Culture and lifestyle
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Culture and lifestyle
Suggestions and comments on exhibitions, art galleries, theatres, operas, new restaurants and hotels throughout Europe
Curated by ArnauddeG
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Une vie de débauche et d'ironie mais pas seulement | Forain, Petit Palais, Paris

Today people are queuing in front of Monumenta and they are right given the weather. Must be superb inside. I choose the entrance on the other side of the road. Petit Palais. We are obviously not in London, as a mini-van is very close to roll over me although I was standing on the crossings. But no Belisha beacons in sight

I know very little about Forain apart that he was the student of Gerome - currently at the Thyssen museum in Madrid, previously at the Musee d'Orsay. That he was a very good friend of Degas. That he started as an Impressionist. And that for some obscure reason - maybe because of the title of his main work - la Comédie Parisienne - I have always associated him mentally with Sem. In the first room, I also learn that he was Rimbaud's flatmate for a while, and a student under Carpeaux. Any bronze expected? Huysmans also was important in his life. This Forain is becoming more and more interesting - he may help understand the quintessence of des Esseintes, one of the most interesting literary characters of the 19th century

As I enter the first room, a gouache grabs my attention. Le noeud de cravate, painted in 1880. Not very original you would say. Except the owner of the tie is a woman. Quite ballsy for that day and age. His autoportrait looks like a contadino by Millet but Rimbaud's portrait reminds me of Bosie, aka Lord Alfred Douglas - not sure they are comparable though as that would draw a very undue parallel between Verlaine and Mister Wilde. And Husymans looks more like Staline than like des Esseintes. As I progress, I understand why my inconscient has associated Forain and Sem: similar topics, la vie parisienne et mondaine

Most paintings are quite small. Surely, the curators have wanted to stimulate mental associations, hanging side by side Le Client - a description of French sporting houses - and la Première Communion. And also next to La Belle Chevelure, where the chief bawd exhibits one of her protégées' hair in a Roman sign of good health. Le Bon Client is in a restaurant this time, but almost a surrealist painting much before the times. Some of the topics could have been Renoir's. Or Duffy's. Le Buffet pushed La Traviata's brindisi as an opera ritournelle in my head. And then, L'Entrée au théatre. Where the friendship with Degas burst in bright light: the élégantes going to the theatre could have been easily mistaken for dancers had they not have their fans

The dry irony of Forain is obvious everywhere. The young women doing the washing up in the morning and dancing in the evening, "la même" says Forain, is a good example. The characters of Devant le décor look like a perverse couple teleported from a Fragonard painting, preparing a coup. Amusing that, in the course of his career, Forain often underlines his admiration for the author of the Swing

Not everything is great though. Some of the drawings could have been spared. Especially the fan-shaped ones, very trendy in the 19th century

In the fourth room, the series of ink is a delight of French bourgeois humour (si, si, ça existe). I would christen Souvenir de Chantilly, Souvenir de My Fair Lady. The Ascot scene

Notwithstanding the typos on the board, les Forains du Café Riche figure a real caricature of the then Parisian life, with all the technical elements of the modern caricature: large colour blocks and thick black lines stressing the general shapes have replaced disproportioned heads and minuscule torsos. But the irony is also in the details, like in the countal crown on the woman's powder case in a very sad Le Souper. No surprise Lautrec declares, in 1891: "I don't belong to any school. I work independently. I admire Degas and Forain". And this was 3 years before the boards produced for Le Café Riche

The industrial and urbans themes are also very present, with scenes from tribunal, elections and business negotiations. One can feel a very social conscience behind these well executed drawings, inks and paintings

In a last surprising move, a whole series is inspired from religious themes. Husymans is behind this, who helped his friend make peace with his religious conscience. The comment on the wall is enthusiastic. I am less. Four pieces figure the prodigal son. Interesting to draw a parallel with Forain's early years, where he left his family home and became a vagabond...

Undoubtedly better at handling light topics than serious ones, Forain's art is not at its best when he decides to apply it to the then new journalistic techniques of the First World War reporter. His involvement in attempting to scare the enemy into weakening them psychologically, through his art, is remarkable though

The last couple of rooms show his portraits. He has painted his family, friends and patrons, some with his caricatural verve, as Jacques-Emile Blanche had the pleasure to notice ("cet être gras et antipathique, avec une cravate rose, sur fond vert laitue, qui se veut être moi"). Interestingly, Forain paints his son Jean-Loup looking like Rimbaud, young. After that, mostly sketches in the exhibition. Unfinished paintings. If Forain did not think it worthwile to spend time finishing his late paintings, I personally would not spend too much time admiring them, and prefer to stay with his superb beginnings in mind. Nobody needs to be reminded that a nightclub looks like one of Dante's hell's circles

Great homage by Plantu on the last wall. Mais quoi, déjà fini? Too bad, I was still mentally revolving between Misia Sert and Anna de Noailles, Marie de Régnier and Nana. Witty, Forain? Much more than that, except at the end of his life. But nevertheless a great exhibition, still 2 weeks to go. Petit Palais, Paris
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Les derniers seront les premiers | Flarepath, Royal Haymarket Theatre, London

At last, a play that ends well. Not that I am depressed by all the surrounding gloominess, but it is rare to see a smart play with a happy ending. Flarepath is one

First, as in most Rattigan's plays, the characters with the smallest parts are the most interesting ones. Sarah Crowden (Mrs Oakes) is a hilarious hotelkeeper. Clive Wood ("Gloria" Swanson) a squadron leader whose weaknesses and kindness are quite enchanting. Emma Handy (Maudie Miller) a superb repressed working class sergeant's wife

I would be slightly more split about the main parts. Harry Hadden-Paton does not have to force himself to catch Teddy Graham's U accent. Nor to borrow a signet ring. He gives an excellent performance in Teddy, a war pilot whose trophy wife had planned to cheat on. Pat, the wife, indeed Sienna Miller, the celebrity amongst the cast, is sometimes disappointing. Of course she is incredibly charming and fits perfectly the role. However, the way she plays most of the time has not moved me, nor my fellow theatre companions - and we are all fans of the actress. The couple's paroxistic moment is when Pat and Teddy fall into each other's arms, crying, gasping, unable to breathe. Too much jeremiad. Teddy's face is hidden so we can't really see if he really cries, but Pat-Sienna's face looks straight at us. Not convincing enough I am afraid

Forgot a special mention to Sheridan Smith, known (is she?) for excellent productions such as Two pints of lager (I can't help sharing with you the French title, Deux blondes et des chips, tout un programme), Grownups or Gavin & Stacey. She plays brilliantly well, sadly her voice - hopefully - transformed by the ingurgitation of too much helium before the raising of the curtain, a bartender-turned-countess, eager to get re-united with her husband, also a pilot. What is unusual - and that Sheridan Smith plays very well - is that notwithstanding being such a light-hearted flibbertigibbet and probable gold-digger, she turns out to be one of the fundamentally nicest characters of the play. I have to say though that we all got quite annoyed with the circus around a couple of scenes where her Polish husband (the count...) is trying to speak English - lowest in the hierarchical types of humour. Also reminded me of the Adriana-Christian Karembeu story, at its beginning, where they could not speak one common language...

But more than the relatively brilliant cast, the plot is so refreshing. Usually, in this kind of plays, husbands get cheated on by their unscrupulous wives, who more often than not end up leaving them. Here, it is all the other way round. The lover - a middle-aged, Fonzy-like actor played by James Purefoy - gets ditched by his lover, who suddenly realises that her husband is a good man. An honnest man, in a definition that goes even beyond Rousseau. And all of this happens after the said husband - Teddy - stops considering his wife as a trophy, but more as a wife. At the end, everyone -almost- is happy. For a change. And we still have gone in the circumvolutions of the human soul, so the play has fulfilled its role

Don't think I have spoiled the pleasure of discovering the story as I have not - and the pleasure of this play is not in its plot

Hegel once said to Napoleon that no one is a hero for their valet. I have regularly transformed this over time saying no one is a hero for their wives or husbands. I now know there is one exception: Rattigan's Pat and Teddy
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Galamment de l'Académie à la Wallace, à Londres

Unusually calm day at the Royal Academy. Everyone is gearing up for the forthcoming Summer Exhibition opening on 5 June. This is why I decided to check out the Watteau drawings today, ending precisely on 5 June

Born after the banishment of Commedia dell'Arte, second at the Rome Prize, ruined by the Law bankrupcy, Watteau, in his only 37 year-long life, has managed to conquer the reputation of the painter of fetes galantes, even to invent the whole concept. Not sure whether he attended many, but he is unrivalled in his way to represent them

As I enter the first room, the doppelgaenger of Francois-Marie B seems absorbed in the contemplation of military drawing. Not him, though, although they share the same hairdresser probably. Costume parties, masquerades or military subjects, the delicate chalk techniques mastered by young Watteau are impressive. Do they move me though? Not quite

In the third room, very nice drawings of Savoyards. Real ones, not the Drouot crowd. Prefiguration of what Millet, and later Cezanne, and later would be doing. A standing Savoyard funnily looks like Claude Brasseur - on a drawing. The Persian delegation? More contemporary to Watteau as evidenced by the many plays figuring Oriental diplomats and politicians. And a good occasion for Watteau to show off his command of black and red chalk together

As he moves to drawing his fetes galantes, Watteau's paper becomes darker. A good way to reinforce his three-pen technique (red, black and white chalk). The three girls wearing a hat feature an old, more disciplined version of Les Triplés. More artistic too. Lots of children drawn. As I turn in the room, a gross copy of one of Watteau's paintings on the wall. Even if they don't have enough drawings to fill in the Madjeski rooms fully, no need to add a naff decor. A very charming, oldish English woman with white gloves stands in front of a study of a guitar player, copying it. I repress a small gasp as I look at her own version - awful! Watteau's soft guitar player has suddenly become very Belzebuthian. I can even see the horns... Ma'am, please leave this poor guitar player and Watteau, his father, rest in peace.  
The dress of a seated woman - on a drawing - is almost as long as that of the new Duchess of Cambridge. Interesting

At 32, Watteau has become a man. And he draws nudes. Not that many nude drawings remain as Watteau decided to destroy most of them, frightened by their licentious character. Like Baldessari. 250 years earlier. But why do these nudes hold, one a bottle, the other a basket, the third one a sheet? There is a bit of prefiguration of Ingres here too. Although Watteau never made it to Rome

If need be, Watteau's final years confirm and further improve his great trois crayons technique. And also repeat that he had no imagination for titles as far as drawings are concerned. Won't even copy them here considering how boring and poorly descriptive they are. As far as titles for heads are concerned, I prefer the posthumous ones of Messerschmidt...

