Roman copy of a 5th Century BCE Greek bas relief depicting Hermes, Orpheus and Eurydice, from the Museo Arqueologico Nazionale in Naples. (Image courtesy of Skidmore.)
A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan. Page 214 (from the first Anchor Books edition):
He sensed the proximity of the Orpheus and Eurydice before he saw it, felt its cool weight across the room but prolonged the time before he faced it, reminding himself of the events leading up to the moment it described: Orpheus and Eurydice in love and newly married; Eurydice dying of a snakebite while fleeing the advances of a shepherd; Orpheus descending to the underworld, filling its dank corridors with music from his lyre as he sang of his longing for his wife; Pluto granting Eurydice’s release from death on the sole condition that Orpheus not look back at her during their ascent. And then the hapless instant when, out of fear for his bride as she stumbled in the passage, Orpheus forgot himself and turned.
Ted stepped toward the relief. He felt as if he’d walked inside it, so completely did it enclose and affect him. It was the moment before Eurydice must descend to the underworld a second time, when she and Orpheus are saying goodbye. What moved Ted, mashed some delicate glassware in his chest, was the quiet of their interaction, the absence of trauma or tears as they gazed at each other, touching gently. He sensed between them an understanding too deep to articulate: the unspeakable knowledge that everything is lost.
Train graff in Naples, Italy, 2009. (Photo by C-M.)
Statue of an Ephebe as a Lampbearer, on loan from the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, at the Getty Villa. More about this statue here. (Image courtesy of the Getty.)
Detail of a Roman-era micro-mosaic of a satyr and a nymph, unearthed in Pompeii, at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. (Photo by C-M.)
- In L.A.: Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture Around the Bay of Naples at LACMA, opens Sunday.
- In L.A.: Gary Baseman, La Noche de la Fusión at Corey Helford, opens Saturday.
- In Long Beach: Novel Constructions: Contemporary Artists Create Monumental Books at the Long Beach Museum of Art, opens Friday.
- In Long Beach: Open Studios at the Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, this Sunday, starting at 10 a.m.
- In Seattle: The stitched paintings of Sabrina Small at Grey Gallery, through May 9.
- In Chicago: Art Chicago, at the Merchandise Mart, starts tomorrow.
- In Chicago: Martha Cooper signs copies of her new book, Going Postal, at 1114 Ashland, Friday beginning at 5 p.m.
- In Philadelphia: Zoe Strauss will be exhibiting her photos under I-95, this Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m.
- In NYC: Boxed In: A Group Art Exhibit by Plaztik Mag at Factory Fresh in Brooklyn, opens Friday.
- In NYC: Wild Things: Photography for Animal Lovers at Stricola Contemporary in SoHo, opens Saturday.
- In NYC: The Great outDoors: Street Artists Illustrate Doors at ArtBreak Gallery in Brooklyn, opens Saturday.
- In London: Cindy Sherman at Sprüth Magers, through May 27.
Kaf in Naples. (Photo by C-M.)
- A coat of many Kermits.
- James Rosenquist loses his studio to a devastating fire. (@artnetdotcom.)
- Guy suing L.A.’s MOCA over Murakami handbag art gets one of his cases tossed out of court.
- An awesome, awesome, awesome photo essay on motels by Magnum photographers.
- El Schnabel seeks renters at Palazzo Chupi — only $40,000 to $50,000 per month. A bargain…if you’re Damien Hirst. (@theartmarket.)
- Con Artist, a new doc about Mark Kostabi.
- Turner Prize nominees announced. And Bloomberg signals this as a return to the “visual” arts. More at the Times of London and the Guardian.
- LACMA picks up a gigantor painting by Roberto Matta. Cool!
- The art industrial average is plunging. Layoffs hit Aperture and the Getty. More here. Plus: Isabella Stewart Gardner museum lays off staff as it pursues a Renzo Piano-designed expansion. (AFC.)
- God told me to give you the finger.
- A list of artsy fartsies on Twitter. I’m one of the fartsies. (@hragv.)
- A belated R.I.P. for Bea Arthur, dirty public reading edition. (Mercy, Mlle. Connasse.)
- Suburban Slovakia. (Coudal.)
- And the award for most creative use of tape in a music video goes to… (Grazie, Least Wanted.)
- I want, I need, I have to have…a cryptozoological play set. Seriously.
- Four arrested during NYC’s billboard takeover this past weekend.
