Category: Spain

The Digest. 10.13.09.

Drunk Mickey in Bilbao. (Photo by Fragil.)

Update: And congrats to Chris Albert for winning the great C-Mon cheese giveaway!

  • Cave painting, New York style.
  • Lehman Bros. is having an art garage sale! (Grazie, WALR.)
  • The Whitney moves ahead on a High Line museum.
  • New Leonardo portrait may have been discovered. The giveaway? A fingerprint. (IIC.)
  • Interesting fact: France is the biggest McDonald’s market in the world outside of the U.S.
  • Speaking of which: the Louvre new director is trying to loosen the place up. (With McFlurries?)
  • Miami dealers busy as bees for the impending Basel Frazzle.
  • Kandinsky, visual rhyme.
  • Slide show: the Gagosian store.
  • A pop-up art shop in Istanbul.
  • The collapse of New York’s real estate market: good for artists.
  • Mitch Epstein, capturing the American thirst for energy. And getting detained in the process.
  • NYPD allegedly refers to hipsters as “marshmallows” because they’re white and soft. (World’s Best Ever.)
  • Luscious color: The photographs of Anthony Earl Smith.
  • I want, I need, I have to have…a Cremaster sweatshirt.
  • Today’s Graff: 3ttman in Mallorca, Spain.
  • The Harvey Pekar webcombic. (Hustler of Culture.)
  • A building that looks like a bar code.
  • Your moment of the Daily Show on CNN’s coverage of the health care debate. A spectacular dismemberment. [For some reason, the permalink on this has an error in it, so it's not working. (Thanks, Viacom.) I'm linking to the main site. It's the first video up this morning, called CNN Leaves It There.]

The Digest. 01.09.09.

Sant Gregori Papa (1495) by Pedro Berruguete at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona. (Photo by C-M.)

  • The Online Gallery of Juror Art. (ackackack.)
  • has a helpful analysis of the lawsuit against Richard Prince.
  • The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is looking for short films for its outdoor film series, held during the summer.
  • Photographer Glen E. Friedman will be signing his books at Subliminal Projects in LA tomorrow. (The gallery has copies of his books on hand as well.) Plus: Grey Gardens is screening at LACMA this Sunday. (Marshall Astor.)
  • GM is seriously cutting back on arts sponsorship in Detroit. More here.
  • Chicago art podcast site Bad At Sports has entered a bit of a rough patch financially. Help ‘em out with a donation. (See the blue button on their header.)
  • Despite all the gloom and doom, there is good news out there: Mustaches are back. And they’re not all ironic.
  • The state of arts journalism in Seattle. Sounds like it’s the state of arts journalism in other places as well.
  • It’s easier than ever to add bacon to your website.
  • The photographs of Zoe Strauss and Eudora Welty.
  • Impressionist portraits, updated.
  • Some stonerrific geometric patterns, courtesy of Joanne Mattera.
  • Today’s Graff: Freska in Oakland.
  • Going Postal, a new book of postal label art from Martha Cooper.
  • “What embassy architecture really shouldn’t be, is like the new US embassy in Baghdad.”
  • Hold the Starchitecture! Jean Nouvel’s L.A. project suspended.
  • Wallpaper highlights the year in bad design. And Yale’s School of Architecture, designed by Paul Rudolph, is on the list.
  • Your grandmother’s couch, on steroids.
  • Google Earth’s ancestor. Also known as “maps.”
  • Your moment of Cab Calloway, Sesame style.

Photos: Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

Mies Van Der Rohe
Like a flamenco dancer: in the backyard area of the Mies Pavilion. (Photos by C-M.)

Since it’s Summer Friday, there’s no Digest today (or for the remaining Fridays in August). In lieu of something informative, here’s a little show-and-tell from my summer vacation: specifically, my visit to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion from the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition. Enjoy some graceful, travertine-laden early Modernism. I’ll be back in the chair on Monday.

Click images to supersize. More after the jump.

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Food as art: My dinner at El Bulli.

El Bulli
Even the kitchen is artful: A view of El Bulli’s kitchen, where glass walls permit outdoor views, and sculpture emerges from the kitchen counters. (Photos by C-M.)

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people do just about anything they can think of, including pleading, prayer and strong-arming to get a table at El Bulli, the three-Michelin star restaurant headed up by Ferran Adrià on a remote patch of Spain’s Costa Brava. Every year, only 8,000 people make it in. And this year, because I’m an extraordinarily lucky person (bastard, some might say), I was one of them.

The meal was all high ceremony, kinda like those scenes in the period films about British monarchy where some petulant royal stands in the middle of a room and is bathed and dressed by a gaggle of terrified servants. There is no music at El Bulli and each table is tended to by a battalion of black-clad waiters who whisper regular instructions on how to eat the food: “One bite.” “Eat it quickly.” “The green one first, then the red.” Over the course of the evening, these somber advisers guide you through an endless, multi-colored parade of bite-sized morsels that defy the definition of food. Dishes are deconstructed and then reconstructed and then deconstructed again. The act of chewing is largely irrelevant. Around the room, hushed diners nod and scrutinize with a high degree of reverence (a library-like atmosphere that our table promptly polluted).

If you’re a daring eater, it’s damn delicious - and seriously decadent. The menu tends towards the luxuriant (foie gras soup, anyone?) and explosive (shiso candies that burst the moment they hit the tongue). But it’s the presentation that had me rapt: each dish is agonizingly produced (by one of more than 40 cooks in the kitchen) to take full visual advantage of texture, color and composition. It is cooking at its most sculptural. No wonder Adrià was invited to participate in last year’s Documenta (to the dismay of some cranky art types).

Because I’m crazy lucky (and because I have well-connected friends), Adrià gave us a tour of the kitchen and then joined us for some chit-chat when the meal was over. We talked food, wine and art. He told me that art media power couple Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith had just been by, samplin’ the pickins as part of some art round table. And when our discussion drifted to the merits of cacao fruit, Adrià bolted into the kitchen and had the staff produce a dish of cacao fruit ice cream on the spot. (Heavenly.) It was one of the most insane culinary experiences I’ve ever had. I’m still mentally digesting it.

Naturally, I photographed every little thing I ate. And you can find every last shot in this post, along with links to some artsy fartsy comparisons. Bon appetit.

* * *
Special thanks to Howard for inviting me along, and elevating my cholesterol levels. The doctor’s bill is in the mail.

Click on images to supersize. Infinitely more courses after the jump. Continue reading