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Hola '06!

ride homeOK, I’ll keep it short, but my Ionarts contract demands an end-of-year post. There was a lot of art seen and heard this past season. The Gates, lots of MoMa and gallery visits. Van Gogh at the Met was fantastic. I made the rounds of the New York art fairs and had an incredible trip to Italy. Best of all, I got a lot of solid painting done this year.

My one or two failings would be not covering enough of the art events going on here in Baltimore, and I need to get down to D.C. more often, especially to the all new Phillips Collection.

The last thought on my trip to the Dominican Republic is this. Where is all the art? I won’t dump on the Dominican, though the Caribbean in general, including much of Central America, needs to define itself beyond the tourism industry. For so long the region was under siege from one tyranny or another, occupation by Europeans and Americans, then various dictators.

Tourism provides much needed infrastructure, resources, and jobs, but a true contemporary cultural identity will only happen when those resources are equally reinvested in the people. The DR is in dire need of a strict environmental program. For such a small country the air pollution can be as bad as Mexico City’s: mopeds. Remember in the U.S., before the anti-litter campains of the 60s, when families would routinely toss bags full of McDonalds leftovers out of speeding cars? It’s still like that here. Poverty is also a serious issue. The tourism gains and high tax revenues aren’t finding their way to those most in need.

This is in many ways a strikingly beautiful and diverse island with great potential. We made many new friends on this trip, which is not hard to do; and greatly enjoyed our visit to the orphanage in Monte Cristi. They have the beginnings of a successful program, with two kids about to graduate from college. That is a huge step! We look forward to doing whatever we can to assist them; art supplies for sure.

kite surfingI don’t want to leave the impression that no culture exists in the DR, far from it. What may be lacking at the present time in visual art and crafts is balanced by a vibrant music scene and incredible cuisine spiced from many influences. Dominicans are vibrant, very friendly people. If I have a resolution this year it’s to learn Spanish. Number 2, if I return to the DR, get a hotel room on the beach in Carberet and take kite boarding lessons. Hola 2006!


Anonymous said...

May I please suggest that you re-size the beautiful photographs that you post. I realize it may be hard to believe, but some of us still have a slow Internet connection - for better or for worse! Photos posted by other contributors are often much smaller in byte size, and easier to view. No big deal, though! Just a suggestion... Thank you!

Mark Barry said...

I'm sorry, trying to keep the quality of the picture. I do reduce it for posting. I'll try to keep the main image smaller in the future.

Anonymous said...

"Poverty is also a serious issue." Ah... no kidding. You mean, like, totally almost as important as a "strict environmental program" and some art?

Fortunately "Dominicans are vibrant, very friendly people". That's good, because if they were stiff and mean, we might not want to help them. Which is why we don't help people in Belarus.

Clayton Koonce said...

I don't know if you caught these recent Baltimore art events: the Medieval Novgorod exhibit at the Walters, Monet and his contemporaries' paintings of London at the BMA. One or both of those might still be going on. See what you think of the Walters' new Palace of Wonders. And then there are the superb and varied music events always going on at the Peabody and other venues (not just the Meyerhoff and the Opera). Peabody Chamber Opera has a free program of Baroque opera in February.

Mark Barry said...

Anon, you live alone don't you.

Clayton the walters was high on my list then the holidays hit, I will try though. I'll leave the music reviews to mt esteemed colleagues