Sunday, November 10, 2013

Walking to the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales (Through a Mini-Disney)

They sell mate in vending machines in Uruguay!
After the morning stroll through Cuidad Viaje, I took an afternoon stroll to the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales (MNAV) in Parque Rodó.  I learned many great things about Montevideo on this walk.  Including the fact that they sell mate (pronounced MAH-tay) in vending machines.  I hadn't brought my gourd, so I couldn't fill up.

My hotel is located on a side street named Juan Benito Blanco (it doesn't seem to an "avendia" or a "calle" or anything -- just "Juan Benito Blanco) in the Pocitos neighborhood of Montevideo.

Front entrance to the My Suites Hotel
The Pocitos neighborhood has the feel of the not-quite-upscale-but-definitely-not-anywhere-close-to-downscale residential neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.  Except, as you can see from the view from the roof, there's an ocean nearby:

Rooftop view from the My Suites Hotel
I'm only three blocks inland.  There's a beach-like area in the waterfront, but it's not a lay-on-the-beach type area.  So I really didn't need to get closer to the Rio de la Plata (which, technically, is an estuary and not an ocean).

So I take a walk to the MNAV and there's a fair of some sort happening in Parque Rodó where I'm expecting an art museum to be:

This ride obviously was designed by trippin' hippies
 The whole thing has a Disney-on-acid feel to it.  Such as these ticket booths:

Take a ride courtesy of the magic mushrooms
Mushroom ticket booths.  There are about a seven or eight rides at the fair, including this beautiful old-style carousel.

I love old-fashioned carousels even though it would make me nauseous to step aboard.  Not from the sweetness and innocence, mind you.  From the circular rotation.  I'm still mega-bummed that they tore down the carousel in the old Belz Mall outlet mall where I buy all my high fashion haute couture.  (I'm such a frickin' Pennsylvanian when it comes to that mall.  It hasn't been called "the Belz Mall" for over 10 years.  Yet I still call it by a name that no one who didn't live in Las Vegas last century would know.)

So, yeah, I like merry-go-rounds.  This is the "flying elephant ride"

This mottled elephant seems to have some sort of skin disorder
Weeeeeeeeee!  Flying elephants!  Where would someone get that sort of idea?

Fly away, elephants.  Fly away!
Apart from the LSD, of course.  And look at this ride features spinning cups.  With a teapot in the middle.

The cups of tea ride
Something tells me that no one contacted Disney to secure intellectual property rights for these rides.  So don't call those elephants Dumbo!  Life beyond the immediate reach of U.S. intellectual property law!  Actually, since this is Uruguay, I am quite disappointed that the spinning cups of tea ride is not themed around mate gourds.  You could use the bomba (the metal straw/filter) to make the gourd spin.  Weeeeeeeeeee!

I walk behind the fair, past the tennis courts, and I see an ugly building that looks like a middle school built in the 1970s.  Which means?

The MNAV in Parque Rodo
 A modern art museum!

Entrance to the MNAV
Even though the MNAV is billed as "the" national art museum, it's a modern art museum.  And you know how I feel about modern art!  Well, if you don't, you'll learn soon enough.

The first floor collection
The museum is just two floors.  The first floor houses the main collection, which is probably less than 40 pieces in total.  All modern art.  Such as this diptych:

I'm guessing this is some sort of cartoonish Greek/Roman gods sort of thing going on
Too wide to all fit in one camera shot!  The MNAV has the largest collection of art from Uruguayan artists under one roof in the world. Can you believe that?

The second floor is the rotating collection. The MNAV is now featuring the works of Manual Aguiar.  Let's take a look-see at some of the works of Sr. Aguiar, shall we?

Perhaps that one's from De Daumier-Smith's Blue Period.  Perhaps you prefer your art to of cut rope:

OK.  I'm having fun at Sr. Aguiar's expense.  I genuinely believe that most modern art (i.e., art produced after the Treaty of Versailles was signed ending World War I) is fecal.  Pablo Picasso and all those eyeballs on the same side of people's heads?  Fecal.  Kadinsky?  Fecal.  Jackson Pollack and his drips?  Massive wet stinkin' mess of fecal-ality.  Salvador Dali?  OK.  Dali I love.  I'm inconsistent with my middlebrow tastes.  And that is why I'm not in love with this one, which I call:  "The Moon is a Lemon Wedge in the Iced Tea Sky"

The actual name escapes me.  I was having fun walking through the gallery, making fun (in my head) of the art, but then I came upon this one.

The artist is Amelia Nieto.  I actually liked this one.  You can't tell from this photograph, but the shapes really "pop" from the canvas.  I may not know art, but this is one where I could really see that it took talent to produce.  And, no, I am not being facetious.  I actually liked this one.  There were a few more works by Sra. Nieto, but the others didn't grab me like this one did.

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