On Sunday I used the last opportunity to visit an exhibition of various minor works by Dali and Magritte at Raudondvaris manor, not far from Kaunas. Thanks to my friend R., who was willing to drive there in this suddenly freezing weather, we reached the recently redeveloped suburban area, which used to be a famous noble clan’s estate (you can read more about the history of Raudondvaris manor here).
Museums in Lithuania can hardly ever afford bringing really famous works, but this was a rare opportunity to see Salvador Dali’s ‘applied’ art. His career spanned for decades, so he was asked to design and produce various decorative objects, such as medals for Olympic games or the 25th anniversary of Israel (I hadn’t known that before), tapestries and ceramic plates. There were also some quite known watercolors, such as illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy. The fallen angel with drawers is one of my favorites. I also searched for the image of his ceramic plate from the Seasons set, the one portraying fall, which is a human figure with a cube instead of its head, and trees growing from it. But I couldn’t find it on google. Continue reading →
London happens to make an excellent escape for spring each time. When spring comes, people hurry to wear summer clothes, which always looks really extreme to my eyes. It reminded me of Gothenburg in many ways. People seem to appreciate every sunny day.
This time I went to explore London’s areas that I hadn’t visited before, and experience more of its cultural life. Continue reading →
I wrote about my North America trip last year when I was still on the road. I edited some of the entries later, adding some reflections and interpretations. But I omitted two stops on my itinerary – a brief visit to New Jersey and three days in New York. The reason for this was that I left immediately after, and I was too busy to keep blogging after I returned to Lithuania. Also, visiting the West Coast was my primary aim, so it was my priority to blog about San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver.
I was lucky to find lovely hosts with the help of my friend V., who also came from Toronto for a visit. The day I arrived was the 4th of July, so both of us, plus my friends J. and B., who were also in NYC, arranged to get together and watch the fireworks. I got a lift from my New Jersey hosts (I’ll blog about the day with them later), and they first took me to Brooklyn Bridge and then to Ground Zero. I had the luck to be taken to NYC’s main touristic objects by car. Let’s take a non-iconic view.
I’m reading this book. I started it probably around a year ago, reading parts of it at different times and then putting it away. Thoughts inspired by this book helped me formulate the reasons for leaving my old job. There is much in it to think about for every ‘knowledge worker’. On the other hand, I was always aware of the fact that many of these crafty professions the author admires are almost entirely male-dominated and could be very hostile to the rare women who attempt to venture into this world. This is often cited as one of the reasons why girls try hard in academic subjects – most professions that are open to them without academic education are extremely low-paid, exhausting and otherwise unattractive.
As a teenager I had a dream to own a vintage Soviet car that I could take apart and put back together myself, like my uncle used to do with his first Zaporozhets. Yet I would have never had the courage that the author of this book had, to seek out experienced mechanics and get them to teach me something. Let alone in parallel with doing a PhD in Philosophy. Courage is something they should teach in primary school. Continue reading →
I finally found a way to visit Baku (Azerbaijan) – just one day before the application deadline, I noticed that there is an interesting conference on the European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership. I had several friends from Azerbaijan when I studied at CEU, so I had heard lots of stories about the country. But visiting there is not so easy. It’s not like Portugal or Malta, where I can jump on a plane any time. To apply for a tourist visa, one must present hotel reservations for each night and a letter from employer or another document stating that the visitor has enough money to travel. For a personal visit, there has to be an invitation. With an invitation from the conference, making a visa took a week and was relatively easy. Continue reading →
This horse is a part of the Murphy sculpture garden on UCLA campus. Its author is Deborah Butterfield. Believe it or not, the horse is made out of metal, beautifully made to look like wood. The garden’s patron wanted to create a space to appreciate beauty from the most abstract to the most detailed forms. The garden also includes four plaques featuring a woman’s figure by Matisse, going from detailed to abstract over 20 years of the artist’s career. There is also one work of a Lithuanian artist, Vladas Vildžiūnas, whose “Bird Goddess” is also erected in the Baltic Sea resort Palanga in addition to here in LA. Although Vildžiūnas worked in the USSR, quite a few of his works were exhibited in the US in the 70s.
UCLA seems to be as cool as I expected. I would really like to spend more time here. Here’s more from the UCLA campus:
UCLA campus: bottom right image is the collection of Matisse works [click on the image to enlarge it]
For various reasons, I visited Paris three times in 2013. I didn’t feel like blogging about it, because there’s not much I can say about Paris that people wouldn’t already know, and I blogged about it during my first visit there. But as I go through old travel photos in my computer and delete some, I will share a few interesting observations from my trips.
When I first visited Paris, I still had a journalist card, which was very useful in entering museums. Last year, without a journalist card, I visited only those that offered something for free or were super interesting.
I attended an amazing gallery tour by Laima Kreivytė, the curator of the exhibition of Marija Teresė Rožanskaitė’s work. I had seen some works by Rožanskaitė at the National Gallery of Art earlier, and I thought that she was among the most interesting Lithuanian artists of all times, but the current exhibition gives a full picture of her genius. Rožanskaitė (1933-2007) started her career under Soviet censorship, when artistic expression was carefully monitored and abstract art was treated unfavorably. However, her ‘progressive’ topics (modern medicine, space exploration and industrial cities) allowed her to get through the censorship. However, being a child of political prisoners and a progressive artist, she was largely ignored in the USSR. When Lithuania became independent, the artist continued producing innovative art, creating spatial assemblages and installations, addressing ecological and political topics, adored by the young generation. And yet I never studied about her work at art history lessons, and I heard nothing about her death in 2007 from the mainstream press. It’s a typical way to treat women artists.
One of my favorite places to hang out in Vilnius is the green space around the White Bridge.
There is a lot of space, so people fly kites and various strange flying objects, and sometimes there are festivals and concerts (like on the 1st of May). A part of this area was redeveloped according to a controversial plan, which included building a beach volley court. Beach volley in Vilnius, which is notoriously far from the sea comparing to the other Baltic capitals, sounded ridiculous. And yet people really come there and play, so I guess it’s good. Another area is equipped with platforms for skating and showing tricks with bikes. Continue reading →