Walls, Vikings and Animals

photo: montmartre parade, poulbot flag carrier

Today on Montmartre, the 'vendanges' parade in the rain.

Three Expos In Montparnasse

Paris:- Saturday, 2. October 1999:- With rain forecast for all of last week, I got my trenchcoat back from the cleaners and decided to visit some local art centres last Wednesday. Once on the street, despite gusting winds and sprays of wild water from eaves and leaves, the little excursion turned into a tour of Montparnasse.

The first stop was at the Musée Zadkine , hidden in its little country-like semi-secret garden just off the Rue d'Assas. The current Demures exhibition continuesphoto: demures expo, musee zadkine until Sunday, 17. October and shouldn't be missed. Despite the exhibition's sedate name, there are some very wild examples of - what are they? - wall installations; especially the ones by Johan Muyle; as well as the more elegant efforts of Michel Paysant.

After the 'Demures' exhibition ends the museum remains open with its permanent sculpture collection on view. The next major exhibition, of works by François Morellet, begins on Friday, 10. December - with lots of blue neon.

One of the Musée Zadkine's galleries.

At the Musée Zadkine 100 bis, Rue d'Assas, Paris 6. Open daily from 10:00 to 17:30, except Mondays. Métro: Vavin or Notre-Dame-des-Champs, or RER Porte Royal. Info. Tel.: 01 43 26 91 90.

The Scandinavians - have followed the Russians at the former Musée du Montparnasse. It is now called 'Le Chemin du Montparnasse,' but its location and vocation are unchanged. The cobbled surface of this other hidden alley in Montparnasse is being torn up by a waterworks crew, working under wildly overgrown vines - so you have to step carefully to get to the gallery's entrance.

The exhibition which has just begun is named 'Les Vikings à Montparnasse.' These Norsemen preceded the Russians to Paris, by settling in Montparnasse in 1905; mainly to attend the various academies in the area - those of Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, André Lhote and Bissière. They were into every 'ism' going on at the time.

See the works of Allan Osterlind, Issac Grünewald, sculpture by Astrid Noack, abstractionphoto: le chemin de montparnasse by Erik Olson, and the works of Greta Knutsson, who was the wife of Tristan Tzara. In collaboration, many of these joined Léger, Foujita, Cendars, Nils de Dardel and Per Krohg in assisting Rolf de Maré to mount the avant-garde 'Ballets Suédois' at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées; a unique enterprise which continued for five years in the '20's.

Also see, at the end of the alley in the contemporary gallery, the works of Karin Lewin, who has rendered the artist's 'tools of the trade.' Both exhibitions continue until Sunday, 9. January. The main gallery also has a compact video screening room; for showing films about the gallery's subjects - many produced by the Arte-TV cultural channel.

Le Chemin du Montparnasse, 21. Avenue du Maine, Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse. Open from Wednesday to Sunday; from 13:00 to 19:00.

Animal - is another exhibition to see, either before of after visiting the museum above. Plan to drop in to the Musée Bourdelle, which is just across the Avenue du Maine.

Antoine Bourdelle liked animals when he was a little kid, something he learned from his grandfather. Even then, he made little models of them. The grown-up Bourdelle did even more with animals and this is the subject of the current exhibition - which also has works by 120 other artists - at the Musée Bourdelle, 16. Rue Antoine Bourdelle, Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse. Except Monday, open from 10:00 to 17:40 daily. Continues until 16. January 2000. Info. Tel.: 01 49 54 73 73.

Coming and New Stuff:

La Femme, Mode d'Emploi - is a new exhibition, beginning on Wednesday, 6. October. 'Balzac - Superstar' is a phrase making the rounds at the moment, due in part to waves he made 170 years ago with the publication of 'Méditation de Philosophie Electique Sur le Bonheur et Malheur Conjugal' - or, 'Physiologie du Mariage' for short.

The heavy name of the work is a smokescreen for an ironic parody, intended as a 'Guide for Bachelors.' It was dropped like a bomb into a society which held the customs of marriage to be politically and morally untouchable.

Balzac had 'scientific' aid, provided by the experiences of two of his mistresses, to lend authenticity and authority to the work, and even provided interesting 'statistics,' worthy of later work by Masters and Johnson. Contemporaryphoto: balzac at vavin cartoons by Monnier, Gavarni and Daumier round out the picture. This exhibition continues until Tuesday, 4. January.

