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Yes, Yes - YES!

I can't wait to see this show and find out what it's all about, the display in the gallery window on rue de Seine caught my eye last night. Perhaps a meditation on French Officialdom.

Taille Humaine

Strange goings-on at La Fontaine Médicis

Pounding around the Jardins du Luxembourg is better lately.  There is at least an excuse to stop and catch one's breath.  Taille Humaine is an outdoor exhibition in the Orangerie of the gardens of Le Sénat running until 24th September. A mixture of twenty emerging and established artists from France and abroad have created open air sculptures exploring humanity: specifically three themes based on arts, history and biotechnology. 

Jean-Paul Albinet's interactive sculpture allows you communicate with the small figures using WAP technology. Just type in the number corresponding with each "man".

L'Orangerie du Sénat, 19 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris
8am until sundown.

Viva La Contrex!

French Women Don't Get Fat? It's apparently due to the fact that they are all drinking this high-mineral content bottled water (which kills your appetite).  When getting married most people seem to start their régime 5 or 6 month's ahead of time.  I've left it until 5 weeks so I am pounding round the Jardins du Luxembourg, racing up and down the pool in Saint Germain des Prés (might swim into Made in Rive Gauche doing the aquarobics. Is it her? Or her?)and last but not least swigging this stuff during all other waking hours. 

"STOP - put that 40% fat content Coulommiers cheese DOWN!"

Another one bites the dust

I was reminded of a passage from "Tropic of Cancer" as yet another American friend announced they were leaving Paris.  It's sad, not many of them stick it out here, not being able to get working papers doesn't help but maybe it goes deeper than that.

"You can't become a European overnight. There's something in your blood that makes you different. It's the climate - and everything. We see things with different eyes. We can't make ourselves over, however much we admire the French. We're Americans and we've got to remain Americans.  Sure, I hate those puritanical buggers back home - I hate 'em with all my guts. But I'm one of them myself. I don't belong here. I'm sick of it."

Farewell Anthony (okay, it doesn't really count, he's off to Berlin).

Best Paris Books

I am trying to compile a list for an article I am writing on Paris inspired literature.  So far:

Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller
Le Flaneur - Edmund White
The Mandarins - Simone de Beauvoir
Various - Colette
A Moveable Feast - Hemingway
The Sun King - Nancy Mitford (still trying to get a copy of her Voltaire in Love...)
Paris Peasant - Louis Aragon

Ironically, never had enough time sadly to begin "Rememberance of Things Past"

Beckett-Philes

John Calder & Charles Monnet

Last night I was lucky enough to meet John Calder as he regaled the Village Voice with tales of the man he brought to the UK after seeing poetic masterpiece "Waiting for Godot" along with tout Paris in the early 50's.  It took the rest of the world a few years to catch on after the Parisians and Mr Calder but by that time he had secured the rights to Beckett's works in the UK after Faber turned them down. And the pair were on their way to becoming firm friends.  Luckily this survived the later years when Beckett was apt to write in French first and translate his work into English, (not terribly interesting for the UK publisher). 

Calder entertained us with tales of Beckett, apparently they often played Ping-Pong and chess together, drunk a few beers, talked all night and we found out that although Beckett was pursued wildly by Lucia Joyce, (James' daughter) - he's pretty sure they never slept together.

Charles Monnet read beautifully as an accompaniment to the lecture, peppered with quotes from Beckett's plays, poems and conversations.

Claude Closky shakes (at) Beaubourg

Claude Closky is the nicest artist. He was shaking like a little faun after accepting his Prix Marcel Duchamp. I asked him what he was going to do with the money (35,000e). I admit it, I was being facetious but as he had just stepped off the podium he was still completely overwhelmed with emotion. I felt awful and immediately warmed to him. He said "it will allow me to continue and make working a little less difficult". I answered by saying he seemed to have done pretty well so far, having a phenomenal output of books, websites and exhibitions all over the world, even in Sharjah. 

We noticed that although he was the centre of attention for a moment on the stage, no one even brought him a drink (large Bombay Saphhire cocktails) and he didn't even seem to have any friends and family there to support him. Some girls dressed in Top-Shop-esque leggings and gold belts turned up later but they didn't look like normal art-groupies.  Le pauvre...........

Force de l'Art - Grand Palais

Le locataire - Gloria Freidman 2005

A huge 200-piece exhibition of contemporary art has opened at the Grand Palais. La Force de l'Art, the product of a decree from Dominique de Villepin and the subject of not a little debate as it's been thrown together at short notice - a popularity booster for government,(the official sponsor of art here in France)? Only works by French artists and long-term residents have been chosen and the show aims to boost French contemporary art in the bigger picture (vis a vis London and NYC). There will also be a series of screenings, concerts, talks and performances by invited artists and commissioners.

I was invited by ADIAF (Association pour la Diffusion Internationale de l’Art Français), the most important group of private collectors in France who organise the Prix Marcel Duchamp(the equivalent of the UK's Turner Prize). I enjoyed taking a quiet look at the assembled Laureate, especially Thomas Hirschhorn (winner of inagural edition in 2000/1), a big fave of mine who constructed this installation from cardboard boxes, gaffer tape, cereal cartons and scraps of photos.

Out in the main hall it feels weirdly nationalistic and I didn't warm at all to most of the works on show, apart from this one by André (Untitled).

Whoops, seems I've (unintentionally) chosen ouevres by a German, a Swiss and André was born in Portugal. The show doesn't seem to have had the desired effect on me.

As for the snacks on offer it was more Mono than Prix Marcel Duchamp, I was surprised at the snacks on offer at the ADIAF. Those pink wafer biscuits covered in icing sugar. Maybe it's just some chicism I'm not au courant with.

Holy Art Show

By Anne-Marie Audet.

When you live in New York City you are constantly inundated with art shows in converted warehouse lofts and other industrial spaces. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting New York during design week then you’ve also had the pleasure of going from Manhattan to Williamsburg and to see how just crossing a bridge can change the space where these shows are held.

More on: Holy Art Show

Tres ephemeral

Well it was a pretty ephemeral expo being open to the public for 12.5 hours hours but this one piece "The day I was born again" by Sono Fukunishi didn't even last that long.
Dearest Sono, thanks for the display, we will ever know if it was really part of the work or a (slightly dangerous) accident.  If I were you I'd keep schtum, it can only add to the enigma. Thank God the firemen had just completed their walk thru and left the building.

The original work:

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