Inspiration Thursday

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 11.29.35 AMIts that time again… our weekly adventure with Karen Samimi. Today we’ll be going to a place almost as exotic as yesterday’s gardens.

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 11.30.01 AM Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 11.29.46 AM Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 11.30.12 AM The Cité de la Céramique (City of Ceramics) – Sèvres & Limoges honors France’s role in the history of fine porcelain and was created in 2010 with the merger of the National Ceramic Museum in Sèvres and the Adrien Dubouché National Museum of Limoges. The Sèvres site, located right on the Seine, consists of 25 historic buildings, with 2 dedicated museums: one, the National Porcelain Manufacture (Factory), created originally in Vincennes in 1740 and moved to Sèvres in 1756, and the other, the National Ceramic Museum, inaugurated in 1824. Even today the Manufacture produces works of art in porcelain using techniques that have been handed down for generations. The Museum holds a world-famous collection : 50,000 ceramic objects from across the globe. The Limoges location houses the finest collection of Limoges porcelain. The City as a whole is an international center for ceramic and enamel applications in art & design, creates, produces and repairs porcelain, and promotes cultural activities for all ages. Romane Sarfati was named the first female director of the City in May, 2014 by the French Minister of Culture and Communication.

To enter the museum, walk up the central outdoor staircase to the reception area on the first floor. To the right is a wing devoted to the history of ceramics through the ages and has multimedia equipment for learning about producing porcelain, with masterpieces from Antiquity, Middle Ages, Asia, Islam, the European Renaissance, and the Americas. In the wing to the left is a contemporary exhibition gallery and the Sales Gallery, where exquisite porcelain manufactured in Sèvres may be purchased. The second floor houses a collection of 17th to 20th century European porcelain, and the 3rd floor is used for temporary exhibitions. The Manufacture building is not regularly open to the public. and can be visited by groups with advance reservations, by individuals on specific tour days, or on the annual National Patrimony Day in September.

I enjoyed visiting the Large Vase Room located on the second floor and it was interesting to learn the definitions and see examples of the different types of ceramics: pottery, earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, biscuit, and glass. I also enjoyed trying out the interactive exhibit to create my own personalized plate using motifs specific to the Sèvres collections. Be sure to notice the display of decorative porcelain toilet chairs used by royalty.

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 11.30.24 AMPractical information:
Sèvres – Cité de la céramique
2 Place de la Manufacture
92310 Sèvres (France)
Tél. : +33(0)1 46 29 22 00
Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm except Tuesdays, January 1, May 1, and December 25.
Guided tours for groups and individuals available.
Theme tours available one Monday a month.
Free for visitors under age 18, ages 18-25 with European nationality, job seekers, handicapped, and on the first Sunday of every month.
Individual prices between 4.50 and 8 euros

How to get there:

Metro line 9 : « Pont de Sèvres » stop (exit in front of the train, exit n°2), then walk over the bridge to the museum

Tramway T2 Val de Seine : « Musée de Sèvres » stop

Bus at Pont de Sèvres : 169, 179, 279, 171, 26 ( first stop after the bridge : « Musée de Sèvres »)

Paid parking available in front of the City, at the Tramway station and at the entrance to Parc de Saint-Cloud.

Happening now at the Grand Palais

Screen shot 2014-06-16 at 10.33.15 AMLe Grand Palais is all dressed up and ready to party for the summer, with three shows running right now.

By far, the most popular is the show dedicated to the famous video artist, Bill Viola. As someone who has never seen an exhibition dedicated entirely to a video artist, I found it interesting to wander from room to room, usually arriving in middle of a piece. The challenge then becomes trying to figure out what is going on on screen, reading how long it lasts and then deciding if you want to stay around long enough to see it all. Some pieces involve multiple screens, some rooms featured several pieces in one space.

