Category Archives: exhibitions

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.

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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

birthatlati-de-chaman

Birth 1938/1941 London Tate Gallery

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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.

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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 http://www.pinacotheque.com/

From Miro to Warhol, the Berardo collection in Paris Musée du Luxembourg.

Up to February 22, Paris Musée du Luxembourg shows a selection of the Berardo Collection.

The  billboard shows a reproduction of Tom Wesselmann‘s  Great American Nude (1963), and this charming exhibition shows 76 modern art pieces of the 862 collected by Jose Bernardo. It reminds you that you should take trip to Lisbon and pay a visit to the Belem Cultural Center to see the whole Berardo Collection.

But for the present, it’s nice to walk through this accurate selection of abstract, surrealist, pop art works, from the twenties to the sixties.

Joan Miro, l’Homme à la Bougie,(Man with a candle) 1925

Max Ernst, Coquilles Fleuries (shells in blossom) 1929

Victor Brauner, le Chevalier de glace (the Ice Knight) 1938

Lourdes Castro, Ombre projetée de Claudine Bury, 1964

Andy Warhol, Ten-Foot Flowers, 1967

De Miro à Warhol, la collection Berardo à Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, 19 rue de Vaugirard 75006 Paris, Metro Saint-Sulpice, up to February 22, everyday 10.30 to 19, up to 22 on Monday, Friday, Saturday. Tel 33(0)1 44 13 17 64. Price €11.

More information and reservation on : http://www.museeduluxembourg.fr/

Though it’s more comfortable to have a reservation than to stand in line under the rain, you may try going in at noon or in the evening (around 19) on the days when the museum opens late.


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 http://www.photo.fr/blog/31-Censure-a-la-FIAC-2008-Les-photos-interdites-de-Oleg-Kulik.html

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

Paris Film Library celebrates Dennis Hopper

Paris Cinémathèque, located in the beautiful building designed by Frank Gehri, is showing a retrospective of films played or directed by Dennis Hopper ( first part up to December 1), and a temporary exhibition :  Dennis Hopper and the new Hollywood.

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All the works presented in this exhibition come from Dennis Hopper’s personal collection ans he was involved in their setting.

This picture of a room shows two photographic portraits of Dennis Hopper, framing a billboard size self-portrait (Self portrait at the porn stand – 1962 / 2000 for the billboard enlargement and painting), in front of a large canvas :

Billboard Factory, Multi image of a woman’s face, Dennis Hopper 1964 – 2000

This very rich and varied exhibition gives another image of Dennis Hopper, besides the hippie byker of the cult film Easy Rider (which he directed in 1969) and his terrific performance of Frank Booth in David Lynch‘s Blue Velvet.(1986)

This Ready Made, Entrance (1963) is co-signed Marcel Duchamp/ Dennis Hopper.

The exhibition points out the close relation between New Hollywood and Pop Art.

Twice Dennis Hopper by Andy Warhol (1971)

Warhol with flower by Dennis Hopper ( 2000: billboard enlargement and painting of a 1963 photo)

Wilhold the Mirror, Dennis Hopper 1961

Chevy, Dennis Hopper 1956/2000

Hopper by Julian Schnabel 1991

Besides Hopper’s own production, his collection shows works by artists like Warhol and Basquiat, or Schnabel, who is also a film director, paintings by actors like Vigo Mortensen or Dean Stockwell.

Bijou Dream Ben Talbert 1965

And of course, precious film memories, like this gorgeous poster by B.L. Gary of Night Tide, an independant film directed by Curtis Harrington.

Or this autographed photo by Victor Skrebneski – who made many portraits of Dennis Hopper – showing Hopper sitting next to John Ford an John Huston. Historical and New Hollywood in the same bed in Palm Springs in 1971.

Exhibition Dennis Hopper et le Nouvel Hollywood, up to January 19, Monday to Saturday 12 to 19 (closed on Tuesday) , up to 22 on Thursday, Sunday 10 to 20, Cinémathèque Française, 51 rue de Bercy 75012 Paris, Metro Bercy. Price € 7. Information  33(0)1 71 19 33 33.

