Football as a political tool at IMA

Rachid Mekhloufi was a a star with AS St Etienne but quit in 1958 to join the FLN, the first Algerian National team

You all remember Invictus, the fabulous film directed by Clint Eastwood, which recounted  Nelson Mandela’s success when South Africa won the Rugby World cup in 1995. Sport changes men’s attitudes and this is what Rachid Mekhloufi, star footballer who played with AS St Etienne tried to prove in 1958. He and Mustapha Zitouni left a successful career in France to join the first Algerian football team the FLN. The exhibition at IMA (Institut du monde arabe), “Football and the Arab World” is beautifully organized with a giant screening room featuring Zinédine Zidane‘s 90 minute film by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno lent by the Guggenheim museum, and many aspects of football as a political tool. Read More

Helena Rubinstein, a modern business woman, who loved art!

Inge Morath, Beauty tutoring at the Helena Rubinstein salon, New York, 1958

What is most interesting in the Helena Rubinstein exhibition at Musée d’art et d’Histoire juive, is the artistic talents that she developed over a long career as a business woman of beauty. All along her intense and long life, this young woman born in Krakow in 1872, was interested in fashion, painters, architects and decorators. Like Jeanne Lanvin or Christian Dior, she collected avant garde designers and the show is full of photographs of her buildings, beauty salons and it has brought together part of her art collection. Unfortunately, the curator was her biographer and not an professional art historian. Read More

Dorignac, a forgotten painter, concentrates on black

Portrait de femme au chignon (L’Amie), 1912, Fusain et encre noire sur papier, Courtesy Galerie  de Bayser © Galerie Malaquais © Photographe Laurent Lecat

While there is a very politically correct exhibition devoted to “Black Models from Géricault to Matisse” at Musée d’Orsay, the delightful Musée de Montmartre is giving a show to Georges Dorignac, an artist from the turn of the century, who painted everyone in black. He died at 46 in 1925, and was forgotten until recently. Eighty five of his works have been lent by Galerie Malaquais, private collectors and museums, and the strength of his drawings is a revelation. Read More

At Art Paris, Gao Xingjian and Annette Barcelo stand out

Gao Xingjian at Galerie Claude Bernard and next week at Chaumont sur Loire

With 150 galleries, Art Paris was fun this year even though you were too often told:  “This is an all women show”, a particularly irritating comment as far as I am concerned. Artists are sexless, they are either good or bad. There were two outstanding painters for me, Gao Xingjian at galerie Claude Bernard and Annette Barcelo at Anne de Villepoix, with of course the return of 83 year old Jean Le Gac at galerie Templon and a wonderful Mexican ex-voto painter, Alfred Vilchis Roque at gallery Frédéric Moisan.Read More

“Oceans, diving in full light” at the Natural History Museum

There are still 1,7 to 2,3 millions species to be discovered underwater

I am not particularly interested in underwater life but I have to admit that the exhibition “Océan” at Museum d’histoire naturelle, is beautiful and exciting, thanks to numerous films and interactive games for adults and children alike. It describes the first underwater explorations from Alexander the Great (325 BC) to the 19 th century, with an interview of  New Zealander diver, William Trubridge. It mostly uncovers everything we don’t know yet about the ocean which covers 71% of our planet and introduces new techniques used by scientists to discover its biodiversity. Take your time to visit it and bring your children.

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Christo will wrap the Arc de Triomphe for Easter 2020

The Arc de Triomphe (Project for Paris, Place de l’Etoile – Charles de Gaulle) Wrapped, Drawing 2018, Photo: André Grossmann © 2018 Christo

On April 6 th to 19 th 2020, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris will be wrapped by Christo with silver blue recyclable polypropylène fabric and red rope. This was decided by the French President Emmanuel Macron with Philippe Bélaval, head of the Centre des Monuments nationaux (which includes Arc de Triomphe) and Serge Lasvignes, President of Centre Pompidou, who discovered the project in Brussels in 2017 at the Christo retrospective. At the same time, the Pompidou center will host a large exhibition on Jeanne Claude and Christo’s projects  in Paris where they lived together for seven years (1958-1964) and later, at the time of the wrapping of the Pont Neuf 1975-1985.

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Galeries Lafayette move to Champs Elysées

The building by Bjarke Ingels is all about light and structure

Galeries Lafayette probably chose the most dramatic times to open their new flagship store on the Champs Elysées but Minister Bruno Le Maire insisted, in his inauguration speech, on the Renaissance of the avenue with this magistral cathedral of design. A department store conceived like a museum, this is not new in Hong Kong or in Japan or even in Miami but for Paris, it is a step ahead. There is no mystery that these Galeries Lafayette are aimed at trendy International tourists, and suburban visitors were very impressed on Thursday when they were allowed to have a glimpse. The good news is that below the shoes, make up and dresses, sits a wonderful “food court”, geek style. Read More

Chicago art brut finds its way to Montmartre

Drossos Skyllas, Untitled (Tree of life with cow and calf), 1950, Intuit, the center for Intuitive and outsider art

La Halle Saint Pierre is a very special museum of Art brut in Montmartre. Twice a year it invites visitors to discover a new territory and this time, we travel to Chicago, where director Martine Lusardy has discovered amazing artists. This is where Dubuffet, the apostle of art brut, was first exhibited in the US when he travelled there in 1951. He gave a speech on “Anticultural positions” and local collectors started to buy “outsider art”. This exhibition of ten artists was organized by  Intuit (Center for intuitive and outsider art) under the name “Chicago calling: art agains the flow”. One of which, the late Henry Darger, is particularly fascinating.Read More