Tag Archives: art

What Does Amsterdam Smell of?

A month ago the first leg of my month+ journey went in a smooth arc southwest from Europe, then down – right down to the bottom of the earth; then it was back up north (er, where else?:) to Saint Martin (the island) – specifically the Dutch 40% thereof (not the French 60%) (confused?!?!) – where the worlds’ craziest beach is and where we had our SAS-2017. Next, it was back home to Moscow. But not directly…

No. First of all, that would have been impossible (no direct flights). Secondly, it would have been boring, as we’d have missed out…: Amsterdam!

So off we flew – from the same runway where we were getting our kicks on Route 66 Beacon Hill Road earlier that day. Only… we didn’t blow anyone over. As I wrote in yesterday’s post, normally planes begin their acceleration from the beach end of the runway, blasting the tourists behind them as they do; but our KLM plane did it the other way round. Another strange thing: flying from the Netherlands to Holland took… eight hours and 15 minutes. And there was me thinking the country was not so large :).

All righty: Amsterdam!…

So, as the title asks – what does Amsterdam smell of? I mean – in the old city center along the banks of the canals? Yep, you guessed it: ganjer! Practically everywhere!

Read on: so we went to a museum…

The Terrific Travels and Astonishing Adventures of Midori Kuma.

Midori Kuma came into this world in Tokyo, Japan. We know little about his childhood, in fact – almost nothing at all…

In his youth he led a somewhat free-and-easy, unrestrained way of life – indeed the antithesis of the archetypal Hikikomori. According to folks who knew him back then, Midori Kuma was often to be found at various Japanese parties, presentations, exhibitions and conferences. In other words, he led the same kind of life he leads today – that of an active participant doing the rounds on the society circuit.

Read on: Midori Kuma gets attention from ladies…

A Day in the Life of an Antarctic Artist.

Modern art. It’s a tricky one. It’s divisive. It’s polarizing. It can be ‘just too much’ for many – too avant garde, too unsettling; while for others it’s a natural, permanently fluctuating expression of the creative human spirit – in all its wildest, freshest imaginings. Nikita Khrushchev was firmly in the former ‘eh?’ camp, famously ranting, swearing like a trooper, pointing, shaking fists and assuring that his ‘grandchild could do better than this’ his when he visited a modern art exhibition in Moscow in 1962. But that was Khrushchev.

What I think the USSR General Secretary didn’t quite get was that modern art shouldn’t be taken at face value. Ok, let me try explain what I mean using a technique I’m very familiar and at-home with – mathematical induction. It shows me how many long-dead artists who are today renowned as geniuses often died poor or in disgrace. Only later – after prejudices of the day fade and the true merit of a daring modern artist becomes more and more widely recognized – only then does the man-in-the-street ‘get’ him. Only then does that same man-in-the-street realize his kind were responsible not only of tormenting an individual, but also a genius author who had contributed greatly to redirecting entrenched ways of seeing the world – aka, ‘world culture’ – toward new horizons.

Creativity is something eternal; it’s always been with us, and always will be. Just look at the walls of Neolithic caves covered with etchings. [Lengthy story that should/could be here – omitted for brevity’s sake.] Well that eternal flame of creativity is still going strong today – particularly here, on this here ship I’m writing this from. For here we have a group of contemporary artists of various genres and styles – and cultures – doing the modern kunst thing as they see fit – be it with installations or performances or whatever. I have to admit that I – like the above-mentioned man-in-the-street – don’t ‘get’ it all. But that doesn’t matter! Much like wise advice has always said that reading a book you don’t fully understand can never be a bad thing – not fully understanding modern art but still engaging with it is also no bad thing. For I really do respect modern art, in all its progressively perplexing ways. But you will have guessed that by now – what with us not only sponsoring the Antarctic Biennale, but with me personally taking part in it too…

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I write this from somewhere in Drake Passage, heading down to Antarctica with brave artists, installationists and performers, who over the next several days will be fully submerged in an Antarctic all-inclusive experience that’s never been done before.

