Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mad Vicky not there

I was very late to leave the house the last few days. Not sure why but I think I was challenged by the fact that even though I was leaving during the day, I'd have to be dressed for the evening because I wouldn't be coming back home to change. Silly but true. It's not so easy to relinquish the comfortable shoes for heels and walk around from noon until dinner in them. I had to compromise a lot of my plans and curtail some of my activities because of being dressed for dinner at noon. When I did get out of the house I went to Le Musee du Quai Branly. I like how it's possible for some museums to include outside elements into the design and function of the museum. La Fondation Cartier does this and Le Musee du Quai Branly does this too. There was a great exhibition called UpsideDown about art from the Artic. Inside there was art from Papua New Guinea (all somehow functional and used in day to day life for various ceremonies etc.) reminded me of the paintings of Emile Nolde. There was one work from Santa Ana, one of the Solomon Islands, a shark with a skull in it, that had such strong connections to the shark of Damien Hirst which in turn most likely owes something to the sharks of Ashley Bickerton who lives in a similar part of the world where this shark originated ( I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.(

I had lunch by myself at La Carette in Trocadero earlier that day; very fashionable, Lotus Blossom tea and lots of shopping bags from Lanvin all around. And that evening another very French restaurant in Montparnasse, I can't remember the name. Before dinner I had been in Le Marais for the first year anniversary of a designer's shop. I forget her name too, but I had a great conversation with a woman who designs and makes handbags. She used to be an artist she said but then decided to design bags instead. Her father is a well known photographer who took pictures of Modern art greats like Picasso. Her mother has a foundation for Van Gogh in Arles. Her boyfriend is a dealer in Modern art and since she comes to NYC from time to time we agreed to see each other again sometime there so I could introduce her to one of my friends who represents designers and has a showroom in NYC for high end luxury items.

The next day I woke early and went to the area around Gare de Lyon to see my friend Wael. He just came back from NYC and gets ready to go to Dubai to do a job directing a series of interviews. We went to Hotel de Ville so I could shop for some things I saw the night before but didn't want to carry. It makes no sense to shop here since most things are cheaper in the US. But I shopped vintage which is not the same everywhere and quite original and particular and relative to some other vintage stores in NYC and Paris, this place was not expensive.

Next my friend took me to a rather strange place in Menilmontant, a cafeteria in a dorm which houses African workers. The place was modest to say the least and there were no other women there except me and one more young African girl. I had rice and mafe. One ride on a bus through Paris and I felt like I had traveled all the way to Africa. It boy was it a trip! Wael said he appreciated places like that which were made simply to feed people. Their primary concern was not to make money or to make a pretty social experience. I had to agree. It was the sort of place that confronted you with your own humanness and humanity, and we agreed that in life we needed to be able to do both - La Carette and La Cafeteria; that both extremes were essential for a full appreciation of life. I thought about the influence of Africans on the work of artists too, like Nadine de Koenigswarter, who I had visited earlier in the week. She said it's hard, and sad, when you're there in Africa and realize that you're free to come and go as you please, but they cannot because it is difficult and sometimes near impossible for them to get visas to travel to Europe. We went to Wael's production studio next which was in a small impasse and he told me there were plans to raze many of the old buildings and build new apartments in that area of Oberkampf/Menilmontant. There was a sign hung over the impasse suggesting its imminent demise. After a couple noisettes at a cafe in Menilmontant I left Wael waiting for a friend and went to Montmartre in search of Mad Vicky's Tea Gallery on rue Nicolet. With some help from a woman at a hotel I found it but was disappointed to see it was closed! I came all that way for a metal shutter, no art, no chai tea. It was the place created by the girls from Coco Rosie; American artists, one of whom lives in Paris I believe. They make visual art and music and I wanted to see what they did with the gallery, and if they were around, to maybe meet one of them...Oh well.

I went home next and changed for dinner. That morning I wore jeans and flats for a change and it was freezing more than most days so I bundled up. At home I packed and confirmed to meet my friends for champagne at their house on Avenue Victor Hugo. I'll call them the Two V's for the sake of discretion and keeping a "low profile"; a phrase I hear a lot in Paris from various friends and acquaintances. I spend a lot of time hanging out with people and dining and it seems quite normal and pleasurable to do this for hours; not like in NYC where I'm always looking at the clock wondering when I had to leave to go to the next appointment. So I stayed about two hours with the Two V's talking about everything from art to politics to drug use and pregnancy. They are great girls and I realized how happy and lucky I was to spend time with them.