In summary, Watteau has drawn (and painted) parties and the army. Masquerades. A few nudes. Aristocratic topics for the poor son of a roof tiler. But for some unknown reason, I can't help thinking he would have been more at ease in the bourgeois XIXth century. Pas trop ma came, once again...

But I decide to persevere, and jump to the Wallace Collection, nearby. A room on the first floor is dedicated to Watteau paintings until 5 June. Nothing particular to report here apart from the same light and joyful impression as the drawings. Apart also from a rather different view of Les Champs Elysées to what can be seen today. And from the obvious difference between drawings and paintings as far as titles are concerned: the paintings' titles are engraved in the works - and much more witty than the mere descriptive ones posing as titles to the drawings. Pater, one of Watteau's pupils, is there too, confirming Watteau as a chef de file, and not only a one-of-his-kind painter. For some obscure reason, Lancret, the other best known Watteau follower, did not make its way into the exhibition - but is still visible in the small drawing room

Very interstingly, the lower ground exhibition space at Hertford House displays part of Jean de Jullienne's collection. Jullienne was a collector of Watteau, and a sponsor. Vernet's seaport, a very interesting Greuze (Silence!), two magnificent Rubens panels, the beautiful Lace Maker by Netscher, and a rather damaged van Loo, constitute the most noticeable remains of what was once the best private collection in Paris

A last snoop around the Bouchers and the Fragonards, the Boulles and the Rieseners, and off I go. On my way back, I can't help wondering, as each time I step in the beautiful Manchester Square mansion, how a pig such as the Marquess of Hertford, managed to assemble such a stunning collection. No doubt this one would have attended many fêtes galantes
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Another most subjective list (9)

1) Plan a visit to LA to see the 40 years of graffiti exhibition at the MOCA (Los Angeles)
2) Visit the Salon de Montrouge, where young contemporary artists are showing their work (Paris/Montrouge)
3) Shop at G.Lorenzi for the perfect men toiletries and accessories (Milan)
4) Attend the sale of Maria Pergay's furniture at Artcurial on 24 May (Paris)
5) Book a table at Anne-Sophie Pic's restaurant (Valence)
6) Read the new translation of the Great Gatsby by Julie Wolkenstein: so many diverging opinions, need to get my own
7) Have a saharienne cut at Arnys or Wicket (Paris)
8) Advance book tickets for the forthcoming Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery (booking from 10 May, exhibition opens 9 November 2011)
9) Buy a super strong and clever (more space in the front than behind) umbrella at Senz (Internet)
10) Book tickets for Pinter's Betrayal at the Comedy, with Kristin Scott Thomas, directed by Ian Rickson (London, from 27 May)
11) Try the new men's underwear by Lady Violette, (Internet)
12) Renew my stock of Gamarelli socks - red - (Rome)
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La semaine dernière, ...

J'ai aimé
- la ré-invention ubiquite (...) d'Heidi Slimane: curator des derniers accrochages - splendides - d'Almine Rech à Paris et auteur d'un livre de photographies sur les icones du 21ème siècle (Editions Ringier)
- que le Salon de Montrouge ait finalement toujours lieu à la Fabrique, et ne soit pas délogé comme c'était prévu
- le gala exceptionnel donné - une fois tous les 5 ans - par l'équipe et les comédiens du Royal Court Theatre: excellentes performances tout au long du diner, champagne à la bonne température, et une ambiance festive, finalement rare dans les galas de charité
- Cassis, un très bon bistrot de Brompton Road où la cuisine est délicieuse et le service très attentionné
- Annabel's - eh oui, alors qu'il y a quelques semaines je criais Rendez-nous Annabels, mon ancien club favori a été samedi soir fidèle à ses origines. Et je ne connaissais pas que les amis avec lesquels j'étias venu. Encourageant...

Je n'ai pas aimé
- le "nouveau" City Airport: plus de vols bien sûr, mais ça commence trop à ressembler à Heathrow et plus au Cointrin - avec les files VIP en moins...
- que lorsqu'on demande à une hotesse British Airways d'arrêter la clim, elle se sente obligée de mettre le chauffage à 30 degrés
- les masques de voyage Ottis Batterbee: beaucoup de publicité, des attentes élevées ("le seul masque naturellement parfumé à la lavande") et au final un résultat décevant: pas de parfum, pas de spray à la lavande et très mal distribués
- que le George V ne soit pas accepté comme un des palaces français
- le plus très nouveau Linen Shop de Walton Street à Londres: vitrine triste grise, plus aucun vêtement de goût pour enfants - et la vendeuse me donnant du 3 ans à la place du 3 mois (I am sorry, Sir, I don't have kids...)

Je n'ai pas tranché sur:
- Des hommes et des dieux: superbe histoire certes, mais rendu un peu ennuyeux et trop de messes filmées - superbes images de fin cependant, avec la succession des moines qui part dans la lumière
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My 8th most subjective list

1) Try the new Lemon Tree hotels (7 locations in India)
2) Visit the mobile Chanel pavillion built by Zaha Hadid outside the Arab World Institute (IMA) until 30 October (Paris)
3) Book a spring week end in Stockholm - and stay at the Nobis (Stockholm)
4) Go shopping at Gambs, the new eco-friendly design shop in Bastille (Paris)
5) Attend a musical (harp and pianoforte) champagne evening at La Belle Juliette, 92 rue du Cherche-Midi (Paris)
6) Admire all and buy some of the photographic discoveries of Alexandre Percy at Galerie Acte2 (Paris)
7) Buy a stack of white linen pochettes from Buds (London, Burlington Arcade)
8) Download the best videos of Eddie Izzard on YouTube, as I have missed him at Theatre de Dix-Heures in Paris (everywhere)
9) Book Pygmalion at the Haymarket Theatre (London)
10) Buy summer espadrillas by NDC - Nom de Code - in natural colours (earth, brown, red, beige, etc) (everywhere)
11) Visit the Van Gogh Museum for the Picasso in Paris exhibition (Amsterdam)
12) Make sure everything is organised for Venice (early June) and Basel (mid June)
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La semaine dernière, ...

La meilleure découverte de la semaine:
- Puggy, un trio suedo-franco-anglais qui fait une musique pop-rock ex-cel-lente - à l'Olympia le 17 novembre, courez-y, j'ai pris 10 places

J'ai aimé:
- la Brasserie du Vieux Saint-Vincent à Bruxelles - pour le filet américain et l'excellente salade de rognons
- l'esprit de famille
- découvrir les artistes photographes de la galerie Acte 2
- le nouveau-ish salon Thalys à la Gare du Midi et la carte Thalys Platinium
- l'exposition Nature et Idéal au Grand Palais - mais pas plus d'une heure - tableaux plaisants de grands et moins grands maîtres qu'on a plaisir à découvrir, et une des rares expositions récentes où les tableaux viennent vraiment de partout - très beau travail de curateurs
- les excellents Polaroid de Warhol (surtout Clemente et Burroughs) et la série Ladies and Gentlemen à la Galerie Ilan Engel rue des Archives (Paris)
- les nouvelles vendeuses de Lenotre à Neuilly

Je n'ai pas aimé:
- la multiplication des sèche-mains Dyson dans les cabinets de lieux publics - ça ne sèche rien ou ça laisse les mains desséchées
- la température des alcools au Royal Monceau, restaurants et bar: champagne pas assez frais et vins rouges beaucoup trop froids
- que La Cuisine - au Royal Monceau, encore - ne serve plus le vendredi soir après 10 heures et demie. On est au fin fond du Schwarzwald, ou quoi?
- le système Habitat pour retirer des objets commandés: le plus inefficace jamais expérimenté, tout ça pour 4 chaises d'appoint
- le numéro d'avril de L'Optimum - je sais j'ai du retard: couverture accrocheuse (les 118 accessoires must have) et à l'intérieur des souliers surtout et le reste, vu et revu

Je n'ai pas tranché sur:
- Joyce Jonathan, deuxième artiste à être produite par My Major Company du fils de JJ Goldman: résolument un air de Carla B, la voix éraillée - et sexy - en moins
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Une foire pleine de relief | Review of Art Brussels

I have always loved Belgium and its inhabitants. At least since I discovered Belgitude - not a neologism on my part, but the only possible word to describe a mix of dry sense of humour, neverending creativity and deep respect for others. The exhibition that Bozar in Brussels gave for the 175th anniversary of the kingdom of Belgium was in and of itself very telling. It was the first large-scale public appearance of La machine à caca - dans le texte -, by Wim Delvoye since then very famous. Loudspeakers shouted Poelvoorde's films in every room. Even the name of the museum - Bozar - was a joke: Beaux-Arts it should have been, but the Flemish part of Brussels refused that their flagship museum be given a name in French...

