Video Of The Week: The Progression Of Joan Miro

We visited the Joan Miro Foundation in Barcelona today. He was an amazing artist. We spent over an hour gazing at his work and then watching a short film about him.

It made me want to know more about him and his work. So I went on YouTube and found this

We visited the Picasso Museum this afternoon so we got quite a dose of Spanish painters of the 20th Century today. It was very enjoyable.

#Blogging On The Road

Comments (Archived):

  1. Richard

    Painting – the first hack (base 6). Art literacy is sorely missing from education.Aside, with all the great thing that tech has done, it has (led by Apple and Pixar?) ushered in and renewed the importance of design and art.

    1. Alex Wolf

      Don’t forget how much the A adds to STEM ed to make STEAM. STEAM is the future, biomimetic design, and seeing all the pieces relate only works with art and design training.

      1. Vasudev Ram

        Also, overheard: There is no I in TEAM 🙂

  2. Tom Labus

    Barcelona is my favorite city. Love to walk there. Enjoy your stay there.

  3. William Mougayar

    Nice mix of van Gogh + Cezanne influences, with a splash of surrealism and a dash of Catalanian pride.Really creative work. It draws you in.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      The novel about Van Gogh’s life:…is pretty good. A friend told me he “went mad” reading it – metaphorically of course.

  4. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Sounds like Heaven 🙂

  5. awaldstein

    That’s the PIcasso museum at the house he lived at in Barcelona?Not Gaudi fans?

    1. fredwilson

      We went and looked at some Gaudi buildings the day we arrived here. That guy was creative!!!

      1. awaldstein

        Crowds are a problem but the top of the spire in the Gaudi cathedral is an experience.

  6. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    I like his blue one’s … especially this one (made it my computer wallpaper immediately).

  7. Twain Twain

    Two of my favorite pieces of art are in the Miro Foundation. This one is the Cat tapestry.

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. That’s fantastic

    2. sigmaalgebra

      You got me: I’d have to believe you if you told me it was painted by (1) a naughty boy of 5 and worth $0.00 or (2) a great artist and worth $200 million! From my own understanding, I just couldn’t tell the difference between (1) and (2). Gads.

      1. pointsnfigures

        the internet was really made for sharing cats-Miro way ahead of his time

      2. Twain Twain

        Great art is like great technology: the simplicity on the surface masks the complexity and imaginative integration of ideas beneath. It seems so simple that a 5 year-old could do it but most of us can’t.It continuously challenges and changes our perceptions of what we think we see and feel it’s about. It enables us to express and project our identities onto it in an indelible and dynamic way whilst remaining inherently the artist’s vision. It’s a dance between us and the artist.”Nice” standard art doesn’t do that. We see that and we can appreciate the technique used but it doesn’t make us go, “That’s incredible! There’s so much more to this! Let me take another look and another and another” (and before you know it you’re emotionally engaged).Great art like great technology makes us think and feel the wonder and engage.And we happily pay $$$ for it — as Apple knows, haha.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Thanks for the hand holding tutorial on art and technology!You got me:Our views of technology, why it’s good, how it works, etc., are quite different.And our views of art are likely quite different:Much of classical music I can get at least a little; parts I’ve played on violin I can get better; otherwise most of art I don’t get. Even just in classical music, mostly I don’t get Spanish art. E.g., I can like Sarasate when he is writing violin music about Hungary (Zigeunerweisen)…or adapting French composer Bizet’s music about Spain (Carmen Fantasy),…but when Sarasate is writing violin music that is supposed to be Spanish (Romanza Andaluza)…I mostly don’t get it. This performance is excellent violin playing and the music is, of course, Spanish, but mostly I don’t get the art in it.Music of other countries? Okay:Music about France, sure, Jules Massenet, “Meditation,” Kennedy…Music about Italy? Sure, Puccini, Madama Butterfly, “Un bel di vedremo,” Renata Scotto (actually more about Italy than Japan!)…Music about Russia? Coming right up, Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto, David Oistrakh,…Music about Scotland, even from Max Bruch, played by Heifetz, terrific:…Crown jewel — example of some of the magic. Profound mixture of joy, hope, aloneness, and pathos.Music about Finland, Sibelius, again by Heifetz,…Another crown jewel — magic, strains belief, last movement with maybe some maniacal midnight dance of gnomes through the frozen woods of Finland.. I can get it.Music about Germany? Sure, Bach’s got to be counted as about Germany. So, the Bach “Chaconne” (Castelnuovo-Tedesco, “The Bach “Chaconne” is the greatest piece of music ever written”), more by Heifetz…Got it. Actually made it through the central D major section and most of the rest. More fun than caramel popcorn — just can’t put it down and just keep trying to make it sound like what want. At times, get to scream out to the universe about the strength, passion, and nobility of the human spirit.I have no idea how the heck Bach wrote that, and I’ve had to know I worked many more hours learning to play even parts of it than Bach spent writing all of it!Some of these performances are rare, top crown jewels of civilization, rarely equaled, even by the performers themselves.Great art has some of the very best things in life; it’s not good to miss out on such art.For Spanish painting, I believe I don’t have a chance of getting it! With your tutorial, I’ll try again!With your tutorial, I feel again like I did when I was trying and failing to understand literature in English class! Notice I didn’t include any “great” English music, either!But there actually was a good writer in England in the 1600s — Newton!

