Monday, June 30, 2008

Your Social Life In Paris!

Hello dear patient FBC! readers!

So I'm finally almost over the jetlag and able to write without too many typos. As many as usual, but less than what I produced last week in the few emails I've sent to my friends (sorry guys).
It's almost July, and the loaded amongst you want to know, what is it that's good in Paris? Where should I direct my post-shopping sore feet and look at decent art

Well, my Frenchy self in fact spent very little time there, stuck that I was with depressing family duties in Normandy. I've done only ONE art thing in Paris, and it was outside Paris proper: I went to see the fabulous Legende show at the Domaine de Chamarande, curated by FBC!'s pal and legendary curator Alexis Vaillant. It's totally worth taking a suburban train and do a 45 minutes ride (on weekends) to that tiny village. I'll review the show soonish and will put up as many pix as Blogger allows with this template.

Meanwhile, there were many good or interesting things to see in Paris, according to what my art friends there told me. I'm starting with the few ones I regret missing. First, the group show l'Argent at Le Plateau. Then the Bridget Riley retrospective at the Musee d'Art Moderne de La Ville de Paris (sorry, cannot link, server doesn't respond!), a show that would have been totally impossible 7 or 8 years ago, and now, thanks to shows such as Beyond Geometry, it's now OK again to like Op Art (a totally discredited movement when I was a student, to the point that we never even mentioned it in class).
Another show I regret missing is the Alain Sechas one at the Bourdelle museum in Paris, where he's exhibiting an animated sculpture you can see on his website (click on the Quicktime icon to watch a movie of the piece). Alain is a friend and one of a handful of French artists I find unfairly under-estimated. He is also showing at Sonsbeek 2008 this Summer, the sculpture festival in the Netherlands were, among others, Robert Smithson and Mike Kelley have created legendary pieces in the past.

In another lesser-known Paris museum, the Musee Maillol, was a show titled "China Gold", a very indecent and apt description, I guess, of the Western rush on the Chinese market, as it seems it is all what Chinese contemporary art is all about if we believe what we can read here and there in the Western art press (check James Elaine's blog on the Hammer site for a different point of view). I would have liked to see that show to de visu understand what this is all about, as there is in fact very little Chinese art to reach ours shores and whatever we're shown has a tendency to be derivative and be massively painting-oriented (and Pop-ish). Which I suspect is only the tip of the iceberg.

Lastly, they were 2 shows I didn't think about whatsoever, if only because they scream "Blue chip! Establishment! Boomers! Born-Again Catholics! Curators hailing from the decadent French aristocracy!" One was Richard Serra at the Grand Palais, where I'm sure his work must look fabulous compared to the much smaller space of BCAM. I used to really like Richard Serra, and I still do, and I think his work totally fits the monumentality of that type of space, but I'm not terribly excited about, hmm, the newness of it. If you follow my meaning. There's even good old Yve-Alain Bois interviewing Serra on the website. How about some youngish writer-curator to do the same?
The second show sounded so unappealing I never, for the life of me, would have even thought about seeing it, it's the Spirituality-Is-The-New-Art-Religion-Confusion at the Pompidou. The banner is atrociously ugly, for one thing. And the subject is the most boring this side of Painting Is Dead But Is Still Alive.
But, according to friends who saw it, some of the works are to die for, even if they are clearly miscast within the concept.

Lastly, I didn't have the opportunity to see the tastefully titled Superdome at the Palais de Tokyo, but according to friends it's just as well, though there's also a Jonathan Monk solo show, whose work I adore. There's also an installation by infamous Christoph Büchel. Crazy the number of Swiss artists showing there since Marc-Olivier Wahler became director there. Did you know it yourself, that Swiss art was the most fabulous in the world?

Neither could I go gallery-hopping so I cannot really tell you what to go see in Paris galleries, but I'd like to signal to your attention the opening of a new gallery, Gaudel de Sampa. The program looks promising. And of course, there's Reena Spaulings at Chantal Crousel

Pix: The entrance to the castle in Chamarande, the inside of the Chapel (it has a very good sound installation), and a view of the Paris sky above the Seine river and the Grand Palais.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

This Is Not 1990s German Photography

Just because I'm very jetlagged and cannot really write without misspelling words, I'm posting 2 pictures.
One is titled "Ceci n'est pas un Thomas Struth" and the other "Ceci n'est pas un Andreas Gursky" (for those of you who know early Gursky).
In addition, a piece of news I heard last night and that by now you should all know: Philippe Vergne, my fellow countryman, has been appointed director of DIA. Congrats Philippe, and good luck for your new adventures!

[and yes, I know Philippe but only slightly. I went to school with his sister, and we have run into each other a few times over the last decade or so, but that's the extent of our acquaintance. I wonder if he's on Facebook?].

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FBC! Back In La La Land!

Hello dear devoted, beloved and patient readers,

FBC! is back from a harrowing trip in Sarkozyland, jetlagged and busy with errands but soon functional again. Plus, I now have reunited with a decent internet connection. This wi-fi thing is a great idea on paper, but in practice there are not too many open networks to piggyback on.
So in the next few days check this space for: a review of the Legende show in Chamarande, our regular feature Your Social Life, some recipes and other stuff.
Meanwhile, have a good one, and see you soon in this space.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Images Without (Too Many) Words

FBC! is surrounded by very ancient people who do not go gentle into that good night. It can be sad, it can be hilarious, it can be taxing, it can be touching, it can be difficult, it can be beautiful, there can be real happiness in it.
For all of you, everywhere, a few images. Have a great weekend.