Later I met a friend for dinner at Tong Yen near the Champs Elysees. Apparently it's a very popular place with high profile locals and tourists alike. I took a picture with Therese the owner who has been running the place since she took it over from her father.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Emile Nolde at Le Grand Palais and Danny Licul in NYC

Yesterday I went to see the exhibition of the graphic works, paintings, watercolors and drawings of Emile Nolde. I had never seen such a large body of his work, and wow, what a great body it was! I loved the fact that he was painting "the exotic"; a family in Papua New Guinea, two people in Siberia. And the painting technique all the while mimicking the environment and the people in his subject; soft, long and slim brushstrokes versus short broad and flat ones, maybe even finger marks? in these examples. What struck me was the strong resemblance between Nolde's work to an artist that I love. If you click on the link you will go to Danny Licul's website. I have one work where the sea is as evocative as some of Nolde's seascapes. And the people! They paint people in these jarring colors in compositions that are at once simple and challengingly complex.

After the Grand Palais I went to La Bastille to see Richard Prince's furniture at Patrick Seguin. As usual I got lost, not on the train, but when I get off the train to try to find where I am going. And at La Bastille there are at least 10 directions you can go in once you get out of any of the 3 or so metro exits. On the verge of giving up and taking a taxi I finally found some streets that looked like the directions I had: right on rue de Lappe, left on rue de Charonne, left on rue de Taillandiers. And who should I see on the street, crossing towards me? Monsieur Seguin himself! This was a lucky chance encounter, but my timing was so right, because who better to show me the work than Mr. Seguin himself? Well perhaps the artist, Richard Prince, or the other dealer collaborating on this show, Larry Gagosian, but neither of them was around. Patrick recognized me and gladly explained the work and how Richard Prince put the pieces together. Apparently Prince is a major book collector and some of these treasures he's embedded in the furniture. There's a whole series of vintage nurse books that are x-rated on the bookshelves. And of course there's the nurse hat chair...

Later I went to my friend's vintage store in Le Marais, called Pretty Box. It's on 46 rue Saintonge and all the designers go there to get inspiration for their collection. There were lots of things I liked but not everything I could afford. Even with a discount! But Nico has been my friend for years and now that his girlfriend and him are having a baby, well. I have to support the venture.

Afterwards I went to Saint Germain des Pres to visit my friend from Bali. She is a fascinating woman. The first thing you notice when you enter her apartment is that a woman lives there; everything about the decoration is very feminine. We talked about all kinds of stuff over champagne and the next thing you knew it was two hours later and time to go to dinner with my boyfriend's parents at Le Coq in Trocadero! Lizzie said one thing that's stayed with me, something that the French say: Il n'ya pas de hasard, There's no chance. Or in other words, nothing happens by chance. I thought about how my getting lost in Bastille had delayed me and how when I arrived at Galerie Seguin, Monsieur Seguin was crossing the street to meet me...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, other great Paris restaurants and some more art

Last night I went to dinner with some friends at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. We didn't wait long because the husband of the couple was a partner in the business. The chefs, so clean cut, handsome and efficient, were the complete opposite of the typical French waiter; pompous and non-commital. The night before my friend had said if there's one thing he could change about France it would be the waiters (and he's French!). I said if you change the waiters you'll have to change the whole of France, and I think that's true as it's a fundamental attitude that would alter the national character. The night before I had had dinner at L'Auberge Bressane, more traditional and heavier French cuisine, vastly different from the refined cuisine at Robuchon, but satisfying in a different way.

Yesterday, for lunch, I went to Cafe de Flore, a restaurant ripe with Paris's cultural history, and still very fashionable and fun. My friend Eric introduced me to Pierre Papadiamandis, the French composer of Greek origins, and his wife Anouk. Pierre did a lot of work with Eddy Mitchell, Grace Jones, Ray Charles (writing the music for songs) and the scores for many movies. Anouk's sister was the wife of Richard Lindner, the American artist of German origins. After lunch we went to her apartment in St Germain where she showed me some of his aquarelles, as well as some of his drawings and paintings by her sister Denise. On the way to their apartment I looked into the window of a restaurant and who should I see but Lapo Elkann, at a table having lunch. I know him from several different contexts and seeing that he recognized me I took off my hat and ran inside to say hi. He is so warm and friendly, but he would be leaving the next day so no chance to get together.

