Category: Travel

Locations in The St Perpetuus Club of Buenos Aires

In Buenos Aires we followed in the footsteps of one of the characters of Eric Stener Carlson’s “The St Perpetuus Club of Buenos Aires”  as he made his way to the Institute for the Study and Resolution of Contested Glacier Frontiers (ISRCGF).

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“I’m sure you’ve seen that wonderful building while window-shopping in Bario Norte. Its eight floors perch just above the gaudy, red canopy of the ‘El Tolón’ Café.

 

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Up and up past all the other apartments until the cupola, a dome shingled like some ancient, grey fish. Mine is the apartment with the smallest window, all the way at the top.

 

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As I go towards the Bulnes subway station, I pass by the mouth of the Alto Palermo shopping centre.

 

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If you go down the steps on the shopping mall side and through the turnstile, there’s no option but taking the line towards ‘Catedral’.

 

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Ah, those colourful tiles by Cattaneo and Co. set into the walls of the ‘D’line’s stations back in 1938!

 

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In Bulnes, the mural ends just before that grey, metal, door recessed into the wall.

 

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On the other side of the tracks, there’s the door’s twin, also always locked.

 

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Within the mural, look for the zafra scene, a nondescript arrangement of sugarcane cutters, machetes held high. Within the scene, there is a picture of a large, brown pulley from which extends a cable going to a spar and a series of hooks.

 

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When you get off at Tribunales, turn right.

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At the other end of the platform, to your right, is another set of stairs going up. You must take these, because above them looms another Cattaneo mural dedicated to the conquistadores – shiny armor, rippling flags, proud ships and all.

 

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Then out the turnstiles and to your right, up the mechanical stairs.

 

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As a testament to Lavalle’s victory, a marble likeness of him thrusts skyward on a column just a block behind you…

 

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Look down at the concrete blocks that compose the walkway.

 

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Starting just where the ornamental fence begins to circle the plaza, you’ll see regular pattern of concrete rectangles 49 cm x 90 cm laid lengthwise.

 

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Hug close to the plumbing supply store but not too close to the terrible synagogue looming to your right.

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But it’s not until you reach the street corner up ahead that, all of a sudden, 9 de Julio Avenue opens up before you, like Machu Picchu rising from the mist…

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The sight of the obelisk, towering 67 metres over the intersection of 9 de Julio, Roque Saenz Pena and Corrientes Avenue, will steady your nerves, reassure you of your goal.

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As you reach Café Madeleine on the corner, you may be feeling rather giddy from the effort.

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Past the cheap bookstand. A little more, and there, you arrive at 719 Pellegrini.

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There was not, however, a squat, grey building encrusted with angels. There was not, for that matter, any building whatsoever.


Abandoned stations in Antarctica

Abandoned sites are found in (former) industrial areas, as highlighted in the post on the Monteponi mine in Sardinia and as photographed by Bernd and Hilla Becher, who are famous for their photographs of industrial buildings, or in cities, as highlighted in a previous post about Abandoned London Underground Stations.

And even Antarctica, although sparsely populated, turns out to have its own abandoned stations, including the camp built by Robert Scott and his party on Ross Island in 1911, an actual ghost town at Whaler’s Bay on Deception Island , and abandoned whaling outposts on South Georgia, another Antarctic Island. These abandoned South Pole sites, the  lonely landscapes, the grim sub-zero temperatures, and its Mountains of Madness, can evoke truly fascinating and haunting experiences.

HT Grim Reviews


Donald Judd’s minimalist art in Marfa, Texas

Minimalism was first recognized as an art and design movement in the 1960’s. The essence of minimalist art is the reduction of the art work to its bare essentials, which is expressed through simple geometric forms, repetition, neutral surfaces, and industrial materials. Minimal  art downplays self-expression  in favor of the object itself,  which is a departure from the abstract expressionistic art from the 1940’s and 1950’s and most of the art that preceded it.

Donald Judd is one of the artists associated with the minimalist movement, although he did not embrace the term minimalism himself. He is perhaps most famous for his simple but powerful objects for which he used materials such as metals, industrial plywood, concrete and color-impregnated Plexiglas.


Judd started out as an artist in New York City, where he purchased 101 Spring Street in 1968, a 5 story cast-iron building in the middle of Soho, that was both his studio and living space.  It is still owned by the Donald Judd foundation and has several of Judd’s permanent installations and a permanent installation by Dan Flavin.

After years in NYC, Judd felt increasingly drawn to the Texas landscape and in 1971 rented a house in Marfa, Texas, where he also purchased several properties and established The Chinati Foundation.

Being an admirer of Judd’s work, I decided to visit Marfa, but considering that the nearest major airport is a few hours away, and since we never had visited Texas, we decided to embark on a road trip through Texas, starting in Houston and ending up in El Paso, passing Marfa on our way.

Our road trip brought us to cities such as Austin, San Antonio and Del Rio, but also included several sites that were used in the classic horror movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, including the actual house where the movie was filmed.

Along the road we passed small deserted towns, with a certain authenticity that I have not been able to find outside Texas.

 


And throughout our trip there were beautiful views of the Texas landscape.

Upon our arrival in Marfa, we started with a visit of the Chinati Foundation. The Chinati Foundation is located on 340 acres of land on the site of former Fort D.A. Russell. The collection is open to the public and includes 15 outdoor concrete works by Donald Judd, 100 aluminum works by Judd housed in two converted artillery sheds, sculptures by John Chamberlain, an installation by Dan Flavin occupying former army barracks, and works by several other artists including Carl Andre and Richard Long, with each artist’s work installed in a separate building on the museum’s grounds.

The grounds are accessible by guided tour only with a morning tour of the permanent installations by John Chamberlain, Donald Judd, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, and David Rabinowitch and an afternoon tour that includes permanent installations by Carl Andre, Ingólfur Arnarsson, Dan Flavin, Roni Horn, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, and John Wesley, as well as the museum’s current temporary exhibition.

The Donald Judd Foundation also has several properties in Marfa that you can visit comprising of a total of 15 spaces. These include the studios installed with artwork—by Judd and others—living quarters, ranch and architecture offices, and libraries.

Besides these impressive locations Marfa also has galleries, several restaurants, a decent bookstore, and interesting other buildings such as the building in the picture below.

In the evening you can either visit the local bar or try your luck with the Marfa Lights, which may be visible near US Route 67, although we have not been able to confirm the existence of these lights.

While staying in Marfa,  The Thunderbird Hotel is an attractive place to spend the night and it also has the option to rent bikes, which is a good alternative to the car when you want to explore the various sights in town.