The 'Maison de Balzac' and its library reopened in mid-September and the Web has swung into gear for the bi-centenary of Balzac's birth . In addition to the Web site above you may want to take a look at another one, to see complete texts and illustrations. These amounted to, at his death, 10,816 pages in 97 volumes. Open daily except Monday, from 10:00 to 17:40. Maison de Balzac, 47. Rue Raynouard, Paris 16. Métro: La Muette or Passy. Info. Tel.: 01 42 24 56 38.

Rodin's Balzac watches over the Vavin intersection in Montparnasse again.

La Mort n'en Saura Rien - is an exhibition of 74 pieces or sets depicting how man faces death, from two widely separated civilizations; Europe and the islands of the oceans - selected for their aesthetic qualities from public and private collections. This exhibition begins Wednesday, 13. October and continues until 24. January 2000. Two other single-artist exhibitions begin on Friday, 29. October; featuring the Moroccan artist Farid Belkahia and the little-known Clovis Trouville.

At the Musée National des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, 293. Avenue Daumesnil, Paris 12. Métro: Porte Dorée and bus 46. Open daily except Tuesdays, from 10:00 to 17:30. Entry fee for the temporary exhibitions includes access to the permanent collection of art from Africa and the islands of the oceans. Info. Tel.: 01 43 46 51 61.

Musée d'Art et d'Historie du Judaïsme - has two shows that will debut on Thursday, 7. October. The first is entitled 'Regards - Sur la Vie Juive au Maroc' and the second, in the 'Chambre du Duc,' will present the works of Jean-Pierre Bertrand with the title 'Ethrog, 1999.' Both exhibitions continue until Sunday, 2. January 2000.

The museum is open from Monday to Friday, from 11:00 to 18:00 and on Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00. Info Tel.: 01 53 01 86 53 and Fax.: 33 1 42 72 97 47. Since it is a new museum, there is also an Internet address you can write to for information.

Musée d'Art et d'Historie du Judaïsme, in the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan. This is 'in' the Marais, at 71. Rue du Temple, Paris 3. Métro: Rambuteau.

Paris Match's 'Eye' - belonged to Roger Thérond when he picked photos for France's famous illustrated weekly. From his vast collection, 240 views have been selected, divided into 15 themes and these will go on show from Wednesday, 6. October to Sunday, 9. January at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, 5-7. Rue de Fourcy, Paris 4. Métro: Saint-Paul. Info. Tel.: 01 44 78 75 00.

Salon d'Automne - almost a century old, this is a showcase for 'contemporary' art in France. Painters, sculptors, engravers and other artists will be on display from Friday, 8. October until Sunday, 17. October, at the Espace Eiffel-Branly. From 11:00 to 19:00; and until 22:00 on 8, 12, and 15. October. Address: 29-55. Quai Branly, Paris 7. Near RER 'C' station Pont de l'Alma, or bus 42, 60 or 63.

Contemporary Art '99 - by 130 artists is featured for four days, from Thursday, 7. October until Sunday, 10. October. On Thursday and Friday, from 11:00 to 22:00; on Saturday and Sunday, from 11:00 to 21:00. Each evening at 19:15, there will be a theatrical 'experience' by Kazüe Mari. At the Espace Auteuil, Place de la Porte d'Auteuil, Paris 16. Métro: Porte d'Auteuil. Info. Tel.: 01 48 93 40 22.

20 kms de Paris, For Fun - this annual urban course is being run off for the 21st time, starting at 15:00 on Saturday, 16. October, from a 'village' installed at the base of Tour Eiffel. There is music and animation, from 9:00 to 19:00 on Saturday as well as from 9:00 to 12:00 on Sunday, 17. October. This is the kind of low-key event I sometimes find out about from evening TV-news on the day of the event. Why do as many as 15,000 people want to send their Saturday running - walking? - around Paris -even if there is music?. To inscribe: 80 or 100 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 45 75 67 12.

Theatre Châtelet Reopening - is scheduled for Friday, 8. October. Completely renovated, this large theatre belonging to the city has programmed 210 performances and has 276,297 seats for sale for the 1999-2000 season. Two pieces by Gluck start off Châtelet's new life, with music by John Eliot Gardiner and direction by Robert Wilson. Info. Tel.: 01 40 28 28 00.

Jean-Sans-Peur's Tower Reopens - 'John-Without-Fear' was scared witless by the potential revenge of the Armagnacs, so he built himself a early 15th century fortified tower as a 'security-blanket.' Renovated over the past 13 years, its six floors are now open to the public on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, from 13:30 to 18:00. During school holidays, open every day except Monday. At 20. Rue Etienne Marcel, Paris 2. Métro: Etienne Marcel. Info. Tel.: 01 42 61 55 02.

