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Author Archives: flyingmonk

The new art of China

“China after 1989-Theater of the World” hosted by the Guggenheim Museum is a spectacular and extremely ambitious retrospective of Chinese art from the last two decades of the 20th century and following into the 21st century till the Beijing Olympics in 2008. This more effervescent period started at the beginning of the 1980s in sync with the economic liberalization reforms and was abruptly stalled after the events in Tiananmen Square of June 4, 1989.

The frustration of the Chinese art community and the mistrust in the government for this lack of freedom of expression is expressed in many of the curated works of art.

On the same token are the diverse perceptions of what the western art scene was expected from the Chinese art and what the Chinese artists were also expected from the West.

Most of the works in exhibition are conceptual but there are also works in a new, uncompromising, realistic style.

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Posted by on October 26, 2017 in Blog, China, USA

 

The Sisyphus Stones

The bike trail follows the Hudson promenade around 75th Street….

The Hudson River bike trail is going all the way from Battery Park to Inwood Park for about 25 miles round trip. It starts in downtown where you may have to cross some streets but after that continues uninterrupted all the way till Inwood Park.

…and gets toward Harlem

The bike trail crossed from the downtown and midtown area through Harlem and further through Spanish Harlem, presenting a real cross section of the Manhattan population.

“The Sisyphus stones” is an immersive sculpture by the Bronx artist Uliks Gryka using the stones from the river’s shore

Close to George Washington Bridge, a local artist arranged the stones to stand as servants marching towards the large pylon of the bridge inspired by Dante’s “Divina Comedie”. “The Sisyphus stones” is an immersive sculpture by the Bronx artist Uliks Gryka, a 33 year old Albanian immigrant from the Bronx, using the stones from the river’s shore that are perched one on top of another, balanced without any kind of adhesive. Nature or humans may cause the stone to topple adding a dimension of impermanence to his work, beautifully described on a manifesto that is posted by the sculpture area.

The Little Red Lighthouse under GWB

On the return, several restaurants on the Hudson were more than inviting to take a break and bask in the sun in a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Sunset over NJ

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Biking the Lehigh Gorge Valley

Whitehaven, the start point of the bike trail during the weekdays.

Pocono Biking is a rental bike place in Jim Thorpe, a charming town in Pennsylvania. Beside the rental business, they shuffle bikers up the Lehigh Gorge Valley in an old school bus that leaves Jim Thorpe almost every hour. During the week the bus ends its route at Whitehaven, about 25 miles north of Jim Thorpe. During the weekend there is an extra special bus at 11:00 AM, only one, that brings you all the way up the mountain at the end of the maintained trail, about 36 miles away.

Lehigh Gorge Valley Trail, PA

We biked this 25 miles trail about two years ago in the early summer. We followed the bike trail guarded on one side by a forest of rhododendron in late bloom and on the other side the colorful rafts full of people going down the Lehigh Gorge.

Most of the trail you are way on top of the Lehigh River but eventually you reach its valley

Right outside of Jim Thorpe, the city is working at the construction of a bridge that would connect this northern sector of the trail with a southern one that is continuous packed dirt till Northampton, PA, about another 20 miles. After that it has a six miles section that follows the road and continues on packed trail all the way till it reaches Easton, PA where it connects to the another 50 miles of the D&R Canal Bike Trail.

Lehigh Gorge Valley Trail, PA

Pocono Biking plans to expand its operation and drop people at the end of this southern section in Northampton, PA next year when the bridge would be finished. However, according to what they told me, they will only drop people there and would do no pickups so I don’t know how it can be done to do the entire 45 miles trail, if you’d like to bike it.

Three train tracks were meeting in Penn Haven when coal was extracting from here. The train now carry only tourists.

The train that was used to carry coal is now shuffling tourists that pack the small town of Jim Thorpe coming in buses early in the morning. I did not see any black bears as posted on the board but there are lots of timber rattlesnakes around.

Jim Thorpe, PA

The town of Jim Thorpe is charming, full of curiosity shops and lots of gourmet places with wine tasting, cappuccino and great restaurants.

