Saturday, January 23, 2016

Why is the Venice Carnival so Early this Year? + Four Concurrent Press Conferences

Venice Carnival 2016 Opens - Photo: Cat Bauer
Venice Carnival 2016 Opens - Photo: Cat Bauer
(Venice, Italy) The 2016 Carnival of Venice is early this year, starting today, January 23, the Eve of the Full Moon, and running through February 7, Mardi Gras -- French for "Fat Tuesday," the day before Lent begins. Why is it so early?

The date depends on Easter, which is a moveable feast, celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or after the March Equinox. This year, that full moon is on March 23, so it means Easter will be on Sunday, March 27. Ash Wednesday occurs exactly 46 days before Easter -- 40 fasting days not counting Sundays -- which will be February 10th this year.  Which means that Mardi Gras, the last night to get crazy before the fasting begins, is on February 9th. Got all that?

Journalists were flying all around Venice yesterday on their magic carpets, since there were four press conferences scheduled at the same time:


Venice Biennale 7th International Kid's Carnival
Venice Biennale 7th International Kid's Carnival
GIRO GIRO TONDO - Around the World is the theme of La Biennale's 7th International Kid's Carnival, which runs from January 30 to February 7th. Giro Giro Tondo is the Italian version of Ring Around the Rosie, a puzzling children's song that is found in many different cultures throughout the centuries. This year the Kid's Carnival moves back down to the Giardini, packed with fun-filled, educational activities for children and their grownups. Music, workshops, costume-making and much, much more are on the program, which you can see here. And it's all free!


Murano Glass Museum
A Light for Emilia-Romagna - Photo: Consorzio Promovetro Murano
A Light for Emilia-Romagna - The Sant'Agostino Chandeliers is an exhibition at the Murano Glass Museum that runs from January 23 to February 28. In May, 2012, Emilia-Romagna, a region of Northern Italy whose capital is Bologna, was hit by an earthquake that caused death and destruction. Four magnificent chandeliers in the small town of Sant'Agostino survived the quake; the largest one was over 16 feet tall, magnificent in crystal gold and amber.

The Consorzio Promovetro of Murano decided to use their expertise to help their friends in the neighboring region, and transferred the chandeliers from Ferrara to Murano (with a lot of help from all sorts of Italian powers), where they have been lovingly restored over the last three years. Luciano Gambaro, President of the Murano Glass Promotion Consortium Promoverto said, "It is a great joy for us to use our professionalism to help the population of Emilia-Romagna that has suffered so much. These chandeliers have become a symbol to them because they survived the earthquake despite their fragility." Teatro La Fenice curated the design, and Venetian author Alberto Toso Fei curated the book that accompanies the exhibition.


La Gondola photographic club at Tre Oci
Alice's Looking Glass - Maurizio Trifilidis
Tre Oci Tre Mostre is three different photo exhibitions running from January 23 to March 28 at the Casa dei Tre Oci on Giudecca, a venue devoted to photography. La Gondola photographic club rules the ground floor, and divides its own exhibition into three: photos inspired by the title of Lewis Carroll's Alice Through the  Looking Glass; NeroSuBianco (Black on White) curated by Manfredo Manfroi, Italian photography in the decade from 1950-60; and the winners of the 2015 Sguadi Femminili portfolio.

Next, on the first floor, are 75 images of Venice by Roberto Polillo, and on the second floor is Giulio Obici's Il Flâneur Detective. A flâneur is someone who walks the streets, observing the life around him. Giulio Obici (1934-2011) was a columnist and special correspondent who investigated terrorism in Italy, whose short novels were published posthumously in 2015. The photos on display are sort of like an author's notes which were photographed instead of written. 


Jack Tworkov at Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Portrait of Zoe Sharkey by Jack Tworkov (1948)
Postwar Era. A Recent History - Homages to Jack Tworkov and Claire Falkenstein is running at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection from January 23 to April 4. Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, a bunch of loot from Peggy's collection and donations to the Foundation is "assembled in clusters and arranged according to theme, style, affinity, and an unconventional chronology."

I fell in love with Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997), an American artist who created esoteric structures that seemed to be born in outer space. Anyone who has entered the Peggy Guggenheim Collection from the side gate already knows her work, The New Gates of Paradise, made from welded iron rods and colorful chunks of Venetian glass.

New Gates of Paradise by Claire Falkenstein
The New Gates of Paradise by Claire Falkenstein (1980-97) Photo: Cat Bauer
Stay tuned for more on the 2016 Venice Carnevale.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Menagerie of Wonders Closes in Venice - The Ancient Roman Lod Mosaic: Next Stop, Miami

The Lod Mosaic
(Venice, Italy) Almost 2000 years ago, the finest in ancient Rome home decoration included mosaic floors. Here in Venice, we were fortunate enough to get a gander at the marvelous Ancient Roman Lod Mosaic during A Menagerie of Wonders at the Giorgio Cini Foundation on the Island of San Giorgio, which closed today.

The Lod Mosaic - Photo: Cat Bauer
When the city of Lod in Israel was doing road work back in 1996, they stumbled upon a large, colorful mosaic floor decorated with lions and fish, elephants and birds, ancient ships and plants. The ancient floor, dating back to the late 3rd/early 4th centuries, was in beautiful condition, and it was decided to give it a permanent home. Thanks to the Leon Levy Foundation and Shelby White, president of the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the creation of the Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center is now underway, due to open in 2017.

The Lod Mosaic - Photo: Cat Bauer
The current Israeli town of Lod is on the site of the ancient city of Lydda, St. George's hometown, and was an important trade route. A center of culture and craft production, Lydda was destroyed by the Romans in AD 66 during the First Jewish-Roman War, and rebuilt as Diospolis, the City of Zeus.

They are still trying to figure out why exotic animals, probably unknown to the region, are on the mosaic. One theory is they were imported from Africa on merchant ships, possibly for combat in the amphitheaters.

The Lod Mosaic - Photo: Cat Bauer
While the Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center is being constructed, the superstar floor set off on an international tour and was displayed in some major venues: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre in Paris, the Altes Museum in Berlin, Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, UK and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as here in Venice at the Cini Foundation.

Next the fabulous floor is traveling to The Patricia & Philip Frost Art Museum in Miami, Florida from February 11 to March 15, 2016, after which it will make its way back to its new home in Lod.

For more information, go to The Lod Mosaic.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year 2016 from Venice!

Archangel Gabriel Photo: Valix
(Venice, Italy) The Archangel Gabriel is glorious atop the pyramid of St. Mark's Campanile, a golden weather vane that transmits messages from the heavens to the townspeople below.

If you listen closely, you can hear the heavens sing:



Campanile di San Marco Photo: Valix
Wishing everyone on the planet a prosperous, positive, productive New Year. Onward!

Happy New Year from Venezia,