I didn't take many pictures the last few days because I forgot my camera, but after lunch, I did a studio visit with Nadine de Koenigswarter. I stayed there for about 2 hours, talking about everything and seeing a lot of her work which is very inspired by her travels to Africa, in particular Saint Louis, on the coast of Senegal. She described it as the Venice of Africa. Next time I visit Senegal I will head straight to there. She walked me to the metro after our time together and took the picture of me outside of Hector Guimard's art nouveau design.

The Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower are lit up really beautifully right now. The Champs Elysees with white lights on the trees for the holidays and the Eiffel Tower in a sparkling blue because until the end of the month I think France is the leader of the EU. My pics of the Eiffel Tower suck so you can search them online. It's surprising that Parisians never cease to be proud of their beautiful monuments. Every time I come my friends who drive me around point out the monuments with pride and joy. I guess I understand.

First thing yesterday morning I went to the Fondation Cartier. They have a great exhibition entitled Terre Natale, an ambitious and brave exhibition which drew a steady stream of people into the Fondation. I met the curator of the Fondation, Grazia Quaroni, who like me I felt, believed in the importance of art as a basic human necessity. The day before, around the same time, I went to the Louvre to see Mantegna. By 11.30 am when I arrived the counter at the entrance of the exhibit had counted 400+ visitors! It is a little overwhelming this mass of people in an exhibition and though I would have liked to linger over the works the crowds drove me out. I met my friend Laetitia who works in Communications for the Ministry of Culture on Monday. She took me to a little Japanese restaurant called Sapporo on the rue Faubourg St Honore and I had a ramen soup as outside it was quite cold. It was a pure coincidence but during the lunch who should come in but my friend of many years Nico, and his girlfriend. I had called them the day before but now, here they were, and we could have a coffee after lunch, without having to go through all the calling to arrange it! After lunch we went to Colette to see what they were showing in the store and had a coffee afterwards at the cafe across the street. When I left them I went to the Hermes store to see the exhibition of photographs by Joseph Albers, and the scarves that they had made based on his art. They are selling them for 2 000 euros! I guess it's not that much for wearable art.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Paris: Le Crazy Horse

Last night I went to Le Crazy Horse, a cabaret club that's existed since the 1950s. I've wanted to go for ages but all my young Parisian friends look down their noses and say it's "touristy". Who cares? I'm a tourist, and I loved it. I believe every girl has a Crazy Horse girl inside of her. She just has to be brave enough or crazy enough to let that girl out. I couldn't take pics during the performance but take my word for it, if you visit Paris, visit Le Crazy Horse. The title takes you to the website when you click on it.

Yesterday I arrived and I visited the galleries Perrotin. Monsieur Perrotin came out to meet me so I was very happy about this. He shows Bharti Kher in the main gallery on Rue Turenne and Mr. and Pharrel (the hip hop artist) in the 10 Impasse Saint Cloud gallery. I also went to Galerie Besseiche in Le Marais to pick up some books of Jean Miotte. The gallerist invited me to two events there this week.

After Crazy Horse I had dinner at a restaurant next door and today, it snows! It snowed for an hour or so and then it disappeared as fast as it appeared. I may go see my friend Nico today. He is working with his girlfriend at a flea market in La Bastille, rue des Archives. Nico's girlfriend has a vintage store in Paris and I love vintage!

I was on a plane for my birthday, on the way here. It is not the first time I travel on my birthday. About 5 years ago I was on a plane to LA. I like moving from one place to another on my birthday. The physical movement/change signifies a mental and physical movement forward to me, as I get older. I actually like to travel alone for my birthday. After all, I was born alone.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pipilotti Rist at Moma

Yesterday my friend Blanca, a curator and writer who knows video art inside out, invited me to Moma for the Pipilotti Rist opening. I was glad to see this new body of work which employed all the imagery of The Fall from the Garden of Eden; apples, naked feral red-headed woman, worms, crushed fruit, feet, dirt, flowers and water.

Psychedelic would fall far short of this experience of being enveloped in video. No drugs or alcohol necessary here. Swirling colors, textures, perfect close ups and camera angles draw the viewer into another world altogether. My friend Blanca counted 6 cameras, 2 for each wall.

There were some notable people there, well known and unfamiliar. Klaus Biesenbach, the curator of the show, was there with one of the Sex and the City stars. I saw an old friend Freidrich, a photographer.

