Tuesday, May 18, 2010

At the Pinakothek

I arrived in Munich on Monday afternoon and, while the weather has been cool and gray (still spring for this northern boy), I've begun sampling both beer and the city. I spent a relaxed morning over breakfast and walking in the immense English Garden near the university where I'll be lecturing later this week. It is a lovely rusticated European-type wild in the middle of the city. From my hotel balcony adjacent to the park I can hear the ducks, geese and songbirds, the hum of traffic is almost lost.

This afternoon I roamed through the Pinakothek der Moderne - an amazing show on Modern design by middle Europeans (Italians, Germans and an amazing Czech car) between the 1920s, 1950s and sort of dribbling into today with the evolution of personal computers. I bought my first personal computer, and still have that luggable metal monster in working order down in the furnace room, in 1983 so I felt a part of the exhibit. This occurs many times more often than it used to - like never - and I'm beginning to think perhaps I should be concerned about having so much first hand knowledge about museum artefacts.

Afterwards I toured the Alte (Old) Pinakothec next door, amazing collection of old Masters, after two hours I was just about metaphored right out. Still I found it interesting to see the architectural relics of the classic past making an appearance in 15th and 16th century paintings so it is clear there was quite a strong sense of the golden past that had been. Earlier this spring I read The Chrysalids (1955), where John Wyndham plays with the idea of a society that sees past relics and strives to make both sense of them and to use them as a destination to strive for. What were they thinking in their world of wild places full of ruins? European Enmvironmental history has some cool stuff to play with.

Religious Art - It's all fun until the bbq gets out of control.

And I only visited two of the twelve cultural institutions (albeit two or three of them appear to be closed for renos at the moment) on the immediate site, never mind the rest of the city.

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