Art Brussels does not fail the rule. It is very Belgian. Located past the Atomium built in 1958 for Brussels Universal Exhibition, you first have to get lost before you can get in. Two boards in opposite directions indicate the VIP entrance - my friend decides to take one, I take the other. One minute later we get re-united. However, it would be foolish to think the most extreme minutiae has not presided to the organisation of this important event for Brussels, and the country. Two halls, one for the young artists - and galleries, and one for the more confirmed ones. Except Messen de Clercq and Fabienne Le Clere who, for me, could or should both have been in the grown-up hall. Surely a deliberate choice

As we progress through the alleys, the same old comment is coming back from the previous years: this is too big. One needs 6 hours to crawl seriously through all these treasures. I have therefore decided, in a deliberate choice of efficiency, to give you my 10 top picks:

1) The mermaid by Fabien Deroubaix (Fabienne Leclerc Gallery, Paris): Garouste meets Mars Attacks for this relatively scary, very inspirational sculpture
2) Two paper installations figuring wrongly-placed shadows, one on the floor and one on the wall (already sold pre-opening) by Bernhard Kahrmann (Reinhard Hauff Gallery, Stuttgart)
3) A folded Caravaggio by Pieter Schoolwerth (Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York): imagine that you take a Caravaggio, paint on top of it à la Richard Prince, fold it in half, and colour block paint one of the halves, this is about the result
4) Facebook NS by Ilse Haider (Steinek Gallery, Vienna) where vertical woodcuts form the face of various Austrian celebrities
5) Interesting photos of Marlon de Azambuja, half way between street art and land art (Max Estrella Gallery, Madrid) where the artist targets geometric urban places and adds its own materials - colours, rubber, drawings - in order to stress symmetry and geometry
6) Claudio Parmiggiani's burnt library (Messen de Clercq Gallery, Brussels), the trace left on paper after the artist has burnt his bookshelves. Very Barjavel-esque
7) David Adamo, with Ibid Projects, shows an axe, the handle of which gets thinner and thinner as the axe gets used. Some form of object cannibalism (Wentrup Gallery, Berlin)
8) Everytime you switch me off we die a little by Douglas Gordon (Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris, just retired), a great neon "corner" piece, which should be installed around an angled wall in order to preserve the surprise effect (the "we die a little part" is on the other side of the wall, not visible at once)
9) Ivan Navarro's Reality show (Daniel Templon, Paris) - nothing new for Navarro, but this cabin is particularly anxiogenic: one can step in from any of the 4 doors, and the depth effect is both on the floor and the ceiling, and pyramidal. I imagine some kind of torture widget straight from the Avengers (Chapeau melon et bottes de cuir, amis français)
10) And finally, as one has to make a choice, Claudia Rogge's scary pictures of Ever After Purgatory (the number III is particularly worth it) (Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art, Wien and Salzburg). A photographic vision of a yet undiscovered circle in hell

In addition to these picks, some stands are worth it altogether. Sorry we're closed (yes this is a gallery name, reminds you of La concierge est dans l'escalier, does it not?) has chosen the clown theme, with an interesting performance, and various paintings, including a superb Ensor. We are in Belgium, after all. The Vallois Gallery from Paris is putting forward a nice show, including works from Gilles Barbier, Richard Jackson, and an interesting abandonned white character, left in the corner, from which colourful angry worms - or are they paint splashes? - are escaping, by Winshluss. Toni Tapies Gallery, from Barcelona, also is worth a look, with superb photos by Canadian Michel de Broin

Tucci Russo shows a couple of nice pieces by Penone. JGM is there himself, amongst two great Laurie Simons photos and a couple of pieces by Jean-François Fourtou (you know, the artist from an industrial family who builds disproportionate and upside down houses, and then takes snapshots of himself in these most extraordinary places). Jan Fabre is ubiquitous. Like Art Paris. C'est l'année Fabre - let's hope it is not the decade. Maruani & Noirhomme have the guts to show some non-blasphematory Serranos

But finally, I have to share my complete crush: Robin Rhode, at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery from New York. Series of photos. Undescribable. Very sad when I learn from one of the two adorable gallerists that the one I liked most - and for which I already prepared mentally to fight with the nice Belgian couple that was there before me - was sold. Ouch! His other series are not as good. His videos do not seduce me. I will wait. The series was basically 20 photos of a wall, in his native South Africa, where he has brought a loudspeaker - or is it a sewing machine?  He starts to draw a kind of pictogramm of a sound, and as time goes by (and one progresses in the series), the wall is entirely covered by representations of sounds. Not easy to imagine, hein? Try one of his books, as the gallery's website can be improved

Altogether yet another good millesime for this ever-growing fair. But please, Mr Curator, next year, don't accept that many galleries. Or have a two-day non-stop vernissage. Could be quite Belgian

Coming back from Brussels Expo, as I was crossing streets with dream-provoking names - l'Allée Verte, la Rue des Rhododendrons, even l'Avenue du Football -, I remembered one of my closest - Belgian -  friends telling me that Belgium did not have enough well-known characters to name all their streets. Perhaps, but which other population could be described with humour but without a single drop of irony? Once again, my 18 hours in Brussels have been a delight
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A memory exercise in Vitry | MacVal and Duyckaerts

The sun is shining over Vitry-sur-Seine. This almost gives this very banlieusarde city of Val de Marne a nice warm feeling. The MacVal stands here, between the main road and small rue Henri de Vilmorin - quite a paradox to have a street named after Louise's uncle - or brother - in this part of Greater Paris

The cashier is nice and smiling, the trip to the Umgebung is starting well. The guide is setting off with the history of the museum - quite a plaidoyer pro-left wing. Not the point of interest, old sport. She says the museum is modernist... Hum, ever heard of Gaudi?

The new permanent exhibition - on memory and souvenirs - begins with Mona Hatoum representing the 40 nationalities present in Val de Marne as swings. Yes, swings - but where Fragonard used the swing to suggest some erotic play between a young girl and the viewer, Hatoum engraves the maps of the cities where 20 of these nationalities are from. As the swings start to move, they bump into each other, suggesting the difficulties of these communities to co-exist in the department. Politically engaged, but definitely a nice start

In the next room, one really realises that the current exhibition is much better than the previous accrochage. A representative of action art, Gina Pane uses her own body to write her Mots de Mur. Scary. Boltanski is here too - his show at the MacVal last year was phenomenal. His looks, photographed on people giving testimony about the Holocaust, make me travel back to Yad Vashem. Vraie sequence emotion. Always the same topic, but always something new. Bravo, Cristiano. In the same room, an old fashioned TV set describes what would otherwise be a TV news report. This is Antoinette Ohanessian playing Sophie Calle. Canada-born Michel de Broin describes a Black Whole Conference: a sphere of black chairs piling up to the ceiling, and the perfect description of the impression I sometimes get in one of those neverending and purposeless meetings...

Then, the black & white room - what makes up a souvenir? Colour, fragrance, feeling, mental picture? Gilles Barbier bundles all of this in a cartoon-like installation showing a fallen man watching his souvenirs, spiralling above his head. Barbier is never the last one to tell us straight what we don't want to hear. Very French, some would say. This fallen man may have been able to look through the window, had he not fallen in the wrong direction, and had the window not been filled up by Eric Hatan's garbage. La Vitrine, it is called. In Vitry, the guide says, never short of an alliteration. Hatan does not want to throw things away but uses the waste he produces to obstruct the view and the window

Tiens, Anne Bregeaut is here too. La declaration is very different from what she usually does and quite similar to Orozco's infamous shoebox. Not her best. Agnes Varda mirrors Raysse's Beach (once at the Pompidou in Metz), creating a graveyard for her zgougou. Except the grave is only a film, projected on some sand. Raysse beach, on vous dit

Annette Messager is a collector: men - and their dual personalities. Doudous as well. And drawings. At least, these are better than flies' wings and other scums that she sometimes does collect. Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil chooses to tell the story of this young, convicted, Eastern European woman, who managed to erase herself from all her family photos in order to disappear completely. Judging by the difficulties I have to untag myself from some Facebook photos, I am admirative as to how she managed... 

Hugues Reip, in White spirit, black soul, represents the wall of my dreams. Or that of my nightmares. Then Shilpa Gupta transforms all of us into a video game. As we are moving in front of her white screen, weird objects are falling from heaven, which we can pass to one another. Super Mario, Super ArnauddeG! Am I the only child around? I can't stop laughing. My friend tries to pass the buck - the objects. Suddenly, I am not visible any more. One question though: how does one know when one wins. Or loses...

Julio Le Parc draws with light on paper. Unfortunately, my iPhone 3 - sad, I know - cannot capture that beauty. Impossible to show Malachi Farrell's La Gegene installation either. Simulation of electricity torture, playing on all our senses, under the scrutiny of mini-Klan members. Half-way between Clockwork Orange and Jeunet's City of Lost Children 

A lot of emotions - and a lunch, in the great Le Chantier restaurant - later, we decide to hop towards Eric Duyckaerts solo exhibition. 

