Friday, May 30, 2008

Discovered: Fiona Paxton

A review caught my attention today from the latest JC report,, a fashion industry newsletter, about the necklaces by Fiona Paxton. Paxton graduated from the Royal College of Art in the early 1990s and worked for years at major fashion houses including Cholé and Armani. She has now set out on her own, creating beautiful, hand embrodiered and textile based necklaces and draped accessories. She combines the use of ancient threading and embrodiery techniques with silver and metal chains and beads to make unique, eye catching pieces.The scarves are full of color and pattern, an influence of India can be detected. The necklaces tend to stay more neutral with white, gray and black accented with the metal pieces. Check it out,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Discovered: Le Petit Atelier de Paris

Le Petit Atelier de Paris,, located at 31, rue Montmorency is a beautiful boutique filled with clean, white porcelain pieces, as well as a small selection of jewelry and furniture. Le Petit Atelier de Paris is owned by two French designers and their atelier, where they design and hand make the series of unique work, is downstairs in the shop. On entering the store, it feels as if you have walked into a Zen-like sanctuary. There is a lot of natural wood accented with the delicate, creamy white objects that seem to inspire just by resting on the table. I wanted to move in and live there. The space is softly lit by fixtures of their own design-a ceramic light bulb shaped vessel that fits over the actual bulb and strung by a white cotton cord that looks vintage. This can hang directly from the ceiling or be attached by wood supports to transform into a sconce that would look fantastic by a bed.

Items from the collection include a white espresso cup in a style reminiscent of typical water glasses served at French brasseries. They are presented alone or set on a wood tray with flat stirring spoon. Other pieces include porcelain bowls which are half shiny, half matte; dessert plates in the form of a ridged pie pan with stamped wishes in French such as sante; ceramic magnets, letters, and one of my favorites- the ceramic pitcher with stenciled impression of a measuring tape running vertically along one side. The work is perhaps of an aesthetic that may be seen in other design stores, but the handmade, unique impression of the objects makes Le Petit Atelier de Paris a true find.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monoprix + Me

I guess you could call it a dirty, little secret, but Monoprix makes me happy. It rarely fails to put a smile on my face due to some rather unnecessary item purchased such as a Pyrex bowl or a lacy camisole for 5 Euros. I don’t buy food there—that is not what I am referring to. Rather, I am talking about those Beauty Monop’s or the Monoprix stores with the selection of clothing, household items, and beauty products. Maybe it is the closest thing to Target, where every once-in-awhile you go in and binge buy all your shampoo, underwear and maybe a new set of sheets all in one stop. Typically the event starts with a simple need like toothpaste. This was the case yesterday when I stopped in to pick up a discount 3 pack of Colgate and left spending 60 Euros on a new, white, linen skirt (yes its rainy and cold again but I know I’ll need it), a pair of socks for M, printed napkins, and a random supply of grooming products like Organic coco scented body soap. Despite the money spent, it seemed to take me out of my gray mood and put a smile on my face. A classic shopping therapy success story. Thanks Monoprix.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

DVD release

Last night at the Pompidou Center there was reception for the release of a Dvd compilation of films by the artist Mounir Fatmi. Ttitled "Tete Dur" or "Hard Head," the DVD includes a selection of eight videos produced and created between 1999 and 2008. Political, provocative, spiritual and poetic, these complex works bring to light the artist's ambiguities, doubts, fears and desires relating to our world's current events. Using playful language inspired by islamic art, the Koran and European authors such as Artaud and Montesquieu, his videos toy with contextual relationships by blurring the notions of a here and there. Check it out at the Librarie Flammarion at the Centre Pompidou.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


ANNE+ Art Projects is an impressive, sleek new contemporary exhibition space located in the off-the-beaten path of Ivry-Sur-Seine. The first of its exhibitions, titled “A Listening Room,” opened last night. Curated by Manuel Cirauqui, “A Listening Room,” is a group show that deals with issue of sound and sound-based sculpture and installation. As the press release states, the exhibition “is based on a principle of reflexivity: as much as a space to listen, it is a space that listens.” Sound here is used as a raw material or an object that is used in creating the work on view. At the opening, a performance by Frank Leibovici titled “A mini opera for non-musicians,” presented a group of untrained, non-professionals (a call for a singers was sent around by email), singing a cappella, text from the 2003 Colin Powell speech to the UN for going to war with Iraq. Other artists include, Inigo Cabo, Matthieu Clainchard, Tal Hadad, Bettina Samson, Vittorio Santoro and Eric Stephany.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Urban Pleasure

