personnel to view a newly leased apartment.  While we were out, I spotted a very ornately decorated but abandoned building, the Rotonda Hotel.  I had to take a few photographs.

The ornate but abandoned Rotonda Hotel.
The ornate dome.
The abandoned Rotonda Hotel.

We had some time to kill after we checked out of the hotel.  We walked a couple of blocks south on La Rambla to get a coffee.  On the way, we saw the St. Joseph Market.  We went through there and looked around a bit too.  After the coffee, it was back to the train station and on to Madrid.

Another fruit and vegetable stand.
A woman making a purchase at a fruit and vegetable stand.
Tyler looking at the fresh fish stand in the market.
Another fishmonger.
One of the fishmongers at the St. Joseph Market.
A seafood-stand in the market.
One of the entrances to St. Joseph Market.
A meat stall at the market. One can see the price of some of the hams is 139€ (US$170).
The beautifully decorated storefront dates from 1820.
An advertisement for ice cream on one of the outdoor tables.
The old pharmacy building is now a sweets shop.
A statue of Mary in an old pharmacy building.
Barcelona Quarterly Visit

Barcelona Quarterly Visit

Barcelona, Spain – August 25, 2010

This is another of my visits to check on the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona.  This time I was able to fit in some sightseeing after work.

I traveled to Barcelona from Madrid on the AVE (bullet train).  The best thing about the AVE is that it is absolutely on time. If one’s ticket states the train departs at 06:30, it departs at 06:30! The seats onboard are roomy and comfortable. There are some significant differences between train travel and air travel, such as no metal detectors. All they have is an x-ray machine. There are no luggage weight restrictions. Boarding is a breeze. Prior to departing the station, free headsets and newspapers are distributed.  In the Preferente class, they even distribute a meal.  This is by far the best way to travel.

Once in Barcelona, I checked into the Hotel Claris.  When I had some free time, I decided to walk to the Sagrada Família church. It is not a long-distance, only about 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) roundtrip. One of the famous sons of Barcelona is the architect, Antoni Gaudí. He had a very different and unique style. Possibly the crowning jewel of his career is the Sagrada Família. It was begun in 1882 and is not yet complete.

Before arriving at the church, I had seen photographs of it; however, nothing prepared me for the massive scale and unusual look of the church. It is an assault on the senses, but not in a bad way.  Because it is so unusual, there are many, many things vying for one’s attention.  I do not believe there is another structure like it anywhere on the earth. I imagine that is part of why it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entry for the self-guided tour is 11€ (US$13.42). One of the unique adornments on the church is the square plaque of 16 numbers. The sum of the numbers in each row, column, and diagonal is 33; the number of years Jesus Christ was on earth.

At the intersection of Avinguda Diagonal, Passeig de Sant Joan, and Carrer de Mallorca, one can see the spires of Sagrada Família in the distance. The memorial in the foreground is the Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer.
Sagrada Família as seen from Plaça de la Sagrada Família.
This panorama of the entrance to Sagrada Família provides an idea of the scale of the church.
Some of the statues above the main entrance.
Detail of some of the statues.
The interior space is massive.
Detail of one of the ceilings.
This portion of the church looks like the wind is blowing through.
Circular stairs for one of the spires.
A huge stained-glass rosette.
The right leaf of the main entrance.
The left leaf of the main entrance. The bottom right notes Matthew 26:30.
The crucifix above the main entrance.
Detail of the crucifix.
Another door to the church.
The west spires.
The 33-Stone. Each row, column, and diagonal add up to 33, the number of years Jesus Christ was on earth.
View of the church from near the Sagrada Família School building.
View of the west spires from near the Sagrada Família School building.
A mock-up of the architect, Antoni Gaudí.
The Holy Family.
A model of the main entrance.
A wood ambo demonstrates exceptional wood working skills.
Detail of a confessional.

It was a very hot day, so after I toured the church, I stopped at a nearby sidewalk café for a cold beer and water.

Sagrada Família as seen from a sidewalk café.
A refreshing pause on a hot afternoon.
Damm Beer!!
An owl sign.
A motorcycle shop near the hotel.
The rooftop bar at the Hotel Claris.
The hotel sign.
A newspaper ad touting Estrella Damm as the beer of the Mediterranean.

On the other afternoon I had available, I went down to the port area after work. Near the port is a very prominent monument to Christopher Columbus. IT is directly across from the Port of Barcelona building.  While I was there, I saw a ferry coming in from the Balearic islands. I enjoyed watching the ferry maneuver to the dock. As I continued along the port area, I came across a large sculpture done by Joan Miro.  It was a very colorful piece.