Duyckaerts looks like Hugh Laurie (Dr House...) And, judging by the 50th degree where he places his fausses conferences, he also has the same dry - very dry - sense of humour. An intellectual with enough distance to remain interesting and ... Un-intellectual. Savoir, pouvoir - Duyckaerts is Belgian and clearly a linguist amongst others as he plays on the meaning of the two words. He associates themes with a view to making us lose the plot. His videos are not to be missed. Especially the one on catalogie where he explains that... the purpose of a catalogue is to represent things in small and that the words have no importance whatsoever. Or the one on epigones - is it good or bad to be one? And what is one?

His whole life is also quite distanciated - is he not an art teacher? Ah bon, art is teacheable at the end? After this great day at the MacVal, the answer I can give is yes, art is teachable, but through experience. And an experience that ought to be like this one: Erfahrung, not Experiment...
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La semaine dernière...

J'ai aimé
- le dernier disque de The Strokes dont, en plus, la pochette me fait penser au style d'Amélie Bertrand, jeune peintre culottée
- le Saut Hermès, une merveille d'esthétisme, de précision et d'élégance
- la publicité pour la Passat à la télévision française - ultra-drôle, sur le thème de Star Wars
- l'Ardoise Gourmande, un charmant bistrot dans le 10e à Paris
- la baguette Malesherbes d'Eric Kayser
- que mon poissonnier m'appelle jeune homme bien que, comme je l'ai dit la semaine dernière, je sois plus vieux que la mère de Justin Bieber
- le Café du Centre à Genève, excellente cuisine
- la purée d'artichauts
- Run with the Boys, de Carl Barât
- la réflexologie et le shiatsu de Karin, à la Réserve de Genève

Je n'ai pas aimé
- le nombre toujours croissant de fautes d'orthographe sur le web en général et Twitter en particulier
- que les gens soient si débraillés et odoriférants sous prétexte que le thermomètre dépasse les 20 degrés - et pourquoi ils se collent entre eux en plus?
- que la durée de vie de mes chaussettes Gammarelli soit inférieure à deux mois

Je n'ai pas tranché sur:
- le débat autour de P*** C***** d'Andres Serrano: l'art doit pouvoir tout se permettre, d'accord, mais ça, je ne suis pas sûr
quentin's comment, April 26, 2011 12:14 PM
ravi d'apprendre que tu te déplaces même dans l'est parisien.. Après Courbevoie, le Xème.. Bravo!
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A week end in ... Barcelona

Poverini che siamo, whether one lives in Paris, London, Rome or elsewhere in Europe, one is about to embark upon a long string of bank holidays. And we therefore should plan them with the care and seriousness a proper 3 or 4-day away deserves. I will therefore, from now on, and very sporadically, share my best adresses in my favourite cities. Let's start, this week, with sunny Barcelona

1) Walks
- All areas are nice, and have their specific flavour so stroll around in the Born, the Barri Gotic and Eixample
- My fave is Turo Parc where shopping is great and Turo Bar is just what one needs for the 2.30-4.30pm mandatory shopping break (shops are closed...)

2) Shops
- Menswear is best at Conti on Avenidad Diagonal or one of the branches of M69 (I prefer the one in the Born, on Rec 28). Loads of trendy, yet wearable-even-if-you-are-not-18-or-in-media, pieces
- Particular attention should be given to the Outpost, on Rossello. All great men accessories there - and more. Really
- LA Comercial in The Born is full of interesting stuff - my preference goes to the accessory one, with loads of cool candles, books, widgets - perfect for a dinner party present. Less attractive if you travel a lot
- Derivee, a new shop in Turo Parc, is the Barcelonian version of Bluebird, Corso Como, TAD and other Colette - if you have found the 4 cities where these shops are, you can probably go to the next article, you don't need lifestyle tips... Womenwear mainly but also nice and original accessories. Special mention for great handbags by Celeste, a Spanish, very promising designer
- Espadrillas at Cristina Castaner, whose men stocks is increasing over the years - good news. To be noted, she produces a special range of mens espadrillas for the Outpost every year. Second-to-none. Only available at the Outpost, not at the Castaner shop

3) Hotels
- Am not so fond of the Arts, based on a stay a few years ago where everything went wrong: hair - not mine - in the bathrobe, no room service menu in the room and so on. Setting and spa are superb there though. But a bit far from the heart of the city
- Omm is great an all accounts: location, service, functional and well designed rooms, nice rooftop pool, trendy and up-and-coming bar, even a club downstairs
- Have not tested the rooms at the Mandarin but opinions are mixed. Did not like the bar in an old safe room (the hotel stands on the premises of an old bank). Far too chichi. Fun though that apparently if you are a regular, your favourite bottle is kept in one of the safes. Heard bad things about the "gastro" restaurant too. But have not tested myself

4) Lunch
- For a typical, Barcelonian, tapas lunch, rush to Bar Mut on Rossello. Always nice although not new
- Got taken by friends from Barcelona a number of times at Escriba on Bogatell beach. Very nice. But then I discovered the original Escriba shop - patisserie and bakery - on Grandes Cortes Catalanes. De-li-cious.
5) Dinner
- El Parco, for central, fusion, lets-see-and-be-seen food (Passeo de Gracia)
- Da Greco is you want a Mickey Blue Eyes' The La Trattoria experience (Passeo de Gracia)
- Tickets, the new Adria (of El Bulli fame) family venture on Parallelo, but only post summer. All booked before. Nice cocktail bar next door too
- Comerc 24 to taste the Adria concept without the 200km road to Gerona and the 2 year waiting list
- Delicious meat at Casa Paloma on Casanova., and a convenient although not trendy bar downstairs

6) Nightclubs
- Most nice nightclubs have a "privé" which is the only place acceptable
- Otto Zunz is nice, and so is Opium
- Bar Mut has opened, in a building nearby, a private club, Mutis. Door selection hard but worth it

7) Museums and attractions
- The Santa Catarina market in the Born (av Francesc Combo). Also very nice to have lunch there
- Parco Guell, get lost in it and feel the magic
- MACBA - see my review of it early March
- Of course, all the modernismo flagship buildings - but much better to get invited to a private dinner in there rather than queue with the flocks
- Fundacion Sunol, in the building next to Vincon on Passeig de Gracia. A small, private, contemporary art foundation
- I don't want to be tacky, but I like the Sagrada Familia. Yes. From the outside though, as it has been criminally adapted to the huge number of visits inside. Although not consacred religiously, one can feel spirituality from the architecture if one disregards the tourist-in-shorts population. At least I can
- Montjuic, for its hilly natural setting - great for a tiring jog - and its great museum

8) Around
- Cadaques, in a house, on a boat, to get tanned, eat well and rest
- El Bulli, who has lost its first spot as best restaurant in the world, but remains nonetheless difficult to beat
- Sitges, if you want a real beach really close (forget Deauville)

If after all of that you do not rush to Iberia website and book a ticket to one of Europe's newest airports, am not sure what else I can do...
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My 6th most subjective list

1) Order some Orlebar Brown swim trunks - the classic ones - in bright colours (everywhere)
2) Check out the new exhibition at the Waddingtom gallery (London)
3) Get the new book on and by Richard Prince sold at Colette (Paris)
4) Make sure my mobile number is on the distribution list for the next fight club (New York)
5) Watch Blow up by Antonioni again
6) Get the new custom-made Custom 574 New Balance (Internet)
7) Check out the summer collections at the Bluebird (London)
8) Check out the new New York nightlife spots, the Apotheke bar -Londoners, remember the Pharmacy- or the night club Le Bain
9) Book a romantic dinner at delicious, new-ish Aroma at the Hotel Gladiatori (Rome)
10) Confirm attendance to the opening of the Solages Foundation (not Soulages...) (Brussels)
11) Try the new temporary restaurants, the Gigot Bitume in Paris or Whatshappenwhen in New York
12) Download les Beaux Mecs on iTunes, a French series that has had a great success recently (everywhere, with a French iTunes account)
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Hamlet in West Wing | National Theatre, London

Hamlet is probably the play out of all Shakespeare's plays that has been the most commented on, by much more knowledgeable people than me. I therefore do not want to refer to the text, but to the outstanding performance by Rory Kinnear and the fantastic direction by Nicholas Hytner, at the National Theatre

The director's choices may appear quite surprising at first. Very contemporary setting. The royal couple is more modern than Charles and Camilla. They use TV the same way Geoffrey Rush does with radio in the King's Speech. The stage is invaded by Men in Black, with headsets, who also perform the decor changes - quite an original idea. These are the footmen, butlers, valets and guards of the original play. Wherever a hidden character was eavesdropping in the play, Hytner uses headsets and -topical- phone hacking techniques to create drama. Even the 3rd act play within the play is partially transformed into a contemporary dance, half-way between ska and Alvin Ailey's ballets. The fencing fight between Hamlet and Laertes looks surgically set - and this is not lightly said given that I have been fencing for more than 15 years...

Overall, great impression of the engaging choices made by the director - reminds me slightly of the Verona, United States, version of Romeo and Juliet with DiCaprio: unusual, disturbing at first, but so consistently done that it becomes very seducing

As for the cast, it is uneven. Ophelia definitely lacks the charm and depth that Millais and Rimbaud once found in her. When she wanders on the stage with her trolley -!-, she looks like Zezette in Le Père Noël est une Ordure - one of the 5 most well known French comedian films ever. Unconvincing

A Putin-looking Claudius exhibits a very strong, un-royal accent. Gertrude could come straight from AbFab, with a detour by Eastenders. At the end of the day, Shakespeare did not want us to like that royal couple. And we don't. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern seem lost from an Ugly Betty shooting where they would have played the Mode assistants - surprising, again, but this time incredibly efficient

And then, Hamlet. Rory Kinnear is pulling a breathtaking performance which justifies alone that everyone who knows about Shakespeare and vaguely likes theatre should see this play. He can express any feeling, any state of the human soul, with maximum credibility. Hamlet is a play about madness. Real madness, fake madness. Kinnear is convincing in both, and any shade inbetween. Chapeau! I was told the show is fully booked at the National - it should your duty to try and get tickets. Good luck
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Bozar or Beaux-Arts?

