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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War Mask, Eastern Turkey or Western Iran, 15th century - Museum of Islamic Art, Doha. Steel with gold inlay

Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art – Exhibit Notebook

I posted previously about the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, the finest museum in the Emirate and one that houses one of the most complete collections of Islamic art in the world.

Then, I focused on the stunning architecture of the building itself, which was designed by I. M. Pei. This time the focus is on those parts of the collection that I chose to photograph specifically to publish here primarily as a reference for myself –and of course, for anyone else who might find it useful. Above is a 15th century steel war mask with a gold inlay from either Eastern Turkey or Western Iran. I’ll never tire of looking that mask.

I’ve divided the 31 photos into two sections: Arabic Script, Calligraphy and the Qur’an, and Ceramics, Paintings, Instruments and Tools. So much of Islamic history and culture is based on Arabic script, itself a work of art, making it a strong focal point of the museum’s collection. The second grouping –i.e. everything else– impressed me for its breadth. The variety is quite astounding.

Each photo is labeled exactly as it was in the museum. Click on the image to see a larger version with its description. More info available in the collections section of the museum’s website.

These were all taken with my Samsung Galaxy 3 under natural light –flash is not allowed– so some of the quality will leave a bit to be desired. My apologies. But the gist is there, as is the beauty of the objects.

Arabic Script, Calligraphy and the Qur’an


Ceramics, Paintings, Instruments and Tools

All photos taken in May 2014.

Location: on the Corniche next to the Dhow Harbor (you really can’t miss it)
Hours of Operation:
Sunday 10:30am to 5:30pm
Monday 10:30am to 5:30pm
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 10:30am to 5:30pm
Thursday 12pm to 8pm
Friday 2pm to 8pm
Saturday 12pm to 8pm

Admission is free, as is the wifi. More on the museum website.


[Previous Doha and Qatar-related posts] [More Galleries] [More Museum-related posts]




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Alex's costume from A Clockwork Orange on display at a Stanley Kubrick exhibition at the National Museum in Krakow

Kubrick Exhibition in Krakow: a Tour in 32 Photos

Stanley Kubrick would have been 86 today. Some are taken from us much too soon.

My visit to Krakow, Poland last month coincided with central Europe’s only stop of EXHIBITION: Stanley Kubrick, the first comprehensive exhibit focusing on the work of the legendary director. About 1,000 pieces make up the collection which ends a four-month run at the National Museum in Krakow on 14 September. I know I’m not alone in listing Kubrick on the shortest of short lists of personal favorite directors. No other American director has earned the widespread respect and critical acclaim that Kubrick commands.

The exhibit provides a comprehensive biography and filmography, from his self taught beginnings in New York where he worked as photographer straight out of high school to his final film Eyes Wide Shut, whose final edit was quite finished when he died suddenly on March 7, 1999 at 70. He worked 18-hour days to complete the film, prompting some to say that he simply worked himself to death.

Kubrick covered numerous genres and dealt with a variety of topics, and did them all exceptionally well and with meticulous precision. Most were ground-breaking and visionary works whose freshness has yet to lose its veneer. He was innovative as well behind the scenes, responsible for numerous key technological advances in film-making. Watching people half my age and younger enthralled by the exhibit —a collection of scripts, props, photos, lenses, cameras, outtakes and film excerpts—- was a testament to the timelessness of his finest work —Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining.

Begin your exploration with his wiki here and the exhibit summary here. Then go to this post on Open Culture which includes a three-part video from June 2013 of this exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. But first enjoy this 32-photo tour.

Dr. Strangelove:

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2001: A Space Odyssey:

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A Clockwork Orange:

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The Shining:

And a mix of a few others:

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I also posted an album with these images on Facebook. Feel free to share them from there as well.

Kubrick - Art consists of reshaping life but it does not create life

At the Silesian Museum (Muzeum Śląskie), Katowice, Poland

At the Silesian Museum, Katowice

At the Silesian Museum - Muzeum Śląskie, Katowice, Poland

At the Silesian Museum – Muzeum Śląskie, Katowice, Poland

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 164th (!) straight, was taken at the Silesian Museum / Muzeum Śląskie in Katowice, Poland.

The stairway and its backlit window were stunning; I just needed the patience to wait for someone to descend. Thankfully, it wasn’t too long a wait.

A few more posts about the city and museum coming soon.

Snapped on 18-Jun-2014.


And on this day from the Piran Café archive:

2010 – Just a beautiful musical interlude with Herbie Hancock & Céu: Tempo de Amor. A song I check in with regularly. You should, too.




The Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha | Notebook & Image Gallery

NOTE 09-Jun-2014: I’ve finally caught up with photos from my working visit last month to Doha, capital of Qatar, per capita the richest country in the world. I’ve divided them into several smaller galleries which I’ll continue to publish over the next week.

First up is a focus on the Museum of Islamic Art, the finest museum in the Emirate and one that houses one of the most complete collections of Islamic art in the world. I visited it once before and was really looking forward to this return engagement. Architecturally, it’s on the short list of my favorite museums on the planet so this first post will focus on the structure itself. I’ll follow up in another post with some notes and thoughts on the collection it houses.

Continue reading…

Fourth floor walkway in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha


I’m nearly caught up with my photos from my visit to Doha, Qatar last month so I decided to follow these women’s suggestion and take a break and call it a night with this one, shot at the Museum of Islamic Art.

Designed by I.M. Pei, it’s a stunning building; architecturally-speaking, it’s high up the short list of my favorite museums on the planet. This is the walkway across the atrium on the fourth floor that hosts the museum’s temporary exhibits.

I’m planning several posts about the Qatari capital, two –at least– on the museum and its exhibits in the next few days.

Doha, Qatar, 11-May-2014


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

Rumiñawi’s Perch: The Coolest Building in Guayaquil

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.

Continue reading…

From U2's Zoo TV tour at the Rock and Hall of Fame

Hanging out at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Pic du Jour)

These classic DDR trabants, left over from U2’s Zoo TV tour, will always have pride of place at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. I try to stop by, even if just to stroll along the lake front, whenever I’m in town. And these cars always put a smile on my face.

Trabant-curious? From a post a couple years ago:

The average lifespan of the vehicle was an astounding 28 years. Officially it went from zero to 100kph/62 mph in 21 seconds and emitted four times as much pollution as the average car in Europe at that time. In all, 3,096,099 rolled off the assembly line.

There’s a 60-second video tour of one in that post, too.

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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.


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.



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)