Category Archives: events

Pollock and Chamanism, a thrilling exhibition at Paris Pinacothèque

Those who, like myself, mostly knew Jackson Pollock for his large scale dripping paintings will be amazed by this Paris Pinacothèque exhibition.


As its title says, it’s a thematic exhibition. Don’t get upset by the large part of text in the first room.

seascapeSeascape 1934, Santa Fe Art Foundation, 30,4cm x 40,6cm.

equineEquine Series IV , 1944, Private Collection

The first element of surprise comes from Pollock‘s small scale figurative works.

maskMask 1941 New York MOMA

The exhibition’s choices also point out the influence of Picasso and surrealism, and after visiting it, you’ll be convinced of the importance of American Indien rites and culture in Pollock’s evolution.

masque-de-fertilite Fertility Mask , Paris, Private Collection


Birth 1938/1941 London Tate Gallery


Chaman’s Atlati, Steven Michaan  collection.

It also shows many beautiful Amerindian and Eskimo works.

frontal-fauconForehead Ornament with falcon’s head, Steven Michaan Collection.

Several beautiful pieces by André Masson are related to Jackson Pollock‘s work.

masson-massacreAndré Masson , Massacre, 1931, Paris Private Collection.

the-flameJackson Pollock, the Flame, 1934, Paris Private Collection.

And the exhibition ends just at the beginning of the Pollock we all know, but still on small scale.

untitledUntitled, 1949, Miami Private Collection, 68,5 cm x 30,5 cm.

I found it the most interesting and unexpected exhibition among the rich artisitic program we have in Paris this fall.


Pollock et le Chamanisme, up to February 15, Pinacothèque de Paris, 28 place de la Madeleine, 75008, Metro Madeleine, tel 33(0)1 42 68 02 01, open everyday 10.30 to 18, up to 21 every first Wednesday of the month. Price €9. Possibility of combined ticket for the other exhibition dedicated to Georges Rouault.

More information on


Police Raid at Paris FIAC

Last October 23 to 26, as every year, FIAC (Contemporary Art International Fair) took place under Paris Grand Palais glass roof and in Louvre Cour Carrée. But this last edition was the theater of an unexpected performance : a police raid.

The Parisian Gallery Rabouan Moussion was showing photos and videos of performances by the russian artist Oleg Kulik. On October 28, a bunch of policemen in plain clothes came in and took away some photos, arguing that they were an offense to mankind dignity and even had a zoophilic character. The instigators of this moral cruisade remain unknown.

One of Oleg Kulik‘s major topics deals with the notion of mankind, man and animal relationship and situation.

The Mad Dog , performed by Oleg Kulik.

I don’t intend to discuss here the provocative quality of this artist’s work, but if social order was damaged at the FIAC, which is not exactly a nursery, I suggest that our benevolent state authorities burn down all mythologic texts in public libraries, and withdraw from public gardens and museums walls the representations inspired by this zoophilic legends.

I have some propositions :

Pan teaching flute (and God knows what else) to a very young Daphnis. A marble Roman copy of a Greek sculpture ( Heliodore III century B.C.), found in Pompei and exhibited in Naples National Acheological Museum.

Io and Zeus (half bull, half cloud) by Il Coreggio, 1530, are giving a terrible example ( though very hard to imitate) in Wien Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemälde Galerie.

Leda and the Swann,   Veronese workshop, circa 1560, Fesch Museum, Ajaccio.

Warning : swanns usually have a very bad temper and bite hard.

Le Minotaure et sa Femme (1937) as well as the Faune blessé (1939) by Pablo Picasso are part of the exhibition Picasso et les Maîtres in Paris Grand Palais, which runs up to February 2, and if the vice police squad does nothing about it, millions of people will have look at these.

If you wish to see Oleg Kulik‘s censored photos, go to

And if you’re interested in uncorrect contemporary art, you may go to or pay a visit to the gallery, 121 rue Vieille du Temple 75003 Paris, metro Saint-Paul.