Bill Viola definitely has a gift with light. One piece looked like the stage could have been set by Vermeer and sparkling crystals of light are held by water in all its forms. Two themes run throughout the show; fire and water. There is not a lot of subtly on display and frankly, I had “gotten” it half way through the show. But I stayed: mesmerized by the experience. Reading his biography, I read that like Hitchcock, the artist works in close partnership with his wife, without giving her much credit. Screen shot 2014-06-16 at 11.16.10 AMUnlike Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, a couple that shares double billing and the artists behind Monumenta, an annual show in which one artist (or a small team) is invited to create one piece to fill the immense Grand Nef. It is a difficult challenge, that stumped monumental artist par excellence Richard Serra. But when its done right, like it was by Daniel Buren and Anish Kapoor, it can take your breath away.
Screen shot 2014-06-16 at 10.57.53 AMThe problem with Monumenta is that it is very expensive, and it was lost to budget cuts. A very affluent Russian stepped in, offering to foot the bill for the entire show, if the state agreed to offer the prestigious role to the relatively unknown Kabakov’s. Walking in, there is a stupendous amplifier, with a design that evokes the Eiffel Tower as it projects mystical sounds. It moves those who walk past, quite literally with the vibrations of sound waves rolling through the space. The rest of the show was a complete let down, exploring themes of angels and cosmic energy, like a stroll through Haight-Ashbury without any of the charm and absolutely no respect for the monumental space.

We’ve avoided Mapplethorpe show, not because you have to be 18+ to enter, but because there is never a line. A very bad sign for any exhibition in Paris, and one that has scared us off, given the very few hours we have to wander each week. I hear from La Fashionista that it’s just a lot of penises.

Screen shot 2014-06-16 at 10.55.57 AMThere were a lot less penises exposed on the traditional Roman sculptures at Moi, August, a surprisingly phenomenal show, following the history of the Roman Emperor that gave us the city’s favorite month.  It took me a while to translate the French names for familiar Latin titles, back into something my brain could recognize, but once that was assimilated, the enthralling history, art and objects transported us to another place and time.



Ilya et Emilia Kabakov
Ilya et Emilia Kabakov

Oscar Munoz

Oscar Munoz Jeu de Paume

Oscar at the vernissage

One of the frustrations of being a photographer is trying to convey movement in time. Videos do the trick, but lack the discipline you can only get from a still camera. Colombian photographer, Oscar Munoz faces this dilemma with mixed media; printing out still images on surprising materials, creating dynamic images that move the viewer. He is not a photographer. He calls himself a protographer.

Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 4.54.44 PMHis show, which opened today at the Jeu de Paume, begins with an aerial photo of his hometown, Cali, Columbia that is laid out on the floor, under broken safety glass that continues to break down as viewers enter the exhibition, unable to avoid walking on the art.

In Cali, in the 50’s and 60’s anonymous men would photograph people as they passed by, then develop the images, hoping to selling them to the subjects photographed, much like the photos that are sold when leaving roller coaster rides today. A light table in the corner displays a collection of the photos  that the artist had projected over a river in Cali.

It isScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 4.55.32 PM the introduction to another theme. Beyond movement, Mr Munoz’s work is awash in water. Water that cleanses, purifies, erases; his subjects shower, their images printed on hanging shower curtains. Fading images of the dead are projected onto shower floors, drains included.

Which brings us to the next theme. Death. Many, if not most of the photos used are of people who have passed. The anonymous photos from the 50’s and 60’s are just the beginning as the artist projects obituary photos from the newspaper into his ephemeral world.

Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 4.54.22 PMIn one room, a row of metal disks line the wall. Exhale your breath onto the disk and the silhouette of an obituary photos appears, then disappears before your eyes, only to reappear again with your very next breath.

A second light table reveals a collection of photos with sinks at either side of the work surface. The image of a hand reaches over the table, grabs a photos and rinses it in a sink, the chemicals washing away, the image disappearing and the now white paper returned to its place. Moments later, the hand returns, grabs the blank rectangle, places it in the second sink, the water returns an the image is washed back on to the paper. It is a mesmerizing moment and a great tribute to modern protography.