          1. Twain Twain

            The secret to Spanish art is it’s subversive. Everything is so bright, vivid and happy because of the sunshine that breaking down the form factors in creative expression is the Spanish artist’s way of “keepin’ it real” — even if that reality seems “warped”; ergo Surreal.As for the music, listen to Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain; in some ways Spanish art is like jazz.Also listen to Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez:

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Also listen to Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez: Okay; it’s a summer evening; there’s a garden in Spain; the two of them are supposed to meet; she is waiting for him; he is not there yet; she fears he won’t come; and she can’t stop remembering various parts of their past together and worrying if he will come. Then it happens, she knows that the waiting is over …. Okay, I can get that!Either that or background music for an ad by Iberia Airlines or the Spanish Bureau of Tourism! :-)!Gee, we could have a contest: Here’s the music, now write the story!I hear that the Tapas and wines can be really good!Gee, I left out American music, and actually there is some, e.g.,…I’ll let others write the story for that!

          3. sigmaalgebra

            The secret to Spanish art is it’s subversive. Everything is so bright, vivid and happy because of the sunshine that breaking down the form factors in creative expression is the Spanish artist’s way of “keepin’ it real” — even if that reality seems “warped”; ergo Surreal. Wow! You are way ahead of me. I can’t understand, evaluate, or apply that, but I’ll try!

          4. Twain Twain

            Ah and it could be that the Picasso, Dali, Gaudi and Miro style of Spanish art don’t resonate with you.It may just be that you’d prefer the Francisco Goya, Francisco de Zurbarán, Diego Velazquez and El Greco works. They’re on a par with Titian, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Poussin et al.

          5. sigmaalgebra

            Ah and it could be that the Picasso, Dali, Gaudi and Miro style of Spanish art don’t resonate with you. The first two you listed I find amazing in some respects, but I don’t get the art. The last two I can’t much tell from something from a strange five year old. It may just be that you’d prefer the Francisco Goya, Francisco de Zurbarán, Diego Velazquez and El Greco works. They’re on a par with Titian, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Poussin et al. Yes, from when we lived near DC and went to the National Gallery of Art, I remember seeing three of the first four of those, all but the second, and they seemed about as meaningful to me as Titian, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, etc.But I don’t get painting nearly as well as music. E.g., for some of the music I listed, I have the scores and have read, sometimes played some of, the music and have ideas at the level of individual notes. For paintings, I barely know the difference between the frame and what’s inside!So, via our team teaching, we are giving any artistically starved middle school students who might drift by AVC some Pan Art Appreciation 101 along with an example that some people can get some of it but not all of it!I have heard that in Spain the Tapas can be really good! And some of the wine. But I’m lusting after deserts in coffee shops in Vienna, something to go with Chambertin in France, something to go with Barolo in Italy, something to go with beer in Germany, etc.! From Russia I’ve got a killer recipe for Beef Stroganoff that’s really easy to do and that I need to do again! Gee, again I left out England!Vienna? Gee, I didn’t give any music from Austria! Well, of course, there’s Mozart! But just now I’ll mention something from Mahler’s cello played is right on target for how I felt about a certain girl when I was 15 and she, 13. Although in this performance the cymbal crash is far too weak!

