Friday, March 26, 2010


On our way to Barcelona from Lyon

We went to Barcelona last weekend for 3 nights. David gave a talk there and has been invited back there for an extended period of time - maybe in a year or 2?

Where David gave a lecture and may work in the future. It's hard to tell in these photos, but it's right on the beach and is a very cool building:

Barcelona is a loud and magical city - full of amazing architecture (Gaudi + others), street culture and performers, narrow dark streets, the beach, the jam packed rambla, amazing markets, great style, fabulous shopping and a very late night for all. We stayed in a great hotel at the top of the Rambla with a 24 hour mediocre buffet that was perfect for the kids.
Our hotel dining hall:

Right before David and I went out for dinner while a hotel sitter watched the kids:

Beggar on the street. I first thought this was a very old woman but I think it is a man dressed up as such:

Random architecture:

Workers Dreaming, Lys and Monique Brazo, Sister Fairies, Street Performers, Rambla, Barcelona:

One of Gaudi's incredible homes, now a musuem, right around the corner from our hotel:

A Gaudi apartment building, a couple blocks from the house above. You can take a tour of the interior, which I did 20 years ago, but not this time...

A detail of the side of a truck in Placa Real:

One of two crazy goblins who loved Guthrie and got lots of coins from us:

Guthrie loved being grabbed and turned upside down, as did lots of passersby:
One of the most inspiring places we visited was the newly renovated and redesigned Antoni Tapies Foundation that is filled with his work and a collection of ecclectic objects and films of his in the basement - from surrealist manifestos and Paul Klee drawings to Curie books on radiation and ancient maps, tantric statues and podiatrist signs. He made me wish I was an 80 year old European man artist. I want to make big expressive and emotional paintings now. Here are some photos from the Tapies Foundation:

A Paul Klee drawing in Tapies collection:

Projectionist screening a film about Tapies:

Looking up through the skylight through the Tapies-designed wire rooftop sculpture:

Looking across the 3rd floor of the Tapies Foundation to the amazing library. It was closed when we were there. The Foundation is housed in an old publishing house.

Harper twirling in her new fantastic dress in one of the countless Desuigal boutiques:

Along the Old Port:
Social Realism on the outside of a Lacoste boutique:

This silver grey princess never opened her eyes:

Sleepy Guthrie helping me pick out sunglasses:

Guthrie's photograph of me in my new Barcelona sunglasses against our hotel wallpaper:

Wind man:

Maybe we should have eaten here?

I still have not had delicious food in Spain which is disappointing because I know it is there. But we did manage to have two delicious pitchers of sangria. One night, red at a strange tapas place. The other night, white, on the beach boardwalk as the kids played in the sand. That was a divine couple hours. Here are some photos from the beach sangria:

Gaudi's Park Guell was pretty exquisite too. It was exciting to show David Gaudi's architecture, as he had never been to Barcelona before. The park was full of people, tourists, locals, massage therapists giving massages in one of the plazas, musicians, dogs, invisible men. There were wild parrots screeching in the treets and swooping about, orange trees heavy with fruit, palm trees and cacti galore - all amidst Gaudi's spectacular mosaics and stone pillars, caves and tunnels, columns and little gatekeeper houses based on Hansel and Gretel. I read in a tourist brochure that the Park Guell is really a failed project as it was meant to be a mixed income housing development but only 2 lots were sold. Lucky us!
The entranceway to Park Guell on a Saturday:

Man and dogs in Park Guell:

One of the Gaudi gatekeeper houses based on Hansel and Gretel in the Park Guell:

The big still unfinished Sagrada Familia Cathedral was not as impressive as last time (over 20 years ago) which I found disappointing. But we didn't go in. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we played in parks instead. Here I am in one of the several adjacent parks to the Sagrada Familia:

Boys playing soccer in a park near the Sagrada Familia:

Dog and paintings for sale across the street from Gaudi's Sagrada Familia:
The accordion player who serenaded our lunch of tapas at the Sagrada Familia:
I read most of Renee Levine's inspiring book One-Way Tickets on the trip. I tried to track her down via an email to a bookshop in the UK and today she emailed me directly! She has moved from Paris to Asheville, North Carolina. I sent her a long rambling email and I hope I did not scare her away.
Yesterday, Corinne drove us to Roanne to meet Maxime Freidenberg, an extraordinary man who survived the war as a Jewish boy because a protestant community hid him near Roanne. Actually, he was able to change his name and attend the regular local school. No one denounced him or his mother. He is now a sculptor, sculpting Obama and expressive faces out of stone. He said 2 unforgettable things. One, he told us a story when I asked him if he remembered seeing German soldiers. He was walking through the main intersection of town with his mother and he saw a big German soldier with his bayonet. He wanted to touch the bayonet and reached for it and his mother pulled him away. Years later, when he was a French soldier in Algeria, a little Algerian boy saw him with his bayonet and reached out to touch it. His mother pulled him away. Maxime said the only thing that mattered was the mother's sentiment. The other thing he said, when I asked him what he thought about memorials, was that were "necessary. Necessary because there are negationists of history. Necessary to remember what happened." He has a small green tin box overflowing with papers, photographs that he ties shut with a white elastic rope. He would not let me look through it and cried a little when I asked him if I could. He had shown me photographs of his mother and family and I wanted to see more. He showed me the book A Duty to Memory by Primo Levi. I must read it. He showed me lots of things - a list of the houses known to be hiding Jews, thereby "exploiting the town of Roanne" with his name on it. (He gave me a copy of this.) His wife made us the most delicious meal: fresh salad with bread; rillettes of pork and potato gratin; cheeses, wine, apple tart and good coffee. He wondered if he had been of any help to me. (Will post pictures of all this later.)

I do not know what I am doing with all this. As I told Tama, I am confused, befuddled, overwhelmed, sad, scattered and inspired. I plan to photograph all the plaques and memorials in Lyon and maybe even all the unmarked sites (like Joel Sternfeld's On This Site). I still plan on making etchings at URDLA and am thinking of a series of heads, profiles, inspired by Tapies,
but filled with various maps of Lyon. Not sure. Renee Levine's book has me wanting to record my own mother's memories of the war, something I have never done, probably out of respect for my mother's reluctance to speak about it. She told me recently that she remembers stopping in Vienne (a town nearby) when she was sent away to France during the war. Levine's books also gives me courage to make big changes in my life. She lived several lives, all of them intense, and suffered huge losses - always going away never to return.

No comments:

Post a Comment