Scene's Word-of-Big-Mouth

photo: seine quai, maisons

The western residential end of the Ile de la Cité.

Only Blurbs - No Criticism

Paris:- Saturday, 4. December 1999:- The other day I was asked by an artist if I wrote 'critiques' for this column. There are a couple of reasons for not doing so.

This column is not intended for those who have access to Paris sources for current or coming events. If it were, I could quit doing this one right now. Program guides of every sort are available here. This column contains a broad range but minimum amount of what you can see or do in Paris.

But the reason I don't do 'critiques' - besides not fitting in here - is more complex. It is hard to create and relatively easy to criticize. No matter what the end result of any 'artwork' is, it was made by man's hand and not by a machine.

It was also made by man's head and how the flufflenutter is one to tell what the artist was thinking of? How is one to even know if the artist achieved his goal? Artists are often over-reachers, and not everything comes out according to plan.

Often they are under pressure to produce - anything - just so long as the walls are covered, the CD is full, the book has more than 100 pages. When you make things by hand, things go wrong. 'Going right' is a 10 percent proposition at best.

The only artists who are not 'commercial' are amateurs. You may say you know amateurs who arephoto: printemps window better than professionals; and you will probably be right. Amateurs have all the time in the world to get it 'right.' This is a luxury professionals don't have.

Most professional artists are committed to producing for public display - thus they are obvious targets of criticism, because they are 'in public.' Amateurs have no such pressure on them.

One of Printemp's festive window displays.

Therefore, I am not going to criticize the 'pros.' It's all 'art' or 'creation' as far as I am concerned. The Louvre is full of it, and a very great lot of it is dead boring. Well-executed, commissioned works, but boring. Some not so well executed; with only historical value.

I am pretty sure just about everything in this column has some interest for somebody. And if I do make some comments about it, this is just to tickle you into going to see it.

For example, the following item is not everybody's darling - but what you will see at Rétromobile is a fine example of what amateurs with lots of time can do.

Rétromobile 2000 - If you wish to exhibit at the coming Rétromobile 2000, here are the telephone and fax numbers of the people who organize this exhibition: from outside France telephone 33 1 48 44 30 30; the fax number is 33 1 48 44 15 15. These numbers were confirmed late last week and were found to be operating as normally as anything at Rétromobile.

I am including this information here because the 'Rétromobile' organization is not on the Web and has no email. When asked why not, they said, 'Because we are Rétro.' For visitors, the dates for the coming edition of Rétromobile 2000 are from Friday, 11. February to Sunday, 20. February 2000. At Paris-Expo.

Judging from enquiries that have found their way here, this 2000 edition of Rétromobile is going to be one too good to miss. Its February date means that the weather may be less than winter, but we'll have to wait and see.

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'Scene' continues on its Page II, which features Paris Christmas 99 and Paris 2000 Events. Click on these below to go directly to them:

The items below are not necessarily 'new;' but they are new to this column.

The Three Styles of Bouchard - here I am mentioning a sculptor whose work I've never seen and who died in 1960. The current exhibition shows about 30 of Henribrochure: sculptures bouchard Bouchard's works, executed between 1906 and 1914. I am mentioning this exhibition because Marie Bouchard sent the information about it in September.

I don't know how she got my name, I don't know whether plugging this will get anyone to go and see it, but here it is. Judging from the photos, Bouchard knew how to do it. Until 11. March; open from Wednesday to Saturday, from 14:00 to 19:00. At the Musée Bouchard, 25. Rue de l'Yvette, Paris 16. Métro: Jasmin. Info. Tel.: 01 46 47 63 46. If you go, tell Mme Bouchard how you found out about it.

Manga! - presents the works of 29 cartoonists, for the period 1980-1990. According to the blurb, the exhibition hall has been transformed into a vast 'manga.' Manga-style comics are something I have seen and I dislike intensely as a sort of Disney-style in Japanese.

It is the 'style' that puts me off; either Disney or Japanese. I'll go to see what a 'manga' hall is though. Must be quick; last day is Saturday, 18. December. Open Tuesday to Saturday, from 12:00 to 19:00. Entry: 30 francs. At the Maison de la Culture de Japon, 101 bis, Quai Branly, Paris 15. Métro: Bir-Hakeim.

Fleuve Noir - is the name of a 'pulp fiction' publisher, celebrating 50 years of success. Needless to say, 'pulp fiction' is an art form in France with some respectability - it's authors don'tbrochure fleuve noir have to wait to be discovered by Hollywood or dead before they become famous. One hundred authors, 6000 titles; see them all at the - the French name is too long! - at Cop Shop Books, 48-50. Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, Paris 5. Until 26. February; closed Mondays, open weekdays from 14:00 to 18:00, from 10:00 to 18:00 on Saturdays. Métro: Cardinal-Lemoine. Info. Tel.: 01 42 34 93 00.

