june 23rd (continued)
i changed my mind and decided to walk on mashdots street to find the museum of contemporary art (a.k.a. the museum of modern art) before going to the parajanov museum. i found it (image below taken from the web) locked tight and seemingly empty. when i later told susanna of my disappointment she was very surprised and offered that perhaps they have begun planned renovations (there are many half completed construction sights in yerevan, all stopped because of lack of funding to continue)
i turned back towards the direction of the parajanov and gleefully encountered chickens sunning on the sidewalk:
the sergei parajanov museum is off the main street and the turn is easy to miss (which i did). on the way there i came across a sign that reminded me of two wonderful people, important in my life and in the world of nyc emerging -- and other -- artists. barry (hoggard) and james (wagner), this is for you:
continuing along this narrow, winding road i found the parajanov. the balcony is a part of the museum building.
one enters into a courtyard and is directed into the building. there are two ticket prices, entrance only and permission to take (flashless) photos.
sergei parajanov was an ethnic armenian soviet filmmaker. the building that houses the museum was to be his home (i could easily imagine inhabiting it). his work is wonderfully imaginative, and evidences a robust ego and playful sense of humor. others more familiar with the artist (and renowned film director) can do him and the museum more justice than i so i will cut and paste below text from the armeniapedia.org site* and also include two links for you to visit to familiarize yourself with his work, followed by a few images: sergei parajanov museum and his films
*"The best museum in Yerevan is small and idiosyncratic, the would-be final home of famed Soviet filmmaker Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990). Though an ethnic Armenian (Parajanian), he was born in Tbilisi and spent most of his professional career in Kiev or Tbilisi. He won international fame with "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" and "The Color of Pomegranates," but his career was crippled by imprisonment (for homosexual liaisons) and denial of resources. Under perestroika, Yerevan claimed him as its own, and built him a lovely house overlooking the Hrazdan gorge in an area of ersatz "ethnographic" buildings on the site of the former Dzoragyugh village (just behind and left of the upscale restaurant "Dzoragyugh," commonly but no longer accurately known as the "Mafia Restaurant" due to a leather-clad clientele, a mysteriously reliable electrical supply during the dark nights of 1993-95, and the occasional use of firearms). Alas, Parajanov died before the house was finished, but it became a lovely museum/memorial that also hosts dinners and receptions to raise funds. Parajanov's visual imagination and subversive humor are represented in a series of compositions from broken glass and found objects. His figurines from prison-issue toilet brushes are proof that a totalitarian, materialist bureaucracy need not prevail. Look for "The Childhood of Genghis Khan" and Fellini's letter thanking him for the pair of socks. [Source: RDA]"
image above: elephant mask,...
image above, bite of the apple
image above, georgian women
image above, irises (collage, including glass)
image above, laundry (bathing day in prison camp) graphic. 1974-77
i left the parajanov to return to the naregatsi to meet with a reporter and went on from there to susanna's home to enjoy an incredible home cooked feast and spend time (not enough time) viewing work of past acsl resident artists, and other work that susanna had curated such as HUMAN DOORS: A Project by Raffie Davtian, an iranian artist currently back in iran.
susanna and i tried to tune into the my 6/22 interview with journalist gohar adamyan of public radio of armenia's "radioart" (i believe FM 107.7) but by the time she found hte frequency we missed most of it. unlike here it seems that public radio is actually a government run station. gohar's questions were quite good but i have no idea what the listening audience heard once it was edited and translated.
image below, susanna cooked up an armenian food fest feast, accompanied by pomegranate wine.