Saturday, February 25, 2017

Cat and Mouse

No entry sign hacked by Clet Abraham, Via dei Servi, Florence
No entry sign hacked by Clet Abraham
Via dei Servi / Via degli Alfani
Florence, January 2017

“‘Street art, or guerilla art, needs to be reinvented in dialogue with the Renaissance city,’ says Clet Abraham, the French-born artist who has come into the public eye for his surprising interventions in public spaces. I sat down with him to learn more about his project and to discuss the role of street art in Florence. You may not know it, but you've probably seen work by Clet out on the streets. Since last summer, he's been conducting night-time blitzes to alter traffic signs: a silhouette of a man carrying away the no-entry bar; a dead-end ‘T’ sign becomes a pietà or a crucifix. The figure is created with a black sticker that is easily removable.” (CLET, The Florentine)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Crow at Sunset

Crow at sunset, Cour Napoléon (Napoleon Courtyard), Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace), Paris
Crow at sunset, Cour Napoléon (Napoleon Courtyard)
Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace)
Quartier Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, 1st arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Carnival of Venice

Carnival mask outside a shop, Somewhere in Santa Croce, Venice
Carnival mask outside a shop
Somewhere in Santa Croce
Venice, September 2012

“The volto (Italian for face) or larva (meaning ghost in Latin) is the iconic modern Venetian mask: it is often stark white though also frequently gilded and decorated, and is commonly worn with a tricorn and cloak. It is secured in the back with a ribbon. Unlike the moretta muta, the volto covers the entire face including the whole of the chin and extending back to just before the ears and upwards to the top of the forehead; also unlike the moretta muta, it depicts simple facial features like the nose and lips. Unlike the bauta, the volto cannot be worn while eating and drinking because the coverage of the chin and cheeks is too complete (although the jaw on some original commedia masks was hinged, this is not a commedia mask and so is never hinged—the mouth is always completely closed).” (Carnival of Venice, Wikipedia)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Unity by Ivan Klapez, Alban Gate atrium, London Wall, City of London
“Unity” by Ivan Klapez, 1992
Alban Gate atrium
London Wall, City of London
London, September 2016

“Tucked away in an upper walkway through the Terry Farrell-designed building that straddles London Wall is this whirling pair of dancers, though what the dance may be defies deduction. Perhaps you have to be listening to the music. The 1992 work, Unity, was commissioned by developers MEPC from the Croatian sculptor Ivan Klapez. It is a most awkwardly positioned artwork, in a low atrium with industrial ceilings. It is circled by a huge window which bathes it in light but makes it very difficult to photograph - either it is against the light or the background is filled with fussy office detail. The original idea was to use a figure by Klapez called Liberty, a very tall male nude, but the artist felt the ceiling was too low to give it room to breath and suggested this dynamic X-shaped composition instead.” (Alban Gate, London Wall, Ornamental Passions)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bacchino Fountain

Fontana del Bacchino, Bacchino Fountain, Giardino di Boboli, Boboli Gardens, Florence
Fontana del Bacchino (Bacchino Fountain) by Valerio Cioli, 1560
(A satiric portrait of court dwarf Pietro Barbino ‘Morgante’ as Bacchus)
Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens)
Florence, January 2017

“His most famous work is the ‘Fontana del Bacchino’ in the Giardino di Boboli, near the entrance to piazza Pitti in Florence. It shows a dwarf at the court of Cosimo I, ironically nicknamed Morgante (the giant of the poem Morgante by Luigi Pulci), portrayed nuded and sitting on a tortoise like a drunken Bacchus.” (Valerio Cioli, Wikipedia)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Empire State Building

Empire State Building, Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Street, New York
Empire State Building by William F. Lamb, 1931
Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Street
New York, September 2007

“The Empire State Building was designed by William F. Lamb from the architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, which produced the building drawings in just two weeks, using its earlier designs for the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio (designed by the architectural firm W. W. Ahlschlager & Associates) as a basis. Every year the staff of the Empire State Building sends a Father's Day card to the staff at the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem to pay homage to its role as predecessor to the Empire State Building. The building was designed from the top down. The general contractors were The Starrett Brothers and Eken, and the project was financed primarily by John J. Raskob and Pierre S. du Pont. The construction company was chaired by Alfred E. Smith, a former Governor of New York and James Farley's General Builders Supply Corporation supplied the building materials. John W. Bowser was project construction superintendent.” (Empire State Building, Wikipedia)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

San Marcello al Corso

St Philip Benizi refuses the papal tiara, by Antonio Raggi, stucco bas-relief over the entrance of San Marcello al Corso, Piazza di San Marcello, Rome
St Philip Benizi refuses the papal tiara, by Antonio Raggi, 1686
Bas-relief over the entrance of San Marcello al Corso
Piazza di San Marcello
Rome, April 2013