It was a lovely day outside, albeit quite breezy, but that made the perfect decision to see the Museum of Modern Art in Valencia (or Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, more commonly known as IVAM). Considered a major modern art museum in Europe, I was actually surprised at how the space was used in the museum. Since it was Sunday, there was no charge to enter. The museum is actually kind of small, and it was a pleasant afternoon to visit and then continue walking.
The exhibits included a jewelry exhibition displaying case upon case of jewelry designed by 20th and 21st century artists. Typically, these artists are known for their work on canvas or sculpture, so to see their work in other types of artwork was very interesting. The materials, construction, and idealization of the artwork was fascinating, including compressed aluminum cans, gold, what appeared to be cotton tufts, silver, and a number of enameled constructions. In another exhibit, the work of Juan Ripollés was presented through a number of different media. In addition to paintings, Ripollés was also an accomplished glass and bronze sculptor. Some of his work is also displayed on the exterior of the museum. In another collection, native Valenciano Ignacio Pinazo Camarlench was recognized through his paintings, many of whom were of his family.
There was one other collection that I viewed while I was in the museum: a collection entitled América, América. Celebrating different eras in advertising, public awareness, and media, this collection was fascinating as an American viewing interpretations of my patriotic culture. Standing before several of the pieces, I could only laugh as I saw a glimpse of what others see about us, as many of the pieces also celebrate collaborations among European countries and decidedly American venues. Disneyland and Wonder Bread, anyone? The one piece that had me considering perceptions was a film loop of Wonder Woman, played by Lynda Carter, twirling around to transform. The “explosion” part of the process was repeated over and over again, until it morphed into a bomb blast.
Following my visit to the museum, I walked to the nearby Garden of the Hesperides, a small public garden with some interesting sculptures whose work I recognized from the west face of La Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona. If you’re not totally up on your Greek mythology, the original garden of the Hesperides was a sort of island garden of Eden, where Hera kept either a grove or single tree (yeah, it IS an ancient story!) of golden apples that gave life to the eaters. The Hesperides were nymphs who tended the garden, and there was also something to protect the grove/tree: a dragon.
The golden apples from this tree started the Trojan War when one of the apples appeared inscribed “for the fairest,” which caused big problems in the heavens and resulted in the Trojan War. In another story, Hercules, to work off his debt of sin in the world, had to obtain golden apples from the grove/tree, and killed the dragon in the process. The Greek hero Perseus was also said to have visited the island garden, but the apples themselves were returned by Athena to the grove.
Here’s the connection to Valencia: the “apples” were believed to be oranges, and are botanically named in Greek as “hesperidoids.” Cool, huh?
Hercules’ 11th Labor: Apple Grab!
See the “golden apples” behind the first layer of trees?
This sculpture is entitled “Metamorphosis.”