April 25, 2012

The angels in the closet

For pessimists things have never looked rosier. With economic depression, unemployment, environmental disasters, and endless armed conflicts, modern civilization’s final destruction is nigh. All the pundits can hardly conceal their glee at being right.  I pray nonstop that they are wrong.

That there’s a cultural decay in the West is hardly worth debating. A powerless and increasingly cretinized citizenry has been brainwashed into a state of domesticated conformity, with unelected technocrats totally controlling our lives.

What everyone’s talking about here is—surprise, surprise—the euro. The struggling currency’s latest frantic prop-up has the morons seeing glimmers of hope and plunging into stocks, bonds, and commodities, thus pushing prices higher. Then the bad news emerges and nervous investors dump their positions quicker than you can say, “sucker.” Then the whole cycle begins all over again. Yet they continue to discuss it ad nauseam everywhere, driving me back to the chalet to get away from the Wall Street geniuses.

And then there is Switzerland’s latest import, the delightful Madonna, who bestowed upon the Swiss citizens her sublime presence.  She has invested so much effort to generate an anti-bourgeois image, deprecated and vilified most things that bourgeois people hold sacred, made her millions, and now can relax among them enjoying those much maligned bourgeois comforts. 

And why not, we have been encouraged to believe that nothing is unthinkable, and certainly every demon in every closet has by now come out.  Have we put in their place “the better angels of our nature”?

April 16, 2012

Men are on Mars? Women are in Venice!

Gustav Klimt, Salome (Judith II), 1909 – oil on canvas

Diana Vreelend After Diana Vreeland exhibition at Palazzo Fortuny

“Nothing is more marvelous than sitting at a little table in the gathering of dusk in the Piazza san Marco, the guest of six golden-bronze horses prancing away to paradise”. -Diana Vreeland

It is the first major exhibition to be dedicated to the extraordinary and complex Diana Vreeland (Paris 1903- New York 1989). It explores the many sides of her work and seeks to offer a fresh approach with which to interpret the elements of her style and thinking.   The aim being to restore the sense of the "magnificent gait" with which the "High Priestess of Fashion", as she was also known, processed through fashion of the twentieth century, initially during her years at Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, and then in her role as Special Consultant for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

“I don’t think anybody has been in a better place at a better time than I was when I was editor of Vogue.  Vogue always did stand for people’s lives.   I mean, a new dress doesn’t get you anywhere: it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.  Like all great times, the sixties were about personalities.  It was the first time when mannequins became personalities.  It was a time of great goals, an inventive time… and these girls invented themselves.  Naturally, as an editor I was there to help them along.” -Diana Vreeland

“I want to die young—at seventy. I want to die young—at eighty. I want to die young—at ninety.” – Diana Vreeland

1909-1939 or The 10s, The 20s and The 30s. Her a quintessential glamor and luxury. Chanel, Fortuny, and Schiaparelli. Her past and her preferences permeate all her exhibitions.

What Becomes a Legend Most?

Gustav Klimt in the Sign of Hoffmann and the Secession exhibition at the Correr Museum

A century after his acclaimed participation in the Venice Biennale (1910), Gustav Klimt returns to the lagoon as the protagonist of a remarkable exhibition in the rooms of the Correr Museum. It is the perfect occasion to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the artist’s birth (1862-2012). Gustav Klimt in the Sign of Hoffmann and the Secession was curated by Alfred Weidinger and features an exceptional series of paintings, rare and precious drawings, furniture and elegant jewelry, but also elaborate reconstructions and interesting historical documents. The aim is to introduce the visitor to the genesis and evolution, in both architecture and painting, of Klimt’s work and that of the other protagonists of the Viennese Secession. The movement was one of the highest peaks in European Modernism and counted among its key players such artists as George Minne, Jan Toorop, Fernand Khnopff, Koloman Moser, and above all Klimt’s companion on many intellectual ventures and projects, Josef Hoffmann.

Gustav Klimt: Portrait of Marie Henneberg, 1901-02 - oil on canvas.

 Gustav Klimt’s spectacular Beethoven Frieze triptych, 1901-02.