Sunday, May 20, 2012

Art and Artfulness

Comes in many forms of course. I've always liked South American art and literature. So here's a bunch, conceptual, found and otherwise:

One of the many hotel transitorios. You drive in, hook up, and drive out.
Below....we had a great time with Liliana Forni's video at the Bellas Artes Museum in Rosario. Rosario was once Argentina's second largest city and a major port. It's kind of the Chicago of Argentina I'd say, eclipsed more recently by Cordoba, just as LA has eclipsed America's second city. One quickly realizes one is not in Buenos Aires, the minute one isn't...Rosario wasn't terribly exciting but we found good art there--and Mexican food, though it was the usual bizarre Argentina version: burritos shaped liked triangles, full of eggplant, red peppers, corn and onions, and no hot salsa--and worked around the lack of signal lights, which never ceased to amaze us. There aren't even stop simply proceed into intersections hoping for the best...much honking, many 'hijo de putas' and 'pelotudos' proferred back and forth. As for pedestrians...cuidado....back to Liliana Forni's work.....

Easy to tell which one's the dancer and which the writer....

Below...a lovely brain made out of chewing gum...
("Great Social Brain or My Daily Chiclet"...Juan Mathe)

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Rosario housed in a refurbished grain elevator. The city also has a pretty bridge across the enormous Rio Parana, which dwarfs the Mississippi. It's basically the southern outlet of the Amazon basin, thus its big brown, riddled-with-channels immensity

Art about the river....
Jose Flanas Casa

Below: the Monument de la Bandera (flag), designed by Manuel Belgrano, one of Argentina's gay founding fathers....the flag's design gives it away if the pics of him don't

This woman was playing a Paraguayan harp.. which was really interesting. Smaller than the usual harp, with fewer strings, it is played more rapidly, almost like a guitar, creating a unique and really lovely sound. It's used in Paraguayan folklorico music among the Guarani who are the native people of Paraguay and who were expert at making musical instruments for European courts. If you've seen the movie, The Mission, you'll have seen a little bit of the Guarani's history and an illustration of how musical they are.

Jorge DiCiervo

Juan De Prete

Adolfo Nigro

Even the military likes to create sculpture gardens. One sees these military hardware displays in various parks...a leftover from the dictatorship celebrating the glorious military in a nation with no enemies. In the last 150 years, they've only attacked their own people, except for the Falklands of course, which finally brought the dictatorship down.

After declaring independence in 1810, Argentina was basically at war with itself for the next 60 or so years...mostly being a conflict between Buenos Aires and the rest of the country. Federalism never really succeeded here which is why Buenos Aires still monopolizes the country and often acts imperially toward the other provinces

And then, of course, there's the church art....

I liked the cherubs

love the foot...

most had wigs in this Santa Fe (2 hours north upriver from Rosario) museum,but they ran short

This one dropped his arm...

There were lovely gardens outside at this Franciscan convent...reminded me a lot of the California missions which were also Franciscan. A nun took a liking to us and pounded us both on the chest with her palm, wishing that we find girlfriends

Meanwhile the evangelicals are calling it a 'show'......

The rest of Santa Fe was a bit dreary, and being that it rained all day....

We headed across the river (several bridges, then a long tunnel) to Parana which turned out to be a really cool place...I only went there because my friend Gaspar is from there, but I was pleasantly surprised at what a pretty little city it was....with a huge park along the river

And more spectacular art in Parana at their Museo Bella Artes.....

Antonio Berni is one of Argentina's most renowned artists. This piece is called "Huelga" which means 'strike' and explains why he had to go into exile during the dictatorship
Below is another of his works when he lived and worked among the poor in Santiago del Estero after the fall of the dictatorship

Leo Vinci

Marino Santa Maria

Oscar Antonio Vaz

Juan De Dios Mena: "Changerin" (chango is a dude, so its like a guy who does whatever work is available)

Juan Grela
I love this as it looks a lot like Egyptian depictions of the goddess Nut. She is the only female skygod in any mythology as far as I know. Along with Osiris, who is a male fertility god associated with the Nile, Egyptian cosmology is indeed turned around, unique and queer. I've written about a queer male earth god and sky mother in my poetry and my upcoming novel, A Horse Named Sorrow. It makes a queer kind of sense to me.

Luis Luzzi

This painting recounts the building of the Buenos Aires subway, with the Congress building in the background, which is just down the street from my apartment.

The biggest palo borrachos I've ever seen are in the museum's courtyard...I love these trees, and they flower in pink, yellow and white

Luis Tessandori


And here's a bunch of art from Uruguay that I never got around to posting.....some really good stuff....

Jose Pedro Costigliolo

Jose Pedro Costigliolo

Maria Freire

Carmelo de Arzadun 

Manuel Rose

Jose Cuneo

Julio Alpuy

Manuel Blanes, above and below...his work is picture-perfect along the lines of Caravaggio. He's considered Uruguay's national artist...

The weirdest presidential palace (Montevideo, Uruguay) you'll ever see...looks like a bank and reminds one how economic matters such as monetary policy and banking in general are primary in any hope for a successful presidency in Uruguay, Argentina or anywhere in the developing world for that matter....

Speaking of currency, while I lived downtown in Buenos Aires the last few months, I'd watch these trucks line up on Reconquista, Buenos Aires' Wall Street. Whether they are full of pesos, dollars or nothing is anybody's guess. And where they go who knows.....

Found art......



  1. thanks for the arts primer! since we didn't make it to salta or mendoza, we wondered about the closer areas like rosario or santa fe. now we know. also, loved that Paraguayan harp. cool.

  2. I did almost the same things when I travelled to Argentina. I know that Entre Rios is not as famous as Salta to foreigners but it is as beutiful. Parana is a very nice green city with many hills and squares. I stayed in an apartment in buenos aires for 2 weeks and then I went to ParanĂ¡, then Rosario and Santa Fe. All quiet modern cities. People should know more about them!

  3. Hey Trebor, In the short time you've been gone Americans have gone even further down the road to perdition re: apostrophes. They're just kind of random now, making us more like Argentina I guess.