Rumiñawi’s Perch: The Coolest Building in Guayaquil

Inca warrior Rumiñahui - The Museo del Banco Central, Guayaquil, Ecuador

Inca warrior Rumiñahui – The Museo del Banco Central, Guayaquil, Ecuador

This is Rumiñawi, a 16th century Inca warrior who has pride of place on the facade of the Museo Antropológico del Banco Central in Guayaquil. I didn’t see a portrait more confident, fierce and proud in all of Ecuador, warranting this series of five images for today’s Pic du Jour.

Like Atahualpa, the final Incan Emperor, Rumiñawi was also tortured and killed by the Spanish after he led an unsuccessful resistance force against the conquistadors in the northern part of the Inca Empire in 1533.

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Mummy at the Museo Universitario Charcas in Sucre, Bolivia

The Mummies of Sucre

This is a not-so-flattering portrait of what is affectionately named Momia 2, one of a six mummies on display in the anthropological section of the Museo Universitario Charcas in Sucre, Bolivia. She was 25 when she died, 1.46m (57in) tall and overweight. A coroner would have probably ruled her death as accidental.

As with most pre-Incan mummies in the Andes, the process that preserved enough information to determine all of that was not intentional. She, like most of her companions at the museum, was from the Mojocoya culture from nearby Zudanez province, a group that interred their dead in caves and rock shelters. There, conditions sometime allowed for natural mummification, the start of a process that eventually landed Momia 2 in a comfortable glass box in this sprawling 17th century mansion just a couple blocks south of Sucre’s central Plaza 25 de Mayo.

Charcas, operated by the University of Saint Francis Xavier, the second oldest institution of higher learning in the Americas, is actually four museums in one, housing the university’s anthropological, archaeological, colonial and contemporary art collections. Photography was not allowed in the art sections, so I’ll focus here on the archaeology, more specifically the five mummies I decided were wildly photogenic. But don’t skip the art galleries which includes this amazing bird’s-eye portrait of Potosi by Gaspar Miguel de Berrio and works of several notable contemporary locals.

So, how old are they?

[Update 14 Jan 2014]: Ignore the rant below; Dan and Brigid from the blog Sucre Life visited the museum today and report that the mummies date from 700 to 800 AD. Many thanks!

I don’t know, which forces me to open this with a mini-rant.

Oddly, no dates were provided in the descriptions accompanying the mummy’s glass enclosures. Only one time reference appeared anywhere; it was said that Momia 3, below, dated from 100 to 1200 AD. I thought they could do better than that.

The only person in that section of the museum, a security officer, was of no help. Neither was the web. In fact, searching for more information became a frustrating illustration of the deficiencies that still exist online, at least in relation to Bolivian archaeology. The university does have a website for the museum but a coding error makes sure that any pertinent information is kept from you. I’d write them to let them know but I couldn’t locate a contact link. [And a related aside: besides a few single-word references, I couldn’t find anything online that provided more insight into the Mojocoya culture, not through English or basic Spanish language searches. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.]

OK, enough. Let’s become better acquainted with the rest of the mummies.

Meet Momia 1, a healthy woman who lived into her mid-50s before she died of natural causes. Also a Mojocoya, she was from Naunaca, about 210km northeast of Sucre.

By contrast, evidence suggests that Momia 3, below, suffered from severe malnutrition before she died between the ages of three and five.

sucre-mummy03

In the museum, two and three are displayed together. No, they were not related, but it’s a nice touch, no?

We continue with Momia 4 (below) another child, a boy who died between eight and 10. Signs of trauma suggest he died accidentally.

And finally, Momia 5, one that’s somewhat of a mystery. Just 10 months old at death, sex and cause of death remain uncertain.

sucre-mummy05-IMG_9434

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Museos Charcas
One block east of the Iglesia de la Merced at the corner of Dalence and Bolivar.
Mon-Fri 8:30-noon, 14:30-18:00; Sat 9:00-noon, 15:00-18:00. Admission 20 Bs (USD 2.89, EUR 2.19)

Vase, Huari Transitional Period, AD 800-1300, Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, Cusco, Peru

Cubism, pre-Columbian Style

Vase, Huari Transitional Period, AD 800-1300, Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, Cusco, Peru

Vase, Huari Transitional Period, AD 800-1300

This depiction of a wild-eyed, snickering warrior caught my eye the other day at the Museo de Arte Precolombino, or Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, in Cusco.

At least 600 years before Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso came this small vase created by a Huari artist that incorporated all the essential elements and style of what came to be known as cubism. Both Braque and Picasso credited pre-Columbian artists in the Americas –in this case, from a civilization that flourished about 1,000 years ago in the south-central Andes and Pacific coastal areas of modern-day Peru– with their experimentation and exploration with Cubism in the early 20th century.