- Today’s Street Art: TitiFreak in Osaka.
- The Day in Graff Merch: Augor spraypaint and Cope2 vinyl skins for your iPod and computer.
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity temple named one of the most endangered places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. L.A.’s Century Plaza Hotel in Century City also makes the list. See the rest of the list here.
- Your moment of Ocean’s Eleven, Muppet style.
A nymph takes a satyr to task at the National Archeological Museum in Naples; Herculaneum, circa 1st century A.D. (Photo by C-M.)
- Hilarious!! Damien Hirst, the man who brought the world the diamond-encrusted skull, says that the recession will be good for artists: “The reason why you make art is not financial… It’s not about how much something is worth or how much it costs, it’s about whether it’s good or not.” Plus: Win a painting by Hirst. For reals. (@theartmarket, AO.)
- More on the Brandeis/Rose Museum smackdown: the museum’s trustees ain’t happy.
- These days, rich people are trying to sell their art as quietly as possible.
- Vanity Fair has an interesting book excerpt about the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. (AO.)
- Trippy stop-motion of Tokyo.
- Dot Earth, a NYT blog dedicated to the limits of what the Earth can take. Underlying message: Stop making babies. This isn’t gonna end well.
- Photo Essay: The work of Danny Lyon.
- Chinese public health posters.
- Artists spent the weekend rubbing out illegal billboards in NYC. More here and here. (@bhoggard.)
- Chaka, on tagging, in a lengthy profile in the L.A. Times: “I wasn’t doing anything artistic. It was just getting my name up there.”
- Today’s Street Art, swine flu edition: Roa in Belgium.
- An interesting video profile of José Parla, a.k.a. Ease, on how the layers of the city inspire his work.
- The Day in Graffiti Merch: Dondi Stussy tees. And architectural merch: A Princess Zaha floor lamp.
- A Texas legislator wants to treat graffiti as organized crime. Um, don’t you clowns need to be doing stuff like fixing the economy and getting people health care? (Gracias, Johnny.)
- A frilly chair. Me like.
- ¡Architecture world smackdown! Prince Charles versus Everybody!!! More here.
- Speaking of things Prince Charles would hate: Photos from the Rem Koolhaas/Prada Transformer launch in Seoul. The building kinda looks like a satellite that crash landed into Earth. Life Without Buildings tries to figure the thing out.
- More ruminating about “showy” architecture. (Arts Journal.)
- Your moment of John Waters, on smoking in theatres. Plus: The John Waters art tour. (AFC.)
Pan and the Goat: The Romans had remarkable taste in garden statuary, such as this 24″ high marble depiction of Pan getting frisky with a member of the genus Capra at the National Archaeological Museum. (Photos by San Suzie.)
Despite warnings in every Italian guidebook that we would be pick-pocketed, run over by a motorino, threatened by camorristi, or just plain hosed by restaurant owners and taxi drivers, last weekend we decided to go to Naples to pay homage to the birthplace of the pizza and the baba au rum. A 2,800 year-old seaport founded by the Greeks, conquered by the Romans, Spaniards and Bourbons (the Neapolitans are quick to tell you that they are a thousand years older than Rome), Naples is the veritable promised land of high and low culture. It’s a place where you can see two of the greatest Caravaggio masterpieces (1 and 2) within a stone’s throw of graffiti-covered baroque buildings whose stucco is literally falling to the ground.
Our plan was to grab a few of the sublime slices at the nearly 300-year-old Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba and then head over to the archaeological museum to ogle the Roman pornographic art — contained in a titillatingly hilarious permanent display known as the Secret Cabinet. (Boy, did we get an eyeful!) In addition to admiring all the ancient erections, there were plenty of other things to take in during our visit to Naples as well: the glittering Mediterranean, the medieval castles (complete with round turrets and crenelated tops), the volcano that destroyed Pompeii and the hundreds of cioccolato caldo stands where you can stuff your face with sfogliatelle, ricotta cheesecake, and mini-babas for about $2.
In Naples, you can not only see the life-sized bust that houses the actual lopped-off head of San Gennaro (a.k.a. Saint Januarius) at the Duomo, but also admire a vial of his blood that miraculously liquifies at various times of the year. All this in a city where motorino drivers, piled three to a bike, drive so unnervingly fast, you are encouraged to look both ways even when crossing the sidewalk — or face a martyrdom of your own.
Click on images to supersize. More after the jump.