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A few weeks ago we were at La Hune bookstore, a magical place facing the église St Germain des Près. It is two floors and an ante-room full of books. A lot of them are art books that are great in any language, or no language at all! They were opening a large cardboard box of books titled, Le Paris du Tout-Paris, which roughly translates to the Paris A-list crowd’s Paris.

Screen shot 2014-04-09 at 7.58.25 PMMr French huffed away, mumbling something about elitists. I picked up a book and started flipping through. The A-list in Paris includes TV news personalities, movie stars, art gallery owners, musicians, chefs and, of course, Inès de la Fressange. Some of the A-list are well known abroad; Sonia Rykiel, Jane Birkin, Pierre Hermé. Others are relatively unknown; the third female rabbi in France, Delphine Horvilleur or Yves Carcelle who runs the Louis Vuitton foundation.

They talk about their Paris, mention their favorite restaurants and share their shopping secrets. And guess what? More than a few of them adore hanging out at Café de Flore.

Screen shot 2014-04-09 at 7.59.00 PMScreen shot 2014-04-09 at 8.17.43 PMWhile reading I came across the Paris of Clément Dirié, a publisher in the contemporary art world, I had never heard of before. Monsieur Dirié likes to spend his Saturdays haunting art galleries. Sounds so much like my Mr French, I had to show him the page, pointing out the list of galleries in Belleville we had never explored. Mr French got so excited, he actually found where we keep the printer and learned how to make a copy. This Saturday there was no discussion, we were going to Belleville, to follow in the publisher’s footsteps.

We started out at Le Plateau at the Place Hannah Arendt, a free public art space that had some really fantastic works on display. Including a pianist who was playing partitions an artist had split, forcing her to take long pauses between brief spells of intoxicating music. Her piano had been split, too; half traditional upright, the other half ornate wood cuts.

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Then we strolled into the glorious parc aux Buttes Chaumont. The place was full with picnic-ers, birthdays parties and sun worshipers, pink cherry blossoms carpeted the paths, balloons bobbed above. At the bottom, there was some great street art by Fred Le Chevalier and Invader.


And there were more art galleries to explore, Jocelyn Wolff, Bugada & Cargnel, and Marcelle Alix. Some of it was interesting. Some of it was what the French call foutage de gueule, which means somebody is trying to make a fool out of you. There were car tires with brakes on sale as art for 5000€ a piece. And copper sheets stained with animal urine the artist orders on the internet.

But there was some good art, too. Screen shot 2014-04-09 at 8.17.20 PMThere was a particularly strong show at The Eyes Collection, Galerie Intervalle. We strolled along, stumbling in and out of galleries, meeting artists and listening in on a tour group of art students before finally making our way down to on of my favorite places in Paris, the rue Desnoyez, where street artists own the street. It was a llovely day I look forward to repeating at the rentrée, when the galleries will be putting on their very best.

A Monet moment

Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 9.16.28 AMThe Tuesday after returning from Marseille I had a very important visit at the Orangerie… What’s that you say? The Orangerie is closed Tuesdays? Well, yes, it is, which is why this visit was so important. Organized by the American Friends of the Musée d’Orsay, this was a Patron’s Pass tour with the museum’s new director, Laurence des Cars, who has become something of a celebrity since taking over the role in January.

Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 9.16.20 AMBefore coming to the Orangerie, Laurence des Cars was at the Louvre, and a key member of the team helping the Louvre Abu Dhbai build their collection. Think about it. You are so passionate about art, you’ve made a career of it and one day you get a phone call asking you to help build a museum’s collection. From scratch, with a pretty generous budget. Reading reports and listening to interviews, its clear that is was the adventure of a life time, but not an easy one. A lot of careers took unexpected turns, with Laurence des Cars now finding herself at the Orangerie.

