Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A few days ago I was drinking Cava and eating tuna tartare (I think two of my favorite things on the planet), and these American guys sat down at the table next to me. They were butchering everything on the menu, didn't know a lick of Spanish, and seemed pretty clueless all together. Finally I couldn't take it anymore, their linguistic ignorance was ruining my euphoric mood. I looked up from my book and said (maybe in a slightly pissy voice) "an aubergine is an eggplant," which should be obvious to anyone even who doesn't speak Catalan. They seemed relieved to find another English speaker, and took my deflection as a sign to continue talking. It turns out they're also from New York, in creative industries, and we have mutual friends. Despite my previous sentiment, it did feel nice to have company - I hadn't had a real conversation since I left America. We decided to travel to the Salvador Dalí museum together the next day, which is a couple hours away by train in a small town called Figueres.
So, the Dalí Museum kinda like going to Disneyland on acid.
I mean Come on, dude is crazy:
The Dalí museum is the largest surrealistic object in the world and occupies the building of the former Municipal Theatre, a 19th century construction which was destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The museum opened in 1974, and houses the single largest and most diverse collection of works by Salvador Dalí, many works from his personal collection. In addition to Dalí paintings from all decades of his career, there are Dalí sculptures, 3-dimensional collages, mechanical devices, a living-room with custom furniture that looks like the face of Mae West when viewed from a ladder, and other curiosities from Dalí's imagination. Every square inch of the museum is Dalified. And if the museum didn't embody the life of Salvador Dalí enough, his remains are buried in a crypt in the basement, so it's extra creepy.
It's unnerving walking through the head of a completely crazy man. Every room was presented in startling proportion, reinforcing a homage to surrealism. While walking through one of the most impressive rooms, the Mae West perspective, one of the guys with me said casually, "did you see the bathroom on the ceiling?" and I replied, "check out the green fairy bedroom through that hole in the wall."
The May West Perspective went like this: there's a room with a bunch of crazy stuff in it, then you go up on a ladder and peer through this circular frame, and suddenly there she is.
The museum was an exhaustive retrospective of Dalí's exhaustive perspectives and how they changed with time. There were hints of impressionism, minimalism, realism, and finally surrealism.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
In 1859 an architect named Ildelfons Cerdà created a plan for Barcelona's Eixample district. The Eixample, translating to "extension" in Catalan, expanded the medieval city of Barcelona after the ancient city walls were torn down. It's an enormous field of rectangular blocks in a continuously repeating layout, containing around a quarter of Barcelona's population.
This exhibition immerses itself in today's reality to discover and interpret given forms of urban organization. It sets out to reinterpret the Cerdà plan and its initial ideas, discover the underlying urbanistic and social values, and explain its more general importance as a constantly evolving part of the city.
Cerdà designed the entire district in equal-sized octagonal blocks, where the streets broaden at every intersection to allow greater visibility and better ventilation. He also aligned every block so it received the same amount of sunlight.