Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cat Bauer's Insider Picks - FACES MAGAZINE, Switzerland - June issue
(Venice, Italy) FACES Magazin, a very cool "highly reputed Swiss lifestyle magazine based in Zurich" does a topic every month called "Short Trip," where they present a different city from an insider's point of view. The month of June features Venice -- or Venedig, since the magazine is in German -- and the Venice insider is Cat Bauer, a name that also happens to be German:)

They sent over pdf files of the cover and the article, but I cannot figure out how to import them into the blog, and I can't read it anyway because it's in German. But, of course, I didn't write in German, I wrote in English, which FACES translated. The piece is also up on their website, and they've got some really great images. Here's the first paragraph:

Venedig ist romantisch, aber nicht kitschig, geheimnisvoll und mysteriös, eine Stadt voller Geister der Vergangenheit, die einem an jeder Ecke Geheimnisse ins Ohr flüstern, sofern man denn auch hören mag. Zeit spielt hier keine Rolle, vom Wetter ganz zu schweigen – man ist hart im Nehmen, muss man wohl, in einer Stadt, die unaufhörlich sinkt. Hier genießt man das Leben, das Essen, die Kultur, schaut nicht nach vorn, sondern lebt den Moment. Cat Bauer wechselte vor 15 Jahren den Kontinent und zog aus den USA nach Italien. Von Venedig kam sie nicht mehr weg, deshalb verrät sie uns hier die Gründe fürs Kommen und Bleiben.

Palazzina G

And here is what I wrote in English:

FACES – Short Trip

FACES “Short Trip” is a one page topic in FACES Magazine. Each month we present a city for a Short Trip. A local recommends his favorite/coolest places of the city.

1. Venice is ...
(2-3 phrases to characterize the city and what you like about it)

Venice is a city inhabited by ghosts of the past who still whisper secrets into the ears of those who know how to listen.

Venice is beautiful, magical and mysterious, an eternal temptress skilled in the art of seduction.

Venice is a town where the contemporary merges with the past, an ancient city that is young at heart.

2. What are the city’s best hotels?
Palazzina G - uber hip; designed by Philippe Starck; Johnny Depp stayed there when he was filming “The Tourist.”
Ramo Grassi,
Sestriere San Marco 3247,
30124 Venezia
Tel. +39 041 5284644
Fax. +39 041 2410575

Gritti Palace
Gritti Palace Hotel - just got a 34 million euro facelift; where Ernest Hemingway stayed
Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, 2467 · 30124 Venice, Italy
· Phone:
+39 041 794611
· Fax:
+39 041 5200942
· In Italy, call: +800-325-45454

Why Book with

Ostello Venezia - Venice Hostel - located on the Island of Giudecca, for the backpack crowd - Reopening in May after a fresh restoration
Fondamenta Zitelle 86
Isola della Giudecca
30133 Venezia
Tel. +39 342 5767349
Fax. +39 041 5235689

3. Which are your favorite restaurants? And what do you like to order?
(3-4 restaurants – can be different things, not only dinner – best breakfast, terrace, fast food, cafes, etc.)

A Beccafico
Campo Santo Stefano
San Marco 2801
+39 041 527 879
I love the fish at this restaurant. They always make me a dish of barely-cooked tuna with sesame seeds. I dine outside under the umbrellas in the square even if it’s raining.

Go for the all-you-can-eat buffet from 5:30 to 7:30 and grab a spritz or a prosecco. Hang out in the little square in front of the restaurant with an awesome view of the Grand Canal. Also some excellent local music throughout the night.  I order whatever the fresh fish is.

L’ombra del Leone
Ca' Giustinian, San Marco 1364/A
30124 Venice

The cafeteria at La Biennale headquarters inside Ca’ Giustinian is a great place to grab a lunch or have an evening drink. There’s outdoor seating right on the Grand Canal. 

Bar Rialto da Lollo
 Bar Rialto da Lollo
San Polo 57
(under the Sottoportici degli Oresi at the Rialto Bridge)
Tel: 041 520 0106
The best panini (sandwiches) in Venice are at this little bar. I go for the codfish and artichoke panino.