All righty. I write this now after a few days of the expedition, and already a pattern has formed of what we do of a day here:

Every morning – and if possible, also every evening – the whole creative collective disembarks from the Vavilov onto an Antarctic island or mainland bit of Antarctica. They take with them earlier prepared installations, put on performances, arrange photo-exhibitions, and in plenty of other ways complicate their lives right there on the ice and snow.

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Read on: A Day in the Life of an Antarctic Artist…

Ask the Audience: Antarctic Creativity Ideas Needed!

Hi all!

As you already know, we’re off to Antarctica! And it’s no ordinary trip to Antarctica – if there can be such a thing – but a very extraordinary one, with an extraordinarily creative international delegation of modern-art adepts aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov research vessel; route: UshuaiaMarguerite Bay and back.

The Antarctic Biennale line-up will consist of 17 multidisciplinary artists; among them: Zhang Enli (China), Tomas Saraceno (Argentina), Joaquin Fargas (Argentina), Gustav Duesing (Germany), Yto Barrada (Morocco), Julius von Bismarck (Germany) and Julian Charriere (France/Switzerland). There are others too, but I don’t know their names yet. This multinational modern-art contingent was put together by the maestro of modern art, installations and performances, Alexander Ponomarev. Here are some of the latter’s works, btw:

So, led by the maestro, the artists will board the ship and for a week create some contemporary, unforgettable and fundamental modern art; then they’ll install their fresh masterpieces on the sixth continent. Yeah, that’s the plan.

Read on: how do I fit in among all these artists?…

Antarctic Modern Art Biennale!

Ferrari and F-1, all-women skiing expeditions to the South Pole, snooker, archaeological digs of ancient Minoan ruins, chess, and a lot of other stuff. I think the word is eclectic for all that lot. And for those at the back not listening – this eclectic selection is what we sponsor, support, help, assist, admire, and are proud of! But something was missing. Something that would make it even more diversified. We needed to add an ingredient of a perfectly… perpendicular nature – perpendicular to that lot (is that even possible?). So that’s just what we did: we added… modern art to the mix!

Drum roll……………………….. crash cymbal! We have another announcement!

We’re taking part in a project of the most unusual and original kind (drum roll still going, getting louder – just like pulses and breathing!). Like I say, it’s about modern art. But not simply ‘modern’, and not simply ‘art’; add to it the following, and that’s what we got!: a ship (research-vessel), the ocean, and Antarctica! It all adds up to the must uniquely uncommon project in the world in the field of modern art – the Antarctic Biennale!

The essence of the project is as follows: artists from all around the world take long flights to Ushuaia in southern Argentina. There they’ll board a ship and sail to Antarctica, all the while intensively gaining inspiration and creating. The floating creative laboratory, exhibition deck, and ocean-faring platform for dialog will be the Akademik Sergey Vavilov research vessel. And it’s going to happen in the second half of March of this year!

And the project was officially announced last Saturday evening in Room 15 (the Italian Courtyard) of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

Read on: Why?…

Catalonian Cabriolet.

Phew. Another regional partner conference done and dusted. We have quite a few every year: North American (this year in Cancun); Latin America (recently in Bolivia, but this year I sadly couldn’t make it); and APAC (just the other week in Vietnam). There’s also an ‘Emerging Markets’ conference – the one that we’ve just done and dusted, in Barcelona – which covers Latin America (yep, they’re lucky – they get two conferences a year), Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

As always it was as always: meetings, presentations, discussion, negotiations and so on: the serious bit. Then there was the fun bit: a gala dinner, this time in Barcelona’s Maritime Museum. Super place for a super supper :).


Read on: The road to surrealism …

Christmas dinner… in a museum.

Eeeh, modern art museums. Gotta love it.

