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Posts tagged ‘modern art’

Re-Opening the Renwick and the Morning After

The quiet child of the Smithsonian family of museums re-opened this November with a surprisingly bold statement.  The aptly named Wonder exhibit is well worth a visit for its truly impressive installation pieces.  While I’m happy to have the Renwick Gallery back, this re-birthday party feels overly flashy, just a bit narcissistic, and certainly out of character for a museum dedicated to decorative arts.  While an entertaining show, I am left wondering about the future of this museum and the potential for a reinvented purpose.

Renwick Gallery facade

The “new” Renwick Gallery at dusk

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Bauhaus Tel Aviv – Walking the White City

Some cities like Bruges, Rouen, and Sienna are locked into one architectural style.  Huge swings in economic prosperity followed by war or plague created these time-capsule cities preserving their perfect medieval core.  But this kind of preserved architectural purity can still happen!

44 Balfour St. Tel Aviv Bauhaus

Detailed railings and shutters at 44 Balfour St. make this one of the most decorative homes in the White City.

A huge wave of Jewish immigrants from Europe landed in Israel in the 1930’s.  Moving just North along the coast from Jaffa, these new residents build the city of Tel Aviv.  Skilled architects and brilliant modern designers created the city in the Bauhaus, or International Style.  Originally an industrial design ascetic which focused on pure lines, simplified geometric forms, and maximal utility, the Bauhaus concepts developed into a unique and thoroughly modern sytle.  Much of “old” Tel Aviv was built during this period which has resulted one of the most consistent modern architectural neighborhoods in the World.  In 2003 UNESCO recognized this so called “White City” as a World Heritage Site  For visitors, its a living museum of pure Bauhaus.

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The Modernist Church of St. Joan of Arc in Rouen

Rouen, France has a beautiful medieval core with wood and plaster buildings slumped and crooked from centuries of settling.  There are several beautiful medieval churches led of course by the grand Gothic Cathedral.  But when it came time to commemorate Rouen’s most famous Saint, Joan of Arc, the city erected a thoroughly modern church – L’église sainte Jeanne d’Arc.

L’église sainte Jeanne d’Arc

These oval-shaped, fragmented glass white windows circle the altar at the Church of St. Joan of Arc.

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Riga Christmas Tree Trail – Public Art Exhibition

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the festive decorations.  From wreaths to bows, snowflakes to candy canes, I love how city streets, shop windows and public buildings are transformed.  Riga, the capitol of Latvia, has taken this one step further and is sponsoring a public art exhibition called the Christmas Tree Trail.  Artists and students have constructed modern interpretations of  the classic Christmas tree.  These fantastic sculptures are on display throughout the city from December 6 – January 12.  Let’s take a look at some of my favorites!

ATMINAS PAR SNIEGU Māra Maižele Uģis Bērziņš

ATMINAS PAR SNIEGU (Memories of Snow) – Māra Maižele Uģis Bērziņš

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ArtSmart Roundtable – Jacob Lawrence

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are returning to a classic topic – artists!   You can find links below for the rest of the group’s posts.  I’m sticking closer to home this month and focusing on one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century.  With vibrant colors and dramatic figures, Jacob Lawrence brought to life the spirit of Harlem, the blue-collar worker and our American history.

Jacob Lawrence - The Builders, The Family

Jacob Lawrence – “The Builders, The Family”

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