4. Best fashion shops
(Boutique, shoe store, secondhand, anything fashion.)

My favorite jewelry shop; imports from the East and local artisans:
Gems of Venice
Ruga Rialto
San Polo 1044
Tel: 041 522 5148

Hip clothes and handbags. Bright, vivid and colorful:
Arnoldo & Battois
Calle dei Fuseri 4271
San Marco
+39 348 3122559
Arnoldo & Battois
Campo San Maurizio 2671
San Marco
+39 348 4123797

Cool clothes and jewelry:
Dorsoduro, Rio Terà Canal 3111
+39 041 5201731

5. Best non fashion shops?
(Some special stores – art, living, design, deco, baby stuff, anything cool and special)

My favorite local wine shop:
El Vin Del Paron
San Polo 59
(under the Sottoportici degli Oresi at the Rialto Bridge)
No phone
No website
No Facebook

My favorite place to buy a gift for your pet:
San Polo 826
Calle del Bo’
Tel: 041/5200889

My favorite designer eyeglasses; family owned and handmade:
Ottica Vascellari
Ruga Rialto 1030
S.Polo 30125 VENEZIA

6. Where are the best parties?

The best parties are inside private palaces. Try to score an invite during the Venice Biennale International Contemporary Art Festival, especially during the opening days. There are always great parties in all sorts of fascinating venues throughout the city.

7. The ultimate Venice experience?
(A must do – something you can experience nowhere better)

There is no other place in the world where you can take a ride on a gondola, a sleek, silent ancient method of transportation. My favorite time to go is at sunset.

8. Which are the city’s best areas?
(for shopping, bars, day life, nightlife.)

There are a bunch of bars over at the foot of the Rialto Bridge on the San Polo side, and a huge open space where they converge in Campo San Giacometto, a nightly open-air party. My favorite bar is:

Muro Meeting Bar
Campo bella Vienna, Rialto
San Polo 222
+39 041 24 12 339

High fashion shopping on XXII Marzo. Day life is just wandering around and getting lost; buy “Secret Venice” by Thomas Jonglez and Paola Zoffoli and follow their instructions. At night, head over to Campo Santa Margherita where the university crowd hangs out.

9. What’s the latest Place to be“?
(What’s new and hip, the longest line outside, you can hardly get in?)

It might sound strange, but the longest line to get in is at Saint Mark’s Basilica, the main cathedral in Piazza San Marco. It’s always packed.

It depends on the band, but sometimes it’s hard to get into Paradiso Perduto:
Osteria “Il Paradiso Perduto”
Cannaregio, Fondamenta della Misericordia, 2540
30100 Venezia
Per prenotazioni: tel. +39 041 720581

Your name: Cat Bauer
Your job: Writer
You love …. Creativity, imagination and harmony
You hate …. Lies, envy and jealousy

You’re originally from… the United States
Have been living in Venice since…1998

When you would move away someday, then to… Somewhere over the rainbow
What does Venice have that other cities don’t? Streets made of water

Ciao from Venezia,

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Yoko Ono Dreams in Venice - June 10, 2013

Venice, Italy - Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono at Palazzo Badoer - Venice, Italy - June 10, 2013
(Venice, Italy) Yoko Ono turned 80-years-old on February 18, 2013, which makes her seven months older than my mother. Here is how Wikipedia describes Yoko:

Yoko Ono (born February 18, 1933) is a Japanese artist and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking and for her marriage to John Lennon (1969–1980). Ono brought feminism to the forefront in her music. She is also known for her philanthropic contributions to arts, peace and AIDS outreach programs. Lennon called her "the most famous unknown artist in the world."

If you ask me what one of Yoko's greatest contributions has been, it would be the influence she had on John Lennon with respect to women. By demanding that one of the most powerful, individualistic men on earth -- and a rock star, at that -- create an equal partnership with a individualistic Japanese woman, well, that was a rare occurrence at a time when wives her age were still ironing their husband's handkerchiefs and sending them off to win some bread. Yoko changed John Lennon's attitude towards women, and by doing that, helped to pioneer a new era in women's rights.