Paris october 2008 : opening of the 104, a major cultural event

Last Saturday, October 12, after two years of work and suspense, a great new artistic center, the Centquatre, was finally opened to public.

Part of the event is that it is located in a somewhat derelicted area in Paris 19ème arrondissement. It is named after its address : 104 rue d’Aubervilliers.

Built in 1873, this beautiful glass and iron structure was closed since 1997 after being Paris Municipal Funeral Service headquarters for a century.

Now it’s dedicated to all forms of living art, and its opening was a great success. During the afternoon, it got so crowded that a huge file had to wait in the street to come in.

Actually, the place is made of two glass halls, and has another entrance on rue Curial # 5.

On the rue Curial side, you can look at a large picture showing “the chaos” during the renovation made by the architects of Novembre workshop

Now, on two levels and 39000 m2, there are 18 artists workshops, two rooms of 200 and 400 hundred seats, besides the glass halls.

There are organized children activities, and on the opening day, many plaid with a scale model.

Among the many works in progress on that day, some will be going on:

Nicolas Simarik offers you to recycle your old keys, or to make a double of the one you carry with you. Then you get in exchange another key, the key of the centquatre . This key opens one of the boxes along the wall, composing an After Calendar, where you’ll find a surprise : an invitation to discover some unusual place in Paris.

Key gathering goes on up to December 31, Wednesday to Sunday from 12 to 20.

On both sides of the halls are long narrow English courtyards, transformed into evoluting gardens by Coloco, a group of three landscape architects. People of the neighborhood have been collecting local plants which now grow in these courts.

Convex mirrors on the wall give distorted reflects of the place.

Composer Gerard Pesson has created for the occasion Pompes/Circonstances, several musical pieces which will played on each new moon.

On Saturday 12, a musical action was performed by  Spat Sonore

They will be part of the first performance of Pompes/Circonstances, on October 28 at 19.

And next performances will take place on each new moon evening up 2010.

There is also restaurant and a bookshop, where of course you can find Pompes Funèbres by Jean Genet.

Le Centquatre is opened everyday, Tuesday to Saturday from 11 to 23, Sunday and Monday from 11 to 20. All information, program, history of the place – also available in english version – on .

104 rue d’Aubervilliers and 5 rue Curial, 75019 Paris. Metro Riquet. Entrance is free, but concerts, exhibitions and some events are 5 or 7 € . Information and reservation at 33(0)153 35 50 00 Monday to Friday  14 to 18, or on You can also buy tickets on the spot.

Paris 08 wakeful night : my report

It was a bit chilly Saturday night, but nothing compared to the rain and wind on Friday, so there was a crowd of people pacing around Paris for this seventh Nuit Blanche.  Paris railway stations were the main theater of event.

Before 10 PM a thick crowd had already gathered around Gare de Lyon

to watch the shooting of a Bollywood clip directed by Indian director Shaad Ali :

People waited patiently, some wondering at how long it takes to register a few seconds shot, and whispered “hush” as soon as play-back started. Lovely.

A shining ancient car was parked in front of Gare de Bercy

It’s not an installation, it’s an advertisement :

But on the outside parking lot, a red coupé was the centre of attraction :

Sitting in front, a male and a female figures with white heads.

The couple was having small talk : “He” asks “her” “-Do you think you can drive?” and argued on some philosophical or artistic issues. Only their lips and very reallistic eyes moved.

It was “Autoportrait” by Magdalena Kunz and Daniel Glaser, two artists living in Switzerland, in Zurich, where their creatures’car came from.

Outside Gare Saint-Lazare, you could watch and listen to the Sound of the Microclimates by the English duo SemiconductorRuth Jarman and Joe Gehrardt –

Inside the station -which is being renovated – sound and pictures all over the place

getting more and more abstract

Later on, the Marais area was heavily crowded, but everyone could see night and day coexisting on the freshly renovated Tour Saint-Jacques. This is the work of Chinese Gu Dexin

and it was different on every angle :

You had to wait long to enter Musee Carnavalet and live the quick but unusual experience of walking through a wall inyo a foggy dark unknown :

It was Going Through Walls by Gints Gabrans.