I'm a little distracted and busy these days so I'm not writing a lot and substituting with pictures because tomorrow is my birthday and I go to Paris for a week. It's work related but I'm going to have fun too. Recently I've also been dealing with the opposing tendencies to 1) tell all, which is my nature and 2) to be discreet, which is the art world's nature. Even my boyfriend doesn't want me to write about him or post pictures of him on this blog (in case he runs for President of the United States?!?) From my ex boyfriend I learned that it's best to keep your mouth shut about what you're working on so that people don't get in the way. From my grandmother I learned that talking too much about something can release the energy so that the thing doesn't manifest, but then there's the other side of that theory which goes if you talk about it, write about it, get it out there, it will manifest...Anyway, I'm going to Paris and then to Miami and I hope a lot of good (work and fun) comes out of it.

My boyfriend has been giving me trouble because I'm going away for 2 weeks without him, but I try to explain to him that he's going after his dreams, getting backing for his company, doing what he wants to do, why shouldn't I do the same without having to feel guilty about it? And anyway, whenever he's going somewhere and I want to go, I get myself there. If he doesn't want to get a ticket for a weekend in Miami well then, that's his problem. Right?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Style and Fashion meets Art or Vice Versa

Last night with my friend, performance artist, Clarina Bezzola, I went to a book launch party for Ike Ude's Style File book. It was at Diane von Furstenberg's and Marisa Berenson and some other ultra fashionable men and women and women/men-men/women showed up too. There were people from the art world as well, gallerists and artists, and we were all surrounded by art e.g. Robert Longo, Andreas Gursky, Francesco Clemente. It's great that Diane shares her art with the public. Uri, my video artist friend from Israel, invited me and here are some pics of it all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

James Bond Birthday Bash

So with my friends, new and old, Dirk, Al and Charlotte, we made a great party at the 24th Street Loft. It went till way after I left, which was around 3 am. The DJ Eric Laine, kept us dancing from start to finish with his spy inspired music from around the world.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

James Bond

I saw the new James Bond Movie, Quantum of Solace, last night. Not enough sex, not enough glamor, not enough cool gadgets, too much violence. But I love Daniel Craig as James Bond.
Tonight is my James Bond Birthday party!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sales Slump

I didn't go to the sale last night at Sotheby's though I had been to the preview brunch on Sunday. I went instead to the Haunch of Venison where Spring gave a tour of the AbEx exhibition for the members of the YA (Young Associates members) at the Chelsea Art Museum. I left early to check out the opening at Zwirner and Wirth where they featured some Minimalist and Conceptual work from the Lauff Collection. Then had dinner at Le Charlot across the street. Or maybe I should say, pigged out at Le Charlot across the street, as I had a huge plate of chicken and mashed potatoes after a clam chowder, then profiteroles (shared) for dessert, a bottle of wine and digestives. Those French feed you!
This weekend, except for the auction previews on Sunday, I stayed home. I missed the opening for Richard Prince for Gagosian on 24th Street. My friend who was there told me the place was packed wall to wall with celebrities. Two directors, from different galleries, had different reports about what the after party was like: "fun", "not fun at all". Go figure.
It was great to take time off and do nothing though. My monthly red tide was upon me so I needed all my energy just for that. Tonight I might go to Christie's though. Only standing room tickets but if I'm bored stiff I'll cut out and go eat artichoke and watch a movie with my boyfriend.
Today I had lunch at Cookshop with my lovely Russian friend Nataliya. She is super cool, super beautiful, and like me, loves art, travel and to eat good food. There were a few other people there from the art world; Max Protetch, Clarissa Dalrymple with a curator, I forget his name, but pretty well known, Stellan Holm and his French colleague, I forget her name...It's all so Chelsea! Yesterday I saw Patrick Seguin there and he reminded me to visit his exhibit of Richard Prince furniture in Paris. I will be there from the day after my birthday until 11/29 so I'll make a point of going there.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Andy Moses exhibition uptown at Bjorn Ressle Gallery

I'm proud of Andy; love his work; allusions to atmospheric conditions, landscapes, all abstract and then boom! A fly landed on the canvas and left a trail which turned airplane, whizzing around in the blue. 
His dad is the artist Ed Moses. His old studio mate, Jeff Koons, came by the opening to endorse his old friend. I thought this was cool. I sent the photo to Patrick McMullan as he's better able to disseminate it.

44th President of the United States of America: Barack Obama!

I didn't want to believe it even as people around me were celebrating last night. I was too beat up from the eight years before to take for granted a win that might be taken away. But the results of last night's elections reaffirmed my belief in the democratic process, in America, and in Americans. Not complacent to stay at home and watch on TV, people mobilized and did something; not just for themselves, but for the country. Everyone I asked yesterday said they had voted. I'm proud to be an American and look forward to the hard work ahead that Barack endorses, as the panacea this country needs to move forward.

