Sunday, June 29, 2008
In just a few short hours the 3-week long Euro Cup will come to an end and I feel rather sad, which I know in itself is rather sad. I never expected to catch the Cup fever. I figured at least to watch the French team but not each match. I didn’t think that after the first two games I would go the official website and print out the schedule and put it up on the fridge—to the somewhat surprise of my boyfriend…If he didn’t realize he was with an American girl before, well I guess that might of kicked the reality in full effect. I definitely wasn’t planning on deferring social events because of the 20:45 game time each night for 2 weeks straight-- let alone stopping work earlier for the 18:00 games the first week. I tried to invite people over so as not to be a total looser and thus made more salsa and guacamole in those two weeks than I have in six months prior.
Since there is really no other sport in Europe...yes rugby is making more inroads and there is always tennis, but the manic passion of ‘le foot’ takes all of the American sports of baseball, football, and basketball rolled into one—add in the nationalist spirit of counties and I was hooked. Slowly I watched my preferred teams get eliminated. France, Portugal, Croatia, Turkey—who led to my newly coined term “Turk Attack,” because of the team’s unending efforts to twice come back in the very last minutes of the game until their unfortunate defeat by Germany. But one of my teams has defied their Euro Cup bad-luck streak and that is Spain. They have pushed past their malediction and tonight will seek to win their first Euro Cup title since 1964. I somewhat rhetorically asked my boyfriend what we’ll do once the Cup is over and he replied, without much empathy, “we continue to live.” Yes, I guess that is true. But the first couple nights might be hard.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
This is probably one of the best secrets, that is not really a secret, happening at the moment in Paris. A modest exhibition of paintings and drawings by this Swedish artist who lived between 1862-1944 is on view at the Swedish Cultural Institute in the Marais. Set in a beautiful, Hotel Particuler building, the Institute also boasts a great little café with delicious coffee and Swedish pastries.
Hilma Af Klint has come somewhat into vogue recently and this is a very good thing. In fact her work was not exhibited following her death until 1986, and this, I believe, was her doing. She had asked that her work not be shown for 20 years after her death. I am not sure exactly why…just know I read it at the exhibition. In any case, she was a pioneer in the field of abstraction in art. She pushed herself further and further into realms of spirituality, in particular with Rudolf Steiner, and the Theosophical movement founded by Madame Blavatsky, which focused on mediumistic séances. She was also part of a group of artists, all women, called “The Five,” that included experimenting with automatic drawing and which sought to find news modes for expressing the spiritual through visual means. The paintings are amazing examples of the power that abstraction could hold back in its early days; Abstraction to attain or obtain a higher knowledge and thus a better art and work that pushed boundaries in form, structures and image. Her website details more of her amazing story. http://hem.bredband.net/hilafk/eng/index.html
On view thru July 27th. 11 rue, Payenne, 75003. www.ccs.si.se
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Peter Doig at the Musee d’Art Moderne. The exhibition is composed of nearly eighty paintings + drawings, spanning the late 1980s-2008, basically the beginning of his career until present day. Recently the Musee d’Art Moderne has been surprising with some interesting shows but I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I went on Sunday to see the exhibition. I liked the few Doig paintings I had seen prior, but you never know when they are all lumped together. In fact, the exhibition is intriguing and engaging and well worth a visit.
The work is installed more-or-less chronologically because for Doing, his work very much represents place-more to the point-the place where he is currently residing. Born in Scotland, raised in Canada, grad school in London and since 2002 living in Trinidad. He is very much taken with man’s relationship to nature. Representations of solitary man in the landscape make frequent appearances whether they stand by a lake, sit in a canoe, or poke through the forest. I don’t know his technique (although most paintings are oil on canvas), but the paintings have a blurred, layered quality—like he is doing a type of rubbing or transfer. It gives the paintings, especially the very isolated, almost haunting images, heightend effect. Though I think it is super cool he moved to Trinidad, for whatever reasons he did, I have to say that I think his later works, those that have been made on the island, go a bit to far in their Gauguin-esque aesthetic, from imagery to color scheme.
