Friday, May 12, 2006

summer of love

Verner Panton, „Phantasy Landscape Visiona II“, 1970, Detail Installation (source: Kunsthalle Wien

Last night I went to the opening of the Summer of Love/Psychedelic Art of the 1960s exhibition at Kunsthalle. Crossing the big square of Museumsquartier, it took all my willpower not to plonk myself on one of my beloved sofa-contraptions which have recently woken up from their annual hibernation and been painted "Freud-red" for the season, watch the beautiful and not-so-beautiful people sip their fashionable sundowners, or read in the fading light.

I'd initially planned to go with the Pampered Princess, but like me (and half the population of Vienna who are either sniffling, or sporting the mother of all cold sores), she'd succumbed to a runny-nose-virus and decided to recuperate before her upcoming wedding-anniversary-trip to Miami. TD had been plan B but he also didn't feel too fit and preferred to stay at home. Alone I went, mistakenly reasoning that a fashionably late arrival 45 mins after the official beginning (19:00) meant that the boring speeches had already been held and the crows gone home. Hah, fucking hah! I was right about the speeches but spent 20 minutes squeezed among dozens of other people who were prevented from walking up the stairs to the exhibition by a dishy black bouncer with raised eyebrows. When he finally lifted the barrier-rope, there was a veritable stampede and when I left the exhibition an hour or so later, people were still queuing.

The exhibition was really interesting, though, and much bigger than I'd expected. It was a trip down memory lane, not because I'd actually been around in the 60s myself (I'm not THAT ancient, folks, I'm a 1972 vintage after all) but because I grew up with my parents' psychedelic record sleeves, have been a Beatles fan since 1980 and experienced the first Hippie-era-revival in the late 1980s when Hair was shown on Austrian tv and my classmates and I declared it our favourite film. (that was before Dead Poets Society made it to the big screen and captured our teenage angst so much better still, prompting yours truly to trek to the cinema a staggering 9 times). The two exhibition floors were an explosion of photos, paintings, record sleeves, various objects (including a garishly painted car), films and my personal favourite, a Verner Panton "landscape", see photo above, which I'd already seen and sat on at a different exhibition. The floor of the exhibition hall was covered in a Fanta-orange felt carpet, which only added to the slightly headache-inducing (techni)colour explosion.

Apart from never having liked flared jeans, I'm actually quite glad I wasn't young in the psychedelic heyday. What with all those manmade fibres abounding and deodorants not having made their major breakthrough yet I can't help imagining it to have been, above all, a somewhat smelly era.


Today, on my way back from a lunch-hour spent at Starbucks with one of my yummy mummy friends, I saw the celibate scrounger again. Immaculately dressed, he was talking to a young woman who readily opened her wallet at the exact spot where he'd accosted me on Wednesday. With all the euros he must have accumulated by now, I'm actually beginning to believe he can afford any kind of sexual favours now!


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