Tag Archives: Arts

Last Call!

13 Jul

If you find yourself looking for something to do in São Paulo this weekend, be sure to stop by MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo). The museum is showing paintings from the Italian artist, Amedeo Modigliani, until this Sunday, the 15th, so hurry!

Modigliani was born in Tuscany but lived in Paris for several years of his (short) life alongside other great 20th century artists. He is not only well-known for having precarious health, but also by his scandalous-at-the-time nudes, his portraits of women with almond-shaped eyes and elongated necks (emulating African masks) and for his sense of linear design.

Céline Howard 1918 (Image courtesy of viajeaqui.com.br)

The exhibition is organized in a timeline that shows how his life and work intertwined. If you want to end your afternoon at the museum on a high note, rent Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris to relive a little bit of 20th century Paris!

General Information

Location: MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (Avenida Paulista, 1.578, Cerqueira César, São Paulo/SP) Visiting hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 6pm; Thursdays, from 11am to 8pm (the museum is closed on Mondays) Fee: R$ 15 regular fee and R$7 for students. Children (10 or younger) and senior citizens (60 or older) are free. The museum is free on Tuesdays. Contact: (11) 3251.5644


Se estiver buscando um programa interessante em São Paulo para o final de semana, achou! O Masp está com uma exibição do artista italiano, Amedeo Modigliani, até domingo, dia 15, então corra!

Modigliani nasceu na região da Toscana mas morou em Paris por vários anos da sua (curta) vida ao lado de outros grandes artistas do século XX. Ele não só é conhecido por sua saúde precária, mas também pelos seus nús escandalosos para a época, seus retratos de mulheres com olhos amendoados e pescoços longos (remetendo à máscaras africanas) e seus traços lineares.

Jeune Femm, de 1914 (Imagem do site exame.abril.com.br)

A exibição está organizada em uma linha do tempo que mostra as conexões entre a obra e a vida do artista. Para terminar a tarde cultural, alugue o filme do diretor Woody Allen, Meia Noite em Paris, e reviva um pouco da magia de Paris no século XX!

Informações Gerais
De 17 de maio a 15 de julho, no MASP  Av. Paulista, 1578. Terças a domingos e feriados, das 11h às 18h. Às quintas: das 11h às 20h. A bilheteria fecha meia hora antes.Ingressos: R$ 15,00. Estudantes, professores e aposentados com comprovantes: R$ 7,00. Até 10 anos e acima de 60: entrada gratuita. Às terças-feiras: acesso gratuito a todos.

Damien Hirst, a review

10 Jul

Summer in London means… more rain. After living here for almost 3 years, I can safely say that you shouldn’t rely solely on outdoor activities during the “hot” season. This brings me to a grey and rainy Sunday afternoon when all I wanted to do was leave the house. I was lucky enough to discover that one of the best museums in London, the Tate Modern, was open until late for the acclaimed Damien Hirst exhibition. I booked an 8:00pm slot and left the house, umbrella and wellies on, looking forward to an artistically refined evening.

Damien Hirst ruthlessly explores themes such as life’s transient and fragile nature or the individual’s relationship with religion, medicine and anything that will protect him/her from the undeniable reality of death. I know this might not sound like an ideal end to my Sunday afternoon, but the truth is that I felt surprisingly calm and wise after being exposed to the emotional, and often brutal, nature of Hirst’s work.

As some of you might know, Damien Hirst is famous for his Dot paintings and his series of dead animals in formaldehyde solution. Hirst’s current exhibition at the Tate includes many of the dead animals, such as the impressive shark called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1991. Although the shark was breathtaking, I have to say I was stunned/revolted/intrigued by Mother and Child (Divided), featuring a dead cow and a dead calf split in half (meaning each half is in a glass container and you can walk through them viewing both sides of their bodies). It was crazy — very crazy — and unnerving.


Mother and Child (Divided)

The exhibition also featured Hirst’s butterfly pieces. Constantly exploring themes such as life and death, the fine line between the two, and the beauty of both stages, Hirst presents a variety of paintings and installations that feature dead and live butterflies. The first room of butterfly pieces showcases dead butterflies on a few colored canvases such as For Boys and Girls, 1989 – 1992. Next, you move on to a humid room filled with live butterflies flying around (In and Out of Love, White Paintings and Live Butterflies). Side comment– I grew up on a farm with many flies/butterflies/bees and still found this installation a bit weird and uncomfortable. Now that I look back on the experience, it makes me think that sometimes life can be uncomfortable… Life can indeed make us feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed. Sometimes, in art and maybe also in life, it might be easier to appreciate the stillness of death.


