July 2 Where to start....first off, I have learned that I DO NOT sleep on planes (I promise this ties in with my chaos topic) Ok. I'm done with that vent. So when we arrived in Rome and adrenaline kicked in from the excitement of entering this new city AND new country, I was overwhelmed by all of the beautiful architecture. The colesseum was just like looking at a postcard. So unbelievably historic and perfect. Seeing all of the ornate sculptures and architectural details on day 1 definitely put into perspective just how much patience and hands on work was put into these gorgeous peices of the city. The fact that they are so well preserved and still even standing just shows how exceeding craftsmanship can make a peice last seemily forever, therefore making an impression on many more generations.

THE PANTEON. Seeing it in person and seeing it on the computer screen are two COMPLETELY different experiences. I was overwhelmed by how detailed and unique every architectural detail was in the Panteon. There was so much to look at that I would have needed a lot of time to really be able to take it all in. I can only imagine how long a critique would last if there were a class in the middle of the pantheon. FOREVER...that's how long.

In the grand scheme of things, Day 1 of Rome was super chaotic but the reflection of Day 1 was so sweet (and I don't mean because of the fantastic gelato Anne and I had in the Piazza Navona). Having the privelage to see all of this astounding works of art really does put artwork (emphasis on the work) into perspective.

Lesson learned: Great craftsmanship. Great results.

July 4 I have been struggling with this wifi...FINALLY got my second day blog to upload. Halle-freakin-lujah! So on with the Day 3 blog...

A trip to the Trevi fountain this morning was definitely the perfect way to end our visit in Rome. It was just as beaultiful as I imagined it to be and so amazing how grand it is! Finally got in tourist mode and picked up an assortment if great souvenirs. And I bought a fedora. FAVORITE PURCHASE OF THE DAY. I felt way more Italian when I was walking around the city with my hat on.

Also realized today that it is definitely time to put up my pick pocket defense!! Poor poor Anne...Anne, my sweet and innocent roommate, got her phone stolen. So needless to say, if we weren't already attached at the hip on this trip anyway, we most DEFINITELY are now!

Then onto a fresh start, we were off to Florence!! The train ride was just lovely. Looking out at the sunflowers and vineyards we passed through the countryside was a perfect photo opportunity. And then before I knew it, we were in Florence!! Wahoo! LOVE IT. This girl (me) unfortunately wouldn't have lasted very long in the big city of Rome so I absolutely LOVE how quaint Florence is! And once again, more stunning architecture. The Duomo literally took my breath away when we walked up to it for the first time. Seeing the baptistery (with its amazing ceiling!) was a good teaser for us getting to see the Duomo. I cannot wait to climb to the top of that thing!! Seriously...livin' the dream.

And to end the day, I got to meet up with my good friend Jenny from back home, who is also doing a study abroad program here in Florence! Anne, her and I had a FANTASTIC dinner with wine at the Trattoria ZaZa <<< definitely recommend it!!

July 3 This day had an abrupt start with a couple of alarm clock malfunctions but was an enjoyable day nonetheless. Once we hit the ground running (and I mean RUNNING for the metro cause we were late), we got to see some unbelievable frescos, sculptures and architecture. The Vatican was just overflowing with influences of Renaissance art and religion. Seeing St. Peter's Basilica in the morning as the sun was beaming through was an incredible experience. The high ceilings and ornate moldings portray just how grand of a role both art and faith has played in society for all of these years.

As I went through the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, all I could look at were those wonderfully, amazing CEILINGS. I mean, hello. I think if these painters, like Michelangelo, were to see my ceilings at home they would be appalled. And looking at my ceilings at home, I can see how similar to a blank canvas they can be. It is just mindblowing to me the length that these ceiling paintings can go. There was a hallway in the Vatican Museum where I saw a woman recording her entire walk under the ceiling because it just went on FOREVER. Imagining that someone could paint on a ceiling for that long astounds me.

However, one painting that really caught my attention was a "painting" hung in the Galleria Borghese. It was actually super tiny hand selected pieces of marble that were then peiced together based on value and color to create what appeared to be a "painting" of the Pope. It was so crazy and if someone hadn't told me what it was, I would have walked right passed it not knowing that it was tiled.

Being able to have more time to reflect today really made it a better experience for me. I enjoyed being able to sort of escape from the sensory overload of the Vatican, to being able to enjoy the Borghese Park and to sketch in the Galleria Borghese -- it was all very therapeutic. And for some reason sketching has always been a way for me to really get "in the zone" and to focus more on what my eyes are really seeing. Needless to say, I enjoyed the Borghese Park just as much as I'd hoped I would.
“Kamikaze Loggia” is both a sculptural and an architectural installation. The team that worked alongside the artist, Gio Sumbadze, used a variety of basic construction materials – wood, dry wall, steel, tin/aluminum, etc. Throughout the installation, electrical wire was installed, connecting to lights, radios and televisions. Papers and photographs were attached to the walls. All of these additional details to the installation made the Loggia seem more “livable”. Size and location play an important role in the context of this installation. It has to be large enough to be inhabitable and must be an addition to an existing building. However, aside from being an artistic installation, this extension onto an existing building has been created since the 1990s as an unrefined reaction to the new, “lawless” era after the fall of the Soviet Union. These spaces create more living space and are typically used as terraces, extra rooms, open refrigerators, or—as in Sumbadze’s case—an artist studio. 

