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Yayoi Kusama at the Hirshhorn with Romey, Bill, Em, John, and Joan

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There were circles. Which is my favorite part.

Romey and Joan arrive

We waited for our timed entry.

And finally it was time.

Then more waiting.

And it was time again.

And then, you guessed it, more waiting!

And it was the last time.

Well worth the wait.  Wow.

Our reality is not quite as…

Palacio de Cristal Madrid: El Retiro

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Crystal Palace they said.  Worth a quick visit.  But wear your sneakers.  We were dressed up for dinner on our last night out.

Wrong shoes and bad art aside, we were glad to walk through the Madrid equivalent of Central Park.

The art inside the palace was awful.  We think it was made by the box head guy below.

Spare no expense!  Use the GOOD duct tape.

Anyway, there were turtles and ducks.

Picasso and Ramen in Barcelona

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The Picasso Museum in Barcelona is an institution and is worth a quick visit.  But if you have been looking at Picasso for years, you won’t find much in the way of major works.  In any case, Barcelona is proud of what it has come to think of as its home town boy.  Lots of early work.

Lots.  Like an entire wall’s worth.

Set in four connected villas, the museum has amassed a very deep (but not very wide) collection.

This blue.

Avant guard in Paris with the Russian ballet.  Picasso was blending fine art, music, and dance in 1909.  (And here we thought we were onto something with Into the Unknown.)

After so much Picasso, Ramen is the answer.

 

On the Arts, Queens, and Democracy: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

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There is lots of politics pervading the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía which if you think about it is somewhat ironic. I mean, the place itself is named after a queen. And lots of anti-imperial politics pervades (including some well-deserved anti-Americanism). But a queen? What kind of democracy has a monarch? Or still reveres a monarch? Seriously. Those days need to be behind us as a species.

Anyway, the ill-begotten gains of monarchy are at least being spent on art and not on oppression. Or is art just an opiate slightly stronger than religion? These are difficult issues to plumb.

And are they old fashioned or what? No pictures of some of the pictures? Trapped in the past they are. The guernica room is a shrine that should be full of life, not a mausoleum. Spain still seems to have a Franco hangover.

But still, go.  The sound and the fury be damned.

 

The light is excellent.

Shadowplay.

 

 

 

 

Take a green break.

 

 

Watch mute.

 

 

And then coffee.

 

Performing in Campiglia Cervo: Into the Unknown

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The stadium in Campiglia Cervo is scaled to match the interstate highway system that blazes through the center of town.  We packed the stadium to the gills with what I am told was 65 people, including the vice mayor who introduced us, but not including the mayor himself who had more important things to do like look at himself in the mirror.  Just so you know, this was a much bigger show than the show Metallica put on at the same stadium!

The show was actually very good.  Intimate. Interesting. Tight.  During the rest of our time in Rialmosso we ran into lots of people who either attended or heard through the grapevine about our performance.  That was both really cool and very gratifying.

So what happened, exactly?

First we invented the idea.  And we practiced.  Then Matt arrived and things got remarkably much better.  in the end, the performance included:

April Claggett, realtime art

Gary McGraw, violin, mandolin and vocal harmony

Matt Savage, piano

Sogol Shirazi, piano and dance

Rhine Singleton, guitar, dobro, vocals, songwriting

The road crew set the stage after arriving the day before to check electricity levels and make sure all of the seating was available.  We have nothing but admiration for our intrepid road crew.  They work so hard so we can do what we do.

The show consisted of three parts as shown on the billboard above.

Here is a stage floor view of the set list for those of you collecting bootlegs.

And a view of the nosebleed seating in the back before anyone was in the house.  You can see the dancing props professionally built by our dedicated construction crew.

Publicity was run by our crack PR team who were able to put up a poster with the last of the tape.

Fortunately that poster was all it took to fill the space to the gills.  When we started (only 5 minutes late), people were standing because the seating was gone.  Even the reserved section for mastiffs and toddlers was full.

We sincerely appreciate the willingness of the locals in the area to support our art with enthusiasm and love!

The stage is set.  The weather is perfect.

And we’re off. Sogol and Matt play Bach together.

Dancing to Vivaldi Concerto in G major for Two Mandolins, Strings and Continuo, RV 532 (re-re-arranged for violin, guitar and piano).

Realtime art during We Will Float Away.

Then the game.

Here is a (raw) video compilation of the show, barely edited.  This is six minutes of an hour long show.

A complete properly-produced video will be available someday (or so we believe). We are told it is being edited by the BBC in cooperation with NPR.

Another view of the Finale from the audience.

We had so much fun inventing the game and performing it that we want to do it again.

 

 

How many paradises are there, anyway? A visit to Terzo Paradiso in Biella, Italia

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You might die, but if anything is noted as the cause of death, it will be loneliness.