Photo: Rolling Stone - Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage
Yoko Ono attends the opening of a David Croland exhibit  
at Artworks Gallery in New York City  
on November 13th, 1973
Yoko spoke at Palazzo Badoer yesterday, June 10, 2013. The invitation says I was invited by Fondazione Bonnotto, Università Iuav di Venezia and Fuoribiennale to attend "a special lecture by Yoko Ono at 5pm, the opening of I'll be back at 6:30pm and A DREAM hour with Yoko Ono by Gianni Emilio Simonetti from 7pm." Yoko did, indeed, speak, and I did listen, so I will summarize what she said:

Yoko Ono, Venice
"Venice is a place that when I come here I always learn something. It's incredible. Incredible. You are standing in a difficult situation, in front of the sea. Maybe you enjoy the challenge. Maybe your ancestors enjoyed the challenge. I always get inspired when I come here. We have similar ways of working.

I allow people to work on my work. You allow the whole world to come here to participate. If you don't open yourself up you start to shrivel. People go to all the big countries. This is a very small island. The town is artistically perfect.

I would understand if you didn't let people come in here -- Don't touch! We want to preserve! -- You are trusting people not to destroy it. I do my art work in the same way. I do my project and call it unfinished, then ask people to add themselves to my work.

In the beginning, I was just a normal artist, wanting to protect my work. Then I thought, what if I ask people to add themselves to my work? Oh! I don't like that feeling! It was an artistic revolution, so I thought I must do it. 

My artwork is a form of giving. 

Yoko Ono at the 
Museum of Contemporary Art 
of the U of São Paulo, 
Brazil in 2007
I am getting so many more people to add to it, it was getting so powerful. I never imaged it would be so powerful. 

There are so many things I am understanding now that I've turned eighty. Don't be frightened to add years to yourself. There are so many things you didn't know.

Word is how we express ourselves. Word is very powerful. When you say "I love you" to someone, you say "I love you" to the whole world.

When you say, "I hate you," things will shrivel up. 

When the whole world was hating me, sending me letters, I survived because I was in love with life. 

When I was a young girl in elementary school, I saw a picture of an old Japanese warrior praying to the New Moon -- in the West you pray to the Full Moon, but in the East we pray to the New Moon... The old warrior said, give me Seven Troubles and Eight Sufferings so I can be a strong person and help the world. I said, my God, he's so courageous, I want to be like him. Then I forgot about it.

As I got older, my life was full of troubles. When my husband, John, passed away, I thought: I'm doing something wrong. I thought I was doing everything right. Then I remembered what I asked when I was a young girl. I thought: I have to change. 

There is a word in Japanese that is in between lucky and happy. So I asked for Seven Lucky/Happy things and Eight Treasures. 

I thought maybe you could use that in your life, too. 

On behalf of all the foreign people, thank you for allowing us to show our work here. Your generosity is starting to make a dialogue, and it is a very healthy dialogue. So many countries are doing Biennales. But this was the first. It started here."

Someone then asked Yoko what her dream was.

"My dream is to have the world become better and better for all of us."

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Imagination Back in Vogue at 2013 Venice Art Biennale

Carl Gustav Jung
The Red Book [page 655], 1915-1959
Paper, ink, tempera, gold paint, red leather binding
40 x 31 x 10cm
© 2009 Foundation of the Works of C.G. Jung, Zürich. First published by W.W. Norton & Co., New York 2009
(Venice, Italy) Massimiliano Gioni, the curator of the 55th International Festival of Contemporary Art, anchors his exhibition The Encyclopedic Palace on two formidable bookends:  the esoteric Red Book by Carl G. Jung, and Marion Auriti's I Palazzo Enciclopedico, a physical model of an imaginary museum meant to house all worldly knowledge. At age 39, Gioni is the youngest artistic director in the 118-year-old history of the Venice Biennale, which was the very first international art event in the world back in 1895. In terms of earth-years, Gioni may be the youngest, but it is clear that he is a very old soul.

