Painting Distant Lands

The Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum specializes in indigenous art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. It opened in 2006 and is the newest of Paris’ major museums. A temporary exhibition at the museum “Peintures des Lointains” —looks at painters’ fascination with exotic people and places. It is the first time the museum has featured paintings from its vast collection of 450.000 objects . The painting exhibition includes mostly 19th century work from Ange Tissier’s “Odalisque” to daily life in Cairo by Emile Bernard to George Caitlin depictions of native Americans in the old west to Gauguin’s Tahiti. Continue reading “Painting Distant Lands”

Dessiner en Plein Air

Delacroix © Louvre

In the early part of the 19th century —before photography was invented— artists took their easels and sketchbooks outdoors to more faithfully represent nature. “Designer en plein air,” a temporary exhibition at the Louvre revisits drawings, etchings and some thirty sketchbooks of several open air artists such as Delacroix, Corot, Chassériau, Valenciennes and Daubigny (to January 29. 2018).
Continue reading “Dessiner en Plein Air”

Francois 1er and Dutch Art

The Louvre revisits the French Renaissance with a temporary exhibition “Francois 1er et l’Art des Pays-Bas “ devoted to Dutch artists patronized by Francois Ier (1494-1547) who ruled France from 1515 until his death. Francois, an enthusiastic patron of the arts, initiated the French Renaissance by attracting to France many Italian artists including Leonardo da Vinci, who brought the Mona Lisa with him. Continue reading “Francois 1er and Dutch Art”

Johanna Calle’s “Drawings”

“Baidos”

The Maison de l’Amérique Latine hosts a remarkable exhibition of work by Columbian artist Johanna Calle (to December 20, 2017). Although titled “Drawings” it is much more than that. Her drawings explore the idea of line in all its forms while using text, lattice screens, metal and cloth.  Wire is an integral material for many of her projects. Calle often uses it alongside drawing. She says “It is a more dimensional form of line and can communicate certain things that simply drawing cannot… My artworks are the result of research processes that discuss the investigation of materials.” Underlying the visual dimension of her work are such dialectics as abstract vs figurative and what is legible and illegible… the details we see up close and how things look further away. Continue reading “Johanna Calle’s “Drawings””

Ali Kazma’s “Souterrain”

Ali Kazma, “Subterranean” diptyque video

The Jeu de Paume in Paris is showing Turkish lens-based artist Ali Kazma’s recent non-narrative documentary videos (until January 21). Kazma, who studied in the States at the New School, represented Turkey in the 55th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia. His video installations —usually five to fifteen minutes—are a melange of various situations and social types… a kind of update on August Sanders. In a recent interview with ARTE he described the documentary nature of his work as an effort to create a “poetic archive of the human condition.” Kazma’s videos are an excellent compliment to the other Jeu de Paume exhibition currently on devoted to legendary “New Objectivity” photographer Albert Renger-Patzsch. Continue reading “Ali Kazma’s “Souterrain””

Mystical Landscapes at Musée d’Orsay

Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles, Vincent van Gogh

Wassily Kandinsky called for a spiritual revolution in his 1911 manifesto  “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” so that artists might express their inner lives in abstract “non-material” terms. The exhibition “Beyond the Stars. The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky” at Paris’ Musée d’Orsay revisits artists such as Kandinsky who during the late 19th and early 20th century attempted to evoke the transcendental in their work. Continue reading “Mystical Landscapes at Musée d’Orsay”

Primitive Picasso in Paris

Picasso said he experienced a “revelation” while viewing African art at Paris’ Palais du Trocadéro ethnographic museum.  “A smell of mould and neglect caught me by the throat. I was so depressed that I would have chosen to leave immediately. But I forced myself to stay, to examine these masks, all these objects that people had created with a sacred, magical purpose, to serve as intermediaries between them and the unknown, hostile forces surrounding them, attempting in that way to overcome their fears by giving them colour and form. And then I understood what painting really meant. It’s not an aesthetic process; it’s a form of magic that interposes itself between us and the hostile universe, a means of seizing power by imposing a form on our terrors as well as on our desires. The day I understood that, I had found my path.” His discovery that day of African art resulted in what became his “African” style (1906-1909) and his iconic  “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” Continue reading “Primitive Picasso in Paris”

Travaux de Dames?

Wall Ensemble ©Kristin McKirdy

The Musée Les Arts Decoratif opened its “Travaux de Dames” exhibition on International Womens’ Day featuring such artists as Niki de Saint-Phalle, Charlotte Perriand, Sonia Delauney and Elsa Schiaparelli. Canadian contemporary ceramic artist Kristin McKirdy— who has lived and taught classes in Paris for over 20 years— is showing an example of her new wall ensemble work. Continue reading “Travaux de Dames?”