Art and Automobiles in Malaga

A 2 day stopover in Malaga Spain to have a look around. Picasso was born here.

I stayed in a small hotel in the old town centre which is almost entirely pedestrianized. Whilst there are apartments above, ground level is given over completely to retail and food and drink. The pedestrian ways are neither paved nor cobbled but tiled and even, in some places, carpeted. The overall effect is Morley Galleria - it feels like a shopping centre; a temple for consumers - all it needs is a roof.

Outside the old town is really bad urban blight. Buildings with not a hint of style or ornamentation.

Urban blight, Malaga

But there were some silky oaks (Grevillea robusta) heavily in flower, seemingly happy enough. Native to eastern Australia I thought it odd to find them here.

Silky Oaks

I stopped over here specifically to see the Carmen Thyssen and Picasso museum/galleries. I had high hopes for the Thyssen museum because their museum in Madrid was 1st class and I hoped this would be repeated. Sadly, it wasn't. The collection was limited to dreary 19th century Spanish paintings mostly of lacklustre pastoral scenes e.g "Picnic under Poplars" and similar. There was also a temporary exhibition of pop art which I gave a miss. In my view, pop art is all pop and no art.

Next was the Picasso museum which was excellent with many fabulous paintings by the great man - most of them knocked out in the space of 1 day. Disturbingly though, and for the first time in years of liking Picasso, many of these paintings reminded me of a case I did whilst lawyering years ago for the Meat Industry Employees Union. It involved an assessment of work value and required a detailed viewing of a working abattoir from start to finish - it was cattle at the time - and its not pretty. Anyway, oddly juxtaposed body parts is what I'm getting at. Photos not allowed here.

But photos were allowed in the temporary exhibition of abstract expressionism including Jackson Pollock's large (6 x 2.5m) 1943 seminal work Mural which kicked off the Abstract Impressionist movement.

Jackson Pollock's Mural

Peggy Guggenheim had been supporting Pollock financially who, drinking excessively, had produced no artwork for months. She threatened to cut off his allowance – which prompted him into action and so Mural – and a new school of art - was produced. Pollock died in 1956 in a car accident in which he was drunk driving.

I also liked The Great Crowd (1963) by Antonio Saura and Labyrinth #3 (1954) by Adolf Gottlieb.

The Great Crowd (1963) and Labyrinth #3 (1954)

These large scale paintings are extremely powerful when you see them in the flesh - their scale is essential to their effect which is only hinted at by these small photos. Blue Poles in the National Gallery in Canberra is a must see if visiting the Capital.

I spent a few hours at the Automobile Museum which has dozens of high-end to-die-for vintage and post vintage cars - this is a must see for car buffs.

This French 1938 Panhard et Levassor is in the late Art Deco style and heavily so.

Panhard et Levassor

Uniquely, the steering wheel is in the centre of the dashboard so that the driver might have a lady accompanying him on each side!! That was the sales pitch anyway.

The radiator cap of this 1938 Delage, also from France, is an eagle head in crystal by Lalique.

Lalique radiator cap

Apparently they were popular with the German officers during WWII who had them installed on their staff cars.

As it was Sunday I popped into the mighty Cathedral where a Mass was underway. The organ was getting a good workout with a soaring soprano. The tourists, freely milling around even during the service, heavily outnumbered the faithful.

And from the world wide museum of drainage, sewerage and telephone cabling comes this cute little number.

Malaga manhole cover


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