Paris – where life imitates art

There are many great cities around the world that boast a hip art scene and magnificent museums. But Paris oozes Art through its pores. The city’s history, its architecture, gardens, food, fashion and lifestyle are marked by a finessed artistic sensibility. It is a city that practices a mindful approach to all aspects of life, long before mindfulness became a 21st century catchphrase.

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Fountain at one of the entrances to the Grand Palais
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Reading room of the Keppler Hotel

Van Gogh and Titian are featured in Louis Vuitton’s new line of handbags

musee de chasse demonstration (18)
One couple, two very different fashion statements
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A ham hock ready for carving. Not something I would eat, but I love the presentation
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Statue at Trocadero overlooking Eiffel Tower
French cafe
Neighborhood cafe. Very patriotic with the ‘bleu, blanc, rouge’!

America has the Stars and Stripes but France is all about stripes. One of France’s most notable artists, Daniel Buren, has crystallized the essence of the stripe in his iconic works. “It was the idea to have something very banal, but very strong,” says the artist in Interview magazine. He calls his stripe motif a visual tool that can transform any physical space.

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Painting by Daniel Buren at the Modern Art Museum, Paris
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Stripes play a big part in French fashion. I couldn’t resist…

EXHIBITIONS – TOP PICKS FOR THE SEASON

There’s always so much going on in Paris that it’s hard to know what to see when time is limited. Two noteworthy exhibitions are being shown concurrently at the Grand Palais – Rodin and Jardins. The Rodin exhibition marks the centenary of the sculptor’s death (1840-1917) and covers Rodin’s extensive creative universe. Jardins (Gardens) is a bit of a stretch from a curatorial standpoint, but there is something for everyone, from antique gardening equipment and Impressionist paintings of gardens, to installations offering contemporary interpretations of nature. Below are two of my sketches from these exhibitions.

I would also recommend two private collections that do not often hit the international circuit. On exhibit at L’Orangerie is the Ishibashi collection normally housed at the Bridgestone Museum in Tokyo. Fabulous. The Caillebotte painting is particularly exquisite. At the Jacquemart-Andre Museum you can catch Spanish businesswoman Alicia Koplowitz’s eclectic collection. Handpicked works by Goya, Tiepolo, Schiele, de Staël, Freud, Rothko and Bourgeois are among this enviable private collection.

Bon voyage!

Paris exhibitions: one down, one more to go!

A picture says a thousand words and these shoes I spotted in a Paris boutique spell French chic, style, ambiance and flair – qualities which are ostentatiously present in copious amounts in the City of Lights. I just spent the last three days on the outskirts of Paris in Ivry sur Seine taking part in this artist commune’s annual Portes Ouvertes (Open House). Over 200 artists opened their studios up to hundreds of visitors keen to take a peek at the behind-the-scenes process of creative output. The sun was shining down upon an untold number of paintings, etchings, sculptures, ceramics, and framed graffiti – all to the accompaniment of Brazilian guitars, Japanese drums and the strains of Vivaldi. It was quite a show. I have included a very few examples:

I was hosted in the atelier of textile artist Aurelia Bernard who was exhibiting the results of natural fabric tinting using avocado peels (which surprisingly gives a dusky rose color), carrot leaves  and coffee grounds. I exhibited some of my newer mini Paris portraits which generated a lot of interest due to the epoxy varnish over my photorealist style. The result is jewel-like and at first glance gives the impression of glass or ceramic tile or enamel work. so I had to quickly brush up on some technical phrases in French! But all in all an exciting and worthwhile experience and I even got some commissions out of it!

Portrait by Lilianne Milgrom

I am sure I am not alone in struggling with the PR/selling/mouthpiece part of making art. It just doesn’t come naturally and I was decidedly out of my comfort zone having to spend 18 hours over three days shmoozing about my work while jet lagged and speaking French. But by the last day I was more confident and more motivated, perhaps as a result of the continuous refilling of my wine glass and the heady atmosphere of being immersed in such a vibrant artistic environment 🙂

This morning I moved to Paris proper, settled into a teeny tiny Paris studio and began installing my painting and documentary video in the next show (see previous post) opening on Wednesday October 3 at Galerie Rivoli 59.

It really sunk in that I was in Paris when my conversation with the exhibition’s organizer and artist extraordinaire Sebastien Lecca veered off into his latest venture producing Eiffel tower-shaped dildos…I think its going to be a huge hit! And I couldn’t take my eyes off graffiti artist BAUBO‘s finger armour rings. Check it out:

More details and images from the exhibition after Wednesday’s grand opening where they are expecting over 150 guests. For right now I have to sign out because I am ravenous and dying to dig into my crunchy warm baguette, creamy goat cheese, fresh strawberry jam and salad, to be followed by an individual tarte aux pommes. Chin!