Old and New Gods

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Springtime in Vienna. The city awakens and cool air floats over centuries of architecture gleaming in the morning sun. On the Stephansplatz, locals go about their business dodging flocks of tourists who gape at the cathedral and descend upon the cafes. If not for the occasional modern building amid the venerable structures, a giant billboard mounted to a neoclassical facade might seem utterly out of place, as might the image it projects. Above the crowd, the face of a beautiful woman endorses high fashion yet merges with the art world by resembling a portrait installed in a frame of decorative arches.

Coco Chanel billboard of a woman’s face across from St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.

We could be in Paris; we could be in Prague; we could be in any number of grand European capitals witnessing similar juxtapositions. Indeed, the urban collage of old and new is generally considered exciting and part of what makes such cities thriving and dynamic cultural centers. We should…

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