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What I did on My Summer Vacation

August is the month to get away from Houston’s heat, and this year, as usual, I visited family in the UK, with a side trip to the southern France for espadrilles and a relief from the cold drizzle (known as "summer" in Britain), which, while a refreshing change from 90+ humidity at home, gets old fast on the beaches.

These are The Delvers, one of a series of pointy rocks along England’s southern coast. The local post office/gift shop had a charming book titled "Shipwrecks of the South Hams" which, with many gleeful photos, cataloged every ship wrecked on them for the past couple hundred years. It’s a thick book.

While searching for keen pebbles nearby, I came across this mysterious archetype in the sand. It’s not a fire pit, or the remnants of a clambake. It’s not exactly a figure, but it bears some resemblance to nearby druidic megaliths. Utterly temporary and ad hoc it’s a manifestation of the art impulse al fresco.


In a back alley in Antibes, France, I came across similar pebbles embedded in stucco. The plant motif, along with the piece’s permanence, show clearly it’s origins in a settled, agrarian society.

The only museum I visited was the disappointing Museé Picasso in Antibes. Upstairs, in Picasso’s old studio, hangs a poor selection of the master’s late works; the other three floors of the castle-like building by the sea are a warehouse of second-tier copycats: a testimonial to how much bad art can be inspired by one man.

Next time, remind me to tell you about the cheese shop and the old rectory.

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4 Responses

  1. Trungpa Ricochet

    Unfortunately Picasso was his own worst editor, and although I found some of his last work touching, even courageous, particularly his self-portraits portending his death, not every napkin he wiped his chin with is worth keeping. He paid a huge tax bill to the French government with a gift of his work…quite a bit of it, mostly in Paris now. Other places where he lived have tried to make tourist attractions with stuff he should have tossed in the trash.
    Bill, you missed pointing out the Basquiat sculpture to the left of the pebble piece in the Antibes doorway.

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