Belgium is in the trend, these days, proposing yet another Miro exhibition, in addition to London and Paris. Adopting a contrarian view, I decide instead to go and spend one hour at the Musees royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. Which is closed. But not completely

The Beaux-Arts, not to be mistaken with the neighbouring Bozar, currently host to the Concours Reine Elisabeth - a kind of live and chic X-factor taking place in a museum - is also fashionable. It is currently presenting, until 5 June, an exhibition of Walter Leblanc work, a cinetic artist influenced by Morellet

The entrance hall is majestuous. The last day, a superb Alechinsky, announces the spirit of the museum. Few pieces, but high quality. Because we are in Belgium, another large painting in the hall represents the days in 1830 when Belgium was created. Not a good piece but a good history lesson to remind visitors that Belgium is less than 200 years old

Inside Le choix des conservateurs, a selection made by the museum's curators while the main departments are closed, everything seems a fake. Pistoletto's green curtain tricks people. It is not a green curtain, just painted on a mirror. The guide is explaining to a rather dumb visitor that the gist of the piece is to reflect her image in the mirror, then move and ask herself whether the piece still exists after she has moved. Ueber-delighted with her discovery, this dumb visitor drags her unwilling husband in front of the same piece and re-explains the same, half correctly only though. The chubby husband thought it was a slimming mirror... Can't stop laughing, he just made my day

Poliakoff is Poliakoff, but a bit of Nicolas de Stael too. Frits Van den Berghe imitates Magritte, whose museum has settled down around the corner. Later on he imitates Chagall. Was van den Berghe a fake? Paul Delvaux is pulling a Chirico. Indeed, Chirico (a poor one) is nearby

Belgian celebrations, Marcel Broodthaers is here too, with pipes. Another reference to the most famous of Magritte's paintings? Another piece by Broodthaers shows a bucket of mussels. On est en Belgique que diable! Hum, don't know about an English painter having produced an installation with marmite, but that must exist. The mussels are close to a rather original Fontana. My enthusiasm is growing. This choix des conservateurs is a treasure. Avoiding the flocks of students, I progress in my examination. A couple of black Alechinsky, but not as good as the first one. The Bacon featuring Velazquez portrait of Pope Innocent X. Schirren and Wouters are here too - but they should not be

Tiens, a Hartung that I finally like. Fast forward through the surrealists. Dali, Ernst and Tanguy are next to each other. One piece each. Flouquet and Servranckx have painted like Leger, whose original is opposite. It looks like the curators have pulled every Belgian painter from the rooms being refurbished, and displayed them next to their biggest inspirators. Which gives this impression of fake. But is also very interesting. Duesseldorf Modern Art Museum had done the same a few years ago with Russian and French painters. Bonjour Rußland, it was called

I leave this small, exquisite exhibition and head upstairs to Walter Leblanc. His name almost seems to come from a crime novel - don't know why I am thinking that. The torsions are interesting. Quite like Rougemont's columns but twisted. Then, another game on black and white. Boring. In the other room, red and blue twists are interesting, but so much less powerful than Morellet's pieces

Disappointing Leblanc. I then decide to wander around the Ancien Art gallery, very swiftly, to check that I am still alien to it. Two painting by Bouts, about Innocent's supplication, draw my attention. Some Cranach are here too, where women have normal thighs - unlike the ones in the Luxembourg. Five Jordaens, two Memling (looking oddly like the Arnolfini couple). Room after room, this thing is neverending. The smell is as old as the paintings, altogether younger than most of the visitors

Vite, vite, I escape. Want to keep the good memory of the treasure box downstairs. And wait until the modern art rooms re-open, in 2012
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La semaine dernière, ...

J'ai aimé:
- le merveilleux Giscours 96 de La Cuisine au Royal Monceau
- les oeuvres, variées et bien exécutées dans leur maladresse, de Lucas Cranach, au nouveau musée du Luxembourg
- l'Apple Store de l'Opéra - et en plus d'être sympas, ils m'ont réparé mon iPad (ouf...)
- la photo, dans le Figaro, des nouveaux duc et duchesse de Cambridge: suis-je le seul à avoir remarqué la similitude avec les Ménines de Velasquez?
- les innovations sculpturales de Mathieu Lehanneur: représenter l'âge du monde avec des sculptures à la Tony Cragg, c'est une bonne idée - à la galerie Perimeter
- les photos de mode du numéro mars-avril de Monsieur, surtout le costume Marc Guyot et la veste Pal Zileri
- Glee, à prendre au quatrième degré bien sûr, mais tellement drôle, et performances de bonne qualité - surtout à regarder le matin, pendant son petit-déjeuner
- Ensemble, nous allons vivre une très, très grande histoire d'amour - un film doux, très drôle, avec d'excellents comédiens - bravo les copains!
- Different Gear, l'album de Beady Eye, le nouveau groupe de Liam Gallagher, de Oasis-fame

Je n'ai pas aimé:
- le système de queues chez Cojean, toujours plus compliqué
- le nouveau lounge Alitalia à Linate: moche, avec un Cerbère à la porte qui a essayé de garder ma carte d'embarquement, soi-disant pour plus de service...
- ne lire ou entendre aucun commentaire sur le discours d'introduction du festival de Cannes de Mélanie Laurent - il aurait dû être à mourir de rire, écrit par Nicolas Bedos (que j'adore...)
- devoir passer vingt minutes par jour à mettre à jour mes applications iPad et iPhone - est-ce que quelqu'un a trouvé une solution?
- les travaux sur les trottoirs d'Oxford Street - renforce la promiscuité. Et les embouteillages de piétons
- que malgré le ratio de 2 vendeurs pour 1 client, je doive attendre 15 minutes avant qu'on me demande ce que je voulais, chez Crockett & Jones, sur Jermyn Street, il va sans dire que je suis parti
- que lors de l'Eurovision, le seul juré à ne pas avoir dit UN SEUL MOT en anglais sur 43 pays soit le français - commentaire off du journaliste de la BBC: "who's that guy, btw. It could be anyone, really"
- qu'à 8.45am dimanche matin, les tapis de course du Virgin Active de Mayfair soient répulsivement sales

Je n'ai pas tranché sur:
- la compilation Le Parisien de Kitsuné: pas mal comme fond sonore pendant un diner pour paraître branché, mais difficile pour un jogging. Mention particulière pour 1999 de Valley
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Dans l'oeil du cyclone | Monumenta 2011

Openings should never take place between 6 and 9pm. If they did not, that would ensure people don't turn up with their briefcase. That would also ensure that, whenever a piece of art is designed in order to play with the sun, the sun is actually there when the opening guests are too

This was the status of my thoughts as I exited the vortex that Kapoor had committed for Monumenta 2011

Flashback. Tuesday. 7.30pm. After a few car scares - my companion will appreciate -, we are walking decidedly towards the Grand Palais. Yet again. Not a fair, not a fashionable art happening, not even a jumping competition, without the Grand Palais. And rightly so. We Parisians are too spoiled, but one should actually go and visit the Grand Palais for itself, in the rare occasions where it is not filled in. It is a magical space, for its dimensions clearly, but above all thanks to the amazing work and craftsmanship that has gone into it. This is why since 2007 it was decided to organise a one-piece-of-art exhibition by a major contemporary artist each year (or almost, it was skipped in 2009). This year, tocca a Anish Kapoor

The entrance is supposed to be directly into the beast - which I will not describe too much to leave you discover it, hopefully directly and not through the photos of various magazines. Not the case now as an 8800-people queue would beat even the non-VIP queue of the Saint-Laurent sale. So we enter in the Grand Palais directly, outside Leviathan, the name of the beast

Immediate impression: a three-dimensional, gigantic, purple bow-tie. Or a DNA ribbon magnified 1 million times. But an impression of being crushed under the massive shape. For two seconds. Pari gagné! Then, a vast impression of uselessness. Pari perdu! We try to go round it. Kapoor clearly did not want to let us do this. The balcony is open. He did not want that either. From there, and with a glass of champagne in each hand (10 minute queue, no VIP corner tonight), we can appreciate the monster. But I remain largely unimpressed

One hears sighs of admiration. Some precieuses ridicules faint. "Too much beauty" they scream. Hum, I am asking myself. It is just big. Clearly, he did the job. Monumenta. But is it not too obvious, when building a unique piece for Monumenta, to build something that occupies ALL the space? As opposed to THE space he chose to occupy?

Then I made the encounter that transformed my evening. A "mediateur culturel". Based on last year's experience, I decided to go and speak to her. She started to repeat a bit what she was told to tell random visitors. Then we entered into a very opinionated conversation, as I like them. 5 minutes later, she took us inside the vortex. No need to queue for about 90 minutes, like everyone else - was a very English evening, in the sense that there were queues everywhere.

