91 Works From The Museum Of Contemporary Art-Plaza, La Paz, Bolivia

Pueblo de las Alturas by Mamani Mamani, Museum of Contemporary Art-Plaza, La Paz, Bolivia

Below are 91 pieces from the Museum of Contemporary Art-Plaza in La Paz, Bolivia, and above is Pueblo de las Alturas by noted Aymaran painter Mamani Mamani. If you’re looking for the planet’s largest online collection of works from this museum, you’ve come to the right place.

Situated in a restored 19th-century mansion on the Avenida 16 de Julio, or Prado, it’s worth visiting just to experience the building –according to Lonely Planet, the house is just one of four originals that remain on the Bolivian administrative capital’s main thoroughfare. Its stained glass panels and glass roof were designed by Gustave Eiffel.

The collection, spread out over two floors, is an eclectic mix of mostly contemporary work, primarily by Bolivian artists, and extensive enough to offer a good starting point and even some valuable insight into the country’s art scene of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The collection is strongest in reflecting and conveying the recent experience of the country’s indigenous population as it continues to be redefined by subsequent waves of post-colonial and contemporary history. That’s a common theme throughout much of the world, whose interpretations are only limited by the number of artists choosing to share those stories. Some of those told here are utterly fascinating.

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The Irresistible Creepiness Of Urs Fischer’s Lamp Bear

Urs Fischer's Lamp Bear in the Duty-free hall at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar

Urs Fischer’s Lamp Bear in the Duty-free hall at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar

The first thing you’ll notice after clearing immigration in the recently-opened Hamad International Airport in Doha is Lamp Bear, a 23-foot (7m) high canary yellow bronze sculpture that takes pride of place in the center of the massive duty-free hall.

Tipping the scales at about 35,000 pounds (15,875 kg), it was bought at a Christie’s auction last year by a member of the Qatari royal family for a cool $6.8 million (€6 million) and placed here, according to rumors that will never be substantiated, because the contemporary art-hoarding Al-Thani family simply didn’t have room for it elsewhere.

Urs Fischer's Lamp Bear in Doha's Hamad International Airport

Urs Fischer’s Lamp Bear in Doha’s Hamad International Airport

According to the piece’s caretakers, Qatar Museums:

It’s a playful piece that humanises the space around it and reminds travellers of childhood or precious objects from home.

Christie’s meanwhile describes the piece as one that

brightly celebrates the objects that define a young child’s life. Fischer realized this striking sculpture on a monumental scale, combining a canary yellow teddy bear, everyone’s cherished childhood keepsake, with a bedroom desk lamp. The lamp neatly bisects the bear, casting a shadow over its face, while a forlorn black button eye peers out from underneath. The bear’s inanimate body flops forward, lovingly care worn, resting against the support of the lamp stand.

Its creepiness has also terrified small children who refuse to go near it.

Urs Fischer's Lamp Bear in Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar

Urs Fischer’s Lamp Bear in Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar

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GrossStadt by Otto Dix, detail 3

A Brief Look at Otto Dix’s GrossStadt (Metropolis)

Otto Dix would have been 123 today. Some are taken from us much too soon.

These are three detail shots of his 1927 triptych GrossStadt/ Metroplis, one of favorite works by Dix —and one of his most famous— which I had the privilege to enjoy at the exhibit, Drei. Das Triptychon in der Moderne, at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart in February 2009.

Dix created his finest work between the wars, using his experiences from the battlefields of the first world war and his later experimentation with Dada to produce depictions of the dark underbelly of Germany inter-war society. GrossStadt is a critique of the Weimar Republic, where the wealthy reveled while war veterans, disfigured and forgotten, walked the streets.

It’s a timeless theme that keeps repeating in every corner of the planet.

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Puerto Varas, Chile, March 2013

SURDICO: Primera Bienal de Arte Contemporáneo Puerto Varas – a Nine-Photo Tour

Facebook reminded me today that SURDICO: The Second Biennial of Contemporary Art in Puerto Varas, Chile, will be held next Spring. That provided the perfect opportunity to finally publish this small gallery of images snapped when I stumbled up the venue –almost literally– for the first edition when I passed through Puerto Varas in March 2013.

Held in a what is apparently a reclaimed warehouse on the grounds of the local train station, it was a modest set up as many such first time efforts are. Nonetheless there were several interesting pieces and installations, starting with the Trojan horse-like sculpture outside the front door, and this toilet paper-wielding sculpture just to the inside of the entrance.

