July, 2014 Archives

I have 27 photos on exhibit at the Kerri Gallery in Willimantic through August 23.  The Kerri Art Studio and Gallery is a gem in Willimantic.  The gallery crew is so friendly it’s worth stopping by just to chat.  And Kerri Quirk – the gallery’s namesake – is an artist with a powerful story -  http://www.kerriquirk.com.  Wed & Fri- 10-2, 3-6; Thurs – 10-2, 5-8; Sat – 11-3

Prague is an outdoor museum well worth the price of admission even when you consider the cost of airfare.  Prague was largely spared the bombs of WWII and so has eight centuries more or less of well-preserved architectural history.  Historic Prague is sprawling and the architectural gems are not concentrated in one area.  And some of the more famous examples – the Baroque St. Nicholas Cathedral in Malá Strana or the Art Nouveau Municipal House in Old Town – are a bit underwhelming when you consider there is something impressive around every corner… somebody’s 400-year-old house and garden, the finely crafted facades of turn-of-the-century apartment buildings, storefronts and offices, David Černý’s outrageous sculpture.  We spent six nights in Prague doing the usual tourist trail, which included the castle complex, St Vitus, Loreta, St Nicholas, Strahov Monastery (which had a cabinet of curiosities and made its own beer), Municipal House, Jewish Quarter/Pinkas and the Spanish Synagogues & Old Cemetery, Museum of Communism, Mucha Museum, Petrin Hill, Old Town, Kampa etc.  We saw the Tim Burton retrospective, a show by the Czech photographer František Dostál and visited the Lobkowicz Palace and learned the story of William Lobkowicz (born and raised in the US) and how he was able to reclaim his family’s twelve castles after the Velvet Revolution.  We stayed at a delightful eight-room hotel called U Zeleného hroznu in Malá Strana (built in the 17th century and decked out with the opera singer Ema Destinnova’s salon and bedroom furniture).  We then travelled to Český Krumlov south of Prague (very close to Austria and Germany) for two nights.  We rented an “apartment” in Český Krumlov at the five–suite Pension Athanor – all the modern amenities including a sauna in a building built before 1569.  Český Krumlov, like Prague, was built on the Vltava River and like Prague, it has a big-ass castle, a dominant cathedral called St Vitus and cobblestone streets.  We toured the castle from end to end, from the bear pit to the formal French & English gardens, from the top (bell tower with an expansive view) to the bottom – the wooden gears/set changing machinery under the stage of a Baroque theater and the surreal sculpture of Miroslav Páral on exhibit in a dank, dark, dirt-floor castle cellar complex.   We saw a show of Jan Saudek’s work and visited the Museum Fotoatelier Seidel, the home and studio of a turn of the century photographer. We ate trdelnik and drank Eggenberg and Becherovka.  We did not use the sauna.

Architecture & Adornment, Kaprova Street Stare Mesto Old Town Prague

U Storch House at Staromestske Namesti – Old Town

Architecture & Adornment, Prague

Architecture & Adornment, Prague

Architecture & Adornment, Prague

Taken on Charles Bridge, of buildings in Old Town

Loreta (or Loreto) is a large complex of buildings, and a tourist and pilgrimage destination in Hradčany, the castle district. The construction started in 1626 – designed by an Italian architect (which is why it looks so… Italian).

View from a window in the Old Royal Palace

Old Town, Prague

Rub it for luck (a golden penis)

David Černý’s sculpture In Utero, Prague

Český Krumlov Castle and Tower, 16th century, 180 feet tall, 162 stairs

Český Krumlov Castle in the distance behind Becky (the castle is the second largest in the Czech Republic)