Get your hands on some art!
August 1, 2013 § 2 Comments
24 hours ago, I was sitting in the same place that I am sitting now, twirling a pencil half-heartedly and feeling utterly devoid of inspiration. Since then, I have been to two art museums, saw two theatrical performances, had two heart-filling conversations, put my art up on the Italian market, and ate spumante-clementine-flavoured gelato with mussels inside. I feel better. Let me share:
Museo Omero is an art museum here in Ancona dedicated to the blind. In other words, tactile art. There are replicas of famous works, a room of contemporary Italian artists, some interactive projects, fabric displays, and more. In contrast to every other museum in the world, you can actually touch these artworks. In fact, you are encouraged to put on a blindfold and touch the heck out of all the art:
Every Wednesday during the summer, Museo Omero puts on some kind of event and finishes the night with a new gelato flavour from a local artisan gelato-maker. Last night consisted of two theatrical productions… the entire cast blind. The first piece can be likened to high-end kindergarten storytime: colorful piano music accompanying the narration of Babar, l’elefante francese. The second piece was a fable exploring the human’s connection to the land, and included beautiful original compositions on piano/flute/voice and four very talented actors that slipped in and out of rants (in dialect!) and gossip sessions and personal monologues:
After the performance, I walked over to other side of Lazzaretto, a huge pentagonal ‘island’ just off the port of Ancona that used to be a quarantine station for maritime travelers, and now hosts all of the cultural events during the summer. Tucked away into one of the corners is the museum of recycled art. Currently, there is an exhibition entitled Arte Insieme: Verso il terzo paradiso, curated by Michelangelo Pistoletto and displaying the works of local art schools and universities. There was some interesting stuff, such as giant rainbow ants:
And then, Mr. Italian and I finished the night off with this week’s new gelato flavour: spumante-mandarino-moscioli. Huh. Not bad, but still strange to be one minute eating something tart and yummy and then the next minute finding a fresh, raw mussel on your spoon. Ancona-style ending to the night, I guess.
Today, I met up with a friend for breakfast (I introduced her to the three c’s of Italian breakfast culture: cornetto, cappuccino, corriere). Then we had a completely pointless conversation with the people at the immigration agency and poked around a few shops. And then I went to the paper store to deliver a series of Ancona sketches to the shopkeeper . He offered me a much-appreciated critique, which could be summarized as “be more free and personal with your art, but don’t put too much of yourself into it.” Then, to my utter surprise, in a moment of unsurpassed Italian efficiency, he got out a piece of paper, calculated some numbers, and hung the artwork on the walls to sell. I even got a piece of paper with two words, two numbers, and his signature scribbled on it, which is the most official contract that I have yet seen in this country. To be honest, I have no hopes of someone actually buying the artwork, and even if that does happen, commission and the rate of government taxes gives me no profit whatsoever, but it’s still cool to know that I am officially on display in an art-esque shop and part of the Italian art market.
Then, I discovered the shelves and shelves of art books, I found multiple waves of inspiration from all of the different original artworks, and Mr. Shopowner and I proceeded to have an hour-long conversation about all of the things that I enjoy talking about. We ended the morning at a point in our friendship in which I get a discount on all shop items and have various stationary papers and semi-expired, top-of-the-line calendars slid into my bag of purchases. In other words, I have found my ideal art inspiration nook (Charley Harper books included!) and I have made friends with a man with whom I can speak for hours on end, in Italian, about things that interest me.
It’s been a good 24 hours : )