Not that I’m a mega-fan of modern kunst; it’s not as if I plan visits to progressive museums specially. But when I do happen by one in this or that metropolis of the continent I’m currently visiting, and it looks sufficiently mad-hatter – I’m in there like a shot.

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I’ve been to quite a few avant-garde exhibitions in my time, to some repeatedly, and I’m always equal parts impressed… and flummoxed! For I’m no discerning connoisseur. In fact, I sometimes wonder – is anyone? Maybe it’s all pretend – like I sometimes think it might be with, say, expensive wines and whiskies. I mean how on earth can anyone genuinely, truly appreciate a black smudge applied to a canvas with a human thigh covered in charcoal? Come on, you modern-kunsters – let me in on the secret!

Read on: Earth – round or flat? Or hollow?…

Venetian virtuosities.

After a very long but perfectly pleasant drive along a coast road extraordinaire, we finally arrived in Venice! Here, as per usual, it was a mixture of a lot of business and a lot of pleasure (the latter meaning inspecting places of interest, for all you jumping to the wrong conclusions!). Also as per, I’ll not go into the useful though boring business bit; I’ll dive straight into the juicy pleasure bit. And juicy it was; a succulent adventure into the avant-garde of the bizarre world of modern art…

Modern art – it’s a… divisive topic.

From the point of view of modern art’s consumer, or observer, it can invoke utter delight and rapture just as much as it can indignation and disgust. It can be thoroughly appreciated as true to the ideals of the avant-garde aesthetic, as much as leave the beholder utterly flabbergasted and even angered at the absurdity of some of the exhib(sh)its on display.

It’s not only divisive; it can get confusing too. What’s high art, what is pure BS? What’s an exhibit, what are fixtures and fittings of the building the exhibition is housed in, like a ventilator, a trash can, some ongoing repairs to the roof, a plug in a wall socket?

The latter sometimes needs a placard saying ‘this is a plug plugged into a wall socket; it is a work of art of our electrician’, otherwise the ‘connoisseurs’ might take it for a modern kunst masterpiece. Then there’s stuff like Malevich’s Black Square – a plug-in-a-socket if ever there was one; no matter: folks have kept traveling from all over the world to see it in the flesh in Tretyakovskaya for several decades.

What have I just been saying? :)What have I just been saying? :)

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Read on: First impressions? Can you guess?…

Dead season – best season.

I finally get it.

The best time to travel around Europe is November!

All the great-weather tourists have long disappeared, and it’s a month until the Christmas/New year tourists will be back en masse. Yep – November is the perfect time of year for leisurely strolls along European streets and visiting (empty!) cathedrals, palaces and museums. Of course, the weather’s not super fine like in summer, but then Europe – especially southern Europe – doesn’t have a harsh northern climate anyway, so it’s perfectly doable.

Of course, you have to expect some rain, and you need to put a coat on… Big deal. A small price to pay for avoiding throngs of folks everywhere getting in your face, for not having to stand forever in endless lines, and not needing to get out of the way of pictures being taken by a zillion other tourists.

A.B. and I were lucky on this quick trip to Europe: We managed two hours walking gondoliering around Venice and a whole day strolling around Barcelona.

Venice

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Read on: Two hours in Venice and an evening in Barcelona…

The KL Paint-A-Wall Challenge!

“Why don’t we do a Banksy, kinda?…” someone in our creative collective suggested one day. Why don’t we, indeed, I thought, and issued the proverbial green light. “Only, our artwork needs to be bigger, brighter, better… than Banksy (cough),” I added. “So our logo’ll be easier to see.” :-)

Kaspersky Lab Mural Art

Months later, several towns across Russia had had a particularly dismal apartment building side-wall brightened up with a dazzling, cheerful, multicolored mural!

Here are some pics… Not half bad. Like. Much like :).

How @e_kaspersky challenged Banksy, kindaTweet

Read on: we win the towns over…