Paris Jazz Club paid a tribute to Stephane Grapelli on rue des Lombards at Baiser Salé and Duc des Lombards, but seeing a huge line in front of each, we went away.

In the Archives Nationales people could listen to a classic jam performed by young musicians from National Paris and Lyon Conservatoires.

It was an opportunity to walk around the beautiful courtyard of Hotel Soubise. Concerts took place inside and outside too.

You could sit in Eglise Saint-Paul to attend to Station to Station by Jeremy Blake

Five digital animations about traveling from one station to another

We were deeply disappointed arriving at midnight thirty at Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme where the installation Gute Nacht by Christian Boltanski, Franck Krawczyk and Jean Kalman took place, and finding the door closed. It had ended at midnight. And we were even more disappointed when we were told how great it had been.

But something comforted us : entering  Hotel d’Albret on rue des Francs-Bourgeois, we could be part of a great internet performance. Initiated by French director  Véronique Aubouy, offers all internet people to read one of the 3424 pages of French writer Marcel Proust‘s huge masterpiece, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu.

Recordings are going on since Saturday September 27 in Théâtre Paris-Vilette 211 avenue Jean Jaures 75019 Paris, up to October 12. You can record yourself  with your  webcam up to October 26. Pages are selected at random and then edited in order : 170 hours of reading.

I was very happy to end this new Nuit Blanche by reading one page of A l’ombre des Jeunes Filles en Fleurs.

If you wish to be part of this, you can get more information on

Register or select a recorded page on

Paris October 4 : a colorful wakeful night

If you stay in Paris next week-end, save your Saturday evening, and may be the whole night, to walk around Paris and discover the seventh Wakeful Night.

This year’s edition is mostly dedicated to video and film.

If you choose east Paris, on metro line 14 between Cour Saint-Emilion and Gare de Lyon stations, an editing of space conquest footages by Artavazd Pelechian will make feel like taking off at Bercy railway station :

and in front of Gare de Lyon, you’ll can watch the shooting of a Bollywood Film directed by Shaad Ali:

And if you’re in a romantic mood, go back towards the center, near Bastille, and stop at La maison Rouge 10 bd de la Bastille, to take part in Christian Boltanski’ work les archives du coeur, and have your heartbeat (and your sweetheart’s too ) registered on a CD.

From there, you may go towards Marais and see the Saint Jacques tower in a day and night light, thanks to Gu Dexin :

and though I have no preview of it, I would suggest, if you are walking in this area, to stop at the Museum of Judaism Art, 71 rue du Temple, and see snow falling all night : Gute Nacht by Christian Boltanski, Franck Krawczyk and Jean Kalman.

Many things to see and listen too around Montparnasse and Saint-Germain. For example, if you feel home sick, go to Saint-Germain Church  to listen to Patti Smith:

Many places to visit around Gare Saint-Lazare and Champs-Elysées, as Brillant Noise by the British  SEMICONDUCTOR, as well as around Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, where Pierrick Sorin might ask you to pose for a family portrait.

More information to plan your night trip on :

And if you’re travelling with kids, there is a special program made for you and them by Paris Mômes, including Nabaz Mob, cour Saint-Emilion, a choir of a hundred of Nabaztags composed by Antoine Schmitt and Jean-Jacques Birgé (starts at 20 PM) :

and crossing the Seine by passerelle Simone de Beauvoir, go up to rue Paul Klee, to watch “la danse de la fontaine émergeante” (the dance of the uprising fountain) :

For more information, you can upload this program on

Let’s hope that weather will be on our side!

Have a great Nuit Blanche , and I’ll be back next week with some pictures and my report.

Andrea Mantegna’s paintings in Paris Musée du Louvre

There are many reasons to pay a visit to Paris Musée du Louvre, and this fall provides a very special one : Mantegna 1431 – 1506.  The last exhibition dedicated to this star painter of Italian Renaissance took place in London in 1992, so this one is a real event.