Hadrian's 'Hôtel' - was actually a villa, because he was a Roman; one known to prefer walls to towers. His Villa Adriana, rediscovered at the end of the 18th century, has yieldedbrochure: nat musee arts d'afrique et oceanie treasures which are now on display at the Mairie of the 5th; assembled as a set for the first time. On view until Sunday, 19. December; from 11:00 to 17:45 during the week and from 14:00 to 17:45 on Sundays. Mairie of the 5th, 21. Place de la Panthéon, Paris 5.

Les Trois Mousquetaires - based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, comes riding into the Théâtre du Rond-Point with a big supporting cast on Tuesday, 3. October and will stay there until 31. December. At 2 bis, Avenue Franklin-Roosevelt, Paris 8. Métro: Franklin-Roosevelt. Info. Tel.: 01 44 95 98 10.

The Musée de la Poupée - for the centenary of the Société Française de Fabrication de Bébés et Jouets, Paris' doll museum will have an exhibit of the 'Les Plus Belles,' dating from 1899 to 1957. Many of these are from private collections and some will be up for auction on Sunday, 26. September.

Starting on Tuesday, 5. October, this museum will be showing Bécassine, Bluette and the dolls that were featured in the 'Semaine de Suzette,' a weekly magazine for girls that was published from 1905 to 1960. These will be shown along with dolls made under the 'Corolle' name. Musée de la Poupée, Impasse Berthaud, Paris 3. Opposite the métro exit at Rambuteau. Open daily except Mondays, from 10:00 to 18:00. Info. Tel.: 01 42 72 73 11.

Now Playing:

Les Champs de la Sculpture 2000 - this open-air sculpture show was mounted for the first time in 1996 and this year's new edition gets the '2000' label too. Of the 52 pieces to on view, most have never been shown in France before. One reason for this is that about half of the works have been executed especially for this free exhibition.

The artists represent five continents and 25 of the pieces I saw on my visit were dated 1999. In addition, only the works of living artists are on show -with works dating from 1960 to the '90's. Photos of the works are appearing in Metropole; in this column and in the '2000 In Paris' column.

On the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, from the Rond-Point to the Place de la Concorde, Paris 8. Métros: Franklin Roosevelt, Champs-Elysées Clemenceau and Concorde. Continues until Sunday, 14. November.

Le Dépôt Matignon - is having a series of exhibitions and the new one featuring Paule Pointreau Cohen's paintings, begins on Monday, 4. October and continues until Monday, 11. October. At 8. Rue Jean Mermoz, Paris 8. Métro: Franklin Roosevelt. Info. Tel.: 01 45 63 33 00.

Magic Cinéma Season - this is another season's program and the Magic Cinéma has a Web site too - thus saving me having to write out all the details. The cinema is located in the Rue du Chemin Vert, in Bobigny. Info. Tel.: 01 41 60 12 34.

Les Nouvelles Brèves de Comptoir - are witty or pithy sayings collected in cafés, bars and bistros by Jean-Marie Gourio, who has been eavesdropping since 1987. This new collection covers the period from 1994 until now; and they have been gathered together by director Jean-Michel Ribes for presentation in the Théâtre Fontaine, 10. Rue Fontaine, Paris 9. Info. Tel.: 01 48 74 74 40.

Destination: Pleasure - is the title of a 'new' booklet put out by the RATP bus service, outlining their touring services for the rest of this year. These tours involve Paris, the Ile-de-France and further afield. Find the booklet and make reservations at the RATP kiosk, at the east side of the Madeleine church in front of the flower market. Métro: Madeleine. Info. Tel.: 01 40 06 71 45.

Paris' Fall Season

Chardin's Still Lifes - are called 'Natures Mortes' in French, which sort of means 'dead nature' which is not what is meant at all. Jean Siméon Chardin didn't finish paintings until they were finished in his eyes - which he kept open for 80 years until his death in 1779.

In pre-photographic times, interior light was also inferior, so Chardin's production of 200 exquisitely detailed still lifes is something of a record. For this major exhibition, 95 of them are on display at the Grand Palais until Monday, 22. November. Except Tuesdays, daily from 10:00 to 20:00 and on Wednesdays until 22:00. Reservations are required for morning visit. At the Square Jean-Perrin, Paris 8. Métro: Clemenceau. Info. Tel.: 01 44 13 17 47.


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