Beauty vs Chaos

A beautiful world, the one we live in, indeed. But only to some extent. Luckily.

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A beautiful world? Well, yes, but to some extent. How is it that beauty happens, anyways? A completely subjective concept, beauty does not actually “happen”: it is “acknowledged”. We discover beauty in order and organized forms, natural or man-made. This recognition does not occur in a vacuum. The sense of beauty emerges only when we see order against a backdrop of chaos. Beauty itself can only rise from chaos, there is no other way to have it. And we would be blind to beauty if chaos were not present. The two go together in a ying/yang type of arrangement. The world is not purely beautiful. It is both chaotically ugly and it is orderly beautiful. Thankfully.  Because a beautiful thing would go undetected in the absence of the ugly *

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Mother of all arts / La madre de todas las artes

“Architecture is the mother of all arts…. (it) connects the present with the past and the tangible with the intangible” – Richard Meier

Getty Center at dusk, Los Angeles, California (December 2014)

Así que la arquitectura es la madre de todas las artes, según el notable arquitecto (y arquitecto tenía que ser) el Sr. Richard Meier. Puedo entender la base de su aseveración. Después de todo, las obras pictóricas  y las artes escénicas encuentran albergue, hoy por hoy, en el interior de los más extraordinarios edificios concebidos por la mente humana. Estos edificios -sobretodo los de más reciente data- están embuídos de una belleza metódica que bordea la extravagancia. Hay un común denominador entre el Metropolitano de Nueva York, el Centro Getty de Los Angeles, el museo de Arte de Denver y el maravilloso museo Crystal Bridges en Bentonville, Arkansas. Dentro del vientre acogedor de estas manifestaciones arquitectónicas modernas, tienen lugar otras manifestaciones artísticas, y así el arte vive dentro del arte. Pareciera pués que, ciertamente, la arquitectura hace de mamá de todas las artes! *

 

"The Broad" - modern art museum in downtown Los Angeles

The Broad, Contemporary Art Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, (November 2015)

According to renowned architect Mr. Richard Meier (and he obviously had to be an architect), architecture is the mother of all arts. I can understand the basis for his claim.  After all, both pictorial and scenic arts find a home in some of the most amazing buildings conceived and imagined by the human mind. These buildings – especially those of recent origin- are suffused with a bold, extravagant beauty.  There is, indeed, a common denominator between New York’s MET, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Denver Art Museum and the very little known, yet phenomenal Crystal Bridges museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Inside the welcoming womb of those modern architectural manifestations, we will find other artistic manifestations and so the arts live inside the arts. It would appear that, after all, architecture is indeed the mother of all arts!  *

 

Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colorado

Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado (November, 2015)

 

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art - Bentonville, Arkansas (2012)

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2012)

Caracas in three dimensions / Caracas en tres dimensiones

How do you cram four million people in a tiny valley? The answer lies in the vertical dimension. Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, grows vertically.

Torre Capriles, Torre Phelps y Edificio Polar, Plaza Venezuela, Caracas (October 1991).

(English text follows below) Cómo se acomodan cuatro millones de habitantes en un valle estrecho de venticinco kilómetros de largo y once de ancho? La respuesta está en la tercera dimensión. La verticalidad de Caracas pasa desapercibida por sus habitantes, por ser parte de su cotidianidad. Pero todo visitante de la capital de Venezuela, nacional o extranjero, se percata de la preponderancia del edificio y de la torre como la solución natural al problema de espacio. Las edificaciones crecen hacia el cielo, cinco, diez, veinte pisos. Casas y casitas se adueñan de las colinas del valle y se erigen sobre terrenos impensables.  Los caraqueños viven y trabajan en las alturas. Una montaña de dos mil cien metros de alto permanece relativamente a salvo de la acción humana, pero por cuánto tiempo más?. El Avila es testigo, silencioso e impávido, del crecimiento desbordado de la ciudad *

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How do you cram 4 million people in a tiny valley,15 miles long and 7 miles wide? The answer lies in the third dimension. Caracas’ love for vertical spaces is not noticed by its inhabitants, because that love is part of their day-to-day. But every visitor to Venezuela’s capital, from abroad or otherwise, will quickly realize that buildings and towers became the solution for the problem of lack of space.  Constructions of five, ten or twenty floors high are just the norm. Houses, big and small, take over hills and are erected on difficult, steep terrain. “Caraqueños” live and work up in the heights. A 6500 ft mountain remains relatively intact from human invasion, but for how much longer?  The Avila mountain serves as an impassive witness of the uncontrolled city sprouting *

A view from Torre Andres Bello of some iconic Caracas Towers