Museo de Arte Precolombino, Cusco, Peru, 03-May-2013

La Patria, Demian Flores, 2010

Exhibit: Prints, Independence and Revolution – MAC Santiago

La Patria, Demian Flores, 2010

La Patria, Demian Flores, 2010

Here are about a dozen shots I snapped from the exhibit Estampas, Independencia y Revolucion last week, currently having a second run at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC) in Santiago.

It includes fifty-one limited edition prints and one sculpture by renowned contemporary artists, mostly Mexican, works donated by the Mexican government to MAC as a birthday present for Chile’s bicentennial in 2010 and the 100th anniversary of it’s revolution. I really liked La Patria, by Demian Flores, above and Monica Mayer’s Yo no celebro ni conmemoro guerras, or I do not celebrate or commemorate war, below.

Yo no celebro ni conmemoro guerras, Monica Mayer, 2010

Yo no celebro ni conmemoro guerras, Monica Mayer, 2010

Through May 19. More from the museum’s website (Spanish only) here.

Presagios de lo que va a suceder, Alejandro Perez Cruz, 2010

Presagios de lo que va a suceder, Alejandro Perez Cruz, 2010

Patria, Adolfo Mexiac Calderon, 2010

Patria, Adolfo Mexiac Calderon, 2010

Patria o muerte, Mimmo Paladino, 2010

Patria o muerte, Mimmo Paladino, 2010

Mensajeros, Pilar Bordes, 2010

Mensajeros, Pilar Bordes, 2010

El cincuentenario de MI independencia, Boris Viskin, 2010

El cincuentenario de MI independencia, Boris Viskin, 2010

Alma libre, Luis Ricaurte, 2010

Alma libre, Luis Ricaurte, 2010

No la tires, Helen Escobedo, 2010

No la tires, Helen Escobedo, 2010

La vida y La muerte (diptych), Rene Derouin, 2010

La vida y La muerte (diptych), Rene Derouin, 2010

La vida y La muerte (diptych), Rene Derouin, 2010

La vida y La muerte (diptych), Rene Derouin, 2010

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Museum of Too Modern Art, near Litija Slovenia

35 Minutes at the Museum of Too Modern Art

Museum of Too Modern Art, near Litija Slovenia

Museum of Too Modern Art, near Litija Slovenia

At a quick glance, Tomaž Drnovšek–Vinči’s roadside home and barn in Spodnji Hotič, a village just a few kilometers north of Litija, isn’t too different from many others you’ll typically find in smaller off-the-beaten path settlements in Slovenia: aging and modest, a bit rough around the edges, but functional.

Then you notice the quizzical look radiating from the nude life-sized burlap figure standing next to the first out building. When you catch a quick glance of a broken down van sporting a panoply of colors brighter than the clear afternoon sky, you know something quirky, and worthy of further exploration, lies just ahead.

Museum of Too Modern Art, near Litija Slovenia

It’s not easy to describe what is typical in present-day rural Slovenia, but this definitely isn’t it. A few steps later it all becomes less hazy. Towering over an extended tribe of those mangy burlap beings is a large barn with the words Muzej Premoderne Umetnosti, or Museum of Too Modern Art, stretched across the unfinished front. You really do come across the unlikeliest things on bike rides around here.

The roots of the museum date back to the late 1990s when some local frustrated artists were refused a show by a local gallery. Drnovšek–Vinči answered the call. In 1999 he sold his cows and turned the stables into a gallery. The space has since evolved into a contemporary art venue, a performance space for local and regional musicians and a hosting ground for numerous art workshops.

Its website has more info on some recent exhibits, but note that the English language section is woefully out of date. No worries, though – you’ll get the gist.

Muzej Premoderne Umetnosti/Museum of Too Modern Art
Spodnji Hotič 19, Litija, Slovenija
It’s located on the main Litija road that winds along the left bank of the Sava River. Look for a nude burlap gatekeeper.

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Gates of Hell, Zurich

Quickie at The Gates of Hell

When a google doodle reminded me this morning that Rodin would have been 172 today, I finally found a use for this rainy day snippet of a bronze of The Gates of Hell that rests in front of the Kunsthaus Zurich. Aren’t you glad? I am – another 30 MB put to good use and now banished from my hard drive.

To celebrate further, below are a few more shots of Rodin’s works taken either at the Rodin Garden and Museum in Paris or at the Kunsthaus Zurich. Unfortunately I don’t have a scan handy of my first Rodin, his Thinker that sits in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art, which has always been among my favorite spots in my old northeast Ohio stomping grounds.