More information and Reservation on http://www.cinematheque.fr/

Picasso and the Masters reign over Paris #1

Here is the blockbuster of all exhibitions of this fall in Paris: Picasso and the Masters at Grand-Palais, and if you ask for more, Picasso/Manet : le déjeuner sur l’herbe at Musée d’Orsay, and Picasso/Delacroix: Femmes d’Alger at the Louvre.

Long before it started, it was mentioned in most French medias : ” It’s so important, it’s so expensive, it’s been so difficult to achieve, it’s a major event…”

I just visited the main course of the menu, at Grand-Palais, so this will be my first contribution on the subject.

We have a proverb, in France, which came to my mind when I left the museum. It says : Qui trop embrasse mal étreint (” who embraces too much grasps poorly”), and has a double meaning :(” he who kisses too much is a poor lover”). There is a playful, witty aspect in Picasso’s work that is completely lost in this solemn presentation.

Still, this exhibition issue and tittle could have been given by Picasso himself.

Pierre Auguste Renoir, Baigneuse assise dans un paysage, dite Eurydice (1895/1900) Paris, Musée Picasso.

Pablo Picasso, Grande Baigneuse (1931) Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie.

Vincent Van Gogh , l’Arlésienne (Madame Ginoux) 1888, Paris Musée d’Orsay

Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Lee Miller en Arlésienne (1937) Paris Musée Picasso

One of the most important and well known work of analysis, dissection, transformation achieved by Picasso is the serie of 44 Ménines d’après Vélasquez painted in 1957 between August 17 and December 30.

Here was a tough issue : The Ménines stay in Madrid Prado Museum, and don’t travel : they’re too large (318cmx276cm), too old (1656), and too precious. The chosen solution hardly solves the problem. A small diapositive of the Ménines by Velasquez is hanging close to the ceiling in the corner of the room where some of the actual Ménines by Picasso are exhibited. This device gives no idea of Picasso‘s confrontation with Velasquez work.

Diego Velasquez, la famille de Philippe IV, dit les Ménines(1656) Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado, versus les Ménines d’après Vélasquez by Pablo Picasso (septembre 1957) Barcelona, Museu Picasso, as shown in the exhibition catalog.

Picasso facing Poussin and David is more convincingly exhibited, for the ancient Masters paintings stay in France.

Nicolas Poussin, L’enlèvement des Sabines (1637/1638) Paris, Musée du Louvre.

Pablo Picasso, L’enlèvement des Sabines(1962) Paris Centre Pompidou

Another thing puzzled me, each room is dedicated to a theme (self-portrait, nude, still-life…) and mixes Picasso paintings of all periods, and besides, some links pointed between his work and earlier examples are somewhat irrelevant.

There are actually many famous masterpieces from museums abroad in this large exhibition, and it’s always great to have the opportunity to look at them. So, in spite of my restrictions, I don’t want you to think that it is not worth visiting – and besides, you might completely disagree with me. Do make a reservation, because it’s very popular, and if you don’t, you might have to stand in line for hours before getting in.

Picasso et les Maîtres, Galeries Nationales du Grand  Palais, Metro Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau everyday except Tuesday 10 to 22, up to 20 on Thursday. Up to February 2 (entrance square Jean Perrin).

More information, virtual visit on http://www.rmn.fr/Exposition-Picasso-et-les-Maitre

you can make a reservation on : www.fnac.comwww.digitick.com, www.ticketnet.fr

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 : http://ticketnet.com/shop/fr/module.asp?id=34

or : http://www.ticketweb.com/

or: http://www.fnacspectacles.com/

More information on : http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp

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.

Paris Autumn Festival starting September 13 at “La Maison Rouge”

Beginning next week-end, on September 13, Paris Autumn Festival offers up to december 21  a selection of all kinds of modern artistics productions to be seen in Paris.

It starts at La Maison Rouge, one of the Paris foundations dedicated to modern plastic arts, located next to Paris Arsenal Harbour, built in an old factory.

It’s first exhibition on this fall shows an untitled installation by Marie Cool and Fabio Balducci :

Their work is based on repetitive gestures and videos.