The Columbus Monument.
The ferry turned around in port to back into its mooring.
Two crew members at the ready.
The Port of Barcelona building.
The Columbus Monument and the port building.
The docked ferry.
Two of the buoys in the port.
A panoramic view of the marina.
An old submarine???
A view of the Joan Miro sculpture.

From the port area, I walked into the Gothic Quarter. One of the first things I came across was the Santa Maria del Mar Basilica.  According to what I have read, this church is actually mentioned in city documents dating back to the 900’s.  Apparently, what one sees today was begun in about 1329.  The ages of some of the sights in Europe just amaze me.

In the Gothic Quarter, a man reading a newspaper, waiting for a customer to buy a hat.
Lots of pedestrians in the Gothic Quarter.
Guarding the news…

I ended my afternoon in the plaza, just in front of the Cathedral. I did not have time to go into the Cathedral, but I did go into the side-chapel dedicated to St. Luke.  In there was a crypt of a Bishop of Barcelona dated 1238!  I will save the Cathedral for a future visit.

A unique Barcelona sign near the cathedral.
An intricately decorated wall near the Bishop’s Bridge.
Detail of the decorated wall.
The small street by the decorated building.
Looking up at the Bishop’s Bridge.
Carvings on the side of the cathedral.
Back on the rooftop bar.
Evening on the rooftop bar.
Reina Sofía Museo

Reina Sofía Museo

Madrid, Spain – June 13, 2010

Earlier today, Hillary and I went on what will probably be our last father-daughter date before she goes to college.  We went to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Queen Sofía National Art Center Museum).  We both liked this museum a lot more than the Prado Museum.  Modern art is not necessarily my favorite style; however, I really enjoyed seeing all of the works by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Just possibly the best part of our visit today was that admission for everyone was free!

One of the elevator towers at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Queen Sofía National Art Center Museum).
The museum has two glass elevator towers.
Detail of Figure by Pablo Picasso (1928).
Detail of Still Life by Salvador Dalí (1924).
Detail of Bust and Palette by Pablo Picasso (1925).
Detail of Still Life by Salvador Dalí (1926).
Detail of Pierrot Playing the Guitar by Salvador Dalí (1925).
Detail of Figures by the Sea I by Pablo Picasso (1932).
The sculpture Carmen by Alexander Calder (1974) in the inner courtyard.
Detail of the Enigma of Hitler by Salvador Dalí (1939).
Detail of Endless Enigma by Salvador Dalí (1938).
Detail of the Invisible Man by Salvador Dalí (1929-1932).
Detail of The Memory of the Woman-Child by Salvador Dalí (1929).
Detail of the Face of the Great Masturbator by Salvador Dalí (1929).
Detail of Portrait of Joella by Salvador Dalí (1933-1934).
Detail of Horse Head Sketch for “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso (1937).
Detail of Mother with Dead Child [II] Postscript of “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso (1937).
Detail of The Swimmer by Pablo Picasso (1934).
Detail of Triadic Ballet by Oskar Schlemmer (1922).
Detail of Still Life by Pablo Picasso (1944).
Detail of Woman Seated in a Grey Armchair by Pablo Picasso (1939).
Detail of Seated Woman Resting on Elbows by Pablo Picasso (1939).
Detail of Portrait of Dora Maar by Pablo Picasso (1939).
Detail of Triadic Ballet by Oskar Schlemmer (1922).
Detail of Portrait by Salvador Dalí (1925).
Detail of Figure at the Window by Salvador Dalí (1925).
Detail of Self Portrait by Alfonso Ponce de León (1936).
Detail of Cubist Self-Portrait by Salvador Dalí (1923).
An unknown sculpture.
An unknown sculpture.
A display in the museum.
A hole in the roof.
A hole in the roof II.
View toward the Atocha rail station.
Seemingly endless stairs.
Brushstroke by Roy Lichtenstein (1996).
Moonbird by Joan Miró (1966).
Detail of a water fountain in the inner courtyard.
Carmen by Alexander Calder (1974) in the inner courtyard.

We walked through a lot of the museum and took a lot of photographs. After the museum, we walked across the plaza and had lunch.  I had a pizza and Hillary had pasta.

Snacks after the tour.
A Yorkie terrier resting outside the museum.
A Kodak photo container in the plaza.

When we finished lunch we walked north to an area near the Prado. We were on a mission to buy Leslie a new hand-fan. The one she had was broken.  On our way, we came across a wall of vegetation and a unique elephant sculpture.

Not too far from the wall, we found a hand-fan at a tourist kiosk.  Then, Hillary and I walked back to the Metro and rode home.

The vegetation wall with an elephant balancing on its trunk.
The vegetation wall by La Caixa Forum building.