I felt incredibly lucky to be part of this tour and had been looking forward to it throughout my trip in the south, the abundant flowers a constant reminder of the visit to come. But I never suspected, how very special it is to visit a museum when it is closed to the public. There were security guards, and workers getting the space ready for the next show, but all this activity just made the experience more intimate, as we got to know this remarkable space as very few ever have to opportunity.

Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 9.16.04 AMLaurence, I hope I may call her Laurence, Madame sounds much too formal in English, gave us the history of Monet’s famous Waterlily paintings, explaining that this had been his gift to the country in response to the apocalyptic WWI. He wanted to create a quiet, beautiful place people could go to meditate. Laurence shared her amazement at just how quiet tourists get as they respond to the magic that is created by the display of the masterpieces in two, large oval rooms full of color and diffused light.

I am not a great fan of impressionist art, but like the tourists, this space has always had a tremendous effect on me. The colors seem to vibrate off of the walls, echoing a nearly tangible energy, a sense of calming caressing my body. On this visit, I got to experience the sensation in an entirely new way. Busy taking photos, I lagged behind our small group, and found myself alone in one of the rooms. All that light, color and energy, uninterrupted. It was astounding. I stood there, living a moment of true awe.

Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 9.15.51 AM

Eventually, I pulled myself away and ran to catch up with the group and hear about Laurence’s plans for the permanent Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection downstairs. She is a dynamic, optimistic curator, who sees a big future for this space, and her enthusiasm was contagious, making us all want to help her in this journey of bringing this museum to life.

This extraordinary visit was not a unique, one of a kind day for a handful of journalists. It was an event organized by the American Friends of the Musée d’Orsay for their members and anyone who had signed up via their website. Their goal is to help both the d’Orsay and Orangerie enrich the collections they have today, contributing to restoration projects and new acquisitions. Members are mostly Americans who live in the US, but are thrilled to support the arts while becoming Paris insiders. Going on a 35€ Patron Pass tour is just the beginning. You can become a member of the AFMO and get invitations to their events throughout the year, or attend a gala and contribute even more, as you spend a magical evening with others who are passionate about art.

This is the link to upcoming AFMO events

And a link to membership information & benefits

Back to reality

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.34.45 AMI left St Tropez for what the Brits would call a dirty weekend in Marseille with Mr French. It was a revelation, and I promise to share with you, but that was weeks ago and so much has happened since then, I need to take a break because right now, Paris is getting ready for its very own dirty weekend with the art world, with the Paris Art Fair, Paris Art+Design, the Salon of Contemporary Dessins and the Salon du Dessin. SO MUCH art, it boggles the mind!!!

Last night was the launch with a VIP evening at the Salon du Dessin, held behind the  imposing façade of the Paris stock exchange, La Bourse. Mr French was out of town, so Miss Yoga was my date for the evening.

The place was packed, penguin clad waiters with trays of dirty, empty glasses nudging their way gently through the older, rather distinguished crowd of collectors, journalists and gallery owners. It was inpressively sedate, while a mad house all at once.

IScreen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.34.30 AM had enticed Miss Yoga to join me with the promise of some Klimt drawings. I don’t know why, but I was really excited to see some Klimts, and there was a great one of a distinguished woman in an iconic Klimt jacket waiting for us in the second gallery to our right. Further along a colorful study of a bedouin by Delacroix caught my eye. Posted below the framed work of art was a list of the drawings provenance, from the artist’s studio to an auction at Drouot in the 1860’s (with the lot number!) to the most recent owner.

