Read here the first part of the story:
March 31st 2016, Venice, Italy, on some canal, crossing some bridge, so happy
So, here I am on this tongue of land sustaining the train I’m in that’s taking me to the city of waters, of art, of love, of culture, of canals, of sweets, of masks…
In my Vietnamese traditional black pants – bought from Zara Romania, made in Vietnam, Japanese print sneakers – made in Romania, green Ralph Lauren shirt from US, bought on my way to Niagara Falls more than 7 years ago, cream leather jacket from Times Square, made in South America, green Chinese leather purse bought from Madrid, with an elephant from Khao San Road, Bangkok, hanging from one of the handles and an Islamic print colorful scarf from Istanbul, coming from Doha, here in Venice…
It’s such a crazy world!
Probably by now you know I’m into art and especially modern art, so I gave away the countless classical art museums for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Collezione Peggy Guggenheim).
Who was Peggy G.? Art addict, art collector, art dealer, art supporter – all art. Extremely rich, a New York City socialite in the golden years. Niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, founder of the museum with the same name in Upper East Side. Where? New York City, of course. Pretty, free spirit, elegant, bohemian. Ashkenazi Jewish – if it matters. Inherited tens of millions of dollars when she was 21, but was one of the poorest of her family. Her father sunk with Titanic. Worked in bookstore, moved to Paris and was in the art and writer entourages. Friend of Constantin Brancusi and Marcel Duchamp. Married and divorced with Max Ernst. At little over 50, after the WWII she settled in Venice, about which she said:
“To live in Venice or even to visit it means that you fall in love with the city itself. There is nothing left over in your heart for anyone else”
…and she was coming from uptown glitzy lifestyle of New York City and Paris. Read more about here or try her book Ma vie et mes folies.
The Collection used to be here home and it is simply amazing. Cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism right by the canals, by the gondolas, with a terrace on two levels right by the water.
Here you can admire Angel of the Citadel, a real size sculpture depicting a man on horseback, both having erections.
Peggy Guggenheim (left) described Angel of the Citadel in her memoir, Confessions of an Art Addict: “It was a statue of a horse and rider, the latter with his arms spread out in ecstasy, and to emphasize this, Marino added a phallus in full erection. But when he had it cast in bronze for me he had the phallus made separately, so that it could be screwed in and out at leisure.” – Source
If you’re not into mainstream, The Collection is the place to be, it has two sections and a lovely café, with black and white pictures of Peggy.
Entrance fee in 15E, but it’s totally worth it. At least, this is how I choose to spend my money. To enhance my spirit and my brain. I remember when I arrived in New York in the summer of 2009, I was there already fourth time, but never got to see Guggenheim Museum. At the door, the girls said they prefer to spend $16 on something else, like a shirt. No comment!
Art makes me alive, makes me go deep into my thoughts, become creative, take my so, so closed spirit to unseen heights, makes me write, draw, dance, pray, go nuts.
In what used to be a dining room, in a corner enhancing its perfection, lays Maiastra, Constantin Brancusi, the Romanian genius sculptor’s masterpiece. I shed a tear, because that’s what art supposed to do, make you feel. Don’t ask me for what exactly, but I did. Art must make you cry, laugh out loud, scram, shiver, otherwise it has no purpose.
Probably every time I will step in a museum – and I do it quite regularly – I will remember Beatrice B., my Arts teacher in high school. She put the seeds of my love for art. Of course it was always there, but she made me know with her truly unique teacher vocation. She said you must recognize the style when you see a piece of art and showed us countless projections showing us classical art, fauvism, pointillism, Art Nouveau, Dadaism…
Probably that’s all I’m left with from high school, together with the one year spent in Amboy, Illinois, USA. So, what defines me from a young age? What do I vibrate with, where my heart is? Art and travel, exploration, new, far-away places, unknown, unpredictability and spontaneity, fearlessness, colors and brushes, pop art, all together. And I chose something as dull and inflexible as law. Oh well…Queen of Contrasts.
How do you get to The Collection? By losing yourself so many time, that you forget what’s your destination by being charmed and falling in love with each alley and mirroring water, arcade window, astonishing façade, history confession, spumiglie, gondolier that shouts something funny in Italian…
“Here’s a general rule to abide by in Venice: If you don’t get lost, you’re not doing it right. Even visitors with a GPS-like sense of direction will likely be bested by the meandering streets of the city. There’s no better way to explore the lovely maze than in a haze of mild confusion.” – Katherine LaGrave
What can you see at The Collection? Kandinsky, Severini, Picasso, Miro, Duchamp, of course Brancusi, Malevich, Nannucci’s “Changing Place, Changing Time, Changing Thoughts, Changing Future” – which I’ve seen this summer in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MoMA – where? New York City, of course. It’s interesting to see how you’ve changed in such a short while, where you were initially, to which horizons you moved and where you are now. Where you want to be…) all on the Venetian background. A gondola is passing bay in the background of this amazing Kandinsky and there’s one accordion player onboard and the music plays within me.
On a marble bench outside it says: “Savor kindness because cruelty is always possible later”.
In Café dei Frari I buy some wonderful sandwiches and the ladies are talking that Elton John was in Venice.
Lion or slave shaped door knobs on narrow alleys, cafes where you can serve the best wine or fresh orange juice – everything to go if you’re in a rush to see the city, la dolce vita, art galleries selling from few euros to sums that might close the bank, Venetia Studium shop leaving you with your mouths wide opened at the beauty of the velvet and silks, furnishings, lamps, furniture and clothing accessories and also at the prices – just to form an idea, one small round pillow covered in gold velvet, like the ones in 1001 stories or let’s say Venetian Palaces is around 200E; check it out yourself , the Paul&Shark sponsored gondolas , the so-many coat of arms, the boutique hotels by the Grand Canal, the Aperol Spritzer at the tables, the St Mark’s lions, boat and gondolas parking places, delimitated by thick vertical poles, charming mail boxes, Mediterranean vegetation, small piazzas, paint your own mask workshops, art galleries and bookstores…
The bookstore with the best selection displayed I saw it in Venice on topics from the Imperial Russia to Isis Islam and everything in between, but all of maximal and current interest. Hats off!
Oh, and until 7th of August, there’s an Helmut Newton exhibition I’d love to see.
Dolci tipici di Venezia, Trattoria Dona Onesta (but why so serious?), fantasy shoes with Alice in Wonderland as a heel, crazy outfits.
In this labyrinth I identify myself with a white horse, a confused white horse.
It’s time to fly back to Doha, without promising myself I’ll come back and see it over and over again…my way. Don’t be a tourist, be a traveller! Do bring your kids here. They’ll love it. You’ll love it, too.