Venus & Ulysses 2004

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June 2004
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06/29/2004: "Art Brut"

OK, Art Brut is just "outsider art" in French. "Outsider art" refers to people with no formal art training, and often people who are mentally ill, who just happen to create absolutely amazing works of art. Some of it looks like what second-graders bring home to put up on the fridge, but some of it looks like Picasso or Miro or other supposed "insiders", and most of what was at Lausanne's Collection of Art Brut was awesome. There were four floors of it too, painting and sculptures. The current featured exhibitions were "art brut for kids", a collection of art brut portraits hung lower than usual, and "writing in delirium", which was an interesting counterpoint to the printing museum we saw in Lyon. The printing museum prided itself on beauty, perfection, readability, and consistency, while the writing of the crazy people often required magnifying glasses to read (how do they write that small?) and varied in other ways. It was all in French so we couldn't really tell how crazy the content was, but the form was pretty varied and odd.

Then we went to Lausanne's photography museum, which was entirely devoted to Rene Burri, an independent news photographer for the last 50 years or so. Instead of working for anyone, he goes around the world taking pictures of what he wants and he's good enough that lots of publications buy them. Some of his most famous work was photos of Che Guevara, but it was interesting to see photos he took of many events over the last several decades from all over, especially Germany and the Middle East. It reminded me slightly of our first day on this trip in London, when we ran into the World Press Expo and saw this year's photojournalism winners.

Lausanne has a very beautiful setting on Lake Geneva with huge Alps rising up behind it. Tomorrow we'll presumably drive through some other Alps on the way up to Bern and Strasbourg.

It seems hard to believe we'll be back home on Sunday...