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art take: rio

Have you seen it?

I describe many things that I have seen.  Do you?  Some things are easy to imagine - there is a point of reference that can quickly be found.  Other things are beyond words.  I like both seeing and describing, pictures and words.  Especially when accompanied by music.

In my last days in Buenos Aires I went to Notorious, a music store in Palermo Soho, epicenter of trendy boutiques and designery redo’s.  I bought lots of tango electronica to accompany me on my trip up to Rio de Janeiro.  Nothing like tango to set a mood.


Flying into Rio, it was winter and the clouds swirled around Sugarloaf.  Unlike Buenos Aires, Rio felt small and intimate.  Of course, it’s not, but it felt that way.  There is a softness to the air and the language and the people that is simply seductive. 


Our friend, Jaime, sent Julio to pick us up from the airport.  Julio (pronounced with a soft J like jewlio…) became our taxi driver extraordinaire.  On the ride into town, we discussed everything from surfing to architecture to the dot com world (he called it “point com.”)  Thank you Julio for making it smooth.


I had a couple of definites to accomplish in Rio: a studio visit with Iole de Freitas, whose work I had seen at documenta, and a trip to Corcovado just because it is the thing to do.  Both came off with ease.


First was the mountain.  It was Wednesday morning and the clouds had lifted.  Jaime called and said “Corcovado – now.”  Off we went and his timing could not have been better.


We caught the train in Cosme Velho and swayed through the rainforest to the sounds of a samba band.  Straight up we went.  From there, we took an elevator and finally some stairs to reach the peak. 


And then I saw it – icon of icons - Christ the Redeemer stretching out across the skies.  Completed in 1931, this 105-foot example of art deco statuary is without a doubt one of the most jaw-dropping pieces of public art anywhere.  Did you know it was chosen as one of the NEW 7 Wonders of the World in a global Internet vote this year?


All around me people fell to their knees or laid full out in homage to this marvel.  And the form of their reverence?  The digital camera.  It was pure performance.  Kneeling and clicking, splaying and clicking.  Catherine, Jaime and I laughed and looked and snapped and stood staring up absolutely transfixed.



Now, to me, the thing that makes this piece of public art worthy of 7 Wonder status is the location, location, location.  It would be commanding in the center of a city or next to a ball park, but on the top of Corcovado mountain with the gorgeousness of Rio surrounding it, this sculpture takes on a depth of meaning that is profound.  So profound that I easily overcame the idealogical and political demands of this symbol and just basked in the beauty of such a wonder.



How does this relate to Artslant?  Well, it’s this notion of visibility.  Letting the world see.


Whether permanent or temporal, on the corner of such-and-such or in the middle of a major museum, we want all interested parties, and even those who aren't aware they are interested, to know about the art in our city.  This is why we created the ADD feature on Artslant - so everyone can get their Corcovado in our calendar, or that performance on a rooftop, or even a little installation in the alley behind the bookstore that no one knows exists.  All of it should be seen.


So may I suggest - Add It.

- georgia


















Posted by ArtSlant Team on 8/16/07

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