In and Out of Love (White Paintings and Live Butterflies), 1991

After the room filled with real live butterflies, the exhibition takes you to other works by Damien Hirst, such as Loving in a World of Desire (a ball floating above a square base), and Beautiful, amore, gasp, eyes going into the top of the head and fluttering paintingThe exhibition ends with awe-inspiring paintings that look like stained glass windows but are actually made of dead butterflies and household gloss on canvas (Doorways to the Kingdom of Heaven, 2007). The three paintings stand beautifully next to each other, and in the middle of the room there is a glass container featuring a dead white dove, a symbol for many holy and peaceful things, called The Incomplete Truth, 2006.


Doorways to the Kingdom of Heaven, 2007

It is difficult to explain how I felt after this exhibition; the truth is that words tend to simplify and flatten emotions, not doing justice to the magnitude of what I felt that Sunday evening. For the first time in my life, I understood that death could be beautiful. All of the dead animals in the exhibition finally made sense. After facing so much death and beauty, I was able to make a connection between the two and accept our undeniable fate with more ease and poetry.

– Natasha

That’s nice, but what’s your real job?

9 Jul

Here’s some listening from one of my favorite pieces while you read, Daphnis et Chloé, suite no. 2 by Maurice Ravel.

It’s only fitting that my first post be about music and the lifestyle of a classical musician.  I find it difficult to explain my everyday life and this process of work to non-musicians, so I’d like to offer you a brief glimpse into the inner workings of my world.

Before I go on, I’d like you to read this article that pretty accurately describes the infinitely repeating method of working towards an audition. It will take you about 5 minutes, but it’s well worth it. I’ll wait here!

It’s a disturbingly common assumption that because music is a passion, it’s just a hobby to do on your downtime and not a ‘real’ profession. The same is said about visual artists, writers, and others who work an extremely specific and creative trade. (I suppose I’m something of a visual artist, as oboists are required to make our own reeds. Here’s an abridged description: I take a stick of bamboo, split it, plane it, gouge it, shape it, tie it and then scrape it so it’s thinner than paper and perfectly proportional to the .01mm. It’s a process that takes hours on end for a reed that will only last a few hours!). One of the main things we creatives have in common is our lack of income, i.e.“starving artists.” Why, though? In my opinion it’s an accessibility issue: when it comes to music, many young people think that classical music is for the old and stuffy. Meanwhile, the generation who DOES love our work is slowly dying, all of which lowers demand as well as our paychecks.

About 1/3 of my reed making tools, all that I could fit in my suitcase!

Back to the point, though. We work just as hard – some say harder – than professional athletes. We train for hours upon hours a day (recalling the article, the subject practiced for 14-20 hours a day, and scheduled meetings with his wife just so they could talk), often pushing through overuse injuries, all for a brief 1-2 hour period of intensely critiqued performance, which we then review and learn from for an improved subsequent concert. By the same token, if we blotch a solo or derail in concert, it haunts us for days or weeks, as we’re then constantly thinking about what we could have done better and how we let down the orchestra. Performance anxiety is prevalent throughout the musical community, and there is rampant use of beta-blockers to prevent nerves from interfering with execution.

My brother and I performing at my Masters Recital

The question I always get is: “why would anyone choose such a life?” To be honest, this is a good point.  With digitized orchestral music replacing live performance, why on earth would anyone subjugate themselves to a life of 10-hour practice days, intense stress, and low income? One great answer is the travel. I’m writing this post from the mountains in Aspen, Colorado, where I’m a musician at the Aspen Music Festival. Two months, multiple orchestras, and over 300 concerts! While here, I’ll play under world-renowned conductors and next to some of the best musicians in the world from top tier orchestras like the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. The phrase “music takes you places” isn’t just an empty saying. Thanks to music, I’ve been to almost every continent, toured the most incredible countries, played in amazing concert halls, and enjoyed unforgettable experiences.

Breathtaking views every day in Aspen. Photo courtesy of panoramio.com

Then there’s the most obvious answer: because you love it. There cannot be any other reason other than you can’t imagine life any other way. The absolute rush of an orchestra knee-deep into an epic phrase is a reason worth waking up every day to brave the grueling work. And though we’re stressed out and poor, rather than working a dreary 9-5 and live only for the weekends, we get to explore the creative process and share a little bit of our souls with every performance. It becomes absolutely worth it.

This is my day job. Find me in the oboe section!

I hope everyone reading this has something that they wake up excited about! As Albert Einstein famously said, “Do what you love and love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”


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