Sunday, October 26, 2008

A few exhibitions...

If you are out and about in the Marais, a few recommended exhibitions to see:
Marcel Broodthaers-Sutton Lane Gallery, 6, rue de Braque: A beautiful, small exhibition that includes 8 plastic cast plaques dating between 1968-1970, from his "Industrial Poems" series, and a small sculpture titled Pools, form 1966. Provides a small glimpse into this diverse, interesting Belgian artist.

Tobias Rehberger "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."-Galerie Husssenot, 5bis, rue Haudriettes. If you like lighting design, you'll like this exhibition. Rehberger, a German artist whose work always crosses the divide between art-design-craft-and DIY, has hung about 40-50 light fixtures in this great, lofty space. Some are made from flat strips of plastic-in various colors and semi-translucent, some take colored Velcro looped around a long neon tube, and others are made from colorful strips of Velcro shaped into loose, twisting forms with a neon tube running through it.

Janaina Tschape-"Dragoons," Galerie Xippas. This exhibition by Brazilian/NYC based artist Janaina includes photographs and a new video taken from a recent residency in Arizona, as well as some drawings and a painting that have a very organic/oceanic quality about them. Tschape is better known as a photographer having started with performance, she often inserts herself in the photographs wearing a self-made costume that might include angel’s wings, latex bubbles or other Matthew Barney-esque accoutrement. The results are very fantasy/romantic/surreal...intriguing. You always have a sense of wanting to know more.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Le 104

Paris keeps pushing right….right bank that is. Moving out from the central core that nestles both sides of the river (the Marais and St. Germain specifically), the 19th arrondissement is now the go-to destination for cutting edge culture. It’s been happening slowly over the last few years thanks to such gallery spaces as Jocelyn Wolff, Cosmic Galerie, and Castillo Corrales… But with the grand ouverture of Le 104, we can safely say that this area is solidly on the map. Awhile-back Avenue Louise Weiss in the 13th made an attempt to open up the Paris gallery scene, but it never had an anchor and was just too far off the map. The 19th makes sense. It’s really not a far leap from the Marais, especially with the Velib, and the cementing structure of Le 104 is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Spanning 39,000 m2, which is like 450,000 square feet, Le 104 will serve as artist residency, performance space, arts and education center for children, and will host a series of events and is open every day of the week. Come spring 2009 there will be a café and bookstore. It intends to a meeting place for the public and contemporary culture—a realm often thought elitist by many will now have a chance to connect with new people and new contexts. It’s exciting and I hope it succeeds. 104, rue Aubervilliers. 75019

Monday, October 13, 2008

Help Wanted: New coach needed for large national team

Sometimes I find that being abroad makes me more American in small, strange ways. Take for example, sports. I was a big sports fan (playing and watching) up until about 14, when teenage angst took over and other things seemed more important...Seventeen magazine for instance. Since then I would occasionally watch a game with my sports fanatic father when home visiting, or maybe attend a super bowl party, but for some reason I had an affection for the World Cup, when the soccer teams of the world unite in a battle for victory--the first time I caught the fever was in Mexico, in 1998, I happened to be living in a small town for the month that the world cup took place and everywhere and anywhere you turned was a TV and a group of people glued to the screen. Then, coincidentally I was in Barcelona in 2002 and the same energy was all around. So here I am in France, and yes, there is rugby and tennis, which are good sports, but the obsessive nature of Le Foot, as they say here, is addicting. I have become a true blue fan of Les Bleus, (the French national team), which is why I must chime in with a call for the resignation of their apparently out of work theater producer coach, Raymond Domenech. I suffered through the summer's Euro Cup tournament, in which Les Bleus came in about 2nd to last. It was frustrating to watch, particularly after their great performance in the 2006 World Cup. Again, I never excelled in soccer and I am not a coach, but I think I could do better then this guy. His starting players can be all over the place, changing star positions, like he did on Saturday for Thierry Henry in the first half, and he stands on the sidelines with his thick eyebrows and a finger upon his lips as if he were pondering Descartes (or maybe where he should send his resume now). He has none of that jazzed up coach sentiment, and claims to need to watch the tapes after loosing a match, as if he weren't there the last 90 minutes to comment on what went wrong. His attitude could almost be a French cliche. The last couple of matches his job was on the line..if they had lost then he would have been fired. I think that if it is even such an ongoing question it should no longer be an issue. If Les bleus pull it off and get into the 2010 World Cup, which at this point is a maybe, they had best find a new coach and fast.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Buenos Aires in Paris

