¿Música erudita mexicana? Sí, existe.

Cuando se piensa en la música mexicana, se suele recordar a la música popular o folclórica–los mariachis, las rancheras. Sin embargo, México tiene un legado de música de salón o música de arte. La exhibición en el Centro Cultural de Santo Domingo en Oaxaca, México, es una colección de capas de partituras musicales.

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La exhibición comienza con la música de salón, con un piano y la música religiosa y secular característica de la clase alta. La exhibición muestra las partituras, algunos cuadros de temas musicales, instrumentos y escenas de miniaturas relacionadas a la música.

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Los compositores más famosos de la música de arte (y del siglo XX) como Manuel Poncé, Silvestre, Augustín Lara y María Grever tienen partituras suyas en el último salón de la exhibición. También hay algunas partituras de zarzuelas mexicanas, y muchos tangos, polkas, valses y boleros.

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Visitas a esta exhibición en el Museo de las Culturas (Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo en Oaxaca, México) están incluidas en la entrada general al museo. Es de $65 pesos, salvo el domingo, cuando la entrada es gratis para nacionales mexicanos. ¡No pierdan esta exhibición única! Para más información:

http://sic.gob.mx/ficha.php?table=museo&table_id=105

 

 

Days in the Gardens of Granada (Translation of “Días en los jardines de Granada”)

Manuel de Falla, born in Cádiz, Spain, spent some of his last years living in a rented house in Granada with his sister. These days it is possible to visit the house, which is a repository of memorabilia and personal objects. The house is situated in an area that is somewhat hidden from the street, and it took me some time (and effort) to find it. According to the house’s guide, Falla wanted to be in a tranquil place where he’d be able to compose and listen to the sounds of water, and also be near the Alhambra. He didn’t want to be bothered by passerbys in the street.

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The house is not big but it had spectacular views of the city, and enough space for Falla, his sister and their activities. There are bedrooms for both of them, a small kitchen, a tiny drawing room for tertulias with Falla’s artist friends, and a small music room which still houses his piano.

Photo by Celeste Mann

Photo by Celeste Mann

In his work “Nights in the Gardens of Spain,” one can hear the sounds of water in the piano part, especially at the beginning of the piece. There is a garden next to his house, and further up the hill, the park “Carmen de los mártires”, and La Alhambra, which are both full of gardens and water fountains.

Photo by Celeste Mann

Photo by Celeste Mann

Everyone knows about La Alhambra, and if not, it’s easy to find information about the palaces and buildings of this marvelous attraction–the old city of the sultan of Granada. However, few have heard of “Carmen de los mártires” before arriving in Granada.

Photo by Celeste Mann

Photo by Celeste Mann

Carmen de los mártires has a curious history. The current architecture was built in the 19th century, following the demolition of other buildings of random uses. For example, in the era of the sultans, nothing was there. It was just a hill. But it was located very close to La Alhambra, so they say that Boabdil (the last sultan of Granada) by way of this hill, made his to way to surrender to the Catholic monarchs on January 2, 1492.

After Boabdil had given them the keys to the city, Isabel la Católica decided to build an hermitage on this land. The Christians called this place “Corral de los cautivos” (The prisoners corral) in homage to the Christians held prisoner by the Muslims. Later, an order of the Descalced Carmelites arrived, and in 1573 they established the “Convent of the Holy Martyrs of Descalced Carmelites.” In 1842 the convent was destroyed and then the current palace and gardens were erected. In 1943 the complex was donated to the city of Granada and in 1944 they added the Nazarí patio in memory of Granada’s Muslim heritage.

Carmen de los martires, Granada. Photo by Celeste Mann

Carmen de los martires, Granada. Photo by Celeste Mann

The fountains and their flowing waters, are all around Falla’s house. Even today, with many more inhabitants and buildings than in Falla’s time, it is easy to see how the house’s location would inspire him. One just has to stroll along the paths of Carmen de los mártires and in the Alhambra forest to feel the beauty and tranquility–to imagine oneself in another world and in another moment.

