New Year 2018 in Venezia & Murano

Dear friends and family,

Shortly before we left on our trip we had a visit from Kathy Goncharov, chief curator at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, who is putting together a tapestry show at the Museum. Kathy is a former US Commissioner to the Venice Biennale and brought a beautiful glass show Glasstress from the Berengo Studios at Murano to Boca Raton. Kathy kindly offered to introduce us to  the people at Berengo, which she proceeded to do. 

Early on December 30, Marco Berengo showed up at our palazzo loading dock with his boat to pick us up for Murano and the Berengo Studios. 

Our French neighbors (renting a different floor in the palazzo) looking down and greeting us.

Pulling away down the Grand Canal; that's the Palazzo Loredan where we're staying; the gray building with the scaffolding on the side.

The Wild family, enjoying the view from the back of the boat.

Passing the Salute or the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. 

Marco and Era posing (very Japanese of us).

And on the other side of the boat, the Wilds whooping it up. Are they water skiing?

We stop by the Lido first to pick up Adriano Berengo, Marco's father and founder of the firm, and two of his younger children.

Tying up at Murano.

Adriano Berengo and Era with some crazy lighting by Pieke Bergmans, a Dutch artist.

Some of the many kilns at Berengo. That orange is actual flames shooting through the cracks in the door.

In the back rooms.

An installation, partially deconstructed. Marco explained that they had a big party here during the Biennale with elaborate computerized lighting which lit up the glass objects installation hanging from the ceiling. Sorry that I can't remember the artist's name.

Glass bamboo

Projects by different artists; a sketch by Ai Weiwei for a future project in front of the terra cotta colored pine cone looking piece by British artist Tony Cragg. The bones and almost everything you see is glass.

The bee hive or pine cone like pieces are made up of many cross-sections of small human heads. The ears provide some great texture. 

The charming goat is by Marta Klonowska, a Polish artist 

Took a pre-lunch walk past old Murano warehouses. All the glass blowers and manufacturers were forced to locate to Murano long ago because of fear of runaway fires in Venice proper.

 Lunch at B Restaurant, down the street from the Berengo Gallery. It is not very impressive looking, looking somewhat like an American restaurant, but the food was delicious. 

David enjoying his octopus salad.

Jill cutting into her carpaccio, which she kindly shared with us. Underneath is a bed of arugula. Delicious. After traveling with the Wilds, I now know that I would do well to order whatever Jill orders. She has a knack.

Jill and I both ordered branzino (European sea bass). Decidedly yummy.

The talented chef at B Restaurant

Arrivederci, Murano. A wonderful visit. Thank you, Marco, Adriano and Kathy Goncharov.

Hard to believe, but this photo has not been Photoshopped. 

Another day, another view from the apartment, towards the Accademia Bridge which is being repaired and is covered with some construction netting.

We decide to brave the crowds at Piazza San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale (the Doges' Palace). This is inside the courtyard, past the entrance. Back in the Middle Ages designers and builders were brought to Venice from Constantinople to construct the Palazzo Ducale, the Basilica San Marco and surrounding area. This is what gives it and Venice as a whole its decidedly fairy tale Eastern flavor. The piazza was formerly some orchards, small houses and other buildings which were all torn down. All buildings facing the piazza were required to construct the arched colonnades that you see today.

Inside, it's overwhelming, and so much happening on the ceiling that one gets a neck ache looking up. Those of you who have been there will understand, but my memories were not nearly equal to the reality.

Room after room.

This shows a city being attacked by what look to be Venetian galleys. There are a number of these paintings featuring different cities under attack.

A popular subject in Venice; Venice hosted the Pope and Holy Roman Emperor Barbarossa who were fighting each other and negotiated a peace. The story is that Barbarossa kissed the feet of the Pope, and the Pope presented the City of Venice with a gold ring which the Doge took out into the lagoon in his famous barge, the Bucentauro, and threw the gold ring into the waters, symbolically marrying Venice to the Sea. A high point in Venetian history, the subject is well-represented at the Ducal Palace. This event is reenacted every year.

Piazza San Marco at night. Don, Michael and Era braved the cold and went out for an evening walk.

Michael and Don. We all felt it was too cold to stay out till midnight, but they did shoot off some fireworks for New Years.

Happy New Year, everybody. It's an amazing planet, inhabited by many beautiful people (now and in the past), who have created some astounding cities, structures, buildings, filled with art and so many delights. Let's hope we, including our leaders, can be worthy and appreciative of this precious legacy and the gifts that have been handed to us.


Era and Don