Art in Many Forms

Wednesday morning was cool and grey, but as usual we were up early so decided to go to the Rialto markets to get a few things for dinner. First, we walked the Pescheria to see what fish appealed.

We got a beautiful little swordfish steak, and then went to my favorite vegetable stand staffed by an older couple where there’s always a line. A huge head of Romesco, one of my favorite cold weather vegetables that is challenging to find at home. Then went to the stand where we spotted two lonely bunches of zucchini flowers. Asked if he’d have any tomorrow, the vendor laughed, “yes, next year!” So the last fiori di zucca went in the bag. and I couldn’t resist some mushrooms for tomorrow.

Crossed the Canal, and popped into the little San Erasmo farm store. Everything from their organic farm on the island, strictly seasonal. When the owner learned we were from Boston, he and Larry had a spirited exchange about Larry Bird and the 80’s Celtics. Two kinds of radicchio (my new obsession) and some apples went into the bag.

A stop at the bakery for the crunchy dark bread we like, the deli for a bit of fresh ricotta, and back home.

It was still barely 10 am, so we thought we’d go to one of the art installations around town. I had read that the group show at the European Cultural Center at Palazzo Bembo was good. And yes, we loved it. We actually only got through one of the two floors, deciding to return on another day to finish. The theme was Personal Structures.

Lots of variation, much of it wonderful. A few things I was particularly struck by…

The Hidden Library, a two room installation by Jim Rattenbury of sculturalmpieces with video.

Song of Songs, a romantic, pink hued room by Tineke Smith, where everything invites touch– including a pink knitted piano cover!

Eerie and evocative paintings of an abandoned German TB sanatorium.

Beautiful paintings from a Swiss artist

And this was amazing–Two rooms by Frederick Uriel called Plastic Reef, constructed all from throwaway plastics.

Graceful sculptures from Helene Jacubowitz.

Another stunner–in a little alcove, a shimmering textured painting, overplayed by video and music. This was so mesmerizing I watched it twice. Artist is Lala Azra from Indonesia.

For lunch, we walked over to Ai Promessi Sposi, and split a spaghetti with clams and then a frito misto. Larry was happy because there were lots of different itty bitty fishies. A bit over salted to my taste, but still fresh and good.

I had really wanted to see this year’s Biennale prize winner, an Opera in the Lithuanian Pavillion. Staged in an abandoned warehouse at the back end of Castello and performed only two days a week, we arrived to find a long line of people. The line moved every now and then, I think we waited maybe 40 minutes or so while chatting with a woman from Parma and eavesdropping on a really annoying guy bragging about artists he knows.

We climbed stairs to a balcony overlooking a pretend beach, complete with sand, people lounging on blankets, kids playing, dogs sleeping, hundreds of props, and an opera in progress. The libretto is in English, and is slyly funny and quietly perceptive as people sing about the everyday things that are contributing to our plant’s problems. I thought it wonderful, and could have stayed much longer than our allotted 20 minutes.

Back home, rested, then made stuffed zucchini flowers, swordfish “saur” styleand veggies for dinner.

3 thoughts on “Art in Many Forms

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