Días en los jardines de Granada

Manuel de Falla, nacido en Cádiz, pasó unos de sus últimos años en una casa alquilada en Granada, con su hermana. Ahora es posible visitar la casa, que es un repositorio de recuerdos y objetos comunes de su vida. La casa se queda en una área un poco retirada y escondida de la calle y me costó encontrarla. Según el guía de Casa-Museo Manuel de Falla, Falla quería estar en un lugar tranquilo, donde podía componer y escuchar el agua, y además estar cerca de la Alhambra. No quería ser molestado por la circulación de personas por la calle.

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Manuel de Falla con bastón” by Archivo Manuel de Falla – ticket:2013012510007831 -> Archivo Manuel de Falla. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

La casa no es grande pero había vistas espectaculares de la ciudad y suficiente espacio y cuartos para Falla y su hermana, y para hacer sus actividades. Hay habitaciones para los dos, una pequeña cocina, una minúscula sala para tertulias con los colegas artistas de Falla y una sala de música que todavía contiene su piano.

Photo by Celeste Mann

Photo by Celeste Mann

En su obra ´´Noches de los jardines de España´´ se puede oir la influencia del agua en la parte del piano, especialmente al principio. Al lado de su casa hay un jardín, y más arriba el parque ´´Carmen de los mártires,´´ y la Alhambra, dos construcciones repletas de jardines y fuentes de agua. Todo el mundo conoce La famosa Alhambra, o si no, es fácil encontrar información y fotos de esta maravillosa atracción, antigua ciudad del sultán de Granada. Pocos han oído de ´´Carmen de los mártires´´ antes de visitar Granada.

Photo by Celeste Mann

Photo by Celeste Mann

“Carmen de los mártires” tiene una historia curiosa. Las instalaciones actuales fueron construidas en el siglo 19, después de otros edificios de usos distintos. Por ejemplo, en la época de los musulmanes, no había construcción, era apenas una loma. Sin embargo, se situaba muy cerca de La Alhambra, entonces se dice que Boabdil, el último sultán, salió por esa loma para renunciar ante los Reyes Católicos el 2 de enero de 1492.

Photo by Celeste Mann

Photo by Celeste Mann

Después de que Boabdil les había entregado las llaves de la ciudad, Isabel la Católica determinó que se debía construir una ermita en esa tierra. Los cristianos la llamaron “Corral de los cautivos,” en homenaje a los captivos cristianos que fuero encarcelados por los musulmanes. Más tarde llegó una congregación de Carmelitas descalzos y en 1573 se establecieron el “Convento de Santos Mártires de Carmelitas Descalzos.” En 1842 el convento fue destruido y luego fue construido el palacete actual. En 1943 el complejo fue donado al Ayuntamiento de Granada y en 1944 adicionaran el patio nazarí para recordar la herencia musulmán de Granada.

Carmen de los martires, Granada. Photo by Celeste Mann

Carmen de los martires, Granada. Photo by Celeste Mann

Las fuentes y sus aguas fluyentes circundan el territorio por la casa de Falla. Aun hoy, con muchos más habitantes y edificios que en la época de Falla, es fácil ver y percibir como la ubicación de la casa le inspiraría. Es solo caminar por las veredas de Carmen de los mártires y el bosque de La Alhambra para percatar la belleza y tranquilidad–además imaginarse en otro mundo y otro momento.

Arqueologias de destrucción: An exhibit at Haverford College

What is art? What is not art? What exactly is destructive art? Why did you make this? Did you make this or did you destroy this? These are the kinds of questions that will come to mind on viewing the latest exhibition at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College, located in the suburbs of Philadelphia. “Arqueologias de destrucción: 1958-2014” was curated by Jennifer Burris Staton and runs from March 20-May 1, 2015. The works highlight the artwork, or rather the destruction of artwork, of six Latin American visual arts: Eduardo Abaroa, Kenneth Kemble, Marcos Kurtyes, Ana Mendieta, Marta Minujín and Raphael Montañez Ortiz. The gallery is a small black box and the exhibition includes sculpture, video, slides, prints, rubber stamps and sound.

Marta Minujín, view of La Destrucción [The Destruction], Impasse Ronsin, Paris, 1963. Courtesy Marta Minujín

Marta Minujín, view of La Destrucción [The Destruction], Impasse Ronsin, Paris, 1963. Courtesy Marta Minujín

These pieces are abstract in some cases, yet hold deep socio-cultural meanings. Aesthetic beauty is not the main goal. Overall the artists seek to destroy their art, deconstruct the concept of it, or document the destruction of actual art, culture or people. This is quite different from earlier art in Latin America, in which artists wanted to represent a person or an event, inspiring the viewer with technique and beauty, either in the abstract or realistic sense. Some would probably dismiss much of the art in this exhibit, particularly if they are not fond of 20th century “modern”  art. Although these pieces are not a balm for weary eyes, the artists mean to communicate some powerful and disturbing messages and in that they are highly successful. And there is a certain organic beauty, such as in this still from a video by Ana Mendieta:

 © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, L.L.C. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York. Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Gunpowder Silueta Series), 1981. Still from super-8mm black and white, silent film transferred to DVD.

© The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, L.L.C. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York. Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Gunpowder Silueta Series), 1981. Still from super-8mm black and white, silent film transferred to DVD.

Most interesting to me were the hocker stamps, made on rubber erasers, by Marcos Kurtyez and the video and photos of the destruction of the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico by Eduardo Abaroa.  Marcos Kurtyez, a former graphic designer, made rubber stamps from erasers and they included “hocker” images which are found in archeological sites, and skulls. Kurtyez was born in Poland but lived in Mexico City for nearly 30 years. These images on the stamps seem to recall indigenous/ pre-Colombian ones. According to information in the exhibit, Kurtyez used the stamps’ images on letters for a year to galleries and museums. He called these “letter bombs”. He sent a letter a day for a year to the director of a museum in Mexico City that rejected his work! The idea of “bombs’ fits into the overall theme of “destruction” but at the same time the stamps are a creation and is the “linking together of individuals by post” according to the audio podcast.

The exhibition guidebook says this about Eduardo Abaroa’s work: “His project thus presents itself as a rational response to the state’s cyncial attempts to harness the symbolic power of indigenous communities while simultaneously destroying the rights, livelihood, and national environment of their direct descendents.” (p. 92)

The sound exhibit by Kenneth Kemble, “Arte destructivo”, is probably the least served by the space. Small speakers are placed in the wall close to the floor. I had to ask the guide where the sound was and where the exhibit was because the sound is quite faint. There are two chairs in front of the small speakers and the listener is supposed to sit in a chair to hear it. It might have been preferable to have the sound come from a larger speaker and fill the room, but then that “performance” would affect the other pieces in the exhibition, changing them. There are other video installations by Ana Mendieta, Marcos Kurtycz, Marta Minujín and Raphael Montañez Ortiz. I like that the exhibit grouped these artists together, but perhaps something is lost by having so much projection in a small space. On the other hand one can circle the gallery and contrast the different videos in the same time period–seeing as much or as little as one wishes.

Marcos Kurtycz, Artefacto Kurtycz, 1982. Photograph by Adolfo Patiño. Facultad de Artes Plásticas U.V., Xalapa, Veracruz. Courtesy of Private Collection

Marcos Kurtycz, Artefacto Kurtycz, 1982. Photograph by Adolfo Patiño. Facultad de Artes Plásticas U.V., Xalapa, Veracruz. Courtesy of Private Collection

The gallery provides guidebooks, articles and an audio recording in English and Spanish (which can be borrowed from the front desk) that explain the exhibition.

A “Sound” Collaboration: INTERVALS by Allora & Calzadilla

Picture this: A long hallway, brightly lit in the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Art Museum.  Spectators and visitors stood around talking. All of a sudden a capella sound filled the hall. The crowd parted as the “Crossing” singers walked down the hall, singing perfectly in tune. This was not easy music and there was no accompaniment or referent. There were silences and much moving around–this was not your typical chorus performance! There was no conductor or chorusmaster (Donald Nally is the musical director of the group but he was not in the performance) to keep the beat or wave a baton for them to follow. One “sees” the intervals as the group moves in relation to the lines that they sing. It is a representation in time and space using their bodies and their voices. The sound was glorious and for sure, this rendition of Christopher Rountree’s In the Midst of Things is a highlight of the exhibition called “Intervals.”