Voyages Dans la Ferveur - is an exhibition of paintings by the Japanese artist Kaï Higashiyama, who was 91 years old when he left this planet last spring. Part of this show was in Paris in 1977 at the Petit Palais, but this particular exhibition debuts here before going on show in Japan. Until Wednesday, 5. January, except Sundays and holidays; from 10:00 to 18:00. At Mitsukoshi-Etoile, 3. Rue de Tilsitt, Paris 8. Métro: Etoile. Info. Tel.: 01 44 09 11 11.

21st Salon des Vins - and the rest of the title is, 'Des Caves Particulars,' which means the smaller, independent producers - who are hoping you will buy your holiday season supply, after having a good taste, of course. Until Tuesday, 7. December; from 10:00 to 20:00 and on Wednesday, 8. December until 19:00. This year's edition is in roomier surroundings at Paris-Expo, Paris 15. Métro: Porte de Versailles.

Toymania! - thousands of toys in collector's condition will be on view and for sale on Saturday, 11. December and Sunday, 12. December; from 10:00 to 19:00; entry: 55 francs. At Aquaboulevard, 4. Rue Louis-Armand, Paris 15. Métro: Balard.

This item closes new events for this week. Some posters accompanying this feature are decorative only; because I am not sure if the event is still current. Theatre runs, for example, often don't have 'until' dates.

Le Temple de l'Homme - some 60 works by Paul Landowski have been gathered from four continents for this major retrospective exhibition, to which I've been invited on Monday but will not make it to it. Landowski did the 'Christ Rédempteur' that overlooks Rio which will give you an idea of which league this one is in. Inphoto: petit palais caps: 'major show.' Starts Tuesday, 7. December and continues until 5. March. Open from Tuesday to Sunday; from 10:00 to 17:40, at the Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 8. Métro: Clemenceau. Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 12 73.

The Petit Palais is not all that 'petit.'

François Morellet - moves into the Musée Zadkine next Friday, 10. December, for a stay until 5. March. I have an invitation for this one too, so I'll save comment now until I see it. I already know there will be neon. Except Mondays, open daily from 10:00 to 17:30. At 100 bis, Rue d'Assas; Paris 6. Go to the back of the garden and turn right. Métro: Note-Dame-des-Champs. Info. Tel.: 01 43 26 91 90.

39th Salon Nautique - is Paris' big annual boat show, which is mildly important because Paris has a big port, but also because France has a lot of coast and sailors to match. Continuing until Monday, 13. December; from 10:00 to 19:00; on Friday, 10. December, until 23:00. At Paris-Expo, Paris 15. Métro: Porte de Versailles.

Salon du Cheval du Poney et de l'Ane - is a horse, pony and donkey show, lasting nine days. Morocco is the guest of honor this year. This a proper salon which features very serious competitions, judging and events - with areas for kids as well. In its 28th year, the salon will fill four of Paris Expo's halls. Until Sunday, 12. December. Daily from 10:00 to 19:00; Tuesday, 7. December until 22:00. Métro: Porte de Versailles. Info. Tel.: 08 03 39 83 98.

Paris Invented - nearly everything usual today in Paris. The Pont-Neuf was invented in 1606 for example. The first covered and heated swimming pool was opened on 8. July 1884, and somebody had to dream up the first cinema, which was done in 1907. See the history of all this from the end of March, at the Pavillon de l'Arsenal, 21. Boulevard Morland, Paris 4. Métro: Sully-Morland. Info. Tel.: 01 42 76 33 97.

Rivages - is an exhibition featuring 200 watercolors depicting the sights and treasures to be found at the water's edge, from the Côte d'Opale on the Riviera to the bay of Mont Saint-Michel or the calanques near Cassis. Part of this expo comes from the Museum of Natural History and also has an aquarium, plus sails rippling in the wind. At the Espace Electra, 6. Rue Récamier, Paris 7. Open daily except Monday, from 12:00 to 19:00. Métro: Sèvres-Babylone. Info. Tel.: 01 53 63 23 45.

Robert Desnos - was a popular pioneer surrealist. All surrealism was pioneering, but not all of it was 'popular.' Desnos is having homage paid to him apparently at the bookshop of the Paris' Bibliothéque Historique, which is a few doors away from the Bibliothéque Historique itself, in the Rue Pavée. Exhibition at 22. Rue Malher, Paris 4. Métro: Saint-Paul. Info. Tel.: 01 44 59 29 60.

Brésil Baroque - Between Earth and Sky - 500 years ago next 22. April, Alvarès Cabrai found an unknown land, which is known as Brazil today. Apparently unlike Peru or Mexico, Brazil was a blank slate, to be filled in by Indians, Africans and Europeans. The resulting art is little known in Europe and this exhibition will change our 'blank slate' view of it. Until 6. February. Next spring, 30 centuries of Mexican art will take over, also in the Petit Palais, Avenue du Winston Churchill, Paris 8. Métro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau. Except Monday, open from 10:00 to 17:40; to 20:00 on Thursdays. Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 12 73.