“The exhibition looks at the creation of such informal architecture, a manifestation of the refusal of dominant structures, in order to incorporate provisional liberty, local self-determination and contemporary appropriation of the infrastructural legacy of Soviet master plans” [press release] 

This installation is clearly in response to the historical laws that the Soviet Union placed on the “loggia” concept. With this new modern freedom, comes an installation to represent that architectural liberty. The elements of line, shape, space and time are used as dialogue in this installation. Lines are created by the steel sculpture that serves as a window decoration in this space, while it also creates shapes that incorporate the artistic elements of this installation (take notice of the AWESOME shadows and highlights in the picture above where the sunlight is shining through these steel window coverings...more pattern and repetition!) These shapes create pattern and repetition, which capture the viewer and contrast with the solid wood that surrounds the relatively vacant space. The lack of furnishings and objects in the space was a significant design choice. The artist wants the viewer to focus on the structure/space itself and its historical significance, as oppose to the objects or furnishings that may fill it. Harmony is created between the installation and the existing building that it is built onto. The two structures are able to coexist despite the law that once restricted this plan.

It is not like me to pick a piece of artwork that is so political but I really did learn a lot through my research about this installation. It has way more depth to it than what may reach the eyes of most viewers. This installation captured my interest because of the beautiful architectural, interior design elements that I have such an appreciation for. The historical significance was an added bonus! I think this piece of work is very effective at conveying the message of liberty and modern structure. It also functions well as an art installation but incorporating the many design principles I mentioned above. I will be very VERY excited to see this installation in person and hope to learn even more about what contemporary art has to offer! 
[Marisa Merz] She used a combination of paint, graphite, gold leaf and cut paper to create her drawings, while she used materials such as aluminum, waxed paper and wax for her sculptures. Her works have a strong movement with her use of fluid lines which contribute to the focus on feminism her works seem to convey. The layering of various materials in her work keeps my interest.

[Walter De Maria] He used long brass rods that were perfectly spaced to create a pattern of lines. This work is not necessarily interesting in the sense that it is eye-catching but it does evoke a feeling a calmness when I look at it. The shear precision of design keeps me intrigued. 

[Varda Caivano] The paint used appears to be push and pulled across the canvas and possibly watered down creating unique texture. The areas of light and dense paint create interest, while the lines produced as a result of the various brush strokes move my eye all around the piece. 

[Gio Sumbadze "Kamikaze Loggia"] This sculptural installation combines the use of wood with iron/steel accents and the incorporation of various technology. This work really captured my interest because of the architectural details. The iron/steel window piece creates a pattern which seems to almost resembles letters as if you could read what it said, holding my attention for a while. 

[Enrico David] He uses a variety of media for this exhibition including dyed wool, graphite and paint, as well as ceramics. The wool artwork is very unique and the high contrast created by the colors he chose to use makes them seem to have a graphic-like quality from a distance, when they are in fact, woven and dyed wool. They lines and shapes create a harmonious patterns and rhythm. 

[Henrik Olesen] This exhibition displays cut up paper ink on it as well as cut up black and white photographs. It all seems to be unified by the continuity of the text on each paper as it seems to relate back to the artist. It almost made me feel as if I was looking inside at the contents of his mind. 

[Sarah Lucas] She created brass figures with very fluid, organic forms that portray the sensual aspects of the human body. Value shifts and definition is created by the way the light hits these sculptures. A fluid movement is created by the lines of these figures. This sculpture presents a strong contrast between this industrial material and the organic forms she has created with it. 

[James Lee Byars] He has displayed solid gold blocks with initials carved into them beside one another. This piece of work seems very conservative and matter of fact. The light that hits the gold blocks creates value and definition. This exhibition gave me the feeling that it is "untouchable". 

[Mark Manders] His media seemed to be made up of materials we used and see everyday, such as paper, photographs, ceramic clay, wood, steel, etc. This artwork seemed to take me on a journey- both emotional and physical. All of the ceramic head peices evoked a feeling of pain for me because of the tension they created when wedged between the negative space of the wood boards. This is a very dynamic exhibition. 

[Carol Rama] She displayed various framed drawings/paintings. Her paintings/drawings almost seemed primitive in contrast to their somewhat elegant, ornate frames. I enjoy the pops of color against the stark white frame mats. 

[John Bock] This sculpture installation consisted of a white, geometric drywall structure encasing a light fixture, fan and MAGGOT (yuck). The stark white exterior creates a high contrast with the dark and dull interior. It all seems very eery and mysterious. The light to dark contrast creates a strong division from the inside and outside world. 

[Hans Josephsohn] He created multiple forms with plaster and then cast them in bronze...no two sculptures are the same. These forms hold my attention due to their organic human-like form, but seem to give off a less inviting, colder feeling than a normal body would. The rough texture and value shifts make these forms seem distressed. 