Photo by Vincenzo Latronico
Until September 2009, only about two dozen people had ever seen the contents of The Red Book, the mysterious 205-page manuscript written and illustrated by the renowned Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung, in which he attempted to give conscious voice to his unconscious mind. Until 2001, Jung's heirs had denied even scholars access to the book until persuaded by the historian Sonu Shamdasani that the time was right for the information to make its way into the public's domain. Now, at the 55th Venice Biennale International Festival of Contemporary Art, the entire world can have a gander at selected pages of the book Jung composed back in 1914 to about 1930, when he was 40-55 years old. I've had the great honor of hearing Shamdasani speak, and it was clear that he was the right man for the job of releasing Jung's precious research into the collective consciousness. You can read what I wrote about that experience three years ago here, about half-way down the page:

Oxygen - Finally a Breath of Air!

Marino Auriti
Il Encyclopedico Palazzo del Mondo or Encyclopedic Palace of the World, ca. 1950s
55th International Art Exhibition, Il Palazzo Enciclopedico, la Biennale di Venezia
Photo By Francesco Galli
Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia
When I saw the actual model of the Encyclopedic Palace by Marino Auriti erect in the center of Arsenale, I was moved to tears, thinking of the long journey it had taken for it to finally reach Italian soil. Auriti, a self-taught Italian-American artist had registered the patent for his museum of knowledge on November 16, 1955. From his statement of purpose:

The building would have twenty-four entrances, 126 bronze statues of “writers, scientists, and artists past, present, and future” and, on the piazza, 220 Doric columns with more statues of writers, scientists, artists.  At each corner would be domed laboratories, topped by statues of allegorical figures representing each of the four seasons, much like the Ponte Santa Trinità. 

It is amazing that Auriti believed in his vision so fervently -- a 2,300-foot-tall skyscraper to house all worldly knowledge to be built in the mall in Washington, D. C., the capital of his adopted country -- that he had the incentive to register his design at the US Patent office! After being left to crumble in storage after Auriti's death in 1980, the 11-foot-tall model Auriti built of the Encyclopedic Palace was resurrected by his loving granddaughters and the American Folk Art Museum in 2004. You can read more about the amazing journey at a post I wrote here:

The Encyclopedic Palace Inspires the 2013 Venice International Exhibition of Contemporary Art

Now the Encyclopedic Palace is here in Venice as the star of the 55th International Contemporary Art Festival, a prime example of one man's imagination brought to life. Marino Auriti has achieved his goal of creating a space to house all worldly knowledge, although not exactly in the way he envisioned it. The physical space is the ever-expanding Venice Biennale, a powerhouse of ancient and contemporary knowledge that coexists in space and time; the seed of intelligence that has gathered like-minded thinkers together is Auriti's imagination, enhanced by Gioni's imagination, enhanced by the imaginations of the human beings that make up the Board of La Biennale that chose Gioni as curator.

From the New York Times

Paolo Baratta, the longtime president of the Biennale, said that “after 14 years of having traditional curators I thought it was time to ask a man of the next generation.” 

“At a time when contemporary art is flooding the world,” he added, “it seemed to make more sense to present a show that doesn’t just include a list of artists from the present but rather looks at today’s art through the eyes of history.”

Massimiliano Gioni
Curator of the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
Installation view Il Palazzo Enciclopedico
Photo by Francesco Galli
Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia
Massimiliano Gioni stated: "The Encyclopedic Palace is a show that illustrates a condition we all share: we ourselves are media,  channeling images, or at times even finding ourselves possessed by images."

Personally, I have always believed that we are indeed, media, channeling and projecting images from our unconscious minds. Most people simply regurgitate the images they have been fed by the mass-media machine, too afraid or uninspired to project an original thought on their own.The brave artists, scientists, writers, and musicians who are not afraid to stand alone have worked with the unconscious mind for millennea, often far ahead of their time, and often subjected to ridicule.

This year, the brilliant imagination of a man once considered an eccentric Italian immigrant -- Marino Auriti -- reaches us from half a century ago, just a wink in time, inspiring the oldest (and wisest) art festival in the world.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog