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Days 4-5 Paris

THURSDAY

Visited "un art populaire" exhibit at the Fondation Cartier. This lavish building (financed by the famous jeweler) featured one of those "we are the world" exhibits frequently cobbled together by Western curators as a kind of mea culpa for First World imperialism. Here the only unifying link appeared to be the word "popular," allowing the exhibit to bring together Western kitsch-quoters (Mike Kelley, Robert Arneson), their Eastern counterparts (Takashi Murakami, the Luo Brothers), and oodles of Third World folk artists. There were nice pieces in the show even if the premise was lazy and uninformative.

"Sinceres Felicitations" at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts. The graduating class of 2001, as juried by Fabrice Hybert, Sylvia Fanchon, and Dominique Gauthier. Lots of future video artists and Biennale-circuit-conceptualists-in-training. Very little painting, but I liked GaŽl Davrinche's large canvases convincingly channeling children's art, and a couple of digital photosurrealist images by Vincent Mauger, using Toy Story-like modeling, texturing, and lighting. The confused state of current art was best reflected in Pierre Olivier Balu's installation: a row of not-half-bad paintings along the top of the wall, a row of performance-documentation photographs underneath, and the obligatory video monitor on the floor. All bases covered, all curators satisfied.

"Rodin en 1900" at Musee Luxembourg. This exhibition recreated the "Rodin Pavilion" at the 1900 World's Fair. The artist appeared to have moved everything en masse from his studio--bronzes, plasters, unfinished works, drawings, documentary photos--to the pavilion. The recreation, with its temporary wood floor, inner-lit canvas walls and salon style groupings of drawings and photos, was pleasantly po-mo.

FRIDAY

Trip to Versailles to visit the State Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, Gardens, and ticket-taker-attended toilet. It was fascinating to be here after seeing the Mad King Ludwig's digs in Bavaria. Ludwig worshipped Louis XIV, and his castle is in many ways a miniature of Versailles. Interesting that Bavaria's most famous unacknowledged gay modeled his huge, floor to ceiling bed canopy on the Queen's bed at Versailles rather than the King's.

- tom moody 6-30-2001 10:35 am [link] [1 ref]