Santa Croce – May 2015

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I’m sitting in a grand apartment overlooking the square of Santa Croce. There are frescoes all around this room, floor to ceiling, of a pagan arcadia. The ruined classical architecture comes complete with statutes of naked strong men wearing modesty-saving robes both revealing and concealing their Equinox honed gym bodies. The artist has also given these windswept Schwarzeneggers impossibly huge haunches and very silly looking tiny heads. I’m sure this has something to do with the preoccupations of the age in which they were painted, but somehow this small-head-large-haunch aesthetic feels cable-ready “contemporary”.

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I have been wired and sleepless for about 36 hours rushing from taxi to airport to train and back again to get here. Finally passed out after a bottle of Cavalierino Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Spaghetti Carbonara. Both were delicious by the way. This morning I’m hung over and wondering how, exactly, I got here. But why does that matter? Sometimes one has to get out of one’s everyday life if only for a short time. It’s 6:32 am and this should be a quiet moment of intercontinental reorientation and a bit of soul searching, but alas, the painted arcadian moment has been invaded by a belching semi and a few smaller trucks rumbling into the square outside. Gangs of shouting men are driving fork lifts like Carny bumper cars and unloading stacks of gear for some upcoming weekend event. Haven’t a clue what’s about to unfold, but whatever’s going to happen, I fear, will be happening right here in my living room! Ah, Italia….

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Later today, my first full day in Florence, I’ll be looking up at Michele’s most enduring tribute to his beloved hometown, an athlete’s backside. And in a supplicant’s nod to the Krensification of the art world I have made an online appointment to see those Musei Firenzi branded buttocks. One can not simply stroll into the Accademia and have a silent conversation with the master. One must make a reservation as if one were dining at Barbuto or attending a Britney Spears concert run in Las Vegas. And though this seems ludicrous to me, adjustments must be made in our new corporate world of pay-to-play Culture. My Willy Wonka Golden Ticket will allow me to stand among the heaving hoards of photo snappers aiming their digital lenses at the world’s most well-regarded backside. Yes, I too am not above the moment and will brandish my iPhone right along with everybody else. I must feel as if I “belong”. Then I will silently pay tribute to the mighty midget who sculpted that giant and disappear into the world of back packs, Rick Steves Guidebooks and comfortable Birkenstocks. Apologies Michele, but the douche factor has done me in. A question dogs me – who is the more perverse participant in this outlandish confluence of strange connections across time and space – Michele and his louche reverence for a bit of rough, Krens and his Corporate commodification of high culture, or me for playing and paying along in this Postmodern burlesque?