On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Some more of the Vogalonga because it’s fun, and national pavilions at the 2015 Venice Biennale.
This is a view of the Grand Canal during the Vogalonga from the bell tower at San Giorgio Maggiore Church, on the island of the same name. It gives you an idea of the size of the canal. We occasionally saw cruise ships in the distance when we were eating breakfast.
Back to the Vogalonga. You can see how many different kinds of boats there are here. I particularly like the one with the dragon head at the prow.
One more photo from the Vogalonga, with one of the wackier crews.
This is back on San Giorgio Maggiore. It’s outside the other glass museum in Venice, which focuses on more modern and contemporary glass. This was an installation called Glass Tea House Mondrian, by a Japanese artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto. It was installed originally for the 2011 Biennale, but was still there in 2015. They actually did use it for tea ceremonies, but apparently it was very hot inside.
Speaking of the Biennale, we went to the national pavilions one afternoon. I think I said this once before, but the Biennale has two parts – a big main exhibition, which is overwhelming, and national pavilions, which usually are devoted to one artist per country. This photo was taken on the way to the national pavilions, and it’s the Doge’s Palace. You also can see the huge crowd outside the palace, which seems to me to have been typical while we were there.
Now we’re at the Biennale. This photo is from the French pavilion, and the work consisted of three trees, one inside and two outside (this is the inside tree) and a sound installation. It was a bit weird, but kind of peaceful.
This is from the Nordic pavilion, which I think is shared by Norway, Sweden, and Finland, but was programmed by Norway in 2015. This piece is called “Rapture,” and it was intended, like the French piece, to include both sculpture and sound.
Finally, this is a piece from the Australian pavilion, by Fiona Hall.
The boats look like so much fun!
The tree made me feel a bit forlorn, as if that was tree torture. Then I remembered that every year I cut a Christmas tree and bring it indoors for a month or so…. It’s just so strange to see the root ball exposed so baldly. But suppose the weirdness was part of the point?
Thanks for such an interesting variety of pictures. The next best thing to being there!
I’m not understanding the tree one. Maybe I’m too far removed from that home country. But oh man Venezia doesn’t take a bad picture does she?
That first picture of the Grand Canal is just fabulous!
They took all the trees and put ’em in a tree museum
And charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em!
@Yutsano: Probably gives the intelligentsia and the art media something to gas upon about context and scale and a connection between human control and the environment, etc. etc. etc.
As a friend said years ago when very wealthy clients of mine strenuously objected to my estimate, “They’re so wealthy they don’t have many games to play. Playing poor, sad, struggling peasants is a game they can play.” I charged the clients full passage. These artists, especially at the Biennial, are trying to get noticed in an ocean of famous and striving artists.
I had a friend who went with his friend Paul to Paul’s apartment on the Grand Canal. They went in Paul’s jet. My friend described it as an ordinary, and exciting, trip. It was one of those odd encounters for me that stuck in my mind. How is a trip to a private apartment in Venice in your friend’s jet ordinary / special but everyday?
My friend was capable of purchasing a private jet but uninterested. His friend’s last name was Allen. My friend had been president of the computer club at their high school. Bill was another member of the computer club. Now Bill wants to inject computer tracking devices with a so-called vaccine.
I didn’t here any description of art or food. My friend was an engineer through and through – data held him in thrall. Very nice guy.
Oh my god, I love Venice so much. Thanks for the wonderful visit.
pedantry: That first pic is the very wide Giudecca canal. The islands that make up the Giudecca district are on the left of the picture – the huge red brick building in the distance is an old flour mill that’s been converted into a fancy hotel. The church at the far right of the photo is the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, and the entrance to the Grand Canal is invisible just beyond it. /pedantry. The guest house where I stayed last time I was in Venice is next door to the big domed church in the upper center of the photo (the Gesuati).
That is excellent pedantry. We did not get a huge amount of geographic (hydrographic?) orientation while we were in Venice and so I’m happy to have the correct information. (Just as an example, I looked at a map when I was doing one of these posts and was quite surprised to discover where Murano was in relation to the main part of the city.)
And I really want to go back. I could just wander around contentedly for a long time.
The dragon one looks looks an actual dragon boat, though I don’t know them well enough to be sure. My sister was on a dragon boat team for a while, but I never got to see them race.
In my decades of life with an art history major, I have discovered that the real question about art is whether it does something to you when you see it. Maybe you can figure out why, maybe not, but that’s what matters. Influences and intellectualizations are interesting, but they’re not what makes art.
Two examples: First, Jackson Pollock’s splatter paintings seemed kind of silly to me until I saw one in person, and then I got it. It was filled with energy and there were things hidden in it that were just at the edge of perception and recognition.
Second, the Damien Hirst shark suspended in a tank also sounds silly and overwrought, but my wife and I happened upon it at the Metropolitan Museum in New York once – I don’t know what it was doing there, and it was just kind of sitting in a room by itself – and it has this odd presence about it, like it could just swim away. And the title, pretentious as it is (“The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”), suddenly clicks.
I’ve posted a photo of the Biennale piece that really grabbed me before, and it really was something. (Here’s a link to a page about it: The Key in the Hand.) The ones pictured here were interesting (although I think with the trees you definitely had to be there), but that was the star of the show.
Great pics. Brings back memories when we were in Venice, walking out of mass at Basilica of Santa Maria and catching the strange boat race. A stop at a cafe, hen a stroll to the Getty Museum. Hope you had a chance to visit it.
@randy khan: The Key in the Hand is definitely visually compelling!
The tree reminds me of building a garden display at the convention center. Part way through the process the huge space is filled with large trees and massive equipment. Looking at this huge tree reminded me of that experience of being a small being in a large world. Was that what the trees installation felt like?
Thanks, RK for some awesome pics! The wacky vogalonga crew is rad. If anyone gets to travel to Venice, do a kayak tour of the canals. So cool
A friend I follow on Facebook is an artist and former fashion designer. She tries to go to Venice every year for Carnevale and goes to all the fancy dress balls. She posts pictures of the outfits on Facebook and the people look amazing.
I think there was some of that feeling.