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Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla are both based in Puerto Rio, although Calzadilla is originally from Cuba and Allora is a Philadelphia native. Intervals encompasses the different relationships between time, space, music, visual art and sound. It is a multimedia exhibit that includes musical performances by The Crossing and other groups, installations that combine video, sound, performance and visual arts.

Another intriguing installation in Intervals is “The Great Silence.” This includes videos of parrots in Puerto Rico and images of the the radio telescope in Esperanza, Puerto Rico. This installation is at the The Fabric Workshop and Museum on the second floor and lasts for 16:22 minutes. During this experience, there is text on another screen which imagines that conversation that this endangered species of parrots might have. Ted Chiang, a science fiction author, contributed the dialogue. From The Great Silence subtitles: “Humans have lived alongside parrots for thousands of years, and only recently have they considered the possibility that we might be intelligent. ”

The exhibition INTERVALS, is a collaboration  headed by the performance artists, Allora & Calzadilla. Other partners in this series include: The Crossing, Relâche, David Lang, Ted Chiang, Christopher Rountree, The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fabric Workshop and Museum. The official opening was on Friday December 12, and the exhibition will continue until April 5, 2015. The calendar is extensive with the films, installations, visual art and performances. For more information: phiilamuseum.org

What’s in a Street Name? Brazilian Art Under My Feet

For months I climbed up the long winding hill every day to the apartment building. The trek up the steep slippery incline–Rua Timóteo da Costa in Alto Leblon, took from 10-20 minutes, depending on how tired I was. For sure I was in the best physical shape of my life because of that daily hike. Curiously, I never questioned or wondered who the street was named after. There were streets in Rio named after politicians, nobles, military heroes, and dates–like Rua 7 de setembro (Independence Day), Visconde de Pirajá (Viscount of Pirajá–Joaquim PIres de Carvalho e Albuquerque–aka Colonel Santinho–fought in the war for Independence)and Princesa Isabel (Princess Isabel–responsible for signing the Lei Aurea which freed enslaved Brazilians in 1888).
Yesterday, I discovered the origin of my old street name while in the Pinacoteca Museum in São Paulo, The museum displays a few works by the painter, Artur Timóteo da Costa, including a self-portrait:

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This painter of African descent, lived a short life from 1882-1923. Born in Rio de Janeiro on October 5, he had an older brother, João, who was also an artist. Artur studied at the ¨Escola Nacional de Belas Artes’ and won a travel prize to study in Europe. He and his brother both worked on the Brazilian Pavillion for the Expo in 1911 in Turin, Italy.

Unfortunately this young artist died when he was only 40 years old. One can only imagine what masterpieces he might have created had he lived longer. Nevertheless, he left his mark on the Brazilian canvass and the Rio de Janeiro grid!

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For more information and gallery of his works:

http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artur_Tim%C3%B3teo_da_Costa
http://www.pitoresco.com/laudelino/arturtimoteo/artur.htm

Mundos diferentes: Museu de Arte de São Paulo

Em apenas uma tarde, e num local na Avenida Paulista de São Paulo, pode-se deslocar por várias épocas e diversos estilos. As exibições atuais de MASP levam o público do romântico de Paris do século 19, até a tristeza de sertão nordestino, passando por uma paisagem urbana brasileira que esconde segredos nos seus cantos, à delicadeza sagrada de Madonnas italianas. Este museu não é gigantesco, nem tem um exterior elegante, mas estas coleções são muito especiais.

Na arte de París encontram-se muitos artistas típicos, como Manet, Monet, Degas, Picasso, etc. Entre estes, há 6 quadros de Amedeo Modigliani. Embora eu tenho visitado museus importantes em várias cidades: Filadélfia, New York, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Florencia, e mais, e a primeira vez que eu vejo tantas obras de Modigliani. Os quadros incluídos são: 1. Renee, 1917, Lunia Czechowska, c. 1918, Madame G. Van Maydan (1916/17), Chakoska, 1917, Retrato de Diego Rivera, 1916, Retrato de Leopold Zborowski 1916/19. O estilo de Modigliani é de corpos magros e longos e bidimensionais.