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.35.06 AMA smiling imp by Matisse caught our eye, a curiously serene Dali, an exuberant Braques…. There were three pieces from Sonia Delaunay’s Jazz series at different galleries, a coincidence that made sense when we read that there will be two retrospectives in her honor next year, one at the Musée d’Art Modern de Paris, followed by a visit at the Tate in London.Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.33.47 AM



Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.52.23 AM

artwork by Hanna Sidorowicz

And then, coincidence of coincidence, we bumped into a friend and fellow Yogi who was there with a friend of her own. It must have been destiny, because given the crush of people, its fairly remarkable we saw anybody, much less recognized them! I was so excited to learn that the friend’s friend is the accomplished artist Hanna Sidorowicz, a gracious woman who smiled generously at the camera I virtually shoved in her face.Hanna draws her inspiration from the work that surrounded us, so we kept our visit brief and continued along, viewing the winners of the Contemporary Drawings prize and a small collection from the Musée des Beaux Arts in Nancy before stumbling upon our favorite work of the evening, a series of eloquent lines that flowed from the pen of Henri Matisse, forming the seductive trace of a woman, the arch in her back full of longing.

The Salon du Dessin is at the Bourse until March 31.

An interview with Fiona Shaw

Screen shot 2014-01-30 at 3.46.08 PMLast night I felt like I had been caught in a bubble of sea foam and transported into a nautical dream as I watched the enthalling Fiona Shaw perform The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at the endearingly nostalgic Bouffes du Nord theater. I was so inspired that I asked Ms Shaw for an interview.

The actress and the show’s director Phyllida Lloyd (famous for Mamma Mia!) came up with the idea to perform this poem while sitting in the director’s cluttered kitchen. They were both coming out of a very hectic period and want to work on a small little project they could perform in a home, with friends. Already famous for interpreting TS Elliot’s The Waste Land for film and stage, Ms Shaw was on familiar ground with poetry, and like The Waste Land, this project grew into something much larger than they had ever imagined. It is now a Production that demands tremendous preparation as it travels the globe.

I floated to the vibrations of Ms Shaw’s mesmerizing voice last night, with familiar verses of this long forgotten (by me) poem bringing me back to land every now and again; “water, water, everywhere… all things great and small…” reminding that we were in Paris.

Walking into Ms Shaw’s spartan dressing room, I was struck by her eyes, exuding a soft warmth you could almost touch. She is at home while far from home and is quick to welcome others into her sphere with an easy smile and firm grip. Dressed in relaxing clothes for the hours of rehearsal ahead, two pairs of canvas sneakers abandoned on the floor, she offered me a seat.

I explained that I would be asking her how Paris stimulated her 5 senses, starting with my personal interpretation of touch; her favorite thing to do. “Perform” she replied before I had even finished my sentence. I suspect that this is what she loves to do where ever she lands, but in Paris she particularly loves the audience and how they are so attuned to the performance, even able to respond to the comic moments the horrific Greek tragedy, Medea. And one of the highlights of her entire career, for reasons she can not even identify today, was performing Richard II at Bobigny.

Her favorite flavour? While the reply took a little longer, she is very confident that it is the wine.

Discussing her vision of Paris, the actress closed her eyes, sat straight up and took us both to the Ile Saint Louis where the streets show visitors the Paris of another era with time worn paving stones scrubbed smooth.

Not far away, standing on the Pont Neuf, the fragrance of the Seine is her Paris, with the same smells that the nun’s would breath in centuries ago, as they passed by the Conciergerie. It is the smell of history and it is the history of this place that makes the city work for Ms Shaw.

The sound of Paris is the sound of the pavement, the low layers of cars whisking by, heels clacking, feet scuffling. And it is the church bells on Sunday, a different sound than the sound of church bells in her native Ireland, a blue sound that rings through the uniquely blue skies of Paris.



Just in time for Valentine’s…

Screen shot 2014-01-27 at 4.41.30 PM

Last weekend M French and I exercised his Christmas present, an annual pass to the Grand Palais and the exhibitions of the Réunion des Muséees Nationaus to walk past all the Parisians standing in the cold and waiting up to 2.5 hours to the jewels of Cartier.