I have to admit I have become addicted to facebook this week, which I finally joined and have now entered the phase it appears everyone goes through when they first join...finding all the people you know on it..and often finding people you don't want to remember you know! However, before it ends tomorrow I wanted to mention
that up on the 2nd floor of The Bon Marchè is a special presentation of things Argentinian. On one side is a cafe that is selling Argentinian style food and wines and offering classes in Tango. On the other side is a selection of clothing, shoes, pillows and throws, as well as books showcasing the natural beauty of the country, classic novelists like Borges, and a selection of food products. I thought they would have found sightly more interesting designers, but rather they seemed to go for the sterotypes of the country, selling such items as vintage, 40s dresses (à la Eva Peron?), gaucho type riding boots, tango-like shoes and lace tights, and earthy looking knit jackets and scarfs. There is also a nice photo exhibition of street scenes from the 1980s by Mario Pignata Monti, who studied science in France in the before turning to photojournalism. A couple of shoe designers really stood out, Mish and Divia. It is a cool concept but kind of fails to offer anything unique. Rather it looks like an exibition organized by the toursim board of Argentina. Lovely, but typical.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Textile Design Library

Reading the quarterly Hand/Eye newsletter from Aid to Artisans, can be so creatively inspiring-I just learned about the incredible Desgin Library for Textiles located along the Hudson river about 60 minutes from NYC. Wow. If I had known about it when I lived in NYC I think I would have moved up there and into the vast holdings which are housed in an old textile bleaching factory. The library includes fabrics, embrodieries, yarn dyes, wallpapers and paintings from 1750-present, numbering near 5 million samples in 900 catagories. The library was founded 30 years ago by Susan Meller and her late husband Herbert. She has produced a comprehensive image catalog covering 200 years of European and American Patterns, and recently published a book about Russian Textiles. What an impressive and truly rich resource. enjoy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mrs. Roboto

What was that song from the 1980s, Domoarigato mr.roboto? Sarah Palin's performance last night in the debates was so robotic and plastic, she looked like some backstreet boy or spice girls invention whereby they have been totally programmed and packaged. If I saw one more wink I think I would have puked on my computer screen.
Some of the reports coming in today state, "she won by not failing" or "Palin performance surprises by not being incoherent." Is this what politics has been dragged down to? That if you don't f--k up, then you succeed? And you really succeed if you say "shucks" and "darn?" Are we in some acid-fueled Leave-it-to-Beaver nightmare? Things have been so dumbed down, politicians apparently such crooks and shysters that Mccain had to reach into the depths of nowhere and reach a new low in politics. This is now the bar and I am pretty much expecting Brittney Spears to be elected Speaker of the House if these republican fools are elected.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Shoes baby, shoes

So it's fall and the weather in Paris has been...typically Parisian although there appears to be sun for the moment today. In any event, fall means good clothes--or rather, looking good before the winter wardrobe of jeans, gray sweaters and boots takes over, so this weekend go to Estelle Yomeda and get a beautiful pair of shoes and make yourself happy. Estelle is the designer and the boutique has been open a bit over a year. Her shoes are striking, sexy to top it off, comfortable. They are handmade in Portugal and the heels are typically such that you can walk for more than 10 minutes without regret. Color is an essential part of the shoe, often with combinations such as black + gold or brown and turquoise-Her designs are truly unique and surely will be timeless treasures. These images are from the summer collection, and fall is just as
4, rue de Normandie-75003