Paris, Je t’aime (Part I)
I’m lucky enough to wake up every day and feel grateful for being a New Yorker and living in my favorite city in the world. However, what I have with Paris is an affair of the heart. There’s no other place with as much flair, glamour and overall beauty as the City of Lights! I was in Paris with my husband for a few days to welcome the Spring and not only the weather was perfect but I got to do so many things that I’ve been having a hard time editing this post (and the next) so that only the absolute best gets to be highlighted here.
On the arts and exhibitions side, I must say that my favorite show was “Tous Cannibales” at Maison Rouge http://www.lamaisonrouge.org/. Wonderfully curated by Jeanette Zwingenberger, the show relies heavily on contemporary artists who have explored cannibalism and its representation in visual arts including photography, video, installation, sculpture, drawing and painting. I loved the amount of pieces brought together, some of them by my favorite artists including Vik Muniz, Wangechi Mutu, Adriana Varejao, Cindy Sherman, Bettina Rheims and my latest obsession, French artist, Jerome Zonder. One of the focal points of ”Tous Cannibales” is Canadian artist Jana Sterback’s “Robe de Chair pour Albinos Anorexique,” a dried meat piece of garment which was created in 1987, has been exhibited all over the world and happens to be what sparked Lady Gaga’s inspiration for her infamous meat dress. Who would have thought?
Another show that I enjoyed was “Ailleurs,” which translates into “Somewhere Else,”exhibited at the gorgeous Espace Culturel Luis Vuitton http://www.louisvuitton.com/espaceculturel/ (which by the way has the most beautiful panoramic views of Paris). “Ailleurs” highlights the extraordinary expeditions of 15 artists to very remote places through mixed media including video, photography, installations and paintings. My favorite was the installation of the Argentinean couple Jorge and Lucy Orta, who recreated an Antarctic village incorporating flags from different countries, very, very cool.
Two other exhibitions I absolutely loved married the wonders of art and fashion: L’ Orients des Femmes” at the Musee du Quai Branly http://www.quaibranly.fr/en/programmation/exhibitions/currently.html and Rive Gauche” at the Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent http://www.fondation-pb-ysl.net/en/The-goals-272.html
“L’ Orient des Femmes” at the Musee du Quai Branly was curated by no other than Christian Lacroix and it is an exceptional trip to the past that allows the spectators to enjoy the most wonderful and bright dresses and accessories worn by the women of the Middle East since the beginnings of civilization, simply AMAZING.
"Rive Gauche” at the Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent located at 5, Avenue Marceau is where YSL opened a store and atelier in 1974. Of sentimental and historic value and full of the spirit of YSL, the show touched me profoundly: first because the place really feels as if Monsieur Saint Laurent were still to be there, overlooking everything and getting his creative genius outpouring everywhere and second because of all the 59 outfits exhibited, which are iconic Rive Gauche selections from 1966 to 1975, there is absolutely not a single one I wouldn’t wear today. That’s how amazingly ahead of his time YSL was.
Last but not least was my visit to the galleries. I ALWAYS got to the galleries in Paris, because of my job and because of the thrill of discovering something new. I did visit more than ten galleries from super established and high-end to emerging and edgy. My two highlights, however, are the Eva Hober Gallery http://www.evahober.com/, which represents the GENIOUS that is Jerome Zonder, a 36 year old French artist whose technique is basically graphite on paper but with a degree of precision and detail that I have rarely seen before, particularly in a contemporary artist. He also has an edge, a good amount of very French dark humor and one of his explored themes are children who do sordid things, play with knives and wear masks in the shape of smiling faces. Jerome’s art is so brilliant that I’m literally lining up to buy one of his pieces.
The other super cool gallery that I visited is the “School Gallery” http://www.schoolgallery.fr/schoolgallery/
which was presenting the original embroideries and tapestries of Yveline Tropea, a French artist who lives in Africa and plays with vibrant colors, mixed media, self portrait and lots of fantasy characters. The show is aptly called "Like a Virgin" given all of Tropea's explorations with religious symbolism and imagery that show her as a Madonna complete with her child. The highlight of the “School Gallery” wasn’t Tropea’s show, but his curator and gallery owner, Olivier Castaing. Olivier is a handsome, charming Parisian who was delighted to walk us through the exhibition and tell us everything about it, but most importantly, he took us to his apartment where he has the most amazing art collection with lots of emerging art and more established pieces. Loved him and his generous spirit! I will leave this long post now and continue next week with more Parisian stuff (I said it above; it has been hard editing it!)