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23.3.10

Thinking of Spain, While in China

So much to write about, so little Wifi at 50,000 feet. Since the beginning of February I have seen quite a bit of art, the Whitney Biennial, which I did write about, the Armory Show, eh, and my trip through Spain. Each time I planned on getting a post together while in flight, but Wifi on international flights hasn’t quite "taken off" as yet. Well, I’m currently in China, taking a pollution/sandstorm day off and attempting to post on heavily censored Wifi. Even Google closed their offices on the mainland and left for Hong Kong; China responded with a giant sandstorm.

Spain is a painter’s and architect's dream trip which I had looked forward to for many years and I wasn’t disappointed. Starting in Barcelona, quite rightly Gaudí comes to mind: his touch is all over the city, building façades, the flowing balconies of the Casa Mila and his in-progress masterpiece, the cathedral Sagrada Família. The competition for most impressive cathedral in Spain is quite intense, some taking a hundred years or more to complete, which puts the building pace of the Família in context.

There were long lines at the Barcelona museums on the first Sunday of March, as admission is free. The Picasso Museum was packed. It’s an OK collection, overseen by a Picasso family trust in Paris; unfortunately they allow no pictures. One of the highlights is the many drawings and paintings Picasso made over the years detailing his fascination with Velázquez’s Las Meninas, which resides at my next stop, the Prado in Madrid.

An effortless, spotless, new high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid takes you to Brueghel, Rubens, El Greco, Goya, Velázquez -- the Prado in Madrid is like the Palazzo Medici in Florence -- a painter's dream museum. I could literally spend days there, and if it weren’t for a bout with food poisoning and a visit to the Spanish health system (it was free) I would have.

After recovering I visited an old friend at the Reina Sofia museum, which I used to visit at MoMA, Picasso's Guernica. Although I miss the painting in NYC, it now resides in a grand marbled hall, where it belongs and looks great.


More pictures of my Spain adventure, including Seville -- the Cathedral of Seville, another 100-year project, is quite impressive -- and Carmona on Flickr.

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