Artists are Retired or Modern Artists

Grocery shop
Fruit and veg instead of café this week.

If Neither of the Above, Then They are Lancia Artists

by Ric Erickson

Metropole Paris:- Monday, 28. April 1997:- This has been an odd week and I have the feeling of having done nothing. Rain started to fall on Friday, and it means that I will not have to write about the 'drought' this week, and I sincerely hope it has done the people who need it, some good.

Without premeditation - which is to say, I can't remember the why of it now - I took a look at 'art.' This came about by reading 'Nova' magazine and trying to figure out what the 'twenty-something' crowd might be up to - and finding out about the six 'modern art' galleries in the eastern side of the 13th arrondissement.

I had a preconceived idea that this was an area of total desolation, and the notion that six 'modern art' galleries would install themselves there needed checking out. Whether you appreciate 'modern art' or not, these galleries will act like a 'magnet' and draw others to the area - and thus 'create' a new quarter. It will be interesting to see it develop.

After the rue Louise Weiss, down the rue Chevaleret, architecture returns to normal: a mixture of an old - not old for Paris - worker's neighborhood and modern public housing - all of it still facing a large SNCF freight yard, with the new Tolbiac Bibliothèque Nationale on the other side.

My first surprise was to find a new Irish pub named 'Cogun's Café' there. Mr. Know-It-All had to go in and tell them 'Cogan' is the correct spelling, but it turned out 'Cogun's' is made up of two names, one of them German. The owner told me he'd run pubs in Picadilly for 20 years, and this was his first try with an 'Irish' pub in Paris. He also said there are 36 'Irish' pubs in the Ile-de-France and 70 throughout France.

Still going down rue Chevaleret I come across a 'garage' with Lancias outside and an Alfa Spider inside. None The restore garage of these cars were less than 20 years old, but the two of the outside Lancias looked new. The boss, with a slight Italian accent, restores these cars.

The beautiful Lancia coupé ouside the garage is pushed inside at night.

He showed me two 1960-era Lancia V-6 motors that appeared to be new, but were restored and had zero on their clocks. The engine compartments of the two cars looked like hospital operating rooms. This garage maintains and restores cars, mostly for private long-time customers; it does not buy or sell cars.

The interior of the garage was covered in oily parts and pieces and did not look like these plastic parts-exchange places they have for new cars. This contrasts very nicely with the jewel-like aspect of the cars and their motors, and I wonder if 'modern art' might not benefit from this level of workmanship.

On Friday I was admiring the interior of the city hall of Boulogne-Billancourt which appears to be a spare '30's ocean liner, while I was getting an administrative paper. As I had to get another one across the river in Sévres, I paid a visit to my 'own' modern artist, Foucault, who has an atelier there.

I used to share drinks with Foucault at the Bar Central in Meudon. He had an atelier in a shed in a courtyard nearby and took his lunch in the café, along with Mr. Stein, the Russian painter and mathematician, and all the researchers from the CNRS institute across the road.

There are lots of working artists out in the sticks in Foucault and atelier places like Meudon and I am hoping that Foucault will lead me to them - and I am trying to recruit him to go around to the big salons and 'critique' them for Metropole.

Foucault can paint and he knows how to do the handwork part of it. He is a good photographer too.

This is Foucault, who feels like a 'foreigner' in Sévres; although it is next door to Meudon.

But he has never - in ten years or more - opened his atelier in Sévres. I mean, never even opened the windows. He said he is not a 'Sévres' person; even if the atelier is a good size and in a good location to be a gallery.

I think he is semi-retired from the 'art business' like I am; but it is no big thing. Like riding a bike or swimming, you never forget how to do it - so you can always go back to it when the time is right.

He had to go home - to Meudon, of course - to supervise some workmen so I buzzed by the city hall and got my paper, and then got lost in the Parc de Saint Cloud in the rain, where I wondered if Antonini really did paint the grass green for 'Blow Up' or he just waited for gloomy days in spring, when the 'green' is extra saturated and intense.

Some Events

Le Grand Aventure du Petit Ecran

The history of French television, from its birth and its development in the '50's; featuring extracts of old broadcasts and other artifacts such as posters, equipment and photos.

Musée d'Historie Contemporaine - BDCI - Hôtel National des Invalides, 129, rue de Grenelle, Paris 7. Métro Varenne. Until Thursday, 26. June. Hours from 10:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 17:30; Sundays - afternoons only. Closed Mondays. Info. Tel.: 01 44 42 38 39.

Outils de Jardin - Garden Tools

Under this unexciting title you will find the collection of Guillaume Pellerin; who found, restored and collected - garden tools. There are 1,320 of them on show, the newest dating up to the '50's - the rest being antiques.

At the Trianon du Parc de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne - Route de Sévres. The closest public transport to the Bagatelle are the bus lines 244 from Porte Maillot, or lines 144B or 43, from the métro station Pont de Neuilly. The bus line 43 starts at the Gare du Nord.

The exhibition is open until Monday, 19. May, from 11:00 to 18:00. Info. Tel.: 01 45 01 20 10.

The Parc de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne is in itself worth a visit. This, now 25 hectare, floral park was originally laid out as one of Louis XVI's little follies, but evolved into a 'parc à l'Anglaise,' whatever that may mean. The city of Paris bought the park in 1905, maintained its garden traditions and restored the 'Folie' and the 'Trianon.' Its rose garden is supposed to be a world reference.

Between the city parks people and an association of 'friends of the park,' there is a full calendar of events which take place in the park each year. There is a classic car show in September, for example. For further information, call 01 40 67 97 00. Entry to the park is 10 francs or less.

Outdoor Fêtes

Foire du Trône - Fête Foraine

I can not think of one English word that sums up the French expression of 'Fête Foraine,' yet I know what it means - at some open location - fair grounds, open field, clearing in a forest - fair operators set up their ferris wheels, twirly rides, bumper cars, portable speed rides, shooting galleries, candy booths, carrousels, some cafés, and a lot of loud sound equipment - and the public is attracted to this extravaganza of color, action and sound; to walk around and get sticky fingers and slightly dizzy from some of the rides - and the purpose of it all is to have a good time. Could I call this a 'funfair?'

Around Paris, these fairs have their annual locations. In the Tuleries in late spring-early summer, out at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in August, and currently out at the Bois de Vincennes.

This year's affair at the Foire du Trône features old-time carrousels, an exhibit on the history of these fairs - dating to 957, plus the usual fire-eaters, acrobats and jugglers.

At the Pelouse de Reuilly in the Bois de Vincennes, until Monday, 26. May. Open from 14:00 to midnight; to 01:00 on Friday and Saturday nights, and the eve of May Day and Pentecôte. Métro stations: Porte Dorée, Porte de Charenton or Liberté.

Foire de Paris, on Until Thursday, 8. May

Paris' Annual Super Exhibition

This monster show takes up most of the exhibition space each year at Paris-Expo, Porte de Versailles, and as in past years will feature a lot Foire de Paris of regional food and drink, and the ever-popular Concours Lépine - the inventor's show. Visit this if you are curious about the current crop of open-your-oysters-without-pain gadgets.

Within the framework of this 'Foire,' there is also the Salon de Tourisme, which features regional destinations within France. If this is all you wish to explore, it can be found in Hall 7 on the 2nd floor.

From Saturday, 26. April until Thursday, 8. May. Hours 10:00 to 19:00; plus early openings on weekends and May Day. Late 22:00 closings on Tuesday, 29. April and Tuesday, 6. May. Full entry price is 45 francs, foreigners 35 francs, children 14 to seven - 25 francs and under seven, free.

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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