Don’t get fooled by the apparent quietness in the lobby, people gather under the Sully aisle esclator, you have to stand in line for a while and it’s a bit crowdy inside, so I would suggest you to come early morning, or for nocturnes, or to make a reservation.

But you should’not miss this. For the first time – at least for decades- the exibition shows most of Mantegna’s remaining works, gathered from museums all around the world.

This Saint Marc leaning on a “trompe-l’oeil” balcony comes from Städelesches Kunsshalle in Frankfurt am Main, and Mantegna painted it in Padoue in 1450, when he was about nineteen.

This wonderful Saint Jérôme in the Wilderness comes from San Paolo Museum of Art and was painted in the same years.

The exhibition follows a chronological path, pointing the artist’s influences, his followers and the contemporary painters he knew, in the first place Giovanni Bellinni, who was also his step-brother.  It refreshens our perception of the cultural and political exchanges and habits in European countries during the fifteenth century. Mantegna‘s painting turned the gothic page and opened the Quattrocento, which partly explains why he was so famous in his time.

Christ in the olive trees garden, painted in 1455, comes from London National Gallery.

This gathering makes clear some of the artist’s major topics, how he used the frame, trompe l’oeil effects, the underneath point of view, perspective and various scales, hyper realistic details and fantasmatic visions, which explains why his work interested or inspired many later artists, and is still fascinating.

The exhibition is also made for children. Next to some pictures, cardboards invite them to focus on some detail, to look for a rider hidden in a cloud, for animals, for what’s going on in the background…  ..

We can regret that the absence of the Dead Christ, who stayed hanged on a wall of Milan‘s Brera Pinacotheca, but fortunately Madrid Prado Museum has let go this fascinating Death of the Virgin (1461), which actually represents a most beautifully staged portrait of the city of Mantoue (the city of his new sponsor)

This version of Saint Sebastien (1470) comes from Wien Kunsthistoriches Museum.

And this theatrical Judith and Holopherne (1495) comes from Washington National Gallery of Art.

But the Madona of Victory (circa 1596) is a resident of Paris Musée du Louvre.

His engravings, sketches…are fascinating too, and above all  the frescoes that could not be moved, so that we’ll have to go to Italy to see what’s left of them – but who would complain about this ?

Meanwhile, this Paris exhibition is a must, and a delight

Mantegna 1431 – 1506, Musée du Louvre, aile Sully (enter under the pyramid) metro Palais-Royal, tel 33(0)1 40 20 53 17, open everyday except Tuesday 9 to 18, Wednesday and Friday up to 22. Up to January 5. Entrance €9,50  (€13, or €11 at night, if you wish to visit some other part of the museum, but then, take a break, it’s a a very rich exhibition and you don’t want to look at something else right away ).

To buy your tickets previously you may go on :

or :


More information on :

Walk among glittering crystals in Paris Parc de Bagatelle

Bagatelle is a beautiful ancient romantic garden, created in queen Marie-Antoinette’s time, and located in Bois de Boulogne. It is famous for its gorgeous roses, but this fall, all great French historical crystal trademarks have joined their talents to change Bagatelle into crystal gardens

On a beautiful day, it’s a lovely destination, but forget it if it’s grey.

Ever lasting water lilies glitter in the sun.

Palm trees are heavy with shimmering glass fruits,

or blue flowers,

and fountains look frozen.

Walk in the Trianon to look at more traditional crystal works, like this chandelier.

Outside, crystal swans float along with their shiny transparent reflection,

but it takes more to to disturb living swans.

All these dreamy pictures were taken by my friend Anne Marie Dumas.

Jardins de Cristal à Bagatelle, every day 10 to 18 up to November 8, entrance €3.

Bagatelle garden is route de Sèvres, Bois de Boulogne. Metro Pont de Neuilly + bus 43 up to Neuilly-Parc de Bagatelle (end of the line). But you can also take bus 43 from Gare du Nord, or Gare Saint Lazare and ride all the way by bus. It might take a little longer, but it’s a nice trip through Paris.