31 March 2018

Castello Mackenzie

When we were beginning to plan this trip to Italy, centering on Turin, there was one building in Genoa that was on my list: the Castello Mackenzie designed by Gino Coppedè. A couple of days here, after about two weeks in Milan and Turin, have taught me that I was shortsighted. It's all been miraculous. But I have now seen the Castello Mackenzie. It is as wild and crazy as anticipated:

But it is no longer singular. It's part of the Genoa that is so attractive and interesting. The hills and valleys, the art nouveau, the other styles, the old stuff, the new stuff. Oh, and the food. We've had some good meals including a lovely lunch at Osteria La Lanterna. I'm having a lot of trouble with the idea that we have to head back to Milan tomorrow so we can be ready for the return flight across the Atlantic next Wednesday.

We had a salad and sandwich for supper from the nearby La Toasteria after our full lunch. I went out later for a coffee. The rain had stopped. Folks were heading back home after supper, or just strolling because it wasn't raining anymore. The feeling on the streets was magical.

More photos in my Flickr photostream.

30 March 2018

Nervi, on Good Friday

We headed out to Nervi today, at the eastern edge of the public transit system of Genoa. It's €1.50 for 100 minutes from validation on the Genoa buses, funiculars, elevators (yes, for up the hills), and other public transit. The Parchi Nervi includes several villas with art collections as well as the gardens which are currently closed for improvements. We also went out there for a bit of seaside. Rain was forecast and threatened now and again but we only felt drops a couple times all day.
We were thrilled by objects in the Wolfsoniana such as the Autarca by Angelo Fasce which holds all the stuff you'd need for quite a sumptuous but self-contained dining experience.
After lunch by the sea, I went to the Galleria d'arte moderna and discovered the work of Nicolò Barabino, among others. Lots of good 19th-century paintings. The 20th-century stuff didn't grab me so much. This is Barabino's Abyssinian.
Cbristie decided to sit by the sea while I went to GAM. We had a gelato when I was done with GAM and took the bus back to the center of Genoa. Then up the funicular to Antica Farmacia dei Frati Carmelitani Scalzi where Christie looked for some herbal remedies. It was a lovely space and a modest church. We walked back to the funicular and encountered yet another Liberty villino on the square at the top of the Funicolare Sant'Anna.
I don't know the architect and wonder if it's another Coppedè.

More pictures on Flickr:

Liberty italiano

The art nouveau buildings were immediately apparent on arrival in Milan. Italians usually call the style Liberty, from the London department store that popularized the style.

I'd seen a picture of the Palazzo Berri-Meregalli before we left but there were treasures of art nouveau all over the city.

When we got to Turin, I was very glad to find a guide in the Palazzo Reale bookshop: Alla scoperta della Torino Liberty: 10 passeggiate nei quartieri della città. We tried to follow some of the walks but mostly it served as a fine guide as we went about the city. In some parts of Turin, the art nouveau houses were just everywhere.

Liberty is still with us here, in Genoa.

More pictures in my Italy 2018 album on Flickr.

29 March 2018

Genova, 29 marzio 2018

Having been told that the quantity of pictures from our trip to Milan, Turin, and Genoa in my Flickr photostream might be overwhelming, I thought I'd just pick a few that highlight the day. We found some very handy and informative booklets at the Genoa city information office. One of them included "seven routes to explore the city." One of the routes passed the miniature art nouveau barber's shop Barberia Giacolone at no. 14r on Vico dei Caprettari.
On the other end of the scale was the massive Il Gesù church which includes a magnificent painting of Saint Ignatius by Peter Paul Rubens.

It is Maundy Thursday and we had read that the city Confraternities processed around the seven churches in the medieval quarter. We didn't find that but there were special activities at various churches as well as seasonal masses. The simple Romanesque interior of San Donato (12th century) was filled with music (and incense) and there was a special Easter tableau.

Genoa is hilly and that provides for incredible views when you get above the dense city.

10 March 2018

Buildings of Wisconsin

I have been buying the volumes of Buildings of the United States since they started coming out in the early 1990s. You get a discount if you are a member of the Society of Architectural Historians. I am excited about all of the volumes but especially about states where I have lived or have some other connection. The earlier volumes were published by Oxford University Press (the bluish ones in the picture) and the later volumes by University of Virginia Press (the black ones). I do prefer the OUP format. Buildings of Wisconsin was published in 2016 but I didn't get it then because UVa Press was shifting distributors and things went askew. The Wisconsin volume finally came today so I checked to see if New Auburn was in the index. We lived there in the early 1950s and we Clarke kids were pretty excited when Michael Perry started publishing books about New Auburn like Population: 485 and about small town life and Wisconsin. I was sorry to read in Population: 485 that the old school where I went to first to third grades had been torn down. No kindergarten then and all twelve grades were in the same building, first and second grades in one classroom with Mrs Kelly, third to fifth in another classroom with Mrs McCarthy, and the big kids upstairs.

So I opened the Wisconsin volume and checked the index. No entry for New Auburn which is up North, near Eau Claire and Rice Lake. I was jumping around the index a bit and noticed Milton, a small town down near Madison. My dad was a pastor in the Seventh Day Baptist church in New Auburn and there was another SDB church in Milton as well as a college founded by SDBs in 1844 but which closed in 1982. The entry for Milton was about the Milton House.
It was built in 1845 by Joseph Goodrich, one of the founders of Milton College. The building was constructed of grout concrete (the first in the U.S.) and one end is hexagonal. Orson Squire Fowler, of octagon house fame, recommended the use of grout for polygonal buildings. According to the Wikipedia article (citing the landmark nomination), it is "the most prominent abolitionist site still standing in Wisconsin." The entry for the Milton House in the Wisconsin BUS volume mentions that Joseph Goodrich was "a native of New York State who founded and developed Milton [and] brought this construction material to the area." I figured he had to be a Seventh Day Baptist. I checked for his obituary on They came to Milton on RootsWeb. Yes, indeed, he was SDB. He was born in Hancock, Massachusetts, and lived in Stephentown, N.Y. (where my older sister used to live) and then Alfred, N.Y. (where I now live in the family house built in 1874 by my great-grandfather) before heading out to Milton. SDBs are a small group of Sabbatarian (observing Saturday) Baptists. Especially in the early days, they stuck together, even as they migrated West. Stores in some small SDB-dominated towns like Alfred closed on Sabbath (Saturday) and opened on Sunday. Even the post office in Alfred observed Sabbath until the 1960s or thereabouts.

03 March 2018

mystery building?

Gaudí? Park Güell? Nope. Watts Towers in Los Angeles. I've seen many pictures of Watts Towers but mostly thought of them as towers, not realizing that there were some lovely and interesting lower buildings around the site.

02 March 2018


February was a busy month with three of my regular conferences occurring between the 8th and 28th. The American Library Association conference was in Denver; the CAA: Advancing Art & Design (formerly known as College Art Association) conference was in Los Angeles; the Art Libraries Society of North America conference was in New York City. Each was good and enjoyable in the normal ways: meetings, seeing friends, visiting cities. This year, I was able to see a number of friends in the various cities beyond the normal crowd. It was really wonderful. And of course there was art to see in each city.
This arrangement was part of the Jorge Otero: Elegies exhibition at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Three of the works are by Otero, the other three are Elegies to the Spanish Republic by Robert Motherwell. I had gone to the Bronx Museum to see the Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect exhibition and was delighted to also find the Otero. The Matta-Clark show included a video taken during the making of the Conical Intersect in Paris and showing the folks walking or driving past as they watch the crazy guys cutting holes in the abandoned building near the construction site of the Centre Pompidou.