A exibição de arte religiosa é um colírio para os olhos por causa do estilo realista enfocada na beleza humana. Numa tentativa de exaltar a mãe de Jesus e representar um ser divino nele, esses artistas destacam o mais positivo e atraente em termos de cores e desenho.

As exposições de arte brasileira, ¨Cidades invisíveis΅ e ¨Retirantes e cenas bíblicas de Cândido Portinari’ realmente são espetaculares e merecem ser vistas. ¨Cidades invisíveis¨ é um grupo de fotografias em branco e negro e em cores que mostra diferentes aspectos de cidades como o Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo e Porto Alegre. Porém, não são as paisagens estereotípicas e pintorescas dos cartões postais. São imagens que refletem a beleza inesperada de um momento ou espaço comum e quotidiano.

Uma foto de Gaspar Gasparian de 1943 (sem título em branco e negro) me deu pele arrepiada. Tão sublime era sua visão de uma rua qualquer de São Paulo, visto debaixo de um tunel ou ponte que marcava a cena. O poste de iluminação e o carro ficavam capturados numa luz gloriosa do instante.

Gaspar-Gasparian

Os quadros de Portinari incluem três da coleção ‘Retirantes,’ e alguns de ‘Cenas bíblicas’. As ¨Cenas bíblicas’ ilustram eventos da Biblia e a influência de Picasso é muito evidente. Como seu ‘Guernica’, os quadros têm figuras grandes e não são figuras realistas. As imagens são monocromáticas e bidimensionais. Mas, como as obras de Picasso, estão cheias de emoção e paixão, comunicando suas ideias claramente ao espectador.

Minhas favoritas são as três imagens de ¨Retirantes.¨ Estas são feitas em cores e três dimensões. O grupo mostrado inclui: Retirantes, Criança morta e Enterro na rede. Estes quadros são violentos, tristes e fortes. Aliás são obras maestras de técnica e os sentimentos das suas figuras são palpáveis. Representam bem o sofrimento do povo nordestino que vaga pelo sertão em busca de agua e amparo. A influência dos muralistas mexicanos, Orozco e Siqueiros, é visível, e Portinari tem muito sucesso em comunicar esta realidade brasileira.

retirantes

Em fim, a joia deste museu fica na Avenida Paulista, a espera de você! Junto com seu restaurante, oferece um giro por vários mundos artisticos em apenas uma tarde!

Bio-Jewelry: Creativity Provides Women’s Healthcare in Brazil

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Dorly Piske, who is part of the Partners of the Americas in Wyoming, has been steadily working for the past few years to raise funds to subsidize women’s healthcare in Brazil. Dorly has been making jewelry from açai seeds and other natural beads in order to fund a mobile mammagram program in Goias, Brazil. Traveling around the U.S.A., with pounds of beads, scissors, wire and string, Dorly, who is originally from Santa Catarina, Brazil, organizes jewelry making workshops and gives talks about the lack of sufficient and early diagnosis of breast cancer in rural areas of Goias. IMG_0115

Jewelry students of all ages learn about the mammagram machine that will be purchased and the doctors in training who will ride a bus with it to give screenings to women in rural Goias. They also learn how to string beads on cords and wires in order to make original necklaces, bracelets and earrings. These items are then “sold” and the proceeds donated to Partners of the Americas for the breast cancer project. Here is a bracelet that I made in a workshop in March at Villanova University near Philadelphia:

CM bracelet

The workshop was sponsored by the Department of Cultural Studies and the Falvey Library. Dr. Karyn Hollis stated in her introduction about jewelry and culture: “Jewelry is what makes us human.”

After her visit to Villanova, Dorly headed to Washington DC to discuss future fundraising plans. Then she returned to the West in order to meet up with Patricia Moura, a designer from Brazil, who was going to instruct some of the workshops!

To find out more about “Bio-Jóias” or Bio-Jewelry for Breast Cancer, to schedule a workshop, or make a donation to this very worthy project, please visit on
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PartnersWyoming

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