...Continued from page 1

Live Art and Chorizo

Just a little later we were standing on the corner of Boulard and Liancourt when I noticed that the collection of shoes hanging from wire over Boulard had increased to about five or six pairs. We were waiting for a vernissage to begin and when Uncle Den–Den decided the time was ripe I went to the wrong address I got from Dimitri. He directed me across the street to the open door of the Espace Artaim where the window shutter was lowered part way.

Inside it was clean and tidy with ceramic pieces by Jana Bednarkova on display and paintings and lithos by Martha Holden were on the walls in the two or three rooms of the atelier space. A lady who asked if I had an invitation card looked confused when I said I didn't. Dimitri invited me on behalf of the neighborhood.

There was a table copiously strewn with edibles, with some obvious chorizo on top and I made a vow to try some before it disappeared. Later I would taste and say the chorizo was very good – it was! – and whoever said, what's that? How can folks live so close to Spain and not know chorizo? I mean the 14th is practically next to the Pyrenees.

photo, window of artaim atelier The welcome window.

By listening closely it seemed as if the crowd of French–speakers was equally comfortable in English. Some even brought Champagne and one loaded bottle went off, without, luckily, injuring anybody. As usual this is from memory. Who wants to take notes while there's so much fun?

After watching Uncle Den–Den surveying some portraits it occured to me that I'd seen everything two or three times, and it was therefore Photo of the Artists at the Vernissage time. Despite the dense crowd Jana and Martha were cooperative and posed where there was light – just enough – to get one useable shot out of eight, an average score.

The smokers amoung us were doing it in the street, in the warm light from the atelier's window. Out there, cigarettes in hand or being deftly rolled, there was less stress – "Like the pots?" – and opportunity to exchange autobios, and this is where I learned that nearly every pair at the vernissage to support the artists was bi–national, usually French and American.

This allowed Uncle Den–Den to tell everybody who would listen that he was a Marxist of the Groucho variety. This is always funny because Lenin and Trotsky invented the whole business a few blocks away, according to legend rather than Hollywood.

Frankly a lot of these folks at the vernissage were hardly old enough to remember Checkpoint Charlie so Uncle was mired deep in heavy slogging, especially after professional ex–pat Terrance Gelenter arrived and barged straight in to the chorizo. It was another reason for being outside smoking.

It wasn't raining so the sidewalk became moderately popular – only after everybody had a good look! – and Uncle and Terrance were entertaining the ladies, who probably were, like me, hungry. A couple of chorizo pieces do not make a three–course meal unless maybe it's breakfast.

photo, art fans loiter on sidewalk by night After the art we turn into rascals.

After several days we moved slowly down the sidewalk to the corner where Karole's café and bar, known around here as the Afghan place, is. Bringing up the rearguard I saw four goblets of wine already on the bar, but otherwise the interior looked the spitting image of what it had been in June when we last rendezvouzed in it.

You ask, what has this to do with the vernissage? With artists and ceramics and lithos? What, the free food and drink weren't enough? It wasn't smokey enough maybe? Just this – man cannot live by art alone and there comes a time when a retreat to the Afghan café is called for, is, nay, necessary.

Or was it that five's a crowd? A fifth wheel type of affair? I say it was hunger that drove me back to the world headquarters of this magazine and dare you to prove it wasn't so. Full of art, I craved some peanuts.

Part two of this story begins on Wednesday when Le quatrième salon de la Céramique 14 opens its doors at the Annexe of the Mairie of the 14th on Wednesday. As the name suggests, the 4th edition of this show will present 29 ceramic artists. This is to be a mini preview of a big ceramics show scheduled for 2010. While waiting for the future, Céramique 14 continues until Sunday, at 29. rue Durouchoux. Métro Mouton–Duvernet is closest.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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