The stone house alley, Jim Thorpe, PA

About 2-3 miles out of town is the rectangular lake of Mauch Chunk. The town used to be called after the lake but it was renamed in the memory of the famous Native American athlete Jim Thorpe that was unconnected to the town at all. But after his death, his third wife took his body and made a deal with the town that will end up carrying his name, to bury him there and erect a monument in his honor. The monument is located just on the main road as you drive into town.

The original name of the town was Mauch Chunk after its nearby lake. It changed its name to Jim Thorpe, a famous American Olympian

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Batmobile

A Batmobile replica in the Antique car show, Great Neck, NY

No matter how many cool cars were at the antique car show in Great Neck all the kids, and adults, were around the Batmobile.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

A “Richard” for our times

In the spectacular production of Berlin’ Schaubuhne at the BAM, Thomas Ostermeier forces us to peek into Richard’ soul. The remarkable director stated in an interview that whatever he does in his plays for sure he will not bore the audience and his “Richard III” is far from boring, keeping the audience on the edge till its final moments.

Richard, played extraordinarily by Lars Eidinger, is in a permanent confession towards the audience. Whispering in an always balancing microphone, Richard shares with the audience his darkest thoughts hidden in his abominable soul. A flashlight attached to the microphone is like piercing into his mind adding to the dramatic character of the confession. His Shakespearean body’s deformities are secondary to the deformities of his atrocious soul displayed nakedly in front of the audience for the entire play. He starts like a mischievous schoolboy plotting against his teachers, engaging the audience and making them part of his deeds; somehow funny, just mischief, playing against the all powerful ones, a man of the people. And little by little the audience buys into it and they laugh and applaud, validating in a way his deeds and with them his path to power. Without knowing, the audience became his base. But in time the mischief becomes a plot and the events play also in his favor. He climbs the ladder towards the throne slandering and scheming against people who may be in his way who do not consider him as a real challenge. He relies on some around him that think that can take advantage of his climb to power and he uses them skillfully. When he gets on the throne he whimsically discards and mocks the ones who helped him. He demands the audience, his base, to mock Buckingham, the main one who helped him to ascend to the throne: “You look like shit. Did you eat pussy today?”. And the audience follows, and Richard asks for more and louder till the entire theater joins in a chorus of mocking.

Richard’s staging in Brooklyn is not accidental. The resemblance is not so blatantly identifiable as in the Julius Cesar at the Public in Central Park but the modified text’s subtleties and the direction are present for the entire play. When needed to make a clear point the actors switch from German to English and address directly the audience: “Everybody sees what he is doing and nobody does anything to stop him.”
In the end, when it became clear that everything is lost, Richard urinates on the stage, actually symbolically on his own base. He knows that he will die the next day in battle being hanged by his leg in the end of the play like a piece of meat in a meat-locker by the same hanging microphone that witnessed his dreadful scheming to ascend to undeserved power.

(See also: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/09/opinion/sunday/shakespeare-explains-the-2016-election.html )

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2017 in Blog, Germany, USA

 

The galleries’ night in Bucharest

Ion Barbu’s “Museum of the Pig”

Considering the short time I had in Bucharest I felt quite lucky to be there during an event I kept hearing about, “The galleries’ night”, a time when many of the art galleries in Bucharest are open all night, or at least till late hours.

Ion Barbu’s humor is deeply rooted in the political reality of the country

I did not have a lot of time to walk around but I was able to descend upon “The Journey to the Navel of the World” of Ion Barbu together with an impressive collective of talented and creative artists that I found to be astounding; funny, clever and deeply connected into the social fabric of the country.

Mircea Roman’s studio, Bucharest, Romania

Strolling with a good friend who is a well known Romanian painter I walked in several studios of his own friends, a world of spectacular creativity and unbound talent.

Metal sculptures in Orizont Gallery

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2017 in Blog, Romania

 

A night stroll

Bucharest old town

I always found Bucharest old town packed by tourists and locals. The winding streets and narrow alleys towered by a superb, but still decaying, architecture, are most of times so full of people that it’s hard to get a seat at a table no matter what hour you visit. So in a very brief and very rushed visit to Bucharest I decided to take a stroll late in the night and found the old town quieter that many other times when I visited.

Old town alley, Bucharest, Romania

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Blog, Romania