Tuesday, February 16, 2010

snow and blossoms feb 16, 2010

February 16, 2010

What fortuity is Rome! As I turn I find. I am walking up the steps of the Academy and run into the new cook and his amazing girlfriend Lydia who mixes cocktails professionally and is a stylist. What do I need but a stylist who will do hair and makeup for my install?: EMPIRES’ FALL.

She is wonderful—upbeat, talented, responsible, and we have been working all week on this. So far 20 people have signed up: women and children becoming empresses and Triumphators—a reversal of power. I will include some of the pictures from the shoot. Fun fun fun. Seriously.

Last week Thursday Leonard Baskin’s lecture on taste. Saper to Sapienze; taste to wisdom. Very witty and compelling and as always (sempre) the food here has been marvelous. Leonard looked at New Testament’s Mary and Martha story where Martha the cook is considered beneath Mary, the listener (at Jesus’ feet!) —such degradation of work to mind (and passive mind at that). However, painters from Renaissance on who use the story emphasize food, the sensual, taste, even as Jesus retreats into a small window within the larger painting.

Friday we go the exhibition hall for big Calder exhibit. Quite spectacular and led by Calder’s grand nephew who was wonderful —sympathetic and knowledgeable about the art. Seeing the early work was particularly rewarding: Calder’s paintings and early mobiles are sound sculptures in part, not as sophisticated as Len Lye’s perhaps but interesting original ambitions. Then his middle work masterpieces complete with gorgeous Miro-inflected gouaches. My second time at the show and more worthwhile. Also simply traveling around is a wonder always—continuing to learn about Rome and its neighborhoods. It is becoming familiar. Saturday was slow day---work. Which was good because

Sunday Valentine’s day was crazy fun digression. Went to Porto Portense early to pick up makeup and hair stuff for my install shoots. Then off to Chris Burden ‘dialogue’ at Maxxi which is new Zaha Hadid building for contemporary art. A piece of sculpture in itself—large, inspiring, curved walls, magnificent use of material, open turned inside out, strangely empty as they have not ‘officially opened’ the museum yet….lovely. Empty as it is now—it has another kind of power. Burden was surprisingly wonderful as well…funny, smart, the work which I know fairly well—witty and strong. Nancy D. called it “jackass art”---indeed, where he drops i-beams from the air into concrete. The ooos and ahhhs— sound, power, explosions. His Metropolis erector set pieces equally provoking and boyish and post modern.

Then out to lunch with Nancy and Robert Hammond. Divine caccio pepe

Yoga on return (there are now 5 free classes a week; I can hardly get to swim! Not complaining) and that evening we are to cook for Stephen. I to make fabulous frisse salad and steamed artichokes with lemon which I did make but dear Lydia invited me to eat with kitchen staff so there were ten of us at dinner with Mona the master chef cooking up a storm: a 7 course meal alone in the dining room candlelight and all. First caccio pepe (so I had to have a taste again…!) , then an amazing fried lemon platter—strange and fabulous. Then my salad and artichokes. Then pork loin, slightly pink with broccoli rabe, then dessert crème with lady fingers. Stuffed and happy and Lauren had made Hello Kitty valentines for everyone at the table! Very nice. Ooops forgot aperitifs by divine Lydia and wine on the table. Happy happy happy.

Monday: Daniel Mendelssohn’s talk. I could relate to his sense of loss, fragment---but my high point that day was the first shoot of the install earlier that day — women and children—everything went swimmingly.

O —and there was a flowering almond in the back yard on Monday as we were cutting laurel for the 'crowns'. And and how could I forget!? SNOW just last Friday. Yes it snowed for the first time in 25 years in Rome. Please look at the lush pictures. I filmed in the Villa Sciarra: snow on palm trees. That was/is the wildness of this place--- extremes of weather, sudden snow. While now its raining and raining and raining. But we are happy. Indeed. Our moment is now.

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