Entering the opulent hall, a jewel-toned kaleidescope projected on the ceiling nearly took our breath away. Which was a pretty impressive feat given the astonishing jewels that sparkled as far as our eyes could see.   Screen shot 2014-01-27 at 4.40.44 PM Screen shot 2014-01-27 at 4.41.14 PMYou’d think that an exhibition dedicated to jewels wouldn’t interest a man, but a certain maharajah was one of the jewelry house’s biggest clients and they certainly mastered the art of pleasing men, creating an entire series of magical clocks that hide the mechanics in the most mysterious and elegant way. I still don’t understand how they do it, and I read the explanation twice, in both French and English! There were gorgeous pieces, astounding stones and lots of history with the tiaras and parures of women like Wallace-Simpson, Princess Grace and Elizabeth Taylor. A dress woven in gold and silver threads, illustrations from BonTon fashion magazine and the chronology of the displays put everything in the context of the fashion of the time. Screen shot 2014-01-27 at 4.39.44 PM

And then there were the tiaras. Simply stunning.

More on the exhibition and how to get (highly recommended) tadvance tickets… click here

For more tiaras and jewels, visit my Facebook page

Amsterdam museums

Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 11.30.50 AMThe reason I wanted to go to Amsterdam was rather devious. 15 years ago I had an Indonesian meal there that was of my favorite meals ever, right up there with Aquapazzo in Venise and St Placide in St Malo. Home sick for anything close to resembling serious spices in Paris, I’ve been wanting to return, so badly that it had become something of a obsession with me.

Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 11.30.04 AMThere was no way I was going to tempt Mr French with a holiday based solely on the memory of a meal I had enjoyed over a decade ago; I needed to find a lure. Skimming the net, I found that the newly renovated Rjksmuseum had made it to somebody’s Top 10 museums in the world list. I had my bait! In addition to the fine art museum, there is a newly renovated contemporary art museum, a highly regarded science museum, a maritime museum, the Tropen museum on the Dutch colonies, the FOAM photography museum, Rembrandt’s house, Anne Frank’s house, a Jewish history museum and several private homes that are now open to the public. And unlike Paris, many of them stay open for New Years Day!

I booked my Indonesian restaurant, just to be sure they were open over the holidays and would have a table for us, then I cast my line and suggested we go to Amsterdam for a museum holiday. Mr French bit my squiggling worm hook, line and sinker. I booked the Sir Albert Hotel through the Splendia website, pre-purchased museum tickets, loaded up the car and we were off, the girls snoring in the back seat as we crossed borders and sped by polders. Windmills started popping up in the landscape… cyclists, grazing sheep and canals. We were in Holland!

Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 11.31.10 AMThe Dutch spent an entire decade renovating their star museum and it is beautiful, featuring a large, glass topped hall that is flooded with lone of the country’s rarest commodities; light. Just before Christmas was a terrible time to go, the place was more crowded than the Louvre in July and without the infrastructure to handle it. Even with tickets in hand, our line went outside the building and around the corner, full of people anxious to see what was new. And there was plenty to see.

Every single work of art had been moved into a new space. Only Rembrandt’s Night Watchmen had kept its original space, dominating the central hall surrounded by masterpieces. The best part of the Rjksmuseum are the descriptions. There is an interesting text for almost every piece, explaining the history of the work or giving an interesting detail about the art. You learn all kinds of random facts; foot warmers symbolised love in Vermeer’s time, a sea captain once burnt his ship so it wouldn’t be caught by the enemy and some profiteering merchants then made a fortune selling bits of burnt wood from the “ship”, swan feathers look amazing when depicted in reds, blues and greens.

Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 11.32.38 AMThe museum is huge and after several hours, the girls and I were ready for a break. We’d seen the entire 2nd floor, all of it fascinating, it slightly overwhelming, and we’d spent nearly 20 minutes just looking at the 4 Vermeers. It had been a feast for the eyes, but we were now ready to feed our tummies. Mr French could have stayed all day, but the cafeteria was overflowing and he relented when I promised we’d come back. And we did, on New Years Day, when we visited the fabulous Middle Age and Renaissance collections, as well as the disappointing modern works.