Peter Doig, 30 May-September 7, 2008. www.mam.paris.fr
Friday, June 13, 2008
Galerie Impaire opened its doors last night for their inaugural exhibition. This
gallery was the idea of Creative Growth,
www.creativegrowth.squarespace.com, the center in Oakland, California
that provides a space and assistance to mentally handicapped people, to
make art. That is their main mission and it has proven to be aphenomenally successful experience both for the artists, many of whom have arrived and just flourished through art, and the center, which has gained a world-wide reputation.
This concept of art, was championed by many, but one of the first was French artist Jean Dubuffet, who coined the term Art Brut and encouraged this type of intuitive, raw, pure form of art.
Galerie Impaire will feature artists who work at the center, such as Judith Scott, Dan
Miller and Aurie Ramirez, but they will also do exhibitions of
international artists from Japan, Russia, the Czech Republic. There is
a side space in the gallery which may bring in contemporary artists to
work in dialogue with the Art Brut artists. It may not be for everyone,
but I think it is an exciting addition to Paris. The opening was well
attended, a good start and hopefully sign of their long-term presence.
47, rue Lancry, 10th
arr. (Image is of a work by Judith Scott, a personal favorite. Her work
is an obsessive weaving and twisting of yarn among such items as a
chair, skateboard, twigs, stones, etc. Beautiful.).
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I committed one of the top five no-no’s in French etiquette today. I just wasn’t thinking. I usually am right on with the proper forms of greetings and other protocol, but I had just seen the fabulous Paracas Textiles exhibition at the Quai Branly (more on that later), and was totally in the clouds from the amazing work. I wanted to buy a catalog but they were expensive so I was having one of those justifications for buying it-versus save the money and buy a couple of postcards, conversation with myself. I decided to ask the sales guy if the catalog came in English. That was going to be my maker or breaker because of course I wanted to read the texts in English for full comprehension. Alors, I just said it, in French, “Do the catalogs come in English Translation?” As I looked into his face for an answer I realized my gaff. “Bonsooooir, Madame,” he said in a high-pitched, (for a man), piercing voice while looking at me with pure dismay. Merde. I forgot to say the requisite “Bonjour” before any communication can begin with a sales person. I quickly responded in my best Francais-French voice and smile, “Bonsoooooir, monsieur.” But I knew it was too late. This relationship was going nowhere. “Non!” He says. “They are absolutely not translated in French,” as if the very idea was ludicrous. Well, I said, annoyed but laughing, and giving back the attitude, “if they are absolutely not translated then I will absolutely not get one.” And handed over my postcards.
The “Bonjour” to a storekeeper is one of the essential requirements to living or visiting France, and to successfully negotiating a purchase. I watched recently as my mom got burned my sales people she neglected to address properly before asking a price or question. Our favorite was at the Grand Palais, where literally the guard gave us misinformation about how to get to the exhibition. We knew he was lying and then heard him give the right information to the ladies behind us. In my opinion, that is just going too far. I get the politesse and agree it is nice, but I had to laugh because I guess it is just not on the American/Capitalist/we just want you to buy so we will be nice whatever your attitude, but in France, one slip and you are out. Deal done. They don’t want your money and typically you decide you don’t want to give it up. Well, let’s keep on moving forward. Au Revoir.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I should have written this over a few days, but here it is, all at once:
On a last minute whim I decided to make the pilgrimage to the annual European art fair, Art Basel, in the very Swiss-German town of Basel. It was gray, gray, gray when I arrived and despite the charming Rhine River and chalet style buildings, the town itself didn’t impress me much. I have witnessed the glitz and glam of the Miami version of Art Basel (they are like sister fairs-same company-different vibes) and each fair clearly takes on its city’s attitude. Whereas Miami can only be Miami, (don’t really need to elaborate there), it was clear that Basel retains its sophisticated, old school European charm. A more understated approach to showing your wealth, as it were.
