Art is Art

After coming across this photo last week, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.   It’s a stage in Austria’s Lake Constance, for Kieth Warner’s production of Umberto Giordano‘s opera “Andrea Chénier”, which will open to the public in July.

Here’s a description:

The first performance of the four-act opera, based on the life of the eponymous French poet who was executed during the French revolution, will take place on 20 July at the Bregenz festival in Austria.

Lake Constance is often used during the festival as an extension of the stage, which this year is being transformed into a 24 metre-high figure of Jean-Paul Marat, inspired by the depiction of his death in the 1793 painting by Jacques-Louis David.

The stage design also includes an open book from which members of the cast will emerge, and a large gold mirror.

Shit! How wonderful! I love the monumentalness   of this  enterprise. I wish I could transport myself to Austria. If you find this image compelling, see more here.


Here’s another piece of art that blows my mind. It’s a van I’ve seen around Venice lately, and yesterday I got to see it up close when I went to get groceries and there it was in the parking lot.   A slightly-built man emerged and he was very nice when I asked if I could take a picture.

I walked around and around the van, trying to take in all its wacky glory. It’s completely covered in black and white leather, heavily studded and topped off with realistic-looking stuffed tigers.   There are religious plaques on both sides of the van, praising the lord.   I believe this van is a tribute to the owner’s loved one, Shirley Ann, his “Queen in Life and Death,” “Together for Eternity.”

It’s  uplifting  to see artistic commitment of this magnitude. Whether it’s part of a prestigious festival or one man’s expression of devotion, real art is transcendent, isn’t it? I’m grateful for these glimpses of it.

*van photos via

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12 Responses to Art is Art

  1. EJ says:

    Funny you should describe those toy tigers as ‘realistic-looking’… Have you seen this news story?

  2. Lake Constance or Bodensee is truly beautiful. I was taken there as a child and it is breath taking. I would love to go and see the stage and production – it looks spectacular.

    That van is tops. again it is the passion of the individual that comes across even with only your picture and description to inform me xx

  3. carrie says:

    yes, Yes, YES! I agree almost viscerally with what you’re saying here, Sis. For me appreciating art isn’t just an intellectual exercise, but a real source of spiritual connection…of dialing in to those ‘transcendent’ possibilities inherent to the unique human capability of making art. Of course, not all art works this way but the really good shit never fails!

    Growing up in a non-religious home that was very pro-art and pro-nature has left me with the instinct to plug into the cosmos via the experiences of beauty found in a work of art, or a walk in the woods. To my mind, these spiritual moments of connection are no less profound than the feeling that folks are getting at places of worship (I’m guessing here). To be sure, they have helped me get through times of tremendous loss and mourning, as well as infusing extra life and vibrancy to many times of joy…

    (Btw, the van is amazing.)

  4. annemarie says:

    Art is such a grandiose word. I cringe when I hear people describe themselves as “artists” (they’re nearly always wankers). I wonder if I didn’t have this in-built revulsion would I be a little further along in my own artistic endeavors… Because of all the things I do in my life, and want to do with my life, cultivating my art is the most important to me. It makes me feel human, and exposed and vulnerable and small in my humanity. I find it scary as hell and very, very difficult. I take solace in this line from Thomas Mann: “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

  5. annemarie says:

    oh! You MUST SEE Werner Herzog’s new film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams. It’s about (among other things) the human impulse to create. It’s truly beautiful. And it’s Herzog at his most Herzogian, which is always a blast.

  6. Ann says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you always find the best stuff. Amazing works, both of them.

  7. Cricket9 says:

    Wow, a 24 meters high Jean-Paul Marat, and the Lake Constance as his bathtub! Crazy Austrians! I’d love to see the opera. The van is – out of this world! Who’s more of an artist – the van guy or, let’s say, Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons? I vote for the van guy…

  8. Andra says:

    Sister, you are soaring.
    It’s good to see that you are once again finding uplifting images.
    Much love

  9. WendyB says:

    Amazing — I would love to see that van up close. Lucky you came upon it when you did!

  10. Juli says:

    Very clever using the lake as a bathtub! I would love to see it up close and personal. Thanks Sister!

  11. Anny says:

    I love this pic — I’m so glad U posted it. Why don’t we Americans produce stuff like this??!? R we just too afraid people will say we’re nuts?! Well, hells bells, so is the rest of the world …. they’re just having a better time by expressing it! This pic & story has given me inspiration. Thanx, Sister.

  12. Suspended says:

    I LOVE this! I’d love to see in the flesh (so to speak.)

    I thought the van was kitschy and good fun until I realised it was some sort of shrine which led me to wonder who or what was locked in the back. I’m ill at ease with it now. I’m thinking ‘badass portable urn.’

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