Your Social Life, Europe Edition

If, unlike me, you are not stuck with family obligations in your native backwater of a hometown, you probably wonder what to do this weekend?
Well, jump in the first plane and head over to nüans in Düsseldorf to see the Documental show about video in Los Angeles. It opens tomorrow with a performance by FBC! gal pal and favorite LA Art Girl Nancy Popp. Unfortunately their website isn't updated and the press release is on a pdf doc I cannot copy. But the address is on the link, it starts at 7PM tomorrow evening. Go say hi to Nancy for me, if Doris Krystof from K21 is there ditto, and drink a couple glasses of sekt for me. Thanks!
If you're in Paris this weekend, say hi to Matthieu Laurette, an old pal of FBC! too, when you head over to Le Plateau for the opening of l'Argent, a group show about what else? Money, and maybe it also references the Zola book and the Bresson or L'Herbier movies. French people hate to speak about money, it is plain rude, so I'd be curious to see the show if I can. FBC! will be at the total opposite of Paris for only a few days next week, so not sure I'll be able to make it. I'll try, as well as the show at Le Palais de Tokyo, and of course, Legende at the Domaine de Chamarande.

Pix: courtesy Nancy Popp. Nancy, if you ever climb Chris Burden's street lights at LACMA, be careful not to damage the paint, OK? Good luck for tomorrow's performance!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

FBC! Neither Here Nor There Until The End Of The Month

Helloooooo everybody,

I'm in a better mood than Sunday, and thanks to those of you who worried about me. To make a long story short, not only Mam'zelle VaVaVoom (her new name is The Money Pit) starts only when she wants to, but I'm also experiencing a recurrence of the whiplash pains I endured last Summer after that stupid car accident. Which makes very uncomfortable writing, sitting, holding my head, and generally do things (I should have sued that guy's insurance, dammit). So I'm not being as efficient as I'd love to, which is a bummer as I'm packing up and running around everywhere before I go back to Ugly Sarkozyland in a couple of days. I'm not looking forward to being on a plane for 12 hours, let me tell you.
So I'm not sure whether I'll be able to write/post/blog when I'm away, as I've got to take care of very elderly members of my family, and see some real doctors for myself back home.

Anyway, check this space occasionally. I may post some pix. I won't be able to see many shows, if I do it will likely be the latest at the Palais de Tokyo, and Legend at the Domaine de Chamarande. I'll report on these after I get back.
Meanwhile, have fun without me (hard, I know), and drop me a line from time to time to tell me what you do. See you in a few weeks!

PS: I'm experimentally installing the Google Adsense thingy to the blog to clutter your reading with commercial advertisement. If it pays for Pomme food I'm afraid it may stay here permanently, if it doesn't I'll get rid of it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tout Fout Le Camp. Yves Saint-Laurent, RIP

Yves Saint-Laurent has left this world to join Christian Dior. Story here. And information about his life and work, here.
I knew it was a depressing Sunday.
Picture from the V&A website.


Sorry I left you out in the cold, dearest FBC! readers, I've been again struck by good luck, ha!
So, I'm afraid I'm going to let you all alone for a little while, I'm sure you'll welcome the quiet respite. Meanwhile, I have a couple barter proposals for you to consider. Please drop me a line at FBC! if you're interested.

1. I'd exchange a 2001 red Hyundai Tiburon against a Honda Civic, any year between 1996 and now, mileage between 100 and 150K. The Tiburon has had over $700 of work put in it over the last month or so, but it starts only after AAA tows it to a mechanic. If you keep it running continuously (thus generously contributing to global warming) it's fine. Just never switch off the ignition. It has only 83,000 miles on the original engine.
If you don't have a Civic, I'd consider a horse and a few riding lessons.

2. I'd exchange [I'll let you figure out that one] against some cool, reliable, nice, smart and funny new friends. Bonus if your friends live in the Mid-City/Mid-Wilshire area.

3. I'd exchange my non-paying, blogging occupation against a curator job, possibly in Los Angeles. I curate shows that attracts foot traffic, are fun and highly unusual. I stay within budget and even raise money I do not use, and all publications I've put together have sold out extremely fast. Be prepared to deal with a very art historically minded curator: I'm interested in work with lasting power for the collection. I refuse to get artworks in the collection only because the artist is cute.

4. I'd exchange cooking and baking lessons against a good health insurance. See the blog for ideas of what I could teach you to make. I can also show you how to shop for healthy, quality food. The health insurance should cover back surgery and spinal injuries rehab.

5. I'd exchange roughly 400 or 500 books or so against a TV that's not ugly, and some speakers for my iPod. The books' subject are, in descending order: 1. Philosophy and critical theory, 2. Anthropology, sociology, history. 3. Art history, art catalogues. 4 Fiction (mostly contemporary) 5. Terrible detective novels 6. Cookbooks.
Please be aware 80% of the non-fiction books are in French.

So if you have all of these (1. and 2. are what I need most), let me know. Meanwhile, no FBC! until July or so, if I reopen the blog. It's a it complicated to report on art stuff when your car isn't reliable. So no reviews of th California Video show, which I was set to see today.
Ah, I'm not exchanging Pomme against anything else on the planet. I just love that picture of her. It makes me want to be Pomme.