Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Day 6: Munster to Kassel

 Day 6: Munster to Kassel

Pop pictorial quiz:
Bonus points if you can identify this work of art (THB is looking for creativity here)
Weather: Warm, slight humidity, then getting cool while eating dinner outside   

Quotes of the Day: Conceptual art: work such that no one knows what is going on

Quotes of the Day: Can you bring that bag back to the front desk?

The bus is leaving for Kassel at 8am so instead of FC THB and DB pack. We get to leave bags in the room, they are coming separately. Lots of sleeping on bus, THB closes his eyes for a few moments, spends rest of time reading Ariel Levy’s memoir (see review below).

A pic of a pic (thx to SC) of a full-size helicopter outside of Munster

We’re running late, there’s a huge amount of traffic on these 4 lane highways, full of trucks (even worse than the West Coast, which is hard to believe). The bus eventually takes a detour to Kassel, where we start around 11:30 with drinks and tartlet refreshers. Documenta 14 is on the 5 year schedule. It is much better funded than Munster ($30-40M vs $7M); more artists (170 to 40); more cities (this year Kassel and Athens to Munster); and much larger indoor art. The artists are from all over the place, 

Nick doing the intro

The head curator decided in 2013 to hold Documenta in two cities, meaning more budget $ required and an insightful anticipation of the themes of immigration and displacement. Greece was a hub for immigrants, and the western democracy populists movements (obviously, Brexit and DJT) are now huuuuuuuge. One of the museums in Athens is the site of Documenta and one of the Kassel sites is housing a great exhibition of the Greek museum’s work.
One of the main venues with a name change

You can't see it, there's smoke coming out of the tower on the left

THB and DB weren't the only ones finding sewer pipes as art

Students were given specific pipes to make installations

Each pipe is a habitation

One of the students shows up to spruce up her installation

At both ends!

After a brief intro accompanied by a non-alcoholic drink and tartlets, THB an DB are being led through the exhibition halls today by members of the “chorus”: Documenta artist-workers. Before lunch, we’re with Nick (American) and after lunch by Georgia (Australian). Georgia gives more informed overviews than Nick plus during her tour that’s when we see part of the Greek museum exhibition.

Before lunch:
DDB recently purchased a Whitney piece

Nick discussing the musical nature of the work (and that music is a hidden theme at D14

Pope.L has work in various spots around this venue

A boat in two parts, made out of found driftwood and capable of being "played" as musical instruments

There are strings running vertically

The piece is hung very high (in the rafters) and shows a variety of dyed indigo pieces

And at floor level are four different types of indigo plants

To lunch, lunch, from lunch: 
One of the purchased installations from a prior Documenta

This type salad is quickly becoming the baseline

Tokens to use at the toilets; typical is to pay something around a 1/2 to 1 euro

The "coins" are poker chips, and not needed at lunch

THB's least fave dessert
After lunch: outside the cafe

Lunch is nearby in a place that specializes in Italian flat-bread (i.e., thin crust pizza). They are so huge that THB and DB comfortably split one after having individual salads. Dessert is cheesecake, one of the few sweets THB doesn’t eat. Interestingly, they serve bread with the salads, then clear the bread plates when the giant flatbreads arrive (mild cheese, a bit of arugula, fresh tomatoes). We each have small, warm brewskies. Sorry, no pics off the flatbreat!

Our last Nick-led installation: Greek Orthodox mass via video

After Lunch, with Georgia (she was terrific!!):

The Parthenon of books, up close: the books (under plastic, for good reason), included here because they were banned somewhere at some point

A great book and double-banned, inside and out

Next to this life-size piece are 8 very small suitcases with mesh sides , some with body parts sticking out

Flavin knock-offs?

Around 4:30 we regroup for the ride to the hotel on the bus; as we’re crossing the large grass expanse mostly occupied by the Parthenon of Books, DB makes the discovery of the trip, finding the small marker indicating there’s a Walter De Maria installation underneath, Vertical Earth Kilometer. Supposedly Walter dug down 1 K and then just barely revealed the location in the Frederichplatz Park.
Is there a brass rod inside?
Schlosshotel Kassel is out of town and up slightly, giving an excellent view of the valley across to Kassel. 

Check-in is a bit of a kerfuffle as a) we have someone else’s bag in our room and the desk doesn’t want to send someone up for it (they tells us to bring the bag back to the desk, THB refuses) and b) our room smells funny. Hotel staff arrives and declogs the shower. And someone shows up to move the bag. In meantime, we are not sure if we’ll be moving rooms. Everything gets settled and we settle in as well.
How long does it take to make another room key? HOW LATE WAS SHE?

Dinner is across the driveway from the front of the hotel

So, he's back to taking his nap ... a cup of coffee guarantees his spot for the evening

Dinner is across the plaza at Hohe Wache: an aperitif, some crudites, salad and salmon. 

There’s one guy in the area the restaurant is setting up for our group. He refuses to move, what a cultural difference!  THB stopped taking pics at this point...not sure why. 

We share our end of the table with SC, J, and D.  D is a guy from Facebook who is in charge of their global art program, originally a residency-style operation and now commission-style; and, he lives not far from us in Oakland. DB leaves after the salad course to catch up on her sleep, THB makes it past the main course of salmon, most people are leaving before the long-delayed dessert shows up (THB is gone before dessert arrives).

Book Review: The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy, NY’er writer, has produced a well-written, short memoir that mostly focuses on her 20s and 30s. She is a gay, single child with eccentric Jewish parents, married to an alcoholic, and suffers a miscarriage in her late 30s, when the story ends. Recommended

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