So, I’m in Venice, accompanying once again. How can anybody work here? Well, this guy, sure, he spends all day on the water. But visitors? I was not at all surprised to bump into one of MM’s colleagues at Piazza San Marco. Who can listen to a bunch of gaseous speeches when Venice is calling?

I have seen most of the basic tourist attractions and will probably get back to them later on. Today I went to the Fortuny Museum, located in the old Fortuny workshops. The current exhibition, « Intuition, » is something I can’t really describe. The pamphlet I picked up is on the pretentious side, so that’s no help. I guess the simplest thing is to say that the work shown plays with dream imagery, with allusion and imagination, and the play of light. Ancient sculpture is placed near new work in a way seems like a dialogue and not at all forced. I thought it was brilliantly curated and suited the building perfectly.

I also went to the European Cultural Centre, where my buddy Brigitte Spiegeler is part of a group show associated with the Biennale. The work ranged from kind of dreadful to stunning. Brigitte, of course, is always stunning.

And, don’t tell my banker, but in my travels I stumbled across the Fortuny shop. I’m not exactly sure what is up with Fortuny. There seem to be a couple of different companies that claim the legacy. I went to the one that does the lamps and prints on velvet and all: basically what you think of when you think of Fortuny.

Anyway, interesting. The city is working hard to remain a living city. Lots to say about that, though I won’t right now. I wish them well.

6 thoughts on “Venice

  1. It is a heavenly place and as such gives one an other-worldly sense that life, as we know it – life where we work and we wash and we eat ordinary food and we sleep doesn’t exist … I love Venice and never got over ‘Death in Venice’ so I am dead to any notion of reality.

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    1. Well, you would love the current exhibition at the Fortuny museum. It has the same feel as the city itself, without doing anything as obvious as actually photographing the canals. But why stop at « Death in Venice, » when you could also watch « Don’t Look Now » or « Wings of the Dove? » Come to think of it you could read « The Aspern Papers » or any of the zillion incredible books about Venice. Frankly the Guggenheim stuff is a bit trashy but the occasional bit of trash never hurt. I long ago promised myself that I would rent an apartment here for a month during winter, when the water is high and the tourists are few. I would stay neat La Fenice and buy a ticket to at least one performance of every production. I have yet to do that but now that the house is done, maybe that’s a promise I can think about keeping.


    1. Fog? That would be fantastic. I loved the rain on my last visit. I even loved the acqua alta, even though it was obviously not good for the buildings. Venice has changed. It has fewer cats, for one thing; I have only seen them on Giudecca. It has fewer pigeons, as well. You are right. I do need to book that apartment, before the place becomes completely scrubbed and tidy.

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  2. The Fortuny Museum has very oft interesting evocative exhibitions. I visited recently the one dedicated to Sarah Moon. The interaction with the ancient walls of the building and the special natural light inside adds always emotion to the exhibited work.
    And yes, the idea to rent a place in winter a spend there a few weeks is really good, i would like to make it as well!


    1. At the Fortuny, I think it’s the curator that makes the difference. After I visited some Biennale exhibitions I was tempted to append a rant about the superficial nature of much contemporary art. Really, no wonder the general public pays no attention. It’s a shame because the good work is obscured by, oh, let’s just say for example, a shark in formaldehyde. If you do get to the Biennale, try to see Tracey Moffat’s installation in the Australia pavilion. She uses the whole refugee thing as a way to explore the concepts of culture and identity. Anyone who has moved to a different region, much less country, and anyone who has experienced another culture, in effect, moving in on them, has to deal with the questions she raises. The commonality of those experiences is a brilliant insight, one that she presents quite well. The rest, I don’t know. Maybe I gave up too soon.

      Anyway, back to the Fortuny. Given enough time I would learn Italian, just so I could do an internship with the director, Daniela Ferretti. Every exhibition seems to have a whole committee of visiting curators. They may contribute ideas and installations but I think she takes a strong hand. I think she has a clear idea of what works for Venice in that building and she makes sure it is expressed in each exhibition.

      Your photographs have a lovely timeless feel, as I hope do mine — my serious photos, not the snapshots I do for the blog. My month in Venice, should I be able to make it happen, would be spent pushing myself. A photo that expresses ephemerality and timelessness at the same time, even just one, would be worth the effort.

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