There are no people doing art or even visiting Terzo Paradiso unless you count our unruly bunch.  Here’s what we saw (and what we did).

First we explored random spaces.

And then we found some art to see (but only after getting lucky).

After a short nap in the hammocks near the circles, we found the projector and those glowy rocks from Land of the Lost.

There were no Sleestaks. So here are two for good measure.  They covet the glowy rocks.

There was dirt.

There was also very silly science.  But it was arty.

Not surprisingly, the room was better than the dirt.

Watch this video. Really.

Rhine took pics too.  It was hard not to.

We got lucky and found another human who told us how to cross the highway, go down the stairs and find even more art.  Or rather more art places with not much art.  Something like that.

Rhine woke up from his long nap, dreaming of Sleestaks and late 1970s TV.

The space rang a long cool echo of lost civilizations and the empty planet to come.

So there was dance.

And reflection

We climbed back down to reality using a ladder that was too short to reach the sky.

And then we left.

 

Do Not Abandon Art in Italy

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Our resident artist in Rialmosso, April Claggett, made some excellent pictures under lots of diverse constraints.  Improvisational.  Realtime constrained.  Performance related.  Then, like all of us, she ran out of time.

So it was up to me to preserve her pieces, roll them up, find a tube and fly them back to the US.

That’s exactly what happened.

The one below is my very favorite.

Read more about our project here.

Making music Near Biella (Miagliano)

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What happens when you convene an eclectic group of artists with a vague plan to “make something” involving music, dance, drawing, and possibly opera?  Well who knows.  We haven’t been able to find out yet as one of the dancers came to Italy with COVID (everyone tested on arrival) and spread it to two others in our group before proper quarantine set in.  The biggest impact involved our fearless leader and chief convener Shooka taking to her bed.

The upshot on Sunday about three hours after landing in Italy was a hastily constructed spettacolo involving Bach, improvisational movement art to unplanned spontaneous music, and Where’s Aubrey in Miagliano, Italy. Amazingly, the people who came to see us actually enjoyed themselves.

We fittingly call ourselves, Into the Unknown.

Instruments fly from Germany

 

Giant guitar case travels well

 

Sogol plays Bach to open the show

 

The audience mostly avoided the actual amphitheater seats, instead opting for the shade

We shifted the “stage” to face the shade loving audience.

 

“Backstage” with a dobro

By far the most interesting part of the show was when the musicians played whatever occurred to them (us?) as the dancers moved to the improvisational music and the artist drew what she heard and saw.  We divided that piece into eight parts defined by the artist.  We also asked the audience to participate by drawing as well.

Movement art

 

Sogol and Dani and April

 

Where’s Aubrey performs with a kluged up sound system

 

Paparazzi

 

Sure

Ultimately, we all had a good time at our first performance (one of three planned so far). Benvenuto in Italia.

More about the show can be found on Rhine’s blog.

 

The Ulluh: Digital Psychedelic Art Opening

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A beautiful space filled with an appreciative crowd on a gorgeous summer evening in Virginia featuring art by the ulluh.  What’s not to love?

The Barns of Rose Hill Upper Gallery, Berryville, VA

More about the show here.

 

A virtual walkthrough

 

Watching the builds.

Appreciating the medium.

The artist himself, relaxing into the groove with Laura Kitselman.

 

The show runs through July 2nd.  Well worth a visit.

 

And then a small reception.

Fabulous.  Magical.  The ulluh makes a mark.

 

Ulluh Hangs a Show

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In the end it is a sight to behold.  That is, the transformation from a workaday, poorly conceived upper gallery blank slate into a thoughtful exhibition of great beauty and striking talent. Feast your eyes on this…

The (almost) final instantiation of digital psychedelic art by ulluh

 

This is the first formal showing of ulluh’s art on planet earth, and it is an incredible testament to the power of digital art and artistic vision.

Here’s how the show went up.

Stands for the digital displays (seven of them in the show, all told), five on these rolling stands.

 

This window required covering, and the space could use some chopping up and conceptual clarity.

That’s more like it.  The blue leaks into the great hall like the glow of an old school TV.  All intentional design.

Screens booting up.  Each of these displays show three pieces in a six minute cycle.  They are synchronized.  The art gets an opportunity to speak for itself.

Romey’s couch and a 10.5 by 8 feet divider create a space for more intentional viewing.  This is where the absolutely stunning builds are shown in an 18 minute loop.  Watching the artist’s creative process is both informative and captivating.  Wow.  Once again, the blue light brings the space an altered reality.

Shadow box frames hover off the wall.

The rest of the space creates a natural eddy, flowing around the room, drawing the viewer in.

The prints go up, each its own reflection of a digital display.

A build caught in early action.

This art is the result of hundreds of hours of painstaking and thoughtful work.  Each piece has a deep story to tell.  Lean more here.

The show runs at the Barns of Rose Hill through July 2nd.

 

 

 

 

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