Thursday, January 23, 2014

Paris- Holy Shrines and Flea Markets

The sacred and the profane. A good note to leave Paris on. We visited the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Metal which has the unchanged remains of Saint Catherine Laboure. Saint Catherine had several visions in which she was shown the "Miraculous Metal" a healing charm that reportedly protected people from the plague. And for the faithful they still sell the metal in their gift shop.

Saint Catherine Laboure's remains
We then visited the chapel of Saint Vincent De Paul and viewed his unchanged remains.
The chapel itself is beautiful and the glass coffin where Saint Vincent De Paul rests is opulent.

The remains of Saint Vincent De Paul on display.
The last site that I will post on is the Les Puces - or Flea Market in english. This place was an amazing combination of very high end antiques and sleazy little stands selling junk. I will describe with images.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Pompidou Center and Empire State- Contemporary Art Overload in Paris

When next we popped our heads out from our hotel room ( we stayed at a fantastic little hotel called the Peletier Haussmann Opéra which is on the rue Le Peletier and one block away from Haussmann. It is incredibly well located for getting around the city and very close to markets, banks, you name it. The staff is extremely helpful and friendly and we loved staying there. We would do all of our site seeing then walk to the markets to get our nightly food and wine and be in till the next morning.) we changed the game a bit and went to see some contemporary art. Our first stop was the Pompidou Center.
The Pompidou Center is a monstrous building surrounded by giant transparent and colored pipes. It dwarfs most art centers I have been to. The center was designed by Italian super architect Renzo Piano and it shows.
OK. Enough of the intricacies, I am far behind in writing these posts and much is happening in the present so I am going to breeze through the next Paris posts with less attention to detail.

At the Centre Pompidou we took in the exhibition Le Surréalisme Et L'Objet.
This exhibition investigates Andre Breton's imperative to create a "physics of poetry" with examples from the earliest surrealist works to contemporary artists working in similar ways.

Andre Breton's Poem Object impressed me in a way that some of his writing does not. This strange collection of textures and colors in a glass case surprised me. It almost seems like the ancestor of a Damien Hirst piece.

An Alberto Giacometti- Beautiful and mysterious.

Théo Mercier's wall of artificial aquarium habitats in the spirit of the readymade.

Hans Bellmer's Doll. Something I have appreciated for decades experienced first hand!

Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux's mischievous sculpture which, if you look closely, has one of The Residents hanging from the ring finger.

A room full of Joan Miro sculptures.
Next we walked through parts of the permanent collection. There was so much to see that it is only possible to give a small sliver of what washed over us.

 Alfonso-Angel Ossorio " The Continuous Face"

Jean Dubuffet

Behjat Sadr- Painting using a wood grain rocker.

And in the lobby a sprawling Joseph Beuys.


We left the Pompidou for the outskirts of Paris and the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac where the exhibition "Empire State" was on display.

Empire State was originally curated for the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome but, lucky for us, it's second incarnation was here in Pantin.

Here we have a room full of Schnabel. Although I usually dislike Julian Schnabel's production, this set of paintings was quite palatable.

The monumental scale of the sculptures in Empire State works very well in the Ropac Gallery. Shown above are Rob Pruitt's megafauna.

Above all I came to see Keith Edmier's Penn Station Ciborium. This majestic work fuses architectural reconstruction with references to lost resources in a way that is truly haunting. A proud declaration of entropy that is complex in its phrasing. The sculpture is modeled after the razed Penn Station's architecture ( Penn Station was demolished 1963-1966 ) and this demolition is widely considered to be one of the most wasteful chapters of New York's history- the destruction of a civic masterpiece.

The supporting columns of Edmier's sculpture are peppered by cast oysters. A reference to the lost oyster industry that flourished in New York in the 19th century. Below is a link to a great article about this fact.

At the center of the base of the sculpture is the ciborium. This glass covered space houses what seems to be fragments of casts of multiple color and material which I imagine may be from the artist's studio.

Finally, Jeff Koons playful and brutal as always. These bronze pieces, like the Hulk above, are uncanny in their obfuscation. A very clever game to be sure.