Jorge Macchi Brings Venice to Buenos Aires

THE DAILY PIC: His MALBA retrospective shows the all-water Venice of the future.


THE DAILY PIC (#1525): One of the pleasures of today’s internationalized art world is that you are likely to find new artists and new pieces you like in almost any major city in the world. As I write this I’m in Buenos Aires (as the Daily Pic will be for the next few days), where I’ve come upon a retrospective of the well-known Argentine artist Jorge Macchi, being hosted at the lovely MALBA museum of Latin-American art.

Today’s Pic is typical of Macchi’s work. It’s the well-known map of Venice used by many of that city’s more serious tourists. (Among them the art lovers who visit for the Venice Biennale.) Except that Macchi has sliced out all the land, leaving only the signature waterways to stand for the entire city. That’s a lovely little act of distillation, but right now it’s also a bit more than that. Anyone who follows the latest climate science will have heard that, barring a truly impressive effort to halt global warming, the city is likely to be entirely drowned. That means that our current selfish behaviors seem set to deprive our pretty immediate descendants of one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, and of one of humanity’s greatest creations. Seen in that light, Macchi’s map starts to feel like an angiogram showing the distended arteries that will eventually lead to a patient’s death.

Below, another Macchi I especially liked. It’s nothing more than a sheet of randomly broken glass set down on the floor … and flanked by another sheet of glass with precisely the same pattern of “random” breaks. It’s as though the chance-based art of John Cage had somehow seen a reversal of its fundamental principles.

Jorge Macchi ARG Vidas Paralelas 1998 Vidro 60 x 80 cm Coleção da artista

(Collection Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York)

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