It took place from December through the end of February and featured the works of forty invited artists presented in three cycles. I caught the tail end of the third. Enjoy!  [Website][Facebook page]

SURDICO IBAC 08 First Bienale of Contemporary Art, Puerto Varas, Chile

Metal horse sculpture, Puerto Varas, Chile, 2013

Metal horse, Puerto Varas, Chile, 2013


Mani-obras para la fauna y flora de Chile, Painting/ installation/ videoart, by Pablo Bustos Casillo

Mani-obras para la fauna y flora de Chile, Painting/ installation/ videoart, by Pablo Bustos Casillo

From Mani-obras para la fauna y flora de Chile, by Pablo Bustos Casillo

From Mani-obras para la fauna y flora de Chile, by Pablo Bustos Casillo

Fiction. Cerveza Volcanes del Sur, Chile

Photos snapped on 06-Mar-2013

Metelkova monster

The Metelkova City Monsters

No, that’s not a band. They’re hanging sculptures in Ljubljana’s Metelkova City cultural center that resemble fairly closely what I look like after answering a few too many election season robocalls. They’re also the most Halloween-y critters I could come up at the moment. I got the impression that the one above is the head of the clan.

This extended family takes pride of place in the sprawling Metelkova complex, a former Yugoslav army barracks near the Slovenian capital’s center which for the past two decades has been home to several studios, galleries, live music venues and the Celica hostel. A self-proclaimed ‘autonomous cultural center’, Metelkova sits at the fringe of Ljubljana’s newish museum quarter next to The Museum of Contemporary Art which opened in 2011.

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La Memoria di Cobain, 2011, by Giuseppe Veneziano, Venice

A Pop Art Six Pack: A Brief glance into the mind of Giuseppe Veneziano

Here are half a dozen shots of works by contemporary Italian pop artist Giuseppe Veneziano that I came across a few weeks ago at the Contini Gallery in Venice. But before you scroll down, a warning: If you’re in a place that will consider the exposed breasts of Patty and Selma Bouvier lewd, well, I am truly sorry for you. And know that this post is probably NSFW.

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Community of Rhythm, Cleveland

Pic du Jour – Community of Rhythm, Cleveland

That’s the title of this 14-panel mural that hangs on the west facing wall of Sheliga Drug Store on St. Clair Avenue on the city’s near east side, a project that celebrates some of the diverse nationalities that have settled this Cleveland neighborhood over the past century-and-a-half. This was the first neighborhood my family settled in when we arrived from Slovenia, then Yugoslavia, in 1967. It’s always interesting to see and watch how the neighborhood has, and continues, to evolve.

The panels depict youth from several countries — Slovenia, Croatia, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Puerto Rico, Lithuania and Nigeria– in native dress and playing local instruments. If it hasn’t already, I’d love to see a band made up of this mix emerge. The Mural artists are Jerome White, Anna Arnold and Ni’kole Robinson.

More about the project along with a slideshow is on The City of Cleveland’s Mural my Neighborhood website here.

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 272nd straight, was snapped in Cleveland, Ohio, on 09-Oct-2014. Please click the image to view the full uncropped version.

Venus snoozing in Medellin's Botero Plaza

The World’s Coolest Square: 49 Photos From Medellin’s Botero Plaza

It didn’t take me long to decide that Botero Plaza was among my favorite public gathering places in the world. And that’s only partly because it’s the eponymous square of one my favorite contemporary artists.

Situated in the Old Quarter of Medellin’s city center, it’s home to 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero, the city’s favorite son, which he donated to the Museo de Antioquia, a world class art museum that dominates the square’s west side. They’ve been on permanent display in what is Medellin’s only open air museum since 2002.

What struck me most about the area is how welcoming the space actually is, one where seemingly everyone feels at home. Young mothers, drunks, beggars, cigarette and lime juice vendors freely intermingle with musicians, tourists, artists and bankers. Being surrounded by nearly two dozen stunning larger-than-life examples of human sensuality has a certain calming effect. Here it’s very palpable. Infectious.

Botero Plaza

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Non Violence (1997) by Carl Fredrik Reutersward, Lausanne

Non Violence – Pic du Jour

This is Non Violence (1997) by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd at the Olympic Park in Lausanne, Switzerland. It’s the first sculpture that popped into mind for monument, the theme for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge.

This one was taken during a visit to Lausanne in July 2010; I also have a color version from a 2008 trip and a shot of another cast of the same sculpture in Gothenburg, Sweden taken in 2006. Those are two of several casts; one is in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.




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Lüftlmalerei, or Air Painting in Bavaria: 14 Examples

I mentioned Lüftlmalerei, or Air Painting, in my 68 Hours in Garmisch-Partenkirken Notebook post yesterday, but feel it needs a little further explanation. And more examples.

Lüftlmalerei refers to the colorful frescoes that are commonly seen on the sides of houses, hotels, storefronts and shops throughout not only GaPa, but in other parts of Southern Germany, Italy and elsewhere in the Alpine world. The style dates back to the mid 18th century and it’s believed that the name is derived from Zum Lüftl, the house and home of facade painter Franz Seraph Zwinck in Oberammergau, Germany. I’ve seen very similar decorative murals in some of Slovenia’s Alpine regions; whether that’s considered authentic Lüftlmalerei, I don’t know. As I recall the similarity in styles were striking.

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