At the end of last summer a new park was developed over what was basically
a waste land between old rail tracks and a parking lot for buses. The
end of theBatignolles neighborhood-in all its charm, once ended in this eyesore but thanks to the efforts of the Mairie
and other interested parties, we now enjoy a lovely, functional and
environmentally sound park. I love this kind of urban renovation that
transforms an unfriendly and pollutant filled area and turns it into
something people can profit from and which gives back to the land. Laid
out over a 4.3 hectares (so the sign reads), this park is laid out with
stone pathways, surrounded by trees and native plants and other flora
that contribute to thebiodiversity and help rejuvenate air and soil,
solar panels and a windmill have also been installed. The watering
system is recuperative and therefore very environmentally sound. They
have installed children's playground for young kids and older. Skate
ramps, basketball courts, and chaise-lounges for the adults. It is
refreshing to see people really use the space and have fun with it, as
opposed to the typical French park which warns you to stay off the
grass and rather sit on a bench andobserve the manicured beauty. It's
the kind of project that should be top priority for all cities and
zones that have for one reason or another, become desolate and
forgotten. Rather than leave an area that promotes depression if not
violence in a neighborhood, why not create aspace that everyone can profit from? Seems like a good idea to me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Librairie 7L

In a city filled with innumerable bookstores, French and English, Librairie 7L still manages to add something special. The creation of the oh, so something Karl Lagerfeld, the store is filled with mostly coffee table type tomes with glossy, beautiful photographs, in the fields of art, architecture and design-but in the widest sense, including landscape design, fashion, textiles, art deco furniture makers and all ranges of photography. Being the concept of Lagerfeld the photography and fashion sections are particularly dense and varied. The store appears well curated and well attended to-each section having a range of material and subject matter that is not found just anywhere-with smaller publications in the mix as well as larger productions such as Rizzoli and Actes Sud. Hours are to be had browsing-perhaps a good idea for this weekend if the threat of rain turns real. Librairie 7L, 7, rue de Lille. No website.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Traces du Sacré

Traces du Sacré is the mega, multi-disciplinary exhibition that opened on May 7th at the Pompidou Center, Curated by Jean de Loisy and Angela Lampe, this grand endeavor brings together over 350 works of art by nearly 200 artists beginning from the 19th century up to present day and as diverse as Casper David Friedrich, Hilma Auf de Klimt, Malevich, William Burroughs, Barnett Newman, Mounir Fatmi and Maurizo Cattelan. The exhibition is arranged thematically under such subtitles as “Apocalypses,” “Nostalgia of the Infinite,” “Doors of Perception,” and “Resonances of the Archaic.”

Throughout the ages there have always been connections/influences between art, religion, spirituality, philosophy, but this became less and less so throughout the 20th century as the world modernized and globalized. As the press release states, “The goal of the exhibition is thus to explore the significance of the survival of such questioning throughout the twentieth century, and to show that it continues to fuel the invention of contemporary artistic forms, and as such represents an essential key to the understanding of modern art.
” The one easy critique to make is that the curators took liberty with the subject matter, stretching interpretations to include work that doesn’t really fit into the context, the most obvious of which, in my opinion was the inclusion of the Hans Namuth films of Pollack doing his drip paintings. But it is a rich and intriguing exhibition and be sure to allow yourself a good couple of hours to make it through.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Guy Limone

An exhibition of new work by French artist, Guy Limone is on view now at Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery at 10, impasse st. claude in the 3rd.

Color is the essential component in Limone's meticulous, visually engaging work. A highlight are the flourescent tubes covered in two-inch high cut out pieces of transparent film that follow a certain color scheme dictated by the artist. For example; "Mexico Green," includes images of the famed green VW bug taxi's along with say, a gas station that has a green facade or a vendor with a basket full of avocados. A red version of this idea took it's centerpiece as the Venice Biennial with fragments not only of the red flags and banners for the show but also the red tile roofs or a woman's red shawl. Each consists of dozens, if not at times hundreds of images Limone has taken of the years. They have a soft glow from afar but like most of Limone's work, are best experienced close up. Other work in the show are the floor-to-ceiling strings of painted plastic figurines which are also studies in color, on top of being beautiful objects, and the spinning wall pieces which involve a large, circular white base, solidly afixed to the wall, onto which small photogrpahs or figurnes have been painstakenly and specifically placed to create a real mise-en-scene impression, but once the work is spun they turn into a dizzying, swirl of color. Limone's work is obsessive in its attention to detail and the delicate construction of objects and the results of incredible efforts he must go through in fabrication (by hand and without much assistance, I believe), are impressive.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Brussels + Antwerp

