Monthly Archives: February 2011

the divine right to drink coffee at an honest price…

I love Cafe La Graglia in Via San Filippo in Biella. First of all it’s a torrefazione, which means that they roast and grind their own coffee (usually a good sign). They do one of the best cappuccinos in town, but mostly i love them because of this sign (on the right):

“A CUP OF COFFEE IS AN UNDENIABLE RIGHT. OUR BAR HAS KEPT THE SAME PRICE SINCE 2001. COFFEE €0.80 cents”

Not convinced about the Graglia logo though, as far as I’m concerned it’s borderline racist, but then there is a lot of that here…Some of my Italian (and Spanish) friends say i am too sensitive about this sort of thing, but i reckon there is an insidious trickle down effect in all these pictures of mammys – for rum or ali babas for carpets that subliminally inform a nation from childhood up, and that is not a good thing…

shock corridor…

Experiencing Giovanni Anceschi’s “Environment with luminous shocks” a work from 1964. One of the installations in the new Museum of 20th Century Art in Milan.

Italian art of the 20th Century, a lot of it Milanese. Occasionally during this century Italy was truly at the vanguard of contemporary art, namely with the Futurist and Arte Povera movements but otherwise it is full of works that look a bit like other peoples work in other parts of the world. Beautiful building though…and great views…

women without men in the sala delle cariatidi…

Exhibitions worth seeing in Milan are a bit like buses, you wait around for AGES and then a bunch of them all come together at the same time. Alongside the Arcimboldo exhibition within the Palazzo Reale is another show by Shirin Nehat. The films are installed in the Sala delle Cariatidi (the Caryatid Room). The Palace itself was heavily bombed during WW11 but mercifully, rather than restore it, this room was instead preserved as it was, war scars and all…

Women without men is Shirin Neshat’s independent film adaptation of Shahrnush Parsipur’s magic realist novel. The story chronicles the intertwining lives of four Iranian women during the summer of 1953 and is in told in chapters jumping from screen to screen within the installation.

Both the films and the room in which it is installed are exquisite to look at but go with a clear, fresh even empty head…

fine china and the male genitalia…

This little china plate gets a post all to itself. As part of the contextualisation of  the Arcimboldo exhibition at the Palazzo Reale in Milan (see previous post), it’s somewhat memorable…now of course sex in art is as old as humanity itself, but i must confess this is the first time i have ever seen a man’s face made up of dismembered members. The plate dates to 1536 by the way…

attributed to Franceso Urbini – Plate with head made from phaluses

Pretentiously, I tried to decipher the Latin text for a while until i found out it is actually Italian if you read it backwards and it says : OGNI HOMO ME GUARDA COME FOSSE UNA TESTA DE CAZI – “Every man looks at me as if i were a dick head (literally head of dicks)” !!!

Comedy genius!!!