The feeling in NYC was euphoric, as if the Yankees had won the world series. I'll let the pics aaspeak for themselves; from Petrossino Square where Cafe Select, La Esquinqa and Storefront for Art and Architecture made a block party, to my friend's loft in Tribeca where Wael Nourredine my filmmaker friend in the picture joined us, to the Box where there was an election party, all along the way, people were out, celebrating.

And if you click on the title of this post you'll see the words of a poet, Derek Walcott, who lived many years in Trinidad and Tobago, where I was born.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

By 10.30 am I was done voting; not that it was as simple a task as that sounds. First of all, I've moved in the last year, and so did my voting station! I went back to my old hood in Soho, looking for my polling station on Mulberry and Houston, but Lo And Behold, just like the articles that warn about being wary of signs that try to dissuade you from voting, there was the Board of Elections doing the exact same thing. Basically the sign said Sorry, we've moved your polling station to 400 Broome Street between Mulberry and Baxter. Now anyone who lives downtown knows these streets don't cross on Broome Street. Anyways, I went to 400 Broome Street (between Mulberry and Cleveland Place!) and the entrance was around the corner, on Cleveland Place. Then, after not too long a wait in the line, I got to the man with the list. And my name was not on it! Granted, I had moved in the last year, but last time I checked, which was about 3 weeks before election day, they said it was too late for the new address to register in the system, so just go to my old polling station. Anyway, I filled out a little envelope and filled out the voting sheet, though I could not use the machine to vote. The people working there assured me my vote would be counted. This assurance came around the discussion about the touch screen voting machines which apparently don't allow you to go back if you mess up. I wondered how things went in places (perhaps rural places) that were not so easy to get to by foot, and where people weren't as "fairly educated" as they are in NYC, voting must be a real challenge.
So now, we wait and see, not just us Americans, but the whole world, and the mass of people (documented and undocumented) who live in America, we wait and see what the American people will do. If, in fact, what they want won't be thwarted by the powers that be. (Don't forget the 2000 election debacle - miscounted ballots, hanging chads, voters turned away at polling stations - which is not that far passed in history.) No president coming in, Barack or other, will be able to fix things right now, but at least we'll be moving in the right direction. Any direction will be the right direction after the Bush years!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hermes and Halloween

Click the title of this post to go to the NYT's article about the Baroness and the book!

I never heard about Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter before the exhibition of her polaroids at the Hermes Gallery uptown on 62nd Street. Her granddaughter had written a preface for the book entitled Three Wishes, which chronicled three wishes of jazz greats such as Thelonius Monk. It was a wonderful exhibit, full of the life force I imagine the Baroness possessed, and which she shared so generously with her Cats (jazz slang). I'm sure too they shared lots of their creative energy with her. Her children said she was a wonderful mother.
Later that night I ran downtown to see Banksy's exhibition. It was well worth the trip. My girlfriend worked the exhibition and this was the last night so the line was long. Banksy is so smart, funny, and irreverent. His street art, in this case art you can see from the street, really democratizes art. He makes it for everyone, shares it with everyone, it is about everyone, and he doesn't seem to give a damn about the so-called art market!
Halloween fell on a Friday this year so there was no reason to curtail the festivities. I partied till 4 am with some good friends, first at a loft in Soho, then finished off the night at the Box. I had started off the night at the Chelsea Hotel, where a friend of mine has a loft with a roof deck. Him and his neighbor collaborated on the party, but it was too cold for me. Funny to see a certain auctioneer from Sotheby's and his very cute boyfriend there. Who knows how everyone in NYC and the art world are connected?
Here are some pics from those evenings, as well as some from Honey Space, Tom Beale's chameleon performance/gallery space on 11th Ave between 21 and 22 Streets, and a random one of my little niece Haylie.
Last night I went uptown to see the opening of the Giacommetti:Bacon exhibit entitled "Isabel and Other Intimate Strangers". Another strong, museum caliber show. I've started calling it the Gagosian museum or Gagosian mausoleum up there. We can't calculate the gallery space in square footage anymore but should start doing so in terms of acreage, as now he's taken over the 4th Floor of that building on Madison too!
Next I went to the cocktails at Sotheby's for the Impressionist and Modern sale. There was an Edvard Munch, estimate on request, as the center piece of the sale, but other strong works too, by Dali, Magritte. In the side room, a John Currin, Yves Klein. I'm exhausted thinking about the next few weeks; sales;sales;sales...Christies was quieter, but they had a dinner after, to which of course I was not invited.