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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spain- Galleries (and pics) Galore- Part 3

I've been back from my latest trip to Spain for about three weeks now, definitely returning to my usual work routine-a good thing-but I have the most vivid memories of this trip, more so than previous ones. Yes, its only been a few weeks, but my appreciation of Spain continues to grow.  

Plaza Santa Ana- Madrid
Of course there are places yet to see, but I have traveled a lot, including to "exotic" places- India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, all over Europe- Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Scandanavia, and Bosnia, even to Bulgaria, and Greece.  Throw in Canada, Mexico many times, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and a couple of others. Yet still, my favorite part of the world remains - Spain. In previous blogs I've talked about the attraction for me (seen here + here). In fact, the reason I decided to learn to
speak Spanish, which makes my travels there even better, was because of how much I enjoyed my second trip. Now, after having been to Spain three times in the last nine years, I most likely will be going back for art/business within the next 4-7 months.

Plaza Mayor Madrid
Ok, now for this blog's theme.
June began the PhotoEspaña festival in Madrid and it will continue through the end of July. PhotoEspaña is an international photography and visual arts festival and this year the emphasis was on Spanish photography. Rather than one giant art fair type of setting, it takes place in about 100 different venues-galleries, museums, etc., which is too much to even remotely try to take in, especially with a limited amount of time. Plus I wanted to get to the Prado, Thyssen, and Sofia Reina museums. In fact, because of this, even though we started out in Madrid we didn't get to any of PhotoEspaña until our return, after visiting Barcelona and Valencia. We ended up spending a lot of time in the Prado and planned on getting to the Thyssen and galleries upon our return at the end of the trip.
Great little shop in Madrid

Lionel Feiniiger, Thyssen Museum
Although a big art fair in one place, like Art Basel, Expo Chicago, etc., is very convenient and everything is under one (giant) roof, PhotoEspaña's multi-site setup has for me one distinct advantage. You get to walk the city and explore some of the great neighborhoods of Madrid. It is a big, bustling city, but once you get off the main boulevards you are treated to something that makes Madrid great. The streets are much quieter, restaurants and cafes abound, some great shopping off the main drags, beautiful buildings, etc., etc.   My (amazing) girlfriend and I walked just about everywhere. And......

As I mentioned, we returned to Madrid for the last two days of our trip. After getting settled in we walked to the Thyssen Bornemisza, which is not quite the Prado, but still another world class museum. Walking back via side streets, we passed by the office of Art Gallery Tour. For the hell of it, I googled it when we got back and saw they offered various tours, including galleries participating in PhotoEspaña. The next day was our last day in Spain and I sent the tour company an email, hoping they would have space available. And since people come back to work after their lunch/siesta break, I was hoping for a response even though it was evening 

by then.
Retiro Park, Madrid
Retiro Park 2, Madrid
What luck!! We arranged to meet the tour guide at the first of six galleries we would visit. Our guide happened to be the owner of Art Gallery Tour, Eloisa, who was just fantastic. I am usually a little leery of tour guides when it comes to art, after all, I have been an artist/photographer for many years and have studied art history and the history of photography extensively. But Eloisa was not only articulate, both in Spanish and English, but very, very knowledgeable. We received in depth explanations about all the art and artists we viewed, and had great discussions about the work and the galleries.
Glass Tears- Man Ray (on display at Monda Galeria)

Here are the links to the galleries we visited:

When I get back to Madrid, PhotoEspaña will be long over, but now I can say that I officially have a great sense of the contemporary art scene in Madrid, thanks to the layout of the festival. I am so glad to call Spain my home away from home and, needless to say, I cannot wait to return.


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