          6. Twain Twain

            For English composers there are two who stand out: Edward Elgar and Benjamin Britten.

          7. sigmaalgebra

            I wrote English class! Notice I didn’t include any “great” English music, either! And you answered For English composers there are two who stand out: Edward Elgar and Benjamin Britten. Yup. And those two are just the reason I wrote English class! Notice I didn’t include any “great” English music, either! So cruel. How could anyone every be so cruel?I’m not against English composers, and I listen to occasionally for two reasons: First to remind myself how much I should appreciate Beethoven and, second, to try to discourage them from writing anymore (extra credit for the original I paraphrased here!). Or, as I’ve posted here at AVC before, there is some fun English music:

          8. Twain Twain

            Elgar and Britten are standout composers according to British traditionalists is what I mean. They play them all the time on the Last Night of the Proms.Personally, I’m into Beethoven, Puccini, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Strauss.Looking at Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ whilst listening to Claudio Arrau play ‘Moonlight Sonata in C sharp’ might also bring a new understanding of Spanish art……..

          9. sigmaalgebra

            Personally, I’m into Beethoven, Puccini, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Strauss. Of course there are two varieties of Strauss. For one of them, a nice example is from Der Rosenkavalier at…For Dvorak, don’t miss his cello concerto, second movement, Rostropovich as at…Right from the beginning, absolute magic, most sensitive, later strong, expression of pathos I ever heard, a crown jewel. The movement becomes more positive and reflective later.

        2. Mike O'Horo

          Much art, particularly the abstract variety, looks simple. It often evokes responses on the “What’s the big deal? Anyone could do that” spectrum. Such a response reflects the Unconscious Incompetence stage of the 4 Stages of Competence. At that stage, we don’t know what we don’t know. A characteristic of people at that stage is overconfidence about one’s innate ability to do the thing, based on our ignorance of what it actually takes to do the thing. When in response to our “Anybody could do that” remark someone challenges us to try, we foolishly accept. Our attempt quickly educates us to the actual difficulty, which progresses us to the Conscious Incompetence stage. We now know what we don’t know. At the UI stage, there’s no demand for learning because we don’t think it’s needed. Only when we progress to CI will we want to learn.

          1. Twain Twain

            Picasso’s ‘The Bull’ series provides clues to the craft beneath abstract art. Interestingly, Apple applies Picasso in its internal training program:*…Recently, my friend remarked, “Your system’s solving a problem that’s as hard as what NASA does but it’s so simple and so easy to use, people will go, “Why didn’t we think of it?! It’s not rocket science?!”He also said that the paradox of people is that we hate the process of learning but we love being knowledgeable, and my system does that weird thing where it’s so intuitive they feel like they’re not having to learn a new behavior.That simplicity took me years to think through and craft.

          2. Mike O'Horo

            This reminds me of the studies published on Facebook by an artist friend in Paris, Guillaume Azoulay, where he evolves from sketches, etc. It also brings to mind the quote by Mark Twain in which he apologizes for a long letter, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

          3. Twain Twain

            I wonder how Twain would have played with Twitter……..

          4. Mike O'Horo

            He would have written 300 words, then laboriously reduced it to a 140-character, succinct idea.

      3. Twain Twain

        There’s a lot to be said for keeping the naughty 5 year-old us alive whilst having our adult tools to play with. It may make the difference between us making something merely “nice”, functional and efficient and us crafting something inventive and potentially valuable.Five year-old me is intact and periodically surfaces.For example two years ago at Le Web, Google’s then Head of EMEA Investments asked me who my target market is.Twain: First adopters.Google representative: 18-24 year olds?Twain: No. Today’s six year olds who are interacting via tablets and hoping someone will invent something better than 5 stars because that’s broken.He invited me in. After I showed him a button that’s less than 0.001% of my system, he observed, “A LOT of people are going to use this. So there’ll be a Facebook button, a tweet button, our button (Google +1) and then your button…”He really wanted to see a lot more. I declined because he disclosed, “Google doesn’t sign NDAs.” Well, even 5 year-old me could tell that’s a David-Goliath situation.And adult me knows the Goliaths can’t see or do what the Davids do.