The Stedelijk, Contrmporary Art Museum was another disappointment. 20€ each for a rather small collection of minor works. I think this is quite possibly the first time I have ever given a museum a negative review. I usually just don’t mention them, but this one is on the Museumplein and it really is outrageously overpriced.

Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 11.32.06 AMHappily, there were others that made up for it. FOAM had an excellent show that was installed by the 85 year old New Yorker William Klein, featuring the evolution of his work from the late 40’s to today. Across the street, visiting the private mansion of the Van Loon Museum gave an insider’s view on the life of Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 11.31.51 AMthe descendants of the East India Company and at the port the maritime Scheepvaart Museum shows the world how interactive displays can make any subject, even boats, come to life.

We missed the Tropen museum. I’ve been wanting to go there for 20 years, and I’ve still never made it. So happy for the excuse to go back!

Braque to basics

Screen shot 2013-11-25 at 3.42.38 PMA few weeks ago I was running through the halls of the Louvre on an art inspired scavenger hunt, celebrating Halloween with ThatLou. At our first destination there were extra bonus points for finding the ceiling that Georges Braque had painted in 1963. “AHH” I squealed with glee, “We’re going to get that one, I was at his exhibition this week!”

And indeed, I had been at the exhibition with my friend the Yoga Yenta and her Mom, in town from NYC. The thing with being a Yoga Yenta is that you work in a shop. Which means rising insanely early for yoga practice, then spending the entire day on one’s feet. Even one’s Saturday. Screen shot 2013-11-25 at 3.49.56 PMWhich explains why going to an art exhibition is a rare treat for the yenta. She was excited to be there and her enthusiasm was contagious!

The show starts with his earlier works as a fauvist and we appreciated seeing how he got from realism to this :

which then evolved to this:

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I was very careful as I took my photos, focusing only on the ones where photography was permitted. I had learned my lesson from the Matisse exhibition and was not looking to cause an incident. But a guard came over any way. He started explaining the rules. I politely pointed out that I knew the rules. Then he told me the real reason he had approached me. He was a professional photographer and he could tell that my photos were crap. I was framing them all wrong. Zooming in too much and not including the frame. I needed to include the frame. I thanked him politely (ever so polite with those guards!) and asked more about his work. Did he have a website? Of course! Could I have the URL to check it out?  No so fast! Instead, he handed me his phone number and suggested I give him a call. Most creative pick up line of the year, ladies and gentlemen.

Back to Braque. The yenta and I had been wondering about him. His work seemed to mimic the work of his contemporaries. It can be hard to distinguish some Braque pieces from a Picasso or a Matisse. We were a little puzzled about that, so we started reading and learned that Georges and Pablo were inseparable pals during the early Cubist movement. They’d spend hours holed up together, cutting and pasting their collages., then heading out to share a drink at the bar downstairs. No wonder their work looked so similar, they were echoing off one another as they explored Cubism.

Screen shot 2013-11-25 at 4.05.12 PMBraque’s later work reflects the joys of falling in love and the sorrows of war time with powerful palates and the simplest of lines. As we continued through the show, I tried to add some frames to my shots. It’s not easy, as the perspective makes for funny angles. But I kept zooming out, and out and out, until I got this shot, which I was quite pleased with. In fact, going home, I realized that I take all my museum photos of individual works of art for posting on this blog or using as my iPhone background. In doing so, I was missing out on the opportunity to create a bit of art on my own. So thanks to this anonymous guard and his sage advice, I had a little taste of what Picasso and Braque may have felt, exchanging ideas and developing their images in the ever evolving process the world calls art.

The Braque exhibition is on until Jan 6, but its popular, so pre-purchase your tickets!

If running through the Louvre, taking photos and having fun with art sounds like a good night out on the town, check out ThatLou. There’s a Thanksgiving hunt coming up this week!


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