Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January 5th, 2010 New Year's!

January 5, 2010

The holidays are not yet over as 'Epiphany' is still to come. Tomorrow. It has been a whirlwind with images of the Tiber River overflowing its banks, trees in water swirling rushing round under arches now lower as water is higher; an eclipse of the full moon on New Year’s eve as we walk to the restaurant Isole de Sicilia for my birthday dinner: the moon a yolk of an egg with bloodspot on the corner arriving out of a grey tide of cloud; the 180 degree + view from Academia’s loggia — fireworks in every direction over the valley of Rome streaming with light, lit sparks descending, fire sparkles streamed through clouds, rain stopped at midnight in perfect timing.

Fortuity continues—sun shines every day we plan to go out—to the Vatican and amazing Raphael which prefigures Manet, it’s cripple’s foot sticking onto the foreground to touch us (as if), haunting simplicity of 12th century paintings all gilt and detailed faces placid, tranquil, touched. We time travel through art. One friend of a friend, who is not an artist, comments, laments — beautifully— that she does not feel emotion before art, does not ‘get’ it. How to explain this: the haunting of the hand, flesh that touches objects across space and time, still made live, that creation. In the Etruscan museum, the Villa Giula, white magnificent set of marble rectangles descending into one fantastic pool with red carp and matched caryatids, handsome narcisstic Zeus set out reclining—asking for sex or simply sunning—? As we did ourselves having our tea outside on January 3rd 2010 —faces turned to pick up rays, cyclamen red under green boxwood. There in the vitrines, one set of Etruscan figures have leaves/trees sprouting off their heads, the figures two inches tall on a double pipe (?), use unknown, they cling to me—I am transported, almost fall into the case. I feel as if in that moment I have entered an Etruscan mind, 2800 years ago and am dancing among trees with so much world, beauty, that is in this mysterious space of head mind sun light. I recover to witness our world and that world’s sad simultaneity— in which war and conquerors are heroes again and again death is power.

Earlier still Palacio Massimo with its endless busts of Romans imitating Greeks—gorgeous particulars of each face. The soulless and yet, these objects have on occasion of the makers’ excellence—a soul. Socrates seems rubid, indulgent, self aware, staring at you across time, Herodotus scholarly and Epicurus extremely handsome (like Zeus above). The woman are often more generic but for some that have aged or like Hypnos, remain asleep.
Livia’s garden is above and reminds me of Roberto Juarez’s garden in Grand Central Station. Roberto, you must have been inspired by same? —A Rome of flowers, accurate and present—you see peony poppy birds trees. And the other rooms of wall paintings, gorgeous colors with cupids perched on corners and delicate balustrades down 10, 20 feet of wall. Black backgrounds for winter rooms to keep in heat and not show fires' soot! In their erasures and missings and delicacies these walls could make a painter’s career today. The partial, the tenderness of the partial, that terror and incompleteness which speak volumes to time and our yearnings. We wish to—

And then we wander streets and I buy a pair of red boots—delicious— and try on a Missoni dress (on sale certo) which is not quite right but such fun to imagine this styling and spending, with D. sitting there telling me if it fits, does splendid things for my body or not. Somehow movie-like to live in that glitterati (for the moment). I do not buy the dress; the smaller print we had seen before the sale is gone….. And into the crush of the metro, somehow like Tokyo. D is back from India and he had not seen so many people since there and never before in Italy. The crush and stink of flesh is nothing compared to those streets he says.

Last night at Giovanna’s ---my Italian friend who loved my art at the shoptalk show and is writing about it: something about the invisible made visible. She will have to finish this month for her masters and translate for me…. She is throwing a dinner in my honor and we arrive a bit late but it is never late enough for Italians! We are all in the kitchen together cooking. David who is such a great cook, is brought up to the stove. Of course he pitches in with all his excellencies. We have a basmati rice with saffron and nutmeg, chicken breaded in small pieces and cooked perfectly. David even goes back to make more in the course of the evening! And antipasto and wine and champagne and as the guests come they are all easy and delightful. The nicest party I have attended in Rome. Gallant and fun. There is a guitarist who arrives with song book and one woman, Tatiana, who is as they joke “our Barbara” [Streisand] who leads the singing gesturing perfectly with her hands and head. They are covers mostly of American pop songs: a natural woman, que sera sera, ridiculous and fun with Italian pop in the mix. We eat joke, speak [my] broken Italian, meet a number of video artists (Giovanna is a curator) and plan to meet again, perhaps to show films at the Academy for these friends in the future.

David has just left for Bergamo, to complete his arrangements before flying back to Boston. A great visit: he got some strength back, he had lost 23 lbs in India. And now has to deal with 10 degree temperature in USA. He is returning in spring to Spain for a show and perhaps I will see him in Madrid when I do my show there. Before though, I need to finish China (you’ve heard this before I know!!) and move on with the PURSUIT and my install (as yet unnamed).

To all—a happy prosperous creative and loving new year. May it bring peace— and thanks to each of you who offered me birthday wishes. It was felt. Certo.

Baci e un abbraccio

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