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New Beauty in an Ancient City

October 25th, 2016 nmguar18

Rome is a living art museum, but that does not mean she has a stagnant gallery.

On the other side of the the river from the Olympic Stadium is a “modern” neighborhood. Which is to say, it is one of those parts of the city where you stop seeing buildings built by popes and start seeing buildings built by Mussolini. Now these buildings have a certain aesthetic that’s… arguable.

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But what balances this concrete block out? Revitalization with art, of course.

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This old military barracks would have probably been converted into condos in America. Here in Rome, it is the site of a yearly art show: the Outdoor festival.

What’s that, you hate modern art as a general rule? Well you’re in good company, as I do too. But I also realize that when someone really pours their talents into something, then there’s beauty. Or at the very least, there is something fun. So let’s burst through that proverbial wall of yours…

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And let’s talk about art.

Art can do a lot of things. It can use metaphor to talk about politics and world issues, like here.

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Pictured is a maze of street barricades with computer errors written around the walls. Not pictured (because it was impossible to take a picture of it) is the sound of the speakers blaring out those same error messages in a cringingly annoying computer generated message. A very good reason to make your way through this troublesome maze. And how do we exit this maze?

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Why, through the political metaphor of course! I’m not touching that one with a 10 foot pole.

But not all art has to be controversial. Some if it just has to be cool. Like this shadow art for example.

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That’s one spotlight and many rotating glass objects that, when the time is right, looks back at you.

But my favorite piece was the indoor light show.

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The room was completely black except for these spotlights. Sometimes they scanned the room, sometimes they swung like pendulums, always it was to the calming sound of a gentle rain. I liked it so much that I went to visit it again 20 minutes later.

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Now the light rainfall had turned to a silence interrupted only by electronic sounds. The lights, now red, were moving much more methodically and in greater unison. In general, much more menacing.

What did this mean? What did any of this art mean? Well, that belongs to us to argue about. Or, instead of arguing, we could just enjoy the fun of it all. Like this picture of a giant carrying a tree next to the Artist Formerly Known As Prince.

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Sometimes art is just fun.

 

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Nicholas Guarracino '18

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