Paris: where Picasso got his inspiration

PicassoSometimes stereotypes live up to expectations. Paris has long been known as a city of artists, where aspiring painters/poets/writers go to light the spark of creativity that will make them famous. Of course most of them fail, but some succeed, and that feeds the legend. Pablo Picasso was one of the success stories.

Picasso went to Paris in 1900, when he he was 19, unknown, and striving to find his own style. Paris was full of avant-garde artists and the galleries were displayed the work of artists such as Modigliani, Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin. Picasso got to meet many of these big names. This photo, courtesy Wikimedia Commons, shows from left to right Modigliani, Picasso, and André Salmon in front the Café de la Rotonde. Being in such creative company helped the artist grow.

A new exhibition at the Pablo Picasso Museum in Barcelona examines these formative years in the life of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists. Feasting on Paris: Picasso 1900-1907 features sixty works by Picasso as well as twenty works from the artists whom he most admired. The juxtaposition of his and others’ art shows the sources of his inspiration, and how he turned that inspiration into a distinctive style of his own.

Feasting on Paris: Picasso 1900-1907 runs from July 1 to October 16.

Moleskine notebooks introduces new bags, reading, and writing accessories

Moleskine notebooks new collection

Few products (analog, at least) get travelers, writers, and artists as excited as Moleskine. The classic black Moleskine notebooks have been used by Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Oscar Wilde, as well as many a journaler and design-lover. A new collection unveiled this week at Milan’s Salon del Mobile is the stuff of many travelers’ dreams. The Reading, Writing, and Traveling series from Italian designer Giulio Iacchetti includes bags and computer cases, pencils and pens, reading glasses, a rechargeable reading light and an e-reader stand. Each piece is designed for maximum mobility, and to complement each other as well as the original notebook, complete with the signature black elastic band.


The new collection is on view in Milan now and at the ICFF design show in New York in mid-May. See more photos and details on the Moleskine Facebook page and on the design blog core77, along with an interview with the designer.

We can’t wait to get our hands on a Moleskine laptop bag, though we can’t help hoping they branch out to luggage as well. What Moleskine products would you like to see?

Photo courtesy of Moleskine on Flickr.

Need a hotdog in Madrid? Try Chicago Hot Dogs

I know that part of traveling aborad is experiencing new cuisine. And, Madrid‘s a great place to do that. Sometimes, though, you just have a jones for the familiar. Or, you’re in the mood to dine ‘n’ dash. I get it. When you need a quick fix, a hotdog‘s the likely answer, and Chicago Hot Dog in Madrid is ready to deliver.

To be honest, Chicago Hot Dog’s fare did not measure up to Sweden‘s impressive dogs, and it lagged Iceland a bit. Had the hotdogs been a little hotter, though, the gap would have closed some. Similar to the dogs of Scandinavia, the mustard is the main event in Madrid. Maybe it’s a European thing: the mustard at Chicago Hot Dog was creamy and had a hint of cheese flavor (a la Oscar Mayer) … which works. The hotdog itself was quite large, especially compared to those of Iceland and Sweden (but smaller than those I had in France). For Americans, a good rule of thumb at Chicago Hot Dog is 2:1 – two local dogs equals one from home.

Chicago Hot Dog has several locations across the city. One is close to the Museo del Prado, and another is only a block away from Reina Sofia (which is home to Pablo Picasso‘s “Guernica“). So, if you’re short on time while running from one museum to the next, scarf down a hotdog instead of waiting forever for the check at a more authentic establishment, and you’ll maximize your time with the art.

Check out a video of the dining experience after the jump.

Hookers and artists try to coexist in Amsterdam

Amsterdam doesn’t want some businesses to grow. It seems unusual in a recession (and yes, the Netherlands is feeling it, too), but I guess the situation isn’t so dire that they can’t be picky over there. So, the locals are fighting the business of naked people with the business of art – which clearly has no history of portraying the uncovered human form (feel free to chortle).

The city of Amsterdam has teamed up with a housing corporation. Together, they are acquiring rooms formerly used as brothels and renting them out as studios to artists. This ground-level contribution to the arts is inspiring. While it’s nice to see an established artist get a hefty grant to pursue a specific vision, the measure taken in Amsterdam gives emerging artists (and even those less established) a shot at success.

Of course, some people didn’t find out in time.

A few prostitute clients have come up to doors that are now art studios, seeking their former flames.

Some working girls aren’t thrilled about this development, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Since we’re dealing with Europe, you know there has to be a union involved … and the hookers have one. They say that there’s a history of prostitutes and artists living side-by-side, “like they did in Paris in the 19th century.” Further, ladies of the night have inspired their new neighbors, with the most famous probably being Pablo Picasso‘s “Ladies of Avignon.”

Given the plunge in the global art market, one thing is certain: people will continue to get screwed in these apartments.

Historical Building to be Demolished for View of the Acropolis

Against opposition from architects and cultural conservationists, George Voulgarakis has cleared the way for the razing of a once-protected art deco building in Athens, Greece, because the building stands in the way of a direct view of the Acropolis from the new landmark Acropolis Museum. Voulgarakis also added that demolition of the building “would allow the plot to be excavated ‘to reveal antiquities whose existence is considered highly likely.'”

The Culture Minister revoked state protection of Areopagitou 17 and 19 when the rest of the nation was focused on forest fires in the southern part of the country.

The building, standing just 300 meters from the Acropolis, was designed by Greek architect Vassilis Kouremenos, a Paris-trained friend of Pablo Picasso. Ironically, the structure was originally protected by the driving force behind the new museum, the late actress and former Culture Minister Melina Mercouri.

Two adjacent buildings on Dionyssiou Areopagitou Street will not be automatically demolished, as they are both still protected by the Ministry of Public Works. But Voulgarakis’ decision is expected to ease the way for that listing to be revoked too.

Read the whole article here.

Thanks to Mel Kots and John Kots on Flickr for the photo of the “almost ready” Acropolis Museum.