TRAVEL

Last Night I Hold Aladdin's Lamp: Flying Carpets at Villa Medici

All my life I have always wanted to take a spin on a flying carpet.  I came pretty close to that figurative journey when I lived in Los Angeles- not because of all the drugs  flowing in and out of the city, but thanks to my friend Brooks, a transcendental meditation practitioner since childhood, who spun tales of flying carpets and lovely mantras.  Yes, I relaxed, I became mindful and I just was.  But I never did get to see a carpet fly.

Until yesterday.

A last minute invitation to Académie de France's Villa Medici and I run into the metaphor, meditation and movement I've been looking.  Tappeti Volanti, a multi-media exhibition is the reigning exhibition at Villa Medici, testing out all the literal and figurative permutations of the magical, mystery rug.  Featuring a range of artists and work from early Renaissance painting to 21st century film, the exhibition mixes prayer rugs and Persian carpets with some of my favorites including Carl Andre, Hans Haacke, Alighiero Boetti, Benozzo Gozzoli and Stan Brackhage.  As can only be expected at a flying carpet show, I was captivated immediately by the colors and the diversity of the art work-  music, paintings, film, rugs, and installations- in particular Taysir Batniji's Hannoun, a beautiful and intimate site specific work hidden the far corner room of the show.

Just like the Carl Andre piece (removed earlier this month), Flying Carpets will be grounded on  Saturday, October 21.  Yes, the exhibition closes this Saturday. Why have I waited until the very last week to enlighten you on my enlightenment?  Because my journey has only just begun . . .