Upon entering the vast convention center that holds the main fair, as well as Art Unlimited and Statements, I grabbed the map and looked at the young intern behind the help desk and said, “I am scared.” The buzz and busy-ness of the place, and the sheer vastness of what I was stepping into somehow instilled an initial sense of being overwhelmed. I was soon at peace when I ran into the champagne cart that was regularly flowing through the fair, and by the greetings of old NYC friends. A petite coupe later I had taken on the mouse-in-labyrinth feel of wandering aimlessly, stumbling upon great finds like the Dieter Roth Paper Cut-outs from 1969-1973, at Carolina Nitsch, and the laugh-out-loud, (positive or negatively) massive Takashi Murakami. There seemed to be a good deal of the series of Joseph Albers paintings, “Homage to the Square” and each time I felt they looked great. Among all the chaos and glam, these classic works seemed as fresh as ever. Art Unlimited seemed rather unimpressive. I preferred the smaller sections of Artists Editions and Artists Records. True finds could be had, and could also fit in my suitcase, let alone my apartment. Clearly, larger-is-better motto still holds dear. Another highlight was the book signing by Patti Smith-which included a few acoustic songs.
The next day I made it over to Design Miami/Basel- a recent addition to the Basel Fair. Housed in what appeared to be an old bomb shelter, all cement with a huge central domed ceiling, this was a welcomed breath of fresh air after the carpeted convention feel of the main fair. I was most pleased to see a nice representation of Shelia Hicks work, in two different booths, but sadly disappointed by the enormity of her prices. She deserves it, but I still want one! I loved Reform Gallery, based in Los Angeles, which had a beautiful tapestry by Jim Bissler, and the Hugo Franca tables from R20th Century in NYC.
Moving on: The Beyler Foundation has been on my list to visit since my first days in college studying Art History, so it was a delight to take the quaint number 6 tram outside of the city to visit. This renowned collection is now housed in a beautiful Renzo Piano building that truly blends in with its surroundings. On view was a concise selection of the collection including Bonnard, Picasso, Riviere, Bacon, Giacometti, and a large show titled “Paris-New York: The work of Fernand Leger,” which I breezed through, not really being a big fan. Downstairs was a large wall mural by Sarah Morris titled “Black Beetle,” a few other paintings, the Capital Prints, and two of her films, “Midtown,” and “Capital.” Never entirely convinced about her work, I enjoyed getting a sort of overview of her practice.
Finally I checked out Volta, the more “emerging” or “younger” galleries. Located in a mini warehouse set literally next to the docks where I had as much fun watching the large cranes move colorful shipping containers as I did with some of the art work. I was happy to see a few good Parisian galleries and was encouraged by a few people remarking that they see the Paris art scene developing and expanding beyond it’s cliquey world of post modern, theory laden, non-aesthetic conceptual framework. Hurrah. Anyways, personal highlights here were Arraita + Beer in Berlin, www.arratiabeer.com, Josee Bienvenue, http://joseebienvenugallery.com, and Basim Magdy’s work at Newman Popishevelli,www.npgallery.com.
I clearly did not even make a major dent in all of the things to see. I missed two fairs, Scope + Balatina, although I can’t say I am upset about it, but do regret not seeing the Kunstmuseum-although I’ll hope to get back at another time. Otherwise it was champagne at the Kunsthalle bar and sneak peaks at the French Open. See images below.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Check out this ambitious and most delightfully subversive movement happening across the globe: www.guerillagardening.org and in a recent NYTimes Magazine article http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/magazine/08guerrilla-t.html?ref=todayspaper
Monday, June 2, 2008
On view at Sutton Lane Gallery, www.suttonlane.com, 6, rue de Braque, is an exhibition of photographs by Roe Ethridge. The show presents a selection of mostly c-prints, produced between 2006-2008, about ten images in total. For the last eight-ten years Etheridge, an American artist, has been exhibiting with some frequency and his images always seem to be a pleasure to look at. He has a great eye and captures that perfect, soft, sometimes fleeting moment, as with his landscape images, and in his portraits seems to pull out the best-sometimes weirdest- features of his model. In the Sutton Lane show he includes a 50 x 40” ink-jet print of the Moon. Perhaps a rather romantic if not mundane object for a professional photographer, yet the image is beautiful and attractive. He pulls it off with grace. The best photograph in the show could be “Oysters,” 2008, which is in the office space next door to the gallery. A plate of six oysters, glistening and gleaming in their shells is at once erotic and simply poetic. The exhibition is on view through June 28th.