Stefanella's Drive Thru

Israel, U.S., conflict, war, peace, humor, travel, romance, fashion, fun

Oil & Steel: Art Round Up January 31, 2010

I recently stopped by the Tel Aviv Museum to check out the current exhibits and I’m glad I did.

For me, getting to the museum is sort of  like exercising:  I generally have to convince myself to do it but once I’m there and committed, I never regret it.

Two of the exhibits I saw while there were really good.  High, high recommendations from this admiring art browsing type.

  • Zadok Ben DavidHuman Nature. Two halls of installations, steel sculptures, parallels between human nature and the natural world, an intense amount of work invested into the vision of this London-based Yemenite artist.  The huge Human Nature installation is an absolute must-see.  Don’t be surprised if you exclaim aloud while circling it.

Both are at the museum through most of February. That’s what I’ve got for now.  Over & out.


Art’s Passion August 8, 2009

For a long time I thought my overwhelming “museum feelings” were linked to certain sites or specific pieces of art.

The type of feelings that envelop with totality and without warning when viewing works of art.   

Like the time tears welled threateningly while glimpsing the Venus de Milo at the Louvre.

Or when my heart swelled wildly while touring Tutankhamun‘s tomb treasures in Cairo.

Perhaps the love affair with art began when I was in high school;  I chose French Renaissance Art as my subject for a term paper which meant spending weekends – quite willingly – in Cincinnati’s Art Museum Library conducting research.  My instinct, however, sez it started years before.

Nonetheless, I find that whenever I frequent museums or art happenings – Burning Man included – there’s usually a painting, sculpture, fixture or installation that renders me “struck”.  I get a lump in my throat and my vision goes blurry.

Yesterday’s SFMOMA visit was no exception; I was struck several times by vastly different exhibits.

Initially touring the permanent exhibits, I was quite surprised by Paul Klee early works described as “monstrous figures.”  I love Klee’s sweeping grandness and color but I was taken aback by this dark, detailed material.

Then I felt a swell of gratitude taking in originals by Dali, Diego Rivera, Magritte and Warhol.

The day, however, belonged to cutting edge fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon, whose career spanned 50+ years.

Avedon’s 1950’s-1960’s photos of Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot and Katharine Hepburn oozed natural beauty and starlet material.   But his image of Marilyn Monroe seemed to capture the icon’s mix of blazing sex symbol & confused nymph that would be her legacy.  THAT image presented an emotional moment for me.

Equally moving were Avedon’s images of Louis Armstrong, Igor Stravinsky, Nureyev’ “En Pointe” and Merce Cunningham who died two weeks ago.  His politicians spanned decades and worlds removed from Kissinger to Carter to Obama as Senator.  

Equally moving was the series of photographs documenting his father’s losing battle to cancer and the commissioned body of “In The American West” works portraying faces of middle America.  What a career span and what an incredible talent.

The MOMA also featured works by Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams which presented yet another revelation.  Georgia didn’t do it for me.  She used to but not anymore. That’s just the way it goes, I guess.  But the Ansel Adams works spurred  awe and yet another throat lump over his Sand Dunes gelatin silver print.

After touring, I sat on the museum rooftop in the sun beside the large installations basking in the afterglow of appreciation.

Museums are magical places; I am oh-so-lucky to have the mobility, eyesight and wherewithal to visit them.


A Day with the Dead December 17, 2008

A few weeks ago I went up to Jerusalem for some work.

I’ll be honest here – I don’t generally enjoy going up to Jerusalem.  Lots of reasons.  It seems busy – frenetic almost – and I find the overall energy to be heavy.  Much heavier than in Tel Aviv. Which isn’t surprising considering the city’s thousands of years of history and religious pull for Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

So when I go to Jerusalem, I have a tendency to tend to my business at hand and then get the hell out.  Quickly.  No offense my J-Town dwelling friends and neighbors. It simply is what it is.

When I went up this last time, however, my mindset was different.  I dunno why.  It just was.  I decided to make a day of my trip & combine pleasure with business.

So I rang up a curator friend a day prior and arranged for her to meet me at The Israel Museum and show me around.  Strike me down with curses as I walk the street of shame:  Fifteen years in Israel and I hadn’t yet been to the Israel Museum.

My friend first took me to the model city – a replica of Jerusalem as it was during the 2nd Temple i.e. a hair before Jesus‘ time.  My friend has been with the museum for two decades so she was able to provide history, point out different city sections and give tidbits about who was where back around 80 BCE.  It was a beautiful day, lots of sun and warm temps and loads of tourists checking out the model.  The sun bouncing off the gleaming white & gold model city was beautiful.

My friend then took me to the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed.  For the uninitiated, the Scrolls are 2000-year-old writings discovered half a century ago in caves east of Jerusalem.  The scrolls, scribed on parchment paper in Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew, are biblical, sectarian and apocryphal in nature and represent “the earliest evidence for the biblical text in the world.”

Effin’ wow.  I mean I’m not an over-the-top type when it comes to religion or religious history.  But seeing the parchment writings unfurled behind the glass casing in the very dimly lit shrine room was awesome.  But truly.  “They routinely have to switch the actual scrolls out with representations to let the scrolls rest,” my friend informed.  Effin’ wow.

We then moved on to the sculpture garden – I particularly liked the Botero Man on Horse and visited a wing showcasing Israel’s historical tidbits that included the bloodstained sheet of paper Yithak Rabin had in his pocket when he was fatally shot in 1985 and the first ever Israeli flag to be hoisted outside UN headquarters when statehood was declared in 1948.

Most of the museum is currently under construction so the visit wasn’t extensive.  I didn’t have time anyway.

But I DID have fun.  Who knew?  So with great pleasure I hereby formally announce:  I have a new attitude.  Thank you.  Amen.


Frozen Grand Central April 12, 2008

Filed under: cool,Culture,Fun,Quirky — stefanella @ 9:10 pm
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This is a pretty cool concept.