Postcard from Bordeaux, France: Pathways lined with petite houses for the dead

Founded in the 17th century, the Chartreuse Cemetery is the oldest above-ground cemetery in Bordeaux. Little stone chapels appear to have been the preferred permanent dwellings for the affluent of the city.

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Postcards from Naples, Italy: Palazzo adapted to showcase contemporary art

Mimmo Paladino, 2006 rooftop installation at MADRE

The 19th-century Palazzo Donnaregina, referred to as “an example of historical stratification,” was purchased in 2005 by the Campania Regional Government for rehabilitation as a contemporary art museum. Much of the work was completed under the guidance of Alvaro Siza Veira, a Portuguese architect. By 2006, two floors of MADRE – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina – opened to the public. Daniel Buren’s brightly colored and illuminated installation in the entryway of MADRE sets the tone for the contemporary contents.

When we were there this past fall, there was an impressive exhibition of work, “Whisper Only To You,” by a South Korean artist, Yeesookyung. During her residency in Naples, she incorporated pieces of Capodimonte porcelain into the design of her large shapely vessels.

The master potter was trying to create the perfect piece each time, and he would discard even the ones with the slightest flaw. So I chose to create new forms from them, because perhaps, I don’t believe completely in that kind of perfection. To me, a piece of broken ceramic finds another piece, and they come to rely on one another. The cracks between them symbolise the wound.

Yeesookyung, interviewed in The Business Times, 2013

Postcards from Naples, Italy: Guardians of the streets

Navigating our way around Naples on foot offered us ample opportunities to sense those extra pairs of eyes watching over us….

And spotting the statue of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), “Il Sommo Poeta/The Supreme Poet” of Italy, gives rise to his cautionary words so applicable to American politics today:

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.