Oslo listening to Robbie Robertson

Arrived in Oslo a few days ago to see Joe and Martine and baby Sofia. Wandered around the city centre and visited museums including Munch. Jeff said it’s surprising how a whole industry can spring from one artist.

At least Munch received recognition in his lifetime unlike Van Gogh.

Vigeland Park was a revelation- a whole park dedicated to the sculptures of Gustavo Vigeland. At the centre is a huge granite tower with over a hundred bodies intertwined. Three stonemasons worked from 1929 – 1943 to complete the sculpture.

At the moment I’m sitting in Joe and Martine’s apartment listening to Robbie Robertson, drinking a White Dog – Norwegian wheat beer.

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Our last walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, maybe

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I love the Brooklyn Bridge, and walked across it regularly during our four years in New York 1999-2003. This has been my first return to New York since 2003 and as Pat and I leave the cold of New York¬¨‚Ćtomorrow for 40 degree celius heat in Castlemaine,¬¨‚Ć we decided that today we’d enjoy¬¨‚Ć another walk across the bridge.

We caught the Q train to Atlantic Station, changed to the 3 and onto Park Place, strolled to JR where Pat bought a memory stick and I bought DVD’s or the The Wire Seasons 1 & 2. Then after a coffee at Starbucks it was the bridge stroll. But on the way I bought a couple of pencil sketches from a Russian immigrant, “I don’t speak English very good.” The walk was great. “It always feels terrific walking across the bridge,” the good woman said.

After the walk along the promenade and through Brooklyn Heights where I shocked Pat by not stopping at the second hand bookshop, it was onto the 3 to Atlantic, down to the Q and home to Kings Parkway.

Gerry’s curragh

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The local boat that islanders from Lettermullen, Ireland use is a ‘curragh’. Our friend Gerry O’Dowd had one made with the wooden planks imported from Europe. It required traditional skills to construct the boat. One sitehas this to say about curraghs or curachs:

Curachs are emblematic for Irelands maritime heritage: humble and ingenious little skiffs that have been cherished by legendary seafarers, countless generations of fishermen and most recently community groups like us. Simple and resourceful in their construction they offered an ideal pilot project to acquire basic skills and knowledge of boat building and handling.

Unfortunately¬¨‚Ćwe didn’t get to take a journey in Gerry’s boat as it is the winter season and the little curragh is resting snugly in the shed¬¨‚Ć beside Angela and Gerry’s house.

A Grand New Year’s Eve in Ennis

 

Our Irish-American friends, Angela and Gerry, invited us to spend the night at the Grand Hotel in Ennis with some of Gerry’s relatives and partners. As we entered the room a complementary glass of champagne was handed out. A few in the group don’t like champagne so Pat ended up with four glass lined up in front of her. Did she drink all?

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After the champagne it was down to the business of eating, talking and drinking. Then out came the band. I expected traditional Irish music and instead it was ‘The Ring of Fire’ and “love¬¨‚ĆMe Do’ the three piece group played. However at midnight they¬¨‚Ćlaunched into¬¨‚Ćthe Seige of Ennis which we remembered from Irish balls in Melbourne in the early 1970’s. One young girl asked what you do and the fiddle player replied, “When¬¨‚ĆI say ‘go’, just go.” There should have¬¨‚Ć been more of the traditional dances.

I was into the swing of things when one of the young blokes dancing waved me into his group and off we went. Three brothers from Kildare and their girlfriends were enjoying the night in Ennis.

Kids from Kildare

Michelle, Lee, Anthony, Angela, Nora with Rob in front.

Seurat, Freud, Puryear and Klimt

Martin Puryear sculpture at MoMA 

I arrived in New York last Sunday with a terrible tooth ache which took me a week and organising by Pat to get to a dentist who prescribed antibiotics. I had to make sure I was okay before we got to our friends Angela and Gerry’s house where we spent Christmas.

The day before Christmas we caught the F train to Rockefeller Centre where I took the photo of Pat. Each year they chop down a 60 year old tree and bring it in and trim it for all to gogle over. then it was up 5th Avenue to MoMA to see the exhibition of Georges Seurat’s drawings, Lucian Freud’s etchings and fantastic wooden sculptures by Martin Puryear. The next stop on the wandering was at the Neue Galerie to gape at Klimt’s paintings.

A dazzling gold-flecked 1907 portrait by Gustav Klimt has been purchased for the Neue Galerie in Manhattan by the cosmetics magnate Ronald S. Lauder for $135 million, the highest sum ever paid for a painting.

The portrait, of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the wife of a Jewish sugar industrialist and the hostess of a prominent Vienna salon, is considered one of the artist’s masterpieces. For years, it was the focus of a restitution battle between the Austrian government and a niece of Mrs. Bloch-Bauer who argued that it was seized along with four other Klimt paintings by the Nazis during World War II. In January all five paintings were awarded to the niece, Maria Altmann, now 90, who lives in Los Angeles, and other family members.

The MET was next.