blog > 2011 > July

Two deaths in London by Misha Lyuve

Jul 24, 2011
Listen to Amy while reading this post 


Lucian Freud and Amy Winehouse are the two names that aren’t likely to show up in the same sentence. But as they both died in London last week, the pair had me think about them together.

As different as they might seem – Freud (the Dr. Freud’s grandson) who shocked the world with his nudes that showed more flesh that most could handle and who lived till 88, and Winehouse whose brief, dense and volatile career and life, and now death at 27, rocked the world – the two seemed to have much more in common than one would think.

"Reflection", by Lucian Freud (self-portrait)

Reflection (self-portrait), by Lucian Freud

Kate Moss'a portrait, by Lucian Freud

Kate Moss's portrait, by Lucian Freud

Naked man with a rat, by Lucian Freud

Naked man with a rat, by Lucian Freud

So what is in common? – Raw, real and honest art. Fraud spent days with his models, in order to get into every detail of their bodies – and by the way, all kinds of bodies: young and old, skinny and fat – and discover details more intimate than a lover could see. I think the only reason why we would want to turn away from his paintings is because behind pretty and shiny pictures in magazines we forgot what real bodies look like.

And Amy wasn’t there to be nice, cute and clean or for someone to like her. Whatever demons that troubled her, with authentic roughness in her voice and from the depth of her chest, she made it very clear – she ain’t going to rehab. Yeh, rehab might’ve saved her life. But I think I get it now, maybe she was worried if there would be Amy left after rehab.

Now everyone is screaming about wasted life and lost talent – what do you know? – look at your own life and talents and see what you are waisting. No reason to judge Amy. Thank you very much

MOMA’s scultpure garden by Misha Lyuve

Jul 20, 2011

MOMA Garden: Group of figures by Katharina Fritsch

MOMA Garden: Group of figures by Katharina Fritsch

Italy’s Other Art by Misha Lyuve

Jul 17, 2011

Northern Italy spoiled me with great food, though a New Yorker at heart, I thought – bring it on, surprise me. From touristy trattorias on busy corners to quiet osterias on piazzas impossible to find and everything in between. In gastronomical explorations of Northern Italy, I learned that there is a clear difference between really great food and a work of art.       

Let’s start with the obvious: what makes an Italian meal really great are the recipes perfected for generations and high quality produce. But a work of art?    

Paolino Cesare, the owner of Ristorante da Cesari, Bologna

Paolino Cesare, the owner of Ristorante da Cesari in Bologna, black truffles and hydrangeas

In Bologna, the ”grasa” (fat) capital of Italy, Paolino Cesare, whose dad started Restaurante da Cesari in 1945, spent all his life in this place.  I watched Paolino taking an order: it’s like a dance of seduction, psychotherapy and negotiation – matching customers’ wants to the choices of the restaurant’s delicacies and wines.  And that is where art starts – it is personal.      

Tortellini in Brodo

Tortellini in brodo, in best traditions of Bologna, mouth-watering, da Cesari, Bologna

The second part of the art form comes from the integrity of its intent.  There are businesses that happen to be restaurants – they could even serve a really great food, be impressive and memorable. But in the art of food, a restaurant is a restaurant that just happens to be a business.  And that is turning into an old-fashioned idea.      

So I want to scream to the whole world:  rush to Bologna, visit da Cesari, because Paolino’s children are chosing different paths from their dad’s and maybe even in a few years from now this magic will not be around.      

Or, maybe, you are the one to bring your form of art and magic into the lives of those around you?    

Sarde in Saor (Sardines in Sour Sauce), Trattoria Rialto Novo, Venice

Sarde in saor (sardines in sour sauce), shamelessly scrumptious, Trattoria Rialto Novo, Venice

Buratta at Antica Bottega del Vino, Verona
Buratta (a mozzarella-like cheese injected with heavy cream), perversely decadent, at Antica Bottega del Vino, Verona





Unthinkable – rethinkable by Misha Lyuve

Jul 10, 2011

My trip to Germany started in Heidenberg. I chose it for a stopover on a trip between Frankfurt airport and Gernsbach (where the wedding would take place) because the guide said that it was one of a few larger inner cities that wasn’t destroyed during World War 2 allied bombing: the war which is far enough in the past to be called history, and close enough to still be fresh for many.  

Heidelberg, the view from the castle

Heidelberg, the view from the castle

Cozy old streets, manicured buildings and friendly locals – it is hard to imagine that less than 70 years ago a generation of a nation here was participating in atrocities. It doesn’t take much to judge the past, but all I hope is that if I were born at that time and place, and breathed the air they breathed, I wouldn’t have done any of the horrible things – but how would I know?  

…The Jewish bride and the German groom signed their marriage contract in the old building of Gernsbach city hall. And all the guests threw rice and rose petals at the newlywed couple as they arrived to Schloß Eberstein castle, where the rest of the party took place. And according to a Jewsish tradition, the broom broke a glass, this time against XIII century cobblestones, and the guests yelled mazel tov. And then we ate, drank and danced, and fraulines mixed in with aunts from Israel and lehaims with prosts.  


And I thought of the places in the world that bleed nowadays and might seem without hope. And how what was unthinkable not that long ago, right now is taken for granted. And what an effort for us to see what’s possible in an unthinkable now.

Bella by Misha Lyuve

Jul 8, 2011

Verona Italy

Verona, Italy

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