Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday afternoon

AOG, Madrid



(Igor Mitoraj sculpture)
The nice thing about living in a major world capital is that it has a lot of cultural events going on most of the time. I don't think of Madrid as a major world capital, though I do think of it as a major cultural city- perhaps more so than Barcelona, but not quite London or New York yet.

Nevertheless, Madrid these days is really into its art and it takes itself very seriously. Wherever you read in the Spanish media, the fact that Madrid has three major museums within walking distance of each other is a source of pride. Art is big business in general. That goes double for Spain, for many a bargain when compared to other capitals such as Paris or New York.

The Prado (Spain's Louvre), the Thyssen, and the Queen Sofia Museum of Contemporary Art- alias the "Reina Sofía"- are all on the same street- the Prado boulevard.

Now, within the same street, Caixa Forum Madrid, a cultural, not for profit, organisation funded by La Caixa, one of Spain's largest savings banks, has opened its doors.

Sporting Madrid's, probably Spain's, first vertical garden, its modern headquarters building in Madrid is less imposing that the other three. As in Barcelona, it has taken a pre-existing building, and remodeled it into something new. I have not been inside of it yet but from the outside it is not a very impressive building, except for its vertical garden which you can see on the photograph at left behind the winged sculpture.

However, what it lacks on the outside, it makes up for in its first public exhibition: the work of Igor Mitoraj.

The Prado boulevard has been peppered beautifully with
Igor Mitoraj's sculptures. Neoclassical, postmodern, certainly sensual and at the same time, cold, given their metallic nature.

I discovered it today when I went to visit the "Cuesta de Moyano" (link is in Spanish), an uphill (cuesta) street linking the boulevard with Madrid's Retiro Park and located at the back of the Agriculture Ministry, Madrid's most beautiful ministry building (below).











On the slope you find about 15 covered stands which have been selling second-hand books, as well as new books, since 1925. All sort of literary treasures are found there. My find yesterday was the January 1977 issue of National Geographic. I bought it for the articles on Stockholm and Haiti.

Whilst there, I met up with an improv-class classmate and one of the tutors. We spoke about life in general and how best to get into improv. The sucking of a particular body part was part of the way into improv. Ha ha ha, how we all laughed.

On my way home, I marveled at the sculptures which I had seen in Barcelona a few months ago, at Barcelona's Caixa Forum. And then some.

One of the small pleasures of living in a European capital.

1 comment:

desayunoencama said...

El otro día vi que Petra's International Book Shop (C/ Campomanes) tenían un par de NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICS enlas estanterías de ofertas.

Probably not as old as the one you found.

But FWIW.