© Jeff Matthews
Miscellany 11 (mid-February, 2008)
to all Naples Miscellany pages
—Art competition. Il Napoli al cuore
is the name of an art competition recently on exhibit at
the Maschio Angioino. Readers
should note that the masculine definite article, il (the), in front
of the name of the city refers to the
Naples soccer team, not the city, itself.
(Thus, "The Naples of today..." would be La Napoli d'oggi...").
So the title of the competition is something like
"Naples soccer at heart." It is, in fact, an exhibit and
judging of painting, sculpture, videos, and photography
presented in celebration of the return of the city's
soccer team to the A-League, the major league in Italy.
More than 50 artists from Italy, Germany, Switzerland,
Portugal, and Brazil entered works. I have no idea who
won any of the prizes, and I simply picked a painting
(shown here) that I liked. It is by Luna Hall.
—The Graffiti artist
known as Raffo has presented us with art of a different
kind. On a wall in the Ponticelli section of the city,
he has spray-painted into semi-permanence his rendition
of Edvard Munch's famous 1893 painting, The Scream. No
matter what you may have heard as to why the man on the
bridge is screaming, Raffo tells us that it can only be
the garbage situation in Naples. The blood-red backdrop
in Raffo's version shows Mt. Vesuvius, and the Screamer
is surrounded by piles of garbage bags. Raffo's version
has become locally very popular, and photos and
postcards are already making the rounds. He says that
the Mona Lisa is next! She will be holding bags of
garbage. Whether or not she will still be smiling is
anyone's guess. [additional items on streetart and
here and here.
I have learned from a kind correspondent that "Naples
has one of the best women's basketball teams in the
country...They won the Italian league championship last
year, a first for Naples in basketball or any sport in a
long time... [It is] a very international team this year
with top players from Germany, Latvia, Senegal, the
U.S., and Turkey."
illicit but widely tolerated profession used to be that
of the car-parker. You could double- and triple-park
(even for the entire day), leave the key, and this guy
would watch your and everyone else's car and jockey them
around so people could get in and out. When it was time
to leave, you tipped him (less than the authorized
parking garages charged for the same period). It was a
valuable service, since there were/are never enough
parking spaces in Naples. They city cracked down on the
practice a few years ago, and these sidestreet valets
all but disappeared. They are making a comeback. A local
paper shows a photo of a herd of illegally-parked cars
in front of a police station! The photo did not show the
parker, presumably hiding off camera. Apparently, the
cops don't seem to mind.
—Wrong color! The
recently restored white facade of the Albergo dei
Poveri, the gigantic ex-Royal Poorhouse is apparently
the wrong color, at least partially. Restoration has
been underway since 2001 on what certainly had to be the
largest dilapidated building in Europe. They looked at
the original plans of Ferdinando
Fuga and decided that the whole thing was white.
Wrong! It was white and pink—this according to various
culture mavens who claim to know. The restorers now say
they knew that all along and were going to go back and
paint over the white with pink in the proper places. As
for the future of the building, that is pretty much up
in the air.
(main Albergo article here;
Albergo update here.)