Tomas van Houtryve revisits USA’s old frontiers

Bernadette Thérèse Ortiz Pena and Sabine River cypress

Tomas von Houtryve has a Belgian name but was born in California. He has spent his (so far short) life documenting his on-field photographies like the series he did on 21st century Communist countries called “Behind the curtain”.  His present exhibition at galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris is devoted to “Lines and lineage”, on the Mexican population spoiled of their land and culture by the Mexican war in America. All pictures are sold as a dyptich except for one tryptich and they were shot with a XIX th century camera (which is part of the exhibition) with glass plates. Photos that make you think.Read More

A biennale of architecture in Versailles

The extraordinary galerie des moulages from the Louvre in Petite Ecurie

Bap, Biennale of architecture and landscape of Ile de France, is new born and some aspects of it are interesting. It gave me the occasion of seeing the gallery of sculptures and moulages from the Louvre which is rarely open, in the Petite Ecurie (small stable) and to walk around the Potager du Roi, where the Ecole du Paysage trains many talented gardeners. I you are near the royal city, make sure to walk around the Bap itinerary. You can pass Eva Jospin’s tree at the music conservatory, which is mediocre but do not miss the exhibition within the castle on all the projects dreamt by three kings for its architecture and which were never realized.

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Revelations, Fine craft and creativity at Grand Palais

Véronique de Soultrait in front of her creations in rope

What pleased me at first was to hear Italian, Chinese, Italian, English and Spanish being spoken in the alleys. This new edition of “Revelations“, the fourth arts and craft biennale, is definitely International and artists, craftsmen, industrials mix happily under the beautiful decor of the Grand Palais. Here are the discoveries I made among ceramists, leather and rope weavers, wood carvers and glass sculptors. In the age of Internet, the hand is still our most precious tool.Read More

“Prehistory”, at the Pompidou Center, reveals its contemporary followers

Miguel Barceló, “Il trionfo della morte”, 2019, and sculpture by Louise Bourgeois , Cumul I, 1968

I am not such a great fan of prehistory but so many finds have been made recently that I was curious to see what Centre Pompidou was going to show under the title, “Prehistory, a modern enigma“. Artists have played, along with scientists, a great role in our perception of the understanding of our origins. In the mid 19th century, stratigraphy enabled the world to understand the “epochs of nature” through the layers of the universe, as Buffon wrote. The association of painters like Cézanne and archaeologist and geologist Antoine-Fortuné Marion on the Sainte Victoire mountain near Aix enProvence, fed the imagination of painters. More recently Richard Long has been a great perpetrator of the Neolithic eras. Don’t be intimidated by the theme, the show is full off fabulous surprises including Miquel Barcelo‘s stained glass mud paintings and Robert Smithson’s film of the making of the “Spiral Jetty” near Salt Lake city.Read More

In Chantilly, the Journées des Plantes is again a delight

Grand Prix du Domaine de Chantilly, the peony developed by Damien Devos

Twice a year in May and October, Château de Chantilly celebrates new plants and International nurseries. An dualist week, Prince AmYn Aga Khan and Hélène Fustier were running around the park in their electric cart congratulating the prize winners of the season. Among whom, Belgian grower Damien Devos, won with a beautiful dark red peony and was exhibiting delightful calycanthus Aphrodite, and another Belgian, Pépinières Choteau, who specializes in Japanese maples Acer palmatum, were showing their “Ukigumo”, a ravishing tree with gray leaves. Read More

“Shapes in silence” at Galerie Dutko

The installation of Matthias Contzen’s marble mandala took four days an dis for meter wide in diameter. On the back wall, two plexiglass works by Tom Henderson

Walking towards Galerie Dutko on the edge of Ile Saint Louis, near Hotel Lambert, was a very soothing experience. I crossed the pont de la Tournelle and checked on Notre Dame where large cranes are now at work, walked past Helena Rubinstein’s former house at 24 quai de Béthune and arrived in the most beautiful little street, rue de Bretonvilliers. There awaited me two wonderful artists, German sculptor Matthias Contzen, and Tom Henderson, a British artist who lives in Provence. Both prepared this show “Shapes in Silence” for a year and their works are in conversation with one another. Read More

Michèle Belaiche, a true discovery

Michèle Belaiche, in front of three of her large watercolors

I had never heard of Michèle Belaiche before her exhibition at Galerie du Passage. And as soon as I met her, I realized we had so many friends in common that we should have met many times before… She spent her life surrounded by decorators and architects, travelled the world with Jacques Grange, with whom she worked for twenty years, and is now painting full time in Ménerbes, in Lubéron. Her watercolors are full of light and meditation and they are beautifully presented by Pierre Passebon in Passage Vero Dodat. The opening last week was the place to be.Read More

New York is changing fast but remains the best

Hudson Yards with the Vessel in the center and the Shed on the right

I had not been to New York for three years and I found lots of changes. First the Hudson Yards, a new business/shopping/living area at the start of the Highline on 30 th st and the Hudson, attracted me because I wanted to see the Vessel. This large pile of staircases in red copper was much talked about and I could not believe how ugly it is, and completely out of proportion with the rest of the development. Thank God, this was the only disappointment of my trip which included meeting Graydon Carter and Alessandra Stanley who are launching a new e.magazine in July, AirMail News, discovering the new imprint HarperVia, dedicated to novels in translation at Harper Collins and hearing all about Woody Allen’s new film in a second avenue Italian restaurant. Read More