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Xinyi Cheng, “Resolutions”, 2020

What a relief to see at last a good painting exhibition at Lafayette Anticipations with the Chinese artist Xinyi Cheng show “Seen through others” and how sad to see the nightmarish “Pionnières” (pioneers) at Musée du Luxembourg. At least we have the choice not to go… I watched the new series on Netflix, “Drôle” (Standing Up),  written by Fanny Herrero, who is now famous for having been the screen writer of  “10 %” (Call my agent). It is the story of three French stand ups and it’s hilarious. At Nathalie Obadia‘s gallery on rue du Faubourg St Honoré, photographer Valérie Belin is showing eleven “Modern Royals” and I met the new President of Paris +, the Modern and contemporary art fair… and in Giverny at Musée des Impressionnismes, Rothko confronts Monet.

Xinyi Cheng and Cristina Li, curator of the show at Lafayette Anticipations

Xinyi Cheng is a discrete artist dressed in a black suit like a young secretary. Her curator, Hong Kong/The Netherlands based Christina Li, was definitely more flashy in her looks. In the thirty paintings cleverly hanging  in the beautiful space designed by Rem Koolhaas, we discover real poetry and a discrete eroticism through different men who are important in the artist’s life. A young blond masked man, who followed the visit, looked very much like the man on the phone with his parents in “Landline” painted during lockdown.

Xinyi Cheng, Landline, 2021, courtesy the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery , NY

Most of the works are delightful including the cairn terrier who contemplates a bone twice his size and the two men reflecting on a balcony in Italy in “Parapetto”. Some of the paintings are quite crude like in “Smoked Turkey Leg” where a bearded man sucks a bloody piece of meat. There are two paintings set at a barber because the artists likes the intimacy of daily life. “Lighter II” is reminiscent of La Tour, while the “Horse Wearing a Red Ear Bonnet” is obviously inspired by Picasso.

The building designed by Rem Koolhaas works particularly well with this artist, here Parapetto, 2021, private collection Hong Kong

The new café Mater has been designed by Hugo Haas Studio on the ground floor of Lafayette Anticipations and opens on April 14 with hot and cold plates created with plants. The design of the wooden tables is particularly successful. Lithographs by Xinyi Cheng are sold in the bookstore.

Alice Halicka, “On the beach in Trouville”, 1934, collage, Warsaw, Marek Roeller Collection, Villa La Fleur

At Musée du Luxembourg in the “Pionnières” exhibition, besides a pretty Marie Laurencin portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel in 1923 from Musée de l’Orangerie, four lovely collages by Polish artists Alice Halicka, are very fun: she will evolve in Paris and in New York towards stage and costume design. With pictures of Joséphine Baker playing golf and wearing Jean Patou, a portrait by Suzanne Valadon and a few lesbian scenes by Tamara de Lempicka, I really loved a grey portrait of Natalie Clifford Barney by Romaine Brooks which belongs to Musée Carnavvalet.

romaine Brooks, Portrait of Natalie Clifford Barney, 1920, Musée Carnavalet, Paris

The exhibition “Pionnières” ends with artists who study diversity, and the portrait of a Western African writer by Lucie Couturier in watercolor is very sweet. The exhibition has this advantage of putting forward minor painters who might have been totally forgotten otherwise. (Until July 10)

At the opening of Valérie Belin‘s photographs at Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Art Basel global director Marc Spiegler appeared a few hours after  announcing the new name of the Paris + Modern and contemporary art fair, and the dates, 20-23 October 2022 at Grand Palais Ephémère in the Champ de Mars. Its Paris director will be Clément Delépine with Virginie Aubert, former vice president of Christie’s France. The contract for this fair which takes over from FIAC runs until 2028.

Nathalie Obadia and Marc Spiegler at the opening of Valérie Belin’s show

The pictures hanging in the beautiful space of 91 rue du Faubourg St Honoré were the fifth exhibition of the artist with Nathalie Obadia. There is almost a  painterly feeling in these photographs which are based on the theme of the vanities. These women are fictional characters, seated on a sofa and designated by their first names and it is suggested that they are celebrities. The feeling is that we observe these characters through a window with reflections of the city lights. Valérie Belin was born in 1964, studied art in Bourges and  has a masters degree in Philosophy from the Sorbonne. She is a laureate of the Pictet prize for photography. (Until May 14)

Valérie Belin, “Portrait of Ellen (Modern Royals)”, 2021, edition of 6

And if you feel like visiting gardens in the beautiful sunny spring, head for Giverny where Monet expects you in his garden of course, but also at Musée des Impressionnismes (which is now part of Musée d’Orsay) in the new show: “Monet/Rothko” until July 3. I have not been yet, but a visit to Giverny is always a delight.

Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1957 – Washington, National Gallery of Art © 1998 by Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko – ADAGP, Paris, 2023

And if you are stuck home for some reason, don’t hesitate to indulge into the new series on Netflix, “Drôle” (Stand Up). It reflects the great source of talents issued from the Projects housings in the suburbs. Younès Boucif is definitely the star, as the Algerian character of Nezir. Mariama Gueye, plays the beautiful black comic Aïssatou, Jean Sieun plays Bling a Vietnamese French actor and Elsa Guedj is Apolline, a well to do young woman who rejects her bourgeois education on rue Bonaparte. All are excellent actors trained at cours Florent except for Younès Boucif.

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