Jardin Rodin

Rodin's Gates of Hell, Zurich

There’s a Rodin baker’s dozen on my Flickr stream here.

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From 'The Cube', a sound installation by Jun-Seub Sim

120 Seconds in Sim Jun-Seub’s Cube

From ‘The Cube’, a sound installation by Jun-Seub Sim

Here’s your two minutes of Zen for today which reminded me of the 1980s band The Art of Noise. Not their music so much, but just the name. That’s all.

This is from The Cube, a sound installation by Jun-Seub Sim which I experienced at the Bongsan Cultural Center in Daegu, South Korea in August of 2011. In the midst of a very busy stretch of work, I found it quite soothing. I forgot that I clandestinely shot this clip until I came across it earlier today sitting somewhat sad and neglected in the depths of my video notebook archive on Vimeo. Perhaps it will better serve here.

I found a little bit more on Jun-Sueb and this particular process on the website for the Seoul art space, The Brain Factory, here. And a little more from my visit to Daegu is here.

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DCIM103GOPRO

How Fire was Discovered

Here’s one theory.

This is an 18-second look at Matter into Light: The Discovery of Fire, a 2011 installation by Marc Quinn at the Musée Océanographique de Monaco through October 15. It’s part of a larger exhibit of Quinn’s work entitled The Littoral Zone, a fun dialogue between science and art that fits quite nicely into the interior and exterior setting provided by the impressive 102-year-old cliff top museum.

I’ve visited Monaco numerous times over the past nine years, and returned here on at least half a dozen of those visits. There are two large exhibit halls on the second floor where the ornate wood and glass cabinets filled with large specimen jars that line the walls are illuminated by the ample Mediterranean sunlight. It reminds me of the scene where James Mason is working in his Edinburgh laboratory in Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Here’s another piece by Quinn, Coral Nervous Breakdown. Thoughts?

Coral nervous break down

Pics and video shot on July 21, 2012.

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Piran City Gallery

45 Second Piran City Gallery Advisor

In case you were looking, here’s another reason for you to visit Piran.

As I mentioned in this post a couple weeks ago, the main reason I visited was to check out the town’s freshly renovated Mestna Galerija, or Municipal Gallery, which after several delays and a price tag of about €1.8 million, official re-opened its doors on Friday, May 18. I was very pleased. And I approve.

The space, redesigned by postmodernist pioneer architect Boris Podrecca, is spread over three levels, giving the building, which has been used as the city gallery since the 1960s, a sparkling new identity. The pic above is the top story of the exhibit space, below is from the first story. (An aside for the photo-curious: both of these were snapped with a GoPro2 which accounts for the wildly different colors and hues from the rest, which were taken with a DSLR. In my experience there’s been nothing consistent or predictable about using a GoPro indoors.)

Piran 045

 

The first exhibit, IZ OČI V OČI_VIS À VIS_FACE TO FACE, is a group exhibit featuring artists who live, work or are originally from Slovenia’s coast. Below are a couple: La Lumiere de la nature-matutinus, 2012, by Gani Llalloshi, and Regata, 1984, by Mira Licen Krmpotic.

Gani Llalloshi - La Lumiere de la nature-matutinus, 2012

Gani Llalloshi – La Lumiere de la nature-matutinus, 2012

Mira Licen Krmpotic - Regata, 1984

Mira Licen Krmpotic – Regata, 1984

On display through September. At the moment, NO charge. Website is here, but for now is almost entirely in Slovenian. The Gallery, which originally served as the city’s Loggia, sits serenely in the top right corner of the main Tartini Square, flanked by the City Hall to the right and the 15th Century Venetian House to the left. A few more shots below.

Piran 047

Piran 046

Piran 048

 

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MACBA – Barcelona, in Brief

I hosted Maria and Victor, a couch-surfing couple from Barcelona last weekend, and while we were enjoying an afternoon in Ljubljana’s Museum of Contemporary Art, I decided that I hadn’t really done justice here to MACBA, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, with a quick post soon after my visit there in early August 2010. So here’s a slightly expanded version, inspired by and dedicated to, my new friends.

Designed by American architect Richard Meier and opened in 1995, it’s a beautiful building, inside and out, elegantly understated and relaxing. (And as it turned out, a great place to try and come down from an attempted robbery if that’s what your body and mind are looking for.) Much of the south side is glass, allowing ample natural light to bathe the interior. The action in the square outside primarily involves skateboarding – lots of it.

The website, along with exhibit schedule, is here, nearest metro stations are Catalunya and Universitat. A few more shots are below, all Creative Commons licensed for non-commercial use. Feel free to use them with credits as indicated here.

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