The curators of a new exhibition at Marmottan Museum, Paris, Georges Vigarello and Nadeije Laneyrie-Dagen, have chosen an audacious topic: La Toilette and The Invention of Privacy, tracing the ritual practices that accompany the toilette through selected part of art history (with works on display from the 15th to the first half of 20th century).
Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, Le Bain, 1902. Copyright Musee cantonal des beaux-arts de Lausanne
The "toilette" (bathroom) is here understood in i... [more]
The Face of Joan Didion.
In his 1957 publication, Mythologies, Roland Barthes wrote a chapter entitled “The Face of Garbo” that traced the marked distancing of Hollywood’s representation of the female face from the concept of awe, toward the effect of charm—childish and feline. We have not strayed far from this portrayal of women on screen since. Within Western history, and within our treatment of these images, there is something inexplicably aesthetic within the urge to evaluate... [more]
Alongside our peers around the world, we were deeply shocked and saddened at the news of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in which ten journalists plus two police officers lost their lives as they sat down for their weekly editorial meeting on Wednesday.
The weekly satirical publication, a stalwart advocate of freedom of expression and of left-wing pluralism, is known in particular for its irreverent cartoons and send-ups of religious leaders. This was the second terrorist attack the magazine has suffered... [more]
I was in a conversation with the curator Lucia Schreyer the other day. We were discussing the latest exhibition at Palais de Tokyo; we have differing opinions about it. I enjoyed the show very much. Once again it seemed as though the PdT had curated an exciting, interactive exhibition, fully using the space they have available and successfully iterating the concept of "Inside." Lucia didn’t like it so much. Her complaint was that it is too spectacular, like "a Luna Parc" for adults, and to b... [more]
You know, call me a sucker, and tell me that I should be over these kinds of petit exercises in social one-upmanship, but I do still get a little frisson of excitement when I’m rolling around Paris with an "exclusive" invitation in my pocket. It's one of the perks of the dirty job of criticism/journalism/whatever it is you want to call what I do. The folly of such an attitude was aptly displayed last night when, after a day of only mild bragging, I arrived at the "cocktail" for the opening... [more]
There's something new happening at FIAC this year. Not exactly the quickest to catch on to a trend, the Parisian art fair has created its own satellite, with a focus on introducing new art and artists from the international scene through a showcase of 68 galleries from 14 countries. Judged by a selection panel of art historians and curators, the tangential fair's emphasis is on supporting the underdog—not only the up-and-comings, but also "outsiders" and artists who have been overlooked h... [more]
Is it possible that there is someone out there, in the admittedly rather narrow demographic of folk who read this and other art related material, who hasn’t heard of Paul McCarthy’s forceful insertion of a thirty foot high inflatable replica Butt Plug into one of Paris’ most desirable addresses?
And yes, in case you were wondering, there is a fair chance that this puerile level of double entendre will continue throughout. If nothing else it gives me, the humble writer, a chance to pa... [more]
Patti loves Paris and Paris loves Patti, and the question that I’d ask is why?
Now right at the beginning, up front, I need to make a few things clear. First, let me state that this relates to our FIAC coverage because Patti is performing at the most sought after, and possibly the only gig to feature as part of the FIAC programme. It's a reunion with John Cale, on Thursday night, at Fondation Cartier.
Since this hardly seems sufficient to qualify my bold assertion I’ll also add tha... [more]
It really is a crying shame that Niki de Saint Phalle wasn’t crooked of back, thick of brow, dull eyed with pustulant skin, lank hair, an uneven gait, and a voice that sounded like a hoarse crow hacking its lungs up. At a push I’d even settle for poor and dull witted, but she wasn’t; she was pretty and rich and aristocratic.
Now, there is nothing wrong with this—she wasn’t the first and she won’t be the last artist to come from this milieu—but there is... [more]
Given that we are in the zombie month of August when most galleries are closed, your faithful correspondent decided that it was time to go and check out some permanent public art: Daniel Buren’s 1986 installation Les Deux Plateau, apparently more commonly known as Colonnes de Buren. I’m assuming that for such a worldly audience as ArtSlant’s, these titles need no translation.
But what is it? Well, it’s a grid of 260 candy-stripped columns, in a grid of candy-stripped li... [more]
Getting It by James Loks Colin Snapp at Galerie Allen
June 27th, 2014 - July 27th, 2014
Galerie Allen is a run by the Australian team of independent curator Joseph Allen Shea and artist Mel O'Callaghan, and is situated just west of Gare du Nord, in the tentatively gentrifying ninth arrondissement. These things are a departure from standard Paris format; they’ve eschewed the Marais, the (admittedly awful) left bank, and the more obvious cluster of new galleries centered in Belleville. Plus, there’s the involvement of an artist. The space itself is also something of a hybrid; t... [more]
Despite being at the forefront of documentary photography during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and the Mexican Surrealist movement of the 1940s, Hungarian-born Kati Horna (née Deutsch) has remained relatively unknown outside of her adopted country of Mexico. Yet the art world has an ever-growing appetite for unearthing overlooked or forgotten perspectives that wind alongside the dominant Western masculine narratives of the twentieth century, and Horna is a perfect candidate. The focus... [more]
“There was something factitious and brittle and thereby utterly feminine about her charm which made me want to crush her, even to crunch her. She had a slight cast in one eye which gives her gaze a strange concentrated intensity. Her eyes sparkle, almost as if they were actually emitting sparks. She is electric. And she could run faster in very high-heeled shoes than any girl I ever met.”
These words, written by Iris Murdoch in her seminal novel The Sea, The Sea (1978) fit perfectly with the... [more]
To enter this exhibition is to descend into an anarchic post-apocalyptic maze where mankind has come to rely on parcel tape as never before and small children run around like fuzzy static magnets for polystyrene debris. Yes, we are entering the world of Thomas Hirschhorn on a quite unprecedented scale, and as ever the Swiss artist presents us with an immersive vision.
This is an exhibition where you can spend time, and after contemplating disruptions in doxical praxis you can watch DVDs, eat... [more]
At a certain point as I was walking around the Mapplethorpe exhibition I thought, “You know something? I really don’t like Robert Mapplethorpe.”
This was during the first half of the show where most of the work was in his "nude portraiture" mode. I mean, I can appreciate the formality of it all—the lines and triangles, neat, original compositions, the sculptural references. But there’s just something in the gelatin-silver-shininess of it; it all seems too slick, t... [more]
Mathieu Pernot’s new show at Jeu de Paume follows twenty years of his career but it also follows the tragic downhill path some of modern society's marginal groups have taken since the twentieth century. While examining the nation state's mechanisms of supervision, control, and depression he also lingers on the historical role of photography as a collaborative practice.
The curatorial orbit of his exhibition The Crossing was designed to create both spacious and conceptual "vis-à-vis" encounters betw... [more]