Inside, quite fascinating, I have to admit. But probably MUCH better with daylight, hence my introductory comment

The truth is, this piece is all about impressions. Play on convexity. Play on immensity. Play on our senses being tricked in thinking we are somewhere else. But as far as Kapoorian tricks are concerned, my favourite piece remains Yellow. By far and away

9pm. We are hungry and rush to La Cuisine, the divine non-gastro restaurant of Le Royal Monceau. Can't stop enjoying having dinner in front of Joanna Vasconcelos' pergola. Delicious food. And they even managed to get the wine at almost the right temperature this time. A flock of people are in front of a side door. It is the opening of their gallery, I had forgotten. A glass of champagne in hand, we decide to check it out. Probably the only people arriving at a cocktail party with a glass already in hand. Here we are in Art District, the name of this new, nice gallery

The Feast of Trimalchio. Not sure how many people inside have read the Satyricon. A few more may have seen the not-so-good Fellini adaptation. Anyway, large, surprising photographs by a Russian art collective group names AES+F... Completely David Lachapelle-like. Someone tries, seeing my composed smile, to justify the inspiration - or lack thereof - by a liking of Nietzsche's theories on masters becoming slaves and vice and versa. A snobbish interpretation of Roman Compitalia. I much prefer to stick to my first impression and remain largely uninterested in any art that reminds me too quickly or too strongly of another artist. Especially when it is supposedly inspired by one of my favourite books, and displays a magistral countersense in its interpretation (won't develop this, but they got the Satyricon by the wrong end of the stick)

The rest of this long and interesting evening has no relation to art. But as a summary, I would still recommend to see Leviathan, at midday if you can. And post your opinion, would be interested. You can wait though for the second exhibition at Art District, no need to see that one. No doubt that when a place owns such a great library, it can do better in displaying art
VIP's comment, May 16, 2011 4:28 PM
sometimes trying to read people reactions but cannot do it...<br/>Tks for a very instructive evening ;-)
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Eastenders meet Midsomer | London Road at the National, London

- You are wrong, Sir, someone said this is the best production the National has done in many years
- Well, fine then. What is it about?
- The Ipswich murders
This interesting dialogue took place in the ticket booking queue of the National as I was waiting for my Hamlet companion. I had no idea that in 2006, someone named Steve Wright killed 5 prostitutes in Ipswich and got arrested. Apparently, it was the talk of the day, the kind of things BBC Breakfast could not stop talking about
- This is a musical, but not a traditional one
Whatever that meant, that was getting better and better. I decided to give up to the charm of the hostess and buy two tickets for London Road at the National, starting these days

All pumped up with joy and excitement, National Theatre, best London theatre, here I come! The beginning is silent. As people sit down, weird looking actors are arranging chairs on the stage. Theatre new style, but I have to say I like this kind of contemporary direction

Then, all started on the wrong foot. The actors' accents were miserable - no H, no final consonnants. Professor Higgings must feel betrayed - and I am not sure how the neighbouring Garrick Theatre, currently playing Pygmalion, must feel. This is probably normal for the characters the play is supposed to describe, but nevertheless disturbing

The themes are quintessentially English. The first ten minutes deal with weather, flowers and the need to preserve the community. I really feel in England-land, the general tone is given. Also the general taste for faits divers and the publicity for murders - did you never notice that whenever a crime is committed somewhere in London, a large yellow board is being put at the place of the crime, making sure all the neighbours get scared for at least 2 weeks...

The rest of the first part follows suit. The plot unfolds and the angle through which Alecky Blythe treats it is interesting: we are looking through the eyes of a small community of people living on London road. As a side - unless it is becoming the main story? - the author studies this community through a magnifying glass: the lonely mother preoccupied by her garden, thinking a beautiful garden is some kind of panacea, the unbalanced couple where the husband is completely shut down by a vocal wife, the youngster landing in a middle-aged community and flirting with whatever he finds at the pub. Etc, etc

The lyrics do the job. Apart from this unbearable accent, the director pulls several tricks: repetition of lyrics creating some kind of pattern, lots of hum hum stressing the accent, half-sung half-said words accentuating the reality of the scenes. The music though is another story. Try to picture something between Benjamin Britten - frankly, Billie Boy was all the same unbearable the first time I saw it - and the Manchester school, with a dodecaphonic twist

The second part starts better. It is about the conviction, and we get to examine the reaction of the "community" to the trial and the impact of the story on their lives. One thinks Outreau, in France, where a community was deeply unsettled by pedophily allegations, in a very public and frontpage-occupying trial, just to be given a release a few years later. But doubt always remained. Here it is worse: the guilty party is identified and sentenced, but the same suspicion will always fly over Ipswichian heads.

20 minutes before the end, a monologue awakes me. A member of the community - precisely the one who had organised "Blooming on London Road" in order to give people back their pride of belonging there - is alone on stage. And speaks her mind. People on London Road were unsettled by the arrival of prostitutes in what they considered a proper neighbourhood (ha, this word, proper, it includes in itself all the pseudo-respectability of the English rural life). She confesses that she would have liked to thank the criminal. Quite unproper... We are falling into some kind of reverse Duerrenmatt, with Steve Wright in the role of die alte Dame

The rest could and should have been cut. We attend, on stage, the Blooming on London Road. Naff comments from a plumpy shrew with a half-glued wig. Nothing to do with the plot and a pure waste of time

All in all not great. But worth seeing to grasp fully what Englishness means and probably get familiar with this new type of theatre. However, as I was thinking in the cab taking me home, for what Englishness is concerned, I much prefer Julian Fellowes to this...
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Il venait d'avoir dix-huit ans | Cause célèbre, The Old Vic, London

Being a British actor must be a weird thing. Like every other actor, one has to impersonate widely different characters. But this impersonation bears one additional element when compared to pretty much any other country: the accent

When I settled down in London, one of my dearest English friends, an old Etonian having studied at Oxford, explained to me very seriously that he can recognise based on their accent whether someone has studied at Oxford or Cambridge. Let alone the city or county of course. Professor Higgins, beware, your replacement has been found

This long introduction to explain why I feel in two minds about Rattigan's Cause Celebre currently on at the Old Vic in London. Cause celebre - one of the many "French" expressions that exist in English but not in French - tells the story of Alma Rattenbury who stood trial in the 30s for killing her old husband and flee with her 18 year-old fiancé. I won't spoil the end, but although the play was written by Rattigan in the 70s, morale has to win somehow, even though with a twist. One of the interesting features of the story, and the play, is the opposition between Alma, described by Rattigan himself as a middle-aged nympho, and Edith Davenport, the jury forewoman, sexually-oppressed, having just got a divorce and lost her son to her estranged husband after he caught a sexual disease with a prostitute - as a side comment, there is no doubt by whom Rattigan feels the most charmed between these two strong women characters, at least until the very end of the play

Anne-Marie Duff is spectacular in Alma. She manages to make us feel sorry for her character since the first minute, as tension is growing and everyone knows the characters are on the cusp of falling off a cliff. Even if someone did not realise that, Rattigan, in a very classical and even Shakespearian trick, puts a maid on stage at crucial moments to focus the audience's attention, like a sinister music in a film soundtrack

What was more difficult for me to buy into was some of the other characters. The Davenport and Rattlebury boys seem to come straight from Priscilla, save for their costumes. Edith Davenport and her cousin-confident Stella Morrison, whose conversations also play a fil rouge through the plot, are not credible accent-wise, especially the latter - hence my intro. Rattigan aims at making them U (upper class, it is, as said loud and clear - which in itself is discutable - by the Davenport boy) but I am afraid their accents do not make it remotely credible - even upper-middle is a long shot

To be fair, I also have to stress the very promising stage debuts of Tommy McDonnell in George Wood, the 18-year old chauffeur-lover. His working class accent is perfect, and his acting the same. The lawyers and judges in the trial are excellent too. And the charming Thea Sharrock is pulling an outstanding direction, constantly based on stressing parts of the scene with light while keeping the rest in somber darkness - and building an interesting two-floor stage

All in all, definitely worth seeing even though some of the characters lack a bit of the depth that I believe Rattigan intended. It is his last play after all. And as far as I am concerned, a much better production than his friend Coward's Design for Living, on stage also at the Old Vic a few months ago. Until 11 June
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Venice and Antwerp | The Bozar exhibition

In Brussels for other duties, I could not miss the Bozar Venitian and Flemish masters exhibition. After reveling in optimal-quality contemporary art at the Fondation Solages, which is due to open on 5th May, we are heading towards Bozar. I am usually quite un-thrilled by exhibitions of this kind but my esteem for everything that is Belgian have encouraged me to try again. And off we go to Ravensteinstraat

What? A lying man in a contemporary exhibition. Interesting. Berlinde de Bruyckere in the middle of van der Weyden, Pisanello, Bellini, van Eyck and the like. So Belgian to mix and match, so smart. The curator seems to be keen to compare and contrast the most Belgian of our contemporary artists - Bruyckere - and the old yet best of us all - dixit Duerer -, Bellini. His Dead Christ supported by the Virgin and Saint John is a delight

In the next room, called the first Heritage - ie Bellini to the next generation - the framing of those masterpieces is naff. Dirk Bouts' Virgin and Child is close the perfection of Raphael's Esterhazy Madonna, not presented here. But altogether, and probably to the surprise of the flocks of middle-aged people staring delightfully at each square centimeter of each painting, a dirty helmet on the ears,  spitting an average description of the masterpieces they have in front of their eyes, I am not touched nor moved by those chefs-d'oeuvre. Pas trop ma came, I regret

Very few Titians. A couple though of superb quality: a Virgin and Child - the 10th of the exhibition -, a fabulous Pesaro. But the great Titians are not held in Carrara and Antwerp, where most of the paintings displayed here come from. Bassano's oval Venice receiving gifts from Bergamo strikes by its unusual - for the times - colours. It is also very telling on the relationships between the Repubic and the Province

The XVIIth century seems all about Bacchus, Bacchanales and erotic games. Suddenly, as I thought I would be incredibly bored for the rest of the exhibition, I have to sit down, surrounded by the beauty of Rubens' Trinity. Everything is extraordinary about this painting: the shape - square -, the composition - a lying Christ, God and two angels, ie 4 "people" for one trinity, the colours. The loggia installed by the museum allows for a perfect contemplation. As I am frenetically typing these lines on my old-fashioned blackberry, a couple of megeres are giving me a look. How can he not be looking at so much beauty, they think. If only they knew...