  8. Twain Twain

    This one is the Jeune Fille statue by Miro. This photo wasn’t taken by me — although I do have lots of photos in a memory stick of Miro Foundation, Museo de Catalunya, Prado and Guggenheim Bilbao from my travels in Spain.

  9. jason wright

    Miro was on drugs when he painted in Paris?

  10. JamesHRH

    ‘So I got on the internet……’Anyone who thinks my 9 yo ‘s generation will not think differently from ours is out to lunch.What is it about Spain that causes such out there artistic expression? Moorish influence?

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Definitely some of that. But probably also other factors – sun, sand, sea, …This is a good one – Granada by Luisa Fernandez:

      1. Vasudev Ram

        I really like although I don’t understand Spanish beyond a few words. It seems to convey the spirit of Spain – to me, anyway.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Spain? Mostly I don’t get it. Similarly for Portugal.From all I’ve seen, more or less I can get it on England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Austria, and Italy and might have a shot at a little of the Baltic countries, the Scandinavian countries, and western Russia, but not Spain or Portugal.Why the difference, I don’t know. Sorry, Spain!Here’s something Spanish, i.e., Sarasate, I have a shot at understanding although not very well:…For me the Sarasate…is easier to understand but, then, that music is closer to Hungary than Spain!

  11. Rick Mason

    Fred,Hope you’re going to visit the Salvadore Dali museum in Figueres, the castle he built for his wife, Cap de Creus, as well as his home at Port LlIgat. If you love art it is not to be missed.

    1. ttasterisco

      Yes! the Dali Theatre Museum is THE THING to see in terms of Art in Catalonia! Well worth the train ride from Barcelona. You should also hop over to Portugal after you visit Spain 😉

  12. Alex Wolf

    The triumph of modern artists was to show the emotional and visual pleasure to be derived in abstractions. No small feat to teach people to see differently.

  13. Mike

    Heading to the Barnes in philly tomorrow … can’t wait. Anyone watch The Art of Steal on Netflix?

  14. sigmaalgebra

    You got me on this art! I can understand something about quite a lot of classical music and understand a lot about a little of it, what I’ve played on violin, but painting I don’t get, that is, can’t say that I have any understanding of it even a fraction as much as classical music.I can see some of Picasso as amazing to me, but I have no idea, just from my own understanding, that is, without opinions of others, if any of Picasso is good — I just can’t tell. If I hear a violinist playing one of the famous classical pieces for violin and they sound good to me, then likely they really are; in total contrast, could show me paintings all afternoon and I couldn’t tell you about any of them, just from my own evaluation, if they were worth less than 10 cents or over $1 million!Music? For a lot of it, I get it. Paintings? Nope — just hopeless! Why this difference? Don’t have any very good explanations!

  15. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Miro recently featured at our sculpture park, just a couple of miles from where we live in deepest Yorkshire. Some pieces have stayed – more info here – – anyone over in UK should come visit; it is an amazing unique place – whilst here stay at the hotel/restaurant I work at, just 10mins from the sculpture park – also an amazing/unique place! 🙂

    1. Henry Yates

      V special place – we went last year for the first time. As the blurb says “With key works set in the landscape, the exhibition fulfils the artist’s desire that “sculpture must stand in the open air, in the middle of nature”.

  16. Jeremy Robinson

    Sounds like fun. If you love Miro, you should go to the Maight Foundation in St Paul de Vence just a short bus ride from Nice, France. Amazing place with Miro sculptures outside. I think they’re celebrating their 50th Anniversary there this year. Indoor and outdoor art. The outdoors areas also smell amazing from all kinds of flowers. Enjoy!

  17. Ethan Bauley

    There’s an amazing record from the drummer Bobby Previte called “The 23 Constellations of Joan Miro” that’s worth checking out. Very avant garde but very pretty.Cool musical complement the kids may be interested to contemplate as well…