Archive for April, 2009

Checking Out the Graffiti in Valencia, Spain

April 27, 2009 9:50 pm
Valencia GraffitiI love when Kevin has a conference in a city where I’ve never been. While he attends the conference during the day, I am on my own to do as I please, and at night we rejoin and make Grand Gastronomical Tours. You don’t have to travel far in Europe before you cross a border into an entirely new culture, with its own language, architecture, and cuisine. Even the people look different. From where we live in the south of France, it is a mere three hours’ drive east to Italy or a three hours’ drive west to Spain.

Last week, we drove seven hours to Valencia. The weather was gorgeous and so was this city. One of the first things I did on my own was walk to the Museo de Bellas Artes, whose collection of mostly 15th to 17th century paintings is regarded in Spain as second in importance only to the Prado. I was there about 15 seconds before I re-experienced the feeling I had during a 2 month solo trip  through Spain in 1996. After visiting a series of museums on that trip, I felt I’d die of boredom if I had to look at another painting of the Madonna and Child. This time, it was painting after painting of the crucifixion. All I could think of was George Carlin saying that he wouldn’t want to belong to a religion whose symbol was of a skinny white guy nailed to a cross. Definitely not my notion of “spirituality,” either! 95% of the paintings there were of a religious theme (mostly some form of torture and lots of blood), about 3% were battle scenes (more blood), 1.95% were portraits of the nobility (all of whom looked like really fun and groovy people), and .05% were still lifes. Enough already …

Wandering around and around Valencia for the next 6 days, I noticed lots of interesting graffiti, or were they murals? Hmmm … there’s a bit of a fine line there. Most of the art was placed on derelict buildings, around construction sites, or painted on businesses’ roll-up metal security doors, rather than defacing anything beautiful, and captivated me much more than the Old Masters at the Bellas Artes did … Click on the senorita with the castanets to see the graffiti album.