The rest is quite event-less. Apart from a Frans Snijders, one of my favourite Flemish painters, less violent than usual - a good point. A rather tacky Portrait of a man surrounded by flowers, attributed to Seghers, usually much better inspired. A couple of Tiepolos. A landscape by Huysmans - but as I am telling the friend who has had the patience to accompany me, I prefer Huysmans when he writes. A rebours. Ha ha

We end with a disappointment - one more. An average Canaletto, a few Guardi - but I prefer the former. A far below average Bellotto. But again, the masterpieces of these masters are no longer in Bergamo. For a stunning view of Venitian's 18th century paintings, visit the Wallace Collection

As we exit, we are surrounded by natural light, quite unusual after these two hours in the dark. Was about time. Altogether, this exhibition is a disappointment. First, one should never see a XVth century exhibition after an absolute delight of contemporary art, as we admired in La Maison Particuliere - see my other post. Second, the encyclopaedic willingness of the curator is far too obvious. Qui trop embrasse mal étreint. And I felt ill-embraced, for once, at the Bozar. Last, I would have liked the boards on the wall, and the accrochage, to stress the rivalries, the influences and the friendships. In fact, what I would have liked is an illustrated version of Vasari's masterbook, spreading over the years. And I am afraid, this was only an exhibition...
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Ne me touche pas | Noli me tangere, Odeon-Berthier

Je n'aurais jamais cru qu'il y ait un coin aussi moche, aussi près de chez moi. Il y en a des coins moches à Paris, mais pas vraiment en fait. Plus vraiment. Passé la surprise initiale, je rentre. L'endroit fait manufacture. Les gens sont arty comme j'aime, c'est-à-dire mal habillés mais sentant bon. On les devine intelligents et cultivés. Probablement de gauche. Ils nous regardent bizarrement, ma cravate et moi. Seul mon tote ultra-trendy canadien me sauve du pilori général de mes futurs partenaires d'audience

Mon accompagnatrice s'est trompée. Odéon, c'est forcément place de l'Odéon non? Non, sinon le coin ne serait pas horrible. Porte de Clichy dear. Plus compliqué

L'ambiance me fait vraiment regretter Olivier Py. Sans l'avoir jamais connu. Voilà enfin l'équivalent français du National. Je range vite mon étui FNAC où une vendeuse rébarbative avait glissé mes places - et que ma voisine d'attente debout dans l'antichambre de ce théatre subventionné avait remarqué, et aussitôt condamné. Avoir un étui FNAC signifie qu'on a payé ses places, alors qu'autour, tout le monde semble être invité. Et va backstage avant le spectacle. Bizarre. Ils mangent (et oui) des sandwiches. On peut être cultivé et pas tellement grammairien. On ne les retrouvera pas à La Cuisine du Royal Monceau après. J'ai presque envie d'enlever ma cravate, mais je la garde, moi qui n'en mets jamais, en signe de protestation. Les femmes ont la voie rauque, un gros cul et des pantalons larges. Personne ne sourit vraiment. C'est sérieux, l'art théatral. Surtout subventionné

On me donne le programme gratuitement. Et l'ouvreur refuse mon pourboire. Le monde tourne à l'envers. Ou pas

La salle est posée sur des tréteaux. On se croirait dans une installation de Chiharu Shiota. Mes voisins doivent être les seuls à ne pas voter à gauche. Vous croyez qu'on nous a mis à côté exprès? Une sorte d'expérience de laboratoire grandeur nature? Encanaillés par l'ambiance, ils m'adressent la parole. Ceux de derrière ont des problèmes d'arithmétique. Ils ne trouvent pas leur siège. On ne peut pas à la fois aimer le théatre et les chiffres. Ah bon?

On commence en retard. C'est ça le théatre participatif, unifiant, social. Tout le monde doit être arrivé. Sauf mon accompagnatrice...

Ne me touche pas, disait Jésus a Marie-Madeleine. D'où le titre de la pièce. Ce qu'on lit dans la gazette de l'Odéon fait peur. On a l'impression d'un peplum géant, où le fantôme de Brecht viendrait titiller les Evangélistes. On s'attend à aimer, mais à ne rien comprendre

Le rideau s'ouvre. Ou plutôt non, il n'y en a pas, mais quelqu'un s'avance sur la scène dans un rond de lumière. Le gars qui nous demande de couper nos portables sûrement. Les trois premières minutes de son monologue confirment l'impression initiale. On sent Nicolas Bouchaud (c'est son nom) jubiler intérieurement de son qui pro quo voulu. En fait, c'est Ponce Pilate qui explique le sujet de la pièce. Presque du Shakespeare, en tous cas un mécanisme shakespearien. Souvenez-vous de Roméo et Juliette

Les personnages se succèdent. Un ange ressemble a Kirsten Dunst dans une video de Murakami. Ce sera la Monsieur Loyal de la pièce, insufflant un vent frais et intelligemment comique. Salomé ressemble à une habitante du Canal Saint-Martin qui ferait ses courses avenue Montaigne. Le valet c'est Moravagine. Il y a du Cendrars chez Jean-François Sivadier, l'auteur inspiré de cette farce. Herodias, c'est Folcoche rhabillée par Ionesco. Seul Hérode dénote - son jeu rappelle Gilbert Melki, par ailleurs excellent acteur, dans la Vérité si j'mens. On doit la distanciation des personnages à Pirandello, sauf que ceux-ci ne cherchent pas leur auteur. C'est leur théatre qui cherche un directeur

Il y a des trouvailles. Une troupe d'acteurs - Shakespeare, encore - au look Deschiens. Un ange qui essaie de mettre ses ailes aux enchères. On imagine le regretté Laurent Terzieff dans un des rôles. L'atmosphère est celle de fin du monde alors que l'intrigue est celle de juste avant le nôtre. Exégètes, vous devez être heureux. Sivadier se souvient de jolies phrases de la Bible et les accomode sauce contemporaine. Des hommes jouent des femmes. Des femmes jouent des hommes. Ce n'est pas grave, c'est même mieux, on est perpétuellement à la limite

Il y a des lourdeurs aussi. Des jeux de mots, des calembours, le niveau le plus bas de l'humour. Ce n'est pas un calembour au moins, monsieur de Malavoy? "Le problème avec la routine, c'est que la roue tourne". Ca ne fait rire que ceux, dans la salle, qui ne comprennent pas la finesse du reste des dialogues. Quelques longueurs aussi. 2 heures 45 sans entracte quand même. Mais on est séduit, emporté par cette fresque intelligente. Quelqu'un a inventé les Misérables en bande dessinée. Sivadier et Py ont créé la Bible version planches. Une merveille

Les salves d'applaudissements sont moins nourries que ce que j'imaginais. Je me lève - même si ce n'est pas une première. Suis imité par trois ou quatre personnes. Peut-être que les autres ne voulaient pas faire comme le mec a la cravate (moi)

En sortant, je m'interroge sur le titre. Ni Jésus ni Marie-Madeleine dans la pièce. Le titre intrigue certes, mais repousse un peu aussi. Et sur Wilde. Les commentaires font beaucoup référence à Salomé de Wilde. J'ai tout trouvé ici - Shakespeare, Brecht, Beckett, Cendrars, Pirandello, Anouilh même - mais très très peu de Wilde

Ne vous laissez pas détourner de cette magnifique pièce par son titre abscons, son lieu interlope, ses commentaires en dessous de la réalité. Ce n'est pas le testament chronologique d'Olivier Py à la tête du théatre. Mais pour moi, ce sera certainement sa plus belle production. Jusqu'au 22 mai
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Comme à la maison | La Maison Particulière, Brussels

When I heard about the opportunity to visit, before the official opening, La Maison Particulière, I did not know what it was. Thought of a private foundation focused on contemporary art. It is actually much more. Nestled in a nice and quiet street in Ixelles, this magnificent townhouse has been refurbished with extreme taste and distinction. And in a way that makes it an incredible case for its many jewels

The owners are a delightful, discrete couple who has contemporary art as a passion. They decided to dedicate this house to that passion, by inviting private or professional collectors to share their pieces with the public. The first exhibition is themed around the Origins

What is striking upon entering the ground floor hall, is the extreme care with which each piece was chosen. One is called, first, by a cabinet in ostrich egg and leather, created and made by Nathalie Fosse. Nathalie stands there, next to her masterpiece. She is the jovial and friendly type, and has perfectly understood that she would be the best ambassador of her work. Having said that, the cabinet, like later the nacred shellfish on the first floor, are quite unusual in a contemporary art collection - which is of course why they are so interesting. The owner of the house has placed, in the egg-shaped ground floor cabinet, a papier mache sculpture by Cyrille Bartolini. Extremely clever association - if the owner is not an artist - and he is not - he definitely understands artists and assembling masterpieces

Some well-known artists are recurring in this first accrochage. Martin Barré, whom I have never well understood. Robert Longo, and his many charcoal drawings on mounted paper. Boltanski, everywhere these days, and more, with his frightening looks and rusty biscuit boxes. Buren, who brings a bit of lightness in this emotionally-heavy collection. Pieter Laurens Mol, whose Total Amount installation is for me a complete discovery: zillions of small boxes displaying all possible sorts of painters' pigments. Gauthier Hubert, another nice discovery

But the real discoveries of this Maison is undoubtedly the photographs. On the ground floor first, in a side drawing room, I have to stop and stare: Angelo Musco has photographed models - male and female - in soft and delicate movements in a swimming pool. And assembled these photos together, 10 hours a day for several months, creating a photo which is more like wallpaper and suggests at the same time sweeteness, comfort, dream - and a bit of a scary environment. I would have happily drowned in so much beauty

Manuel Geerinck, a Belgian-born photographer living in New York, and heavy coffee drinker if I believe the number of coffees he had during our conversation, has invented the laqueered photograph. But his art is actually much more than that: he is initially a painter. But a painter who sometimes decides to cut some of his paintings, in various shapes, to create a mobile. He then sets each of these mobile pieces in motion and takes a photograph of them. The result, half-way between Muybridge and Bacon (yes, some of Bacon's triptychs), is laqueered five times and can sustain heat, light and other external attacks. Chapeau!

