Commentary, December 1990
The segue between endings and beginnings always provokes some sort of cosmic re-evaluation of positions. In a world of intense specificity and specialization, we have to invent occasions to be philosophic. Semesters, projects, jobs, issues, budgets, relationships, governments, years… Continue reading “Notes on the status of hope”
Architects are visionaries. Ever since Romulus slew his brother for the right to create the Eternal City, thinkers and design¬ers of urban life have not ceased to envision cities whose buildings, monuments, and thorough¬fares would not only serve (or control) city-dwellers, but also exalt the rulers and astonish travellers. But the multitudinous visions create a labyrinth of choices: to create flat cities? high cities? glass cities? green cities? Between utopias and dystopias, how can one determine which visions of life are best?
Continue reading “Tony Garnier Visionary Urban Designer”
Commentary, May 1990
Inspiration rarely takes practicality into consideration. Inevi-tably you’re in a hurry, pencil-less, and half-asleep, in a check-out line with five kilos of dog food, when the stuff creeps into your life and transports you. And sometimes it’s at high speeds in the presence of sublime banality. Continue reading “Burying Molière in New York”
Imagine 2,068,000 Parisians crammed into 105 km (not including 11 km of bones that lie under Paris in the catacombs) with 500,000 or so dogs (4760 dogs per km). This means you have about a 1 in 4 chance that a Parisian you hear complaining about graffiti is a dog owner. And this dog owner will be ignorant of the fact that although 4,000,000F go annually to cleaning up graffiti, 34,000,000F are spent cleaning up the canine land mines laid all over town. 20 metric tons of dog truffles daily. Some of it is sucked up by those green vacuum cleaner-equipped motorcycles, some of it swept into gutters by the 12,000 branch brooms and 30,000 plastic branch brooms, and then washed out of sight, out of mind down many of Paris’ 18,000 sewer drains. Instead, wouldn’t it be interesting to each day pick out 20 different dog owners and leave a metric ton on each of their doorsteps. It would take 68 years to reward each dog owner- not a likely prospect.
Continue reading “France…Just the Facts Madame”
James Salter, one of the freshest voices in contemporary American fiction, was in Paris this month to renew a thirty-year relationship with the city. Although Salter never lived in Paris for any extended period, he continues to return – this time to retrieve and recall memories, images, voices, moments…
Continue reading “James Salter Recalls Paris Memories”
Okay, here’s the secret. Bohemia does exist. The flood of articles on that subject just won’t die. We won’t let them.
Continue reading “Pursuit of Bohemias Past”
It is January 7, 1839. A proud Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, one-time partner of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, discoverer of the earliest photographic process, is explaining his own image-making process, the daguerreotype, to the French Academy of Sciences. Continue reading “Paris and the Daguerrotype”
William Klein’s approach to photography challenges the way people see the world. His photos have been described as being a lyric combination of black humor, acerbic social observation and daring graphic invention.’
Continue reading “Paris Interview: William Klein”
The Delta widebody is making its final decent for LAX International Airport. The day is unseasonably clear we are told by the pilot, and down below the ninety-mile carpet of urban sprawl unrolls. It’s like a giant graveyard, each stone represented by a bright squarish dwelling. The Sierras make the wall to the north. Continue reading “Parisian-American Culture Shock”
Art, May 1989
While most of France is preparing for the big summer events that will fete the Bicentennial of the French Revolution, some 85 Hawaiians have traveled halfway around the world to celebrate the opening of Crossings France-Hawaii. Art works by 45 contemporary island artists are the focus of the Crossings ’89 exhibit that begins May 22nd at the Mona Bismarck Foundation. Continue reading “Sandra Kwock-Silve discusses “Crossings””
Los Angeles gallery owner Steven White talks about his passion for discovering the undiscovered… May 1989. Steven White’s collection of photographs with images dating from the l840’s to the early 20th century recently opened at the Palais de Tokyo. What makes this show special is that it includes not only legendary photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston but also unknown gems that White has retrieved from history’s ‘lost and found’. In the following interview Steven White discusses his philosophy of collecting, the Tao, and what’s wrong with the contemporary photography scene. Continue reading “Interview: Collector Stephen White”