[Danh Vo] He put together an installation of very rustic wood and fabric. The variety of textures adds to the ancient feeling of this exhibition and creates unity amongst the different forms. I also enjoy the surprise pop of turquoise paint in contrast to the warm brown hues. 

[James Richards] He uses textures and black and white photographs alongside film and music to stimulate almost all of the viewer's senses. The texture and pattern of the eye certainly stood out the most to me. While the photographs somewhat distort normal images and evoke curiosity as to what the meaning is behind them.

[Daniel Hesidence] These paintings are soothing to the eye with the faint value shifts of blue/green and are brought to life with the variety of brush handling that was used. I find these paintings to be very soothing in nature due to the fluid lines that create a tranquil movement throughout the work, while the vibrant/cool shades of blue/green reveal what looks like highlights and shadows like what you would see in moving water. Beautiful. 

[Geta Bratescu] I really enjoy the artwork she created with the colored thread and accented gold/brass material. She uses the technique of sewing thread to create artwork that looks like it would be just a painting or drawing. All of her work is unified by the repetition of the organic, weighted shape that seems to serve as the focal point in each piece. 

[Harun Farocki] This short, cultural film documentary made me curious as to what the videos focus was and once I realized the cultural focus, everything seemed to be unified. The lack of dialogue made me really focus more on the actions and environment in the video. 

[Helen Marten] This seemed to be a bit of a chaotic installation consisting of a variety of household objects and toys. I really couldn't gather a sense of direction as to where to look (focus?). I definitely looked at all of it but I couldn't find a distinct pattern or balanced movement. 

[Simon Denny] Appeared to be photos or paintings of electric panels on canvases with sculptures of technology encased. I found this piece of work very interesting because I was not only intrigued as to what the overall concept was, but I was also curious about the materials used to create it. From the outside, I would not have known that they structure was made of canvases. The repetition of the electrical wires and panels created a harmonious continuity.

[Lynette Yiadom-Boakye] First of all, I would like to point out how beautiful these bold paintings look amidst this white exhibition space. The dark colors and low contrast of the paintings create a sense of ambiguity as you view them from afar trying to make out the subject matter. This aspect pulls the viewer in to see the fine details of the paintings. The value shifts and highlights help to define the tired figures and bring a luminous quality to them.  

[Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys] This film....what can I really say? I did not get this one. To be honest, it kind of creeped me out and I found it hard to look at and uncomfortable. 

[Pamela Rosenkranz] This film was also a little on the strange side. It obviously had some connection to a health related subject matter. For me it evoked a sense of concern which seemed to contrast with the blue color I was looking at, which is typically associated with a calm feeling. 

[Trisha Donnelly] My focus was on the rectilinear, plaster form inside of this warehouse-like building. For me, it evoked a feeling of loneliness and isolation. The bright, clean white creates a high contrast with the dull and distressed surroundings. The lines throughout are what unify this installation. 

[Rudolf Stingel] This exhibition consisted of wall to floor oriental rugs that displayed smaller scale black and white paintings. I really enjoy the warm hues and patterns of the rugs used in contrast with the black and white paintings. The whole space invites you into this work of art. 

[Yuksel Arslan] He uses a wide range of materials to create his artwork, such as pigment minerals, ash, honey, pollen, and not to mention bodily secretions (yuck). This artwork is very dynamic and seems to have a political undertone. The different works are unified by their warm color palette and the small images required me to really lean in to see the details. 

[Christopher Williams] These beautiful black and white photography prints are displayed simply in white matted black frames. I really enjoy the organic lines that forms create in these photographs and they contrast beautifully with the rectangular frames they are displayed in. The different lighting used to create each photography adds variety to these works. 

[Katrin Sigurdardottir] I am really looking forward to seeing this sculpture installation, made up of natural wood and ornate tiles, in person. The dynamic lines and shapes created within this installation create a strong movement and pattern throughout its environment. 

[Lawrence Weiner] Dialogue is the key component in this graphic/typographical installation. With the use of bold colors and gestural lines, I was abel to make the connection between the different languages and the same repeated phrase that unified them. 

[Mathias Poledna] This exhibition consisted of a cartoon film surrounded by the individual, handmade sketches that were used to create it. The continuity of this exhibition was effective because I was able to look at the progression of this artwork through a visual journey. The simple display allowed me to reflect and make connections between the works, rather than to feel overwhelmed. 

I'm beyond excited and grateful to be going to Italy in less than a month. HOLY COW. A trip to Italy has been on my wish list for quite some time now and I cannot wait to be immersed it all of the warmth and beauty it has to offer. And OF COURSE, I cannot wait for the Italian cuisine...YUMMM. When people told me that it is considered disrespectful not to finish all the food on your plate, all I could think was...that will NOT be a problem :) I'm 100% positive that someone is going to have to physically drag me on the plane to return to America. Italia qui vengo!!!
"Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you've never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground."                                                                    

{ Judith Thurman }
I have lived vicariously through this movie ever since I first saw it. The scenery is just absolutely beautiful and the story is so incredibly heart-warming. It is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time and I cannot wait to actually live out this cinematic dream!