Current Projects

June 2, 2010

I feel hesitant to write about what I’ve been up to these last few days, and I think that’s why I haven’t written in a few days. I took an assignment to write a profile of Vik Muniz, a pretty established, well-known artist.  I interviewed him yesterday.  He’s fantastic–just extremely likable with cool ideas about art and accessibility.  He’s most famous for creating well known works of art in unexpected materials like chocolate syrup, peanut butter and jelly, etc.

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MoMA Library

May 27, 2010

I’m hesitant to write about this because I’m terrified of jinxing anything, but I’ve been given the opportunity to write a pretty cool piece for a magazine that’s requiring me to spend a little time in the MoMA library, researching the subject.  After making an appointment yesterday, walking past hordes of chirping, shouting school children ready to have their artistic sensibilities heightened, checking in at the desk, checking my bag in a locker, I find myself in a beautiful, peaceful, quiet space.  It’s clean and spare, and has large windows along one side that look out over the sculpture garden and across into the fishbowl like main museum, where the windows make it look as if the building has been cut in half and you can see inside like a dollhouse.  I didn’t think I would be so happy to be here, in a space like this with its light wood tables and brightness.  The plugs are handy! The internet is fast! The books I requested last night were put aside especially for me!  I think this reaction bodes well for my future endeavor of graduate school.

After meetings up at Columbia (I’m officially enrolled to be a dual degree masters candidate!) my mom and I saw some extraordinary art.  We began with the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit at MoMA.  Scott and I had just seen a show of his at SESC in Sao Paulo, but it was much smaller.  This was a fully blown out MoMA show, where his photographs filled room after hall.  As always, they were gorgeous.  I haven’t studied much photography, but I did take one class in college on the History of Photography.  For one assignment, we had to choose a photographer and emulate his style.  Naively–stupidly really, it was an ignorant move–I chose Cartier-Bresson.  Needless to say, I failed miserably at even coming close to his composition.  After walking through one of his shows with Scott, who’s studied photography extensively (notice his beautiful pictures in the In Pictures section of this blog), I feel a little more qualified to say that what Cartier-Bresson could capture, the way he makes your eye move around the picture, the whimsy and the freeze of magical, fleeting moments, is just extraordinary.

From there we went to the Marina Abramovic exhibit across the hall.  I had read a lot about her work before yesterday, and was intrigued to see what it was all about.  It had been written up a few times in the New York Times (here’s another article from the times and another from the Guardian, and from The Daily Beast) and I feel all of these people can be more articulately critical than I can be here. It was wild to walk through, though. I sort of like the idea of testing one’s own physical limits.  The nakedness was interesting, as was the idea that this woman, and these performers (were they actors? other artists? just people trained to do this job?) got to such a zen place where they could block out everything around them.  I think Marina Abramovic must be something of a meditation master to sit on that chair for so many hundreds of hours.

From there we went to go see Red, the Alfred Molina play now on Broadway about Mark Rothko.  It was a beautiful play, with an excellent script (I’d love to get a copy of it to read it), acted flawlessly.  It was serious about art, but funny and poignant (can you think of two blander words to describe a play? Sorry. I’ll try to think of something more descriptive.)  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a play, and I’m so glad to have seen this one.

Picasso and Summertime

April 8, 2010

Scott and I had a great day yesterday.  After having bagels (coming back to the US during passover was not ideal for catching up on foods I missed), we went to the Philadelphia Art Museum (where Rocky ran up the steps) for the Picasso exhibit.  It’s been a long time since I went to an extensive art museum with a thorough, informative audio guide (Pinacoteca is beautiful, but a little different).  I loved learning about Cubism and the exhibit focused on Paris in the earlier 20th century and the rise of the avant-guarde.  I love thinking of the lost generation hanging out, this ‘crucible’ as they called it, for creativity.  I feel like New York in the 1970s and 1980s was the same way–like there was really a creative community, and I wonder where that’s happening now.  What happened to it?  Where does it go? 

After running a few errands we went for a run, and everything here smells like summer.  It’s sort of dreamy–the warm air, the flowers just blooming.  It’s strange enough to be back anyway, the abrupt switch in weather just makes it more surreal.  I was saying to Scott that our first few days in New York were just madness with looking at apartments and being at my parents house always feels like being in a bubble. Being in Philadelphia just feels surreal, and more like I’m back.

One Step at a Time

January 24, 2010

We just discovered these One Step at a Time cookbooks here at our local bookstores.  We’re pretty wary of buying anything these days, especially physical objects that we’ll have to take home with us when we go, but they were just so beautiful and practical.  I guess Amazon doesn’t let you look inside, but I’m pretty excited about them.

We also bought some super cool prints the other day at Choque Cultural, a tiny little gallery in Pinheiros.  We had tried to find it with Robby when we were here in September, but got there too late after it was closed.  I’m glad we made it and the three hipsters who worked there made me want to go friend shopping again the way that I had wanted to in Vila Madelena.

After a wonderful shabbat dinner at Paulo and Edite’s last night, where we all got to catch up and share stories from our holiday travels, Elen and Ricardo took us to meet Ricardo’s mother.  It was her seventieth birthday and she had some people over for dessert and champagne.

Their apartment was extraordinary–a huge cavernous space filled with more fascinating, beautiful art than I had ever seen in one person’s home.  Her library was particularly incredible and rendered me speechless. She had full wall to ceiling shelves filled two rows deep with books–normal volumes– novels and Jewish tomes, exquisite art books, all in a variety of languages.  Her furniture, too, was graceful and stylish in deep woods and clean lines.  It’s a home that should be featured in Architectural Digest.  The company, like the art and the space, was warm and complex.  Ricardo’s uncle was there, an aunt on his father’s side, some very old friends and the family doctor.  Scott and I had not expected this twist in the evening and it was fascinating.

Burle Marx designed the famous waves of the Copacabana promenade along the beach that has been copied throughout the country.  We went to his estate today, about an hour west of Rio.  It was incredible, without any third world apologies.  The sheer magnitude of the landscape, the precision and the design was spectacular.

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Contemporary Rio

August 23, 2009

Andrew and Amy arrived yesterday morning, and we’ve been navigating the best parts of Rio in a group of six.  It’s been amazingly fun to show off our city, despite a lack of cooperation with the weather yesterday afternoon.  It presented its worst, most cloudy, drizzly side.    We took the ferry across the bay to visit the Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Niteroi (Niteroi is Rio’s Hoboken), which was designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer.  The collection was small and sort of awkwardly spaced in the building–which is clearly the main attraction in itself–but I very much liked the work by Alfonso Tostes.  It was organic and beautiful, fusing wood (drift, rafters, and others) with polish, and human looking joints notched in.

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From Niteroi we went to Copa to check out one of the street fairs, and spent the night at Diagonal, our favorite neighborhood Brazilian restaurant and Lapa.

Lapa, while always fun, was especially great with so many friends around.  It made for much more lively discussion drinking in the center island between the Arcos, and more fun spinning and foot shuffling at Carioca da Gema.

On our way home, our cab driver got pulled over by the police.  Everything was fine, but it was totally unclear what had happened.  He may have run a red light (something that happens all the time, every night here), and he claimed that the cops had confused him with someone else, which was sort of amusing.

Today was filled with açaí, Koni, surprisingly sunny weather, a very exciting Botafogo v. Corinthians game (3-3 tie, street fair day in Cincinnati! seriously), and lots of basking in having everyone here.

Oh, and we also discovered that there’s an American couple living on the 8th floor of our building, about our age, teaching at the American School.  Potential friends?