In a dark room, Christian Boltanski opens for us his Archives du Coeur (Heart’s files)

Both events start on Saturday September 13 from 11 to 15, and go on up to October 5, Wednesday to Sunday 11-19, up to 21 on Thursday. During next Paris Nuit Blanche (Wakeful Night), Boltanski’s exhibition will be running all night through October 4 to October 5

Next to the Maison Rouge exhibitions rooms is a bookstore dedicated to plastic arts, and usually a nice cafe, which is closed up to October 5. But during this time, instead of having a drink, you can pay a visit to Andrea Blum‘s Birdhouse Cafe.

It’s a birds house where public is staying stuck up  the aviary, looking down at birds who move freely.

La Maison Rouge, 10 boulevard de la Bastille 75012 Paris, Metro Bastille or Quai de la Rapée, tel 33(0) 1 40 01 08 81, entrance € 6,50, €4,50 for over 65, free under 13.

Festival d’Automne de Paris, information and reservation 33(0)1 53 45 17 17 (Monfay to Friday 11 to 18, Saturday 11 to 15) and on www.festival-automne.com

Richard Avedon in Paris Galerie du Jeu de Paume

The great photo exhibition in Paris this summer is dedicated to Richard Avedon. 270 photos showing the various aspects of the artist’s career, from 1946 up to 2004, the year of his death, are  to be seen at the Galerie du Jeu de Paume, in the Tuileries Garden.

Fashion pictures for Harper’s Bazaar magazine, like this one of Dovima wearing an evening gown by Christian Dior and posing with elephants at Paris Cirque d’hiver in 1955.

Or this 1968 portrait of Twiggy, a star model of the sixties, wearing a fancy hair do by Ara Gallant :

He’s been shooting politicians, artists and rockstars… and himself, like in this self portrait taken  on August 20 1980.

In the eighties, he started focusing on anonymous working class people :

Roberto Lopez, worker on an oil field in Lyons Texas, portraited on September 28 1980, is part of the series  In the American West, as well as :

Sandra Bennet,  from Rocky Ford, Colorado,12 years old, portraited on August 23 1980.

All this pictures copyright the Richard Avedon Foundation, courtesy le Jeu de Paume, and many thanks to the great site where you can go to if you want to know all about modern art exhibitions in Paris and all over France : www.paris-art.com/,

Richard Avedon, exhibition up to September 28, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, 1 place de la Concorde 75001 Paris, Metro Concorde, tel 33 (0) 1 47 03 12 50. Closed on Monday, open Tuesday 12  to 21, Wednesday to Friday 12 to 19, Saturday and Sunday 10 to 19. Entrance € 7.

More information on : www.jeudepaume.org

And after or before visiting this exhibition, take a walk in the garden and take a look at the modern sculptures. Don’miss Clara Clara by Richard Serra, remodeling the perspective from Concorde to the Louvre :

nore Louise Bourgeois’  Welcoming Hands

to be seen close to the Galerie du Jeu de Paume.

Paris Parc de la Villette : a place to visit this summer, for art, outdoor films and concerts

This summer, there are a lot of good reasons to go north up to Parc de la Villette, the largest of Paris gardens, offering a wide range of cultural and leisure activities.

The art event takes place in the beautiful glass Grande Halle :

Up to August 17, come in and discover a giant installation by Yayoï Kusama, who has been working on dots for forty years.

This artist, who was closed to Pop Art and Andy Warhol in the sixties, takes this pattern both light and seriously, declaring “My life is a dot lost among other dots”.

Tuesday to Sunday 14 to 22, free entrance.

And it goes with a workshop on dots for kids (from 2 years old). July Sunday 20, Wednesday 23 and Saturday 26 at 16.30. It’s one hour long, with a drink at the end, and costs € 7.  But you have to make a reservation, dialing 33(0)1 40 03 75 75.

Up to August 17,  you also have the opportunity to watch a film (in original version) sitting on a lawn, at Prairie du Triangle, Tuesday to Sunday at nightfall. Price € 2  . For € 5 you can book a deck chair and a blanket. Program on : www.cinema.arbo.com/index.php3?p=tous_films –

World musics every Sunday up to August 24 at Folie Belvédere : it’s scènes d’été (Summer Stages), July 20 and 27, August 3,10,17 and 24, one concert at 17.30 and one at 19.30. Free. Program and information on 33(0)1 40 03 75 75.

For all information on these events and detailed programs go to : www.villette.com/

Parc de la Villette, 211 avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris, Metro Porte de Pantin or Porte de la Villette