Six days in Brussels and Antwerp: The quick 1.5 hour train ride from Paris Gare du Nord to Bruxelles Midi station was misleading. Though the language is the same in Brussels and Paris, I found these two cities to be totally different and distant, as if I had flown north to Scandinavia or something. Upon our arrival my favorite game was to say, quick, look around and tell me what city you think you’re in. This sounds inane, and I guess it was, but honestly it was a tough question because it is such a diverse and international city, without any sterotyped identity like Paris or Amsterdam for instance. Brussels was a pure surprise—and a delightful one. We were expecting to be bored and take an earlier train back to Paris but instead, I found myself scanning real estate ads and considering looking for a job. We may have lucked out and it’s true that there are slight, uncontrollable occurrences on a trip that can make it a positive, so-so or bad experience. Our trick was perhaps the location of our hotel-out of the city center but only a 5-minute tram ride or 15 minute walk so that we were away from the touristy traps and were able to see a neighborhood that you would likely miss otherwise. The White Hotel is a new, design hotel. Definitely not the best example of this trend but it combined the design simplicity of the Standard Hotel in LA and invited local artists to make a piece for each room. The concierge, who otherwise was not the most friendly, did do us the favor of pointing us in the direction of the Quartier Chatelaine, where we retreated each evening after a long day shopping and art viewing, to eat in a quiet, local restaurant. Fantastic flea markets, the Bozar museum and bookstore, chocolate, beer, the lovely gardens at the Palais Laeken, Antwerp’s fabulous design and designer shops, easy transportation, and an energy that was open and friendly all combined for a relaxed and fun adventure. Ironically we arrived in what felt like winter, with a hailstorm and all, and left in mid summer, with blue skies and cafés filled with people sipping beer or white wine. This was maybe false advertising for Belgium, to see it in such beautiful weather, forgetting the many bleak winter months, but nevertheless I hope to make it back again soon. Here are some pictures.

Friday, May 2, 2008

In Brussels

In Brussels with mom. First impressions are pretty good. It is such a combination of styles...and of course all the beer and chocolate helps make things look good.
More later...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Galerie Pixi

During mom’s visit there is of course more then just culinary feasting…there is shopping. Shopping proves to be one of the better ways to work off the pannacotta dessert the night before and build an appetite for the approaching meal. Her hotel is tucked along one of the many small streets that create the vast network of St. Germain des Pres, so there have been a few tours of this posh neighborhood where we leisurely take in all of the fabulous designer creations perched in their windows like little leather, cashmere or jeweled candies. You can’t help but want them all, but with the dollar-euro crisis it’s time to keep strict on a monetary diet.

This is not an area where I spend much time actually and so it was a pure pleasure to fall upon Galerie Pixi, 95, rue de Seine, a real bijoux of a space. Run by the granddaughter of the late Russian avant-garde painter, Serge Poliakoff, La Galerie Pixi, which has a temporary (I believe) title of “Le Boudoir de Marie Victoire Poliakoff,” is full of interesting art, couture and other handmade objects. As my mom went into an upscale children’s boutique next door (do we really need another?), I was lured into Galerie Pixi by the black and white, boudoir-esque awning and lacquered black door. You buzz to get in, always rather intimidating, but upon entering I felt immediately at ease and even more, I felt like I had just discovered something truly original. I was visually stimulated in a way that I hadn’t been in awhile. I was not familiar with the artists on view and had the impression that the work was far from the Marais/Louise Weiss aesthetic and more the results of a personal passion and cultivated eye. Marie Victoire, the lovely and friendly owner, curates one-two month rotating exhibitions of artists, mostly American or European, but there is often a twist, for example last month the exhibition was of Parisian fashion designer Adeline André, which featured a rack of beautiful, flowing, primary colored dresses. The space was not just dedicated to André. There were shelves and cabinets filled with little treasures including a wonderful oil on paper work by French artist Charles Henri Monvert, abstract collaged/paintings by Laurent Baude and some wonderful, intricate works of threads and feathers that hang on the wall and small white, wood sculptures of geometric forms who’s poetic simplicity calls to mind American artist Richard Tuttle. I would love to be an artist-in-residence at the galerie and live in the little back room. The creativity of the artists but also the owner is evident throughout. La Boudoir de Marie Victoire Poliakoff is very low-key. There is no website and many of the artists listed don’t have much information to be found on the web. This both frustrates me and makes me more enamored and impatient to return. The next opening is May 7 and will feature New York artist Gibb Slife.