Next room comes with another photographic discovery. Alvin Booth, his photographs, his girlfriend and his very good English accent. I mean he is English, but his accent is very good. His photo is called Anamorphosis. Imagine der Schrei (by Munch), straightened up, in black and white, and reproduced five times in a sort of cylinder. Hard to imagine I agree. Alvin tries to explain to me how he does it, with one camera and one lens. I still don't get it - but I know that next time I am in Paris, I will try to get some of his photos (like all these other photo discoveries, he is represented by Galerie Acte2 rue d'Artois)

As I am reflecting on (1) how nice all these artists are, (2) how beautiful their works and (3) how much courage it takes them to stand up in front of 20 or so collectors to describe and explain their works and method, I enter the black room. Ivan Navarro is there, or more precisely, one of his Sentinels. Not his best. I much prefer the one Templon has on his stand at Art Brussels, or the Entrance to Petra, by Josep Niebla, also in the dark room. Probably partly because the title is great, to represent a large vertical painting, black, with a vertical white stripe. Et hop, on entre à Petra

Last of my photo discoveries, Philippe Assalit, whom I nickname the modern Arcimboldo - and he likes it. Philippe is on a prepetual treasure hunt to find natural elements - wood, a wall, flowers, a tree etc - which he then merges with his own portrait, digitally. I don't like all of his pieces but I have to say most are stunning, in particular the one that is created from a wall, which in turn looks like a satellite photo of the globe. But il faut le voir - and of course, one is not allowed to take pictures - actually it was so obvious that no one asked

After these conversations and so much beauty, I am a bit dizzy, but can still find the time and energy to admire Michel Francois' Enroulement, Sugimoto's photos, a great photograph reworked by Sally Mann, Gromley's Freeze II, magnificently underlined by the surrounding architecture, and Hildebrandt's Because the night

Ouch, hearty congrats to all the people who made this Maison possible, and such a success. And if you are a collector - of this type, needless to say - you should get in touch with them. There will be 4 exhibitions a year, plenty for you to contribute. The next one is Feminity 0.1. Nice and inspiring title. If you are not, become a friend - that is already a first step - and go to Brussels to visit the house, from 5 May, on appointment I believe

PS: I forgot to mention the furniture, as it is not the purpose here. But Jacobsen and Mies van der Rohe - and so many others - are here too, to go the extra mile in creating the perfect landscape
Somberliberty's comment, April 29, 2011 10:52 AM
Tu m'ôtes les mots de la bouche ! A must see.
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My 7th most subjective list

1) Download Nicki Minaj album
2) Book Noma, currently the best restaurant in the world, before it gets replaced (Copenhagen)
3) Book London Road, a theatre-musical based on the Ipswich murders at the National Theatre (London)
4) Pop to Geneva to see the Sarkis exhibition at the MAMCO (Geneva)
5) Check out the forthcoming Christoph Büchel installation at Hauser & Wirth Piccadilly gallery (London, from 13 May onwards)
6) Make sure the box at Roland-Garos - and more importantly the lunches at Club des Loges - are booked (Paris)
7) Have Terrapin engrave follow-me-on-Twitter cards (New York)
8) Have dinner at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, at the Mandarin Oriental (London)
9) Have a suit cut at Miller's Oath to change from my usual London tailor (New York)
10) Get as many shiatsu massages as possible with Karin at La Reserve (Geneva)
11) Get PT01 trousers for next autumn, fun, well cut and unusual (Torino)
12) Buy the new Hermes purple iPad cover (everywhere)
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L'intelligence des fous | Messerschmidt and Cragg in the Louvre

L'intelligence des fous | Messerschmidt and Cragg in the Louvre | Culture and lifestyle |
This is always the same story: when the weather is nice, people take every opportunity to take off their clothes, smell arguably bad and jam themselves into museums. What was I thinking on Friday when, after a sublime first part of the day in a deckchair in the Bois de Boulogne, I decided to head towards the Louvre to see the Cragg and Messerschmidt exhibitions. After having been touched by a number of sweating backs - in the best cases - in the Richelieu pavillion queue (the one only for people with cards and VIP tickets...), I finally find my way into the Messerschmidt exhibition

This is the story of a renowned Germany-born, Austria-bred artist, whose health was tottering at best, and decided to emigrate to Hungary at the end of his short life, to produce his character heads. The exhibition board is very raccoleuse. A half-crying, half shouting head, which is not in the first room. My first impression is one of measure and symmetry. Gerard Van Swieten, Marie-Thérèse's personal doctor, looks very unpleasant, with his pinched, slim lips. I will learn later that it has been re-interpeted as a symbol of lack of sexuality

As early as in the second room, the impression changes dramatically. The man who weeps like a child, the artist picturing himself laughing, a grumpy old soldier - everything seems self-understandable, even before having seen the famous Charakterkoepfe. The mural commentary offers an explanation: these heads would be the reflection, and the consequence, of a mental disorder. Why not? L'intelligence des fous sans doute

Once again, I want to fire the translator. Der Verdruessliche is NOT, I am sorry, the vexed man. I am also not sure I fully agree with the sorting of these heads. However, I have to admit that the characterisation seems as odd as the heads themselves: who would think of calling a category "heads with pronounced expressions and varied hair treatments"? I also have to say that, although clearly these heads are a bit of a NIFO in the cultural landscape, what is ueber-powerful here is the association of the heads with their titles. Funnily enough though, the titles were given 10 years after Messerschmidt's death, by his first anonymous curator. But these titles are very informative of feelings and perceptions of the end of the 18th century. Try this: look at a head without looking at the exogeneous title - and try to name it. You get it wrong. Always

In the next room, la Cour Marly, Ropac is pulling a Perrotin. In other words, Thaeddeus Ropac has installed 8 sculptures by Tony Cragg, one of his protégés, next to very classical pieces, as Perrotin has been doing with Murakami, Koons and Veilhan in Versailles. I particularly like this type of associations, and always feel sorry for the mauvais coucheurs who think this shows the worst mercantilist aspect of art. This also shows the best side of art: how to mix times and spaces, and get people from various eras and countries closer together through the intermediation of art. The result is here again stunning. And highly recommended. If you happen to be in Paris today, Easter Sunday, rush to the Louvre
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Tomorrow's Art Stars Today: New American Paintings Presents the MFA Annual

Tomorrow's Art Stars Today: New American Paintings Presents the MFA Annual | Culture and lifestyle |
Are artists born or made? While raw creativity seems to be a function of genetics, today's most acclaimed contemporary artists have something in common other than the luck of the draw: many hold a Masters of Fine Arts degree.
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La semaine dernière...

J'ai aimé:
- le nouveau site, véritable plate-forme de rencontre entre professionnels et amateurs d'art
- le logo de la Gaité Lyrique, qui rappelle les points des Medici
- la décoration de David Collins, toute de teintes douces mais affirmées et de meubles simples et épurés
- La Villa, à Paris avenue de Friedland - la cuisine a toujours été très bonne, mais maintenant en plus, le service est excellent
- que Orlebar Brown et WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, deux de mes marques fétiches, s'associent pour créer un summer kit - à consommer sans modération
- l'exposition David Goldblatt à la fondation Cartier-Bresson à Montparnasse - superbes photos de jeunesse, très intéressante série sur les ex-offenders - manquaient juste les superbes triptiques en couleur

Je n'ai pas aimé:
- les travaux près de Soho Square - et plus généralement tous les travaux de Londres
- que mon voisin de Marylebone organise la plus grande Straßenfest de Londres pour le Royal Wedding - et qu'il passe à la télévision pour en faire la publicité
- qu'il soit impossible d'avoir un citron fraîchement pressé dans presque tous les bars de Londres
- le Cerbère qui garde on-ne-sait-quoi à la porte de la nouvelle salle Wagram à Paris et agit comme un excellent repoussoir pour le restaurant qui a élu domicile à côté

Je n'ai pas tranché sur:
- Source Code: divertissant mais un peu décevant compte tenu de la simplicité du scenario et de l'impression de déjà vu
- le Carpaccio, restaurant "gastronomique" du Royal Monceau - délicieux certes mais service lent - et manquant du petit knack de l'autre restaurant du sublime Royal Monceau, la Cuisine
- Le Daron, un restaurant de quartier dans le 9e - cuisine inégale, service agréable - un bon "local" mais ne mérite pas nécessairement qu'on fasse le détour
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