The Guggenheims in Florence

 
 

Palazzo Strozzi does it again. Arguably the most forward thinking museum in Florence, the former palatial home of the powerful Renaissance Strozzi family is a sight to take in, even if just for its grand architecture. And where the Fondazione Strozzi lacks in a permanent collection of art (it doesn't have one), it makes up with strong rotating exhibitions with unique themes. Their latest show, "From Kandinsky to Pollock. The Art of the Guggenheim Collections," is a blockbuster for modern art lovers. 

The exhibition examines and compares prized pieces collected by Solomon Guggenheim (of the Guggenheim Museum in New York) and his niece Peggy Guggenheim (of the Guggenheim Collection in Venice) from the 1920s through 1960s. Both lovers of the avant-garde, the wealthy American patrons helped propel the careers of numerous artists who are now celebrated as geniuses of their time. And all of these big names are represented in the show thanks to a considerable number of loans from the respective Guggenheim institutions on either side of the Atlantic. 

With a series of rooms curated and lit with powerful dramatic effect, the show starts off with a strong Kandinsky that puts everything in perspective. Then, as the exhibition continues, gradually moves from smaller-scale (but grandiose) European works by the likes of Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and Max Ernst to impressive large-scale paintings by the revered Pollock, Calder, and our personal favorite Mark Rothko who has an entire peaceful space dedicated to him. 

We attended the exhibition's opening reception, and judging by the huge number of attendees, interest in the rare coming together of these two striking collections is strong, to say the least. So our advice is to get to the Palazzo Strozzi mid-week to avoid crowded galleries and appreciate the art on view in peace.

From Kandinsky to Pollock. The Art of the Guggenheim Collections, Palazzo Strozzi, from March 19-July 24, 2016. 
      

Bonsai in Space

Leave it to a Japanese person to launch a tree into space.

Artist Azuma Makoto somehow got the brilliant idea of sending a 50-year-old bonsai tree and a bouquet of flowers into quasi-orbit earlier this summer, all captured with a GoPro and Fuji Film cameras.

With the help of a 10 person team in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, the concept behind the project was to create arresting visuals while simultaneously exploring connections between familiar objects (a tree, flowers) and the unknown (space).

Since the not-so-still life didn't quite make it into orbit, it took the plants roughly 40 minutes to make their way back down to earth, landing nowhere to be found within a five-mile radius of the touchdown site.

Our real question is, did they get air clearance from the TSA? 

Power to the People

Since their inception in the late 1990s, British electronic dance duo Basement Jaxx has consistently put out albums that push musical boundaries. With addictive beats and a unique fusion of sounds and musical styles from around the world, the band's powerful music makes even the stiffest of bodies move. 

And now, the group is taking the "We are the World" concept to a whole new level. The innovative duo is creating a global collaboration for "Power to the People," which in our opinion is the most addictive single on their recently released album, Junto. 

The PowerToThePeople.fm project asks creators of any level from around the world to reinterpret this song through varied stylistic instrumental, vocal, dance, or visual traditions. The submissions will be remixed and bound together to create a second version of the song, which will be released on September 21st - World Peace Day. Profits from the song will be donated to charity. 

Naturally, a great cause and idea for a song that celebrates understanding and collaboration featuring the distinctive powerful vocals, contagious beats and overall feel-good vibe Basement Jaxx is known for.

Check out the track below, along with some of the more unique contributions the band is sharing on the initiative's website.