Portrait of Mexico - as part of the '2000 in Paris' salute to the new world of the Americas, a film history of Mexico is a current attraction at the Forum des Images-Vidéothèque. This is in the Forum des Halles, by the Porte Saint-Eustache entry, Paris 1. Info. Tel.: 01 44 76 62 00.

Here Come Les Fauves - for 30 years nobody has paid much attention to these wild men of color, who crashed in the public's consciousness in 1905 with their flaming palettes. No 'isms' here; just full-tilt color. Big names by the metre, lots of color; a perfect winter show. From 10:00 to 17:30 daily except Mondays; until 27. February 2000, at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 11. Avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16. Métro: Iéna or Alma-Marceau Info. Tel.: 01 53 67 40 00.

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. This exhibition continues until 24. January 2000. Two other single-artist exhibitions feature the Moroccan artist Farid Belkahia and the little-known Clovis Trouville. These continue until Monday, 3. January. 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. Info. Tel.: 01 43 46 51 61.

Théo Van Gogh, Dealer, Collector - and brother of Vincent Van Gogh, put all his resources into his family, his collection and to promoting the 'unsalable' production of his brother. Théo followed all the 'isms' of the day, from Camille Corot to Camille Pissarro - as well as his brother, Vincent. Until Sunday, 9. January. Except Monday, daily from 10:00 to 18:00; Sundays from 9:00 to 18:00. Musée d'Orsay, 1. Rue de la Légion-d'Honneur, Paris 7. Métro: Solférino or RER 'C' Musée d'Orsay. Info. Tel.: 01 40 49 48 84.

Jean Béraud et le Paris de la Belle Epoque - While the impressionists were all the rage a century ago, Jean Béaud recorded in paint the streets and byways of the City of Light, capturing the charm and the spirit of it. This exhibition presents 60 representative works and it continues until 2. February 2000, at the Musée Carnavalet, 23. Rue de Sévigné, Paris 3. Métro: Saint-Paul or Chemin Vert. Info. Tel.: 01 42 72 21 13.

Napoléon's Eye - was Dominique Vivant Denon's nickname. Denon ended up being the Louvre's first director, which kind of makes him the grandfather of all big museum directors. This exhibition contains his private collections and his public ones, as Napoléon's servant. At the Louvre, every day except Tuesday, from 9:00 to 17:45; with late evening to 21:45 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Until Monday, 17. January. Paris 1. Métro: Palais Royal. Info. Tel.: 01 40 20 50 50.

Destins des Femmes - Colette as the symbol of women's destiny, is the subject of this exhibition of homage to Colette and all women who have this their mark on this century about to end. Open daily, from 10:00 to 19:00; until Sunday, 16. January. At the top of the Grande Arche at La Défense. Métro and RER: La Défense. Info. Tel.: 01 49 07 27 57.


The Heights of Paris - 'are little known' according to the city's magazine 'Paris Le Journal,' which did not see Metropole's feature about the Parc de Belleville in Paris' 20th arrondissement. The Action Artistique de Paris has some sort of show about the 20th and its views, until Tuesday, 21. December. No name, justposter: manga the address: 18. Boulevard Sérurier, Paris 19. Métro: Porte des Lilas. Info. Tel.: 01 43 25 30 30, which just may be one of the Archives de Paris locations.

Exhibition Roger Pfund - swiss graphics of French banknotes, by Roger Pfund, at the Centre Culturel Suisse, until Sunday, 12. December. Open from Wednesday to Sunday; from 14:00 to 19:00. At 38. Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris 3. Métro: Saint-Paul or Rambuteau. Info. Tel.: 01 42 71 38 38.

Roni Horn - 'place' or 'geographic' art, is not about geography, but about an environment which is created to surround art, and is part of the art itself. An concurrent exhibition is titled 'L'Autre Sommeil' and it is supposed to be strange, fantastic - modern art, in short. Both until 30. January, at the Paris' Musée d'Art Modern, 11. Avenue du Président-Wilson, Paris 16. Métro: Ièna or Alma-Marceau. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00; to 17:30 Tuesday to Friday and to 18:45 Saturday and Sunday. Info. Tel.: 01 53 67 40 00.

Souvenirs Moscouvites 1860 - 1930 has been loaned to Paris by Moscow's history museum. The exhibition has 200 photos and some costumes; plus there is a wealth of oter material from closer sources, such as the Vassiliev collection. Paris-Moscow-Paris fashions are the highlights. Until Thursday, 13. January. Musée Galliera, Paris' Musée de la Mode, at 47. Rue Raynouard, Paris 16. Except Mondays, open daily from 10:00 to 17:40. Info. Tel.: 01 55 74 41 80.


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