Rome Travel Guide

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Small Gallery Openings--a Rome Pleasure

If you're looking for something to do in Rome in the early evening--before 8, when the stores close and the restaurants open--you should consider attending an opening at one of the city's numerous small art galleries.  Notices of openings can be found in Trova Roma, an entertainment insert that comes with the Thursday edition of the newspaper La Repubblica, or in a free art publication (Art Forum) that's available in most galleries and is also online.

Some small gallery experiences are mostly interior affairs, with little "street exposure."  The gallery below, AlbumArte,  just off via Flaminia, has a small porch in the rear that was popular with visitors.



The art at these events varies from excellent to adequate to (infrequently) downright bad, as in "I could do that," or "Oh my God he wants $2000 for that!"

Outside Galleria Varsi, near Campo de' Fiori, soft focus
But unless you're a collector or a genuine connoisseur, you'll have a good time anyway, and, if you don't like the art, any pain you experience in browsing the works on display will last only a few minutes.  Whatever the quality, we recommend playing the "best of show" game (self-explanatory) and the "if you were to hang any of the works in this room in your living room, which would it be?" game.  We enjoyed the fabric collage art in this show (photo below) at Galleria Varsi by Sardinian artist, Tellas.


In addition to the art on the gallery walls, openings have three pleasures.  The first (to be accessed first thing, so you can sip as you meander), is free wine or, much less frequently, beer.  If you're really lucky, there will be some small-bite food, which the Italians will consume as if they'd spent the last year in a survivalist challenge.

Nice - from Tellas's "Fabric Series 4"
The second is people watching, a menage that includes the "identify the artist" game--not all that easy, by the way--observing the girl with the (name your color) hair, and (below) photographing people photographing people photographing art.


The third, related to the second but different, is hanging out outside, drink in hand, with the Romans.  Some of them, of course, are smokers, but they are primarily experts at the game of twilight relaxation, skilled at finding a clean hood to sit on, at dodging automobiles and scooters, and talking.  Learning these skills with a drink in your hand is the primary reason for attending an art opening in Rome.



The photos are of a late-April opening at Galleria Varsi, in via Grotta Pinta.  It was a beer night.  Brett "I like beer" Kavanaugh did not show.  There is no dress code for these affairs.  Dogs were welcome--at least at the Flaminio venue.



Bill


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