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Parce que oui, la Culture française – comme d’ailleurs tous les cultures qui déferle vers Paris – appartient au monde qu’elle a si souvent rayonné, et il faut refusé de la laisse etre confiné et sequestré par les forces de l’Obscurantisme.
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The Open Studios or Portes Ouvertes de Belleville and those of the Prè Saint-Gervais, performers including Berlin’s Constanza Macras, Portugal’s Vera Mantero, a major exhibition devoted to Camille Pissarro paintings rarely seen in France, Belgium’s Alain Platel, Spain’s Israel Galvan, Crystal Pite — these are just a few of the major cultural happenings in Paris and environs this Spring that the Arts Voyager and Dance Insider will be able to cover with your support.
Many of you first read about these internationally renowned artists and events for the first time in English in our journals and, continuing our 20-year mission of bringing you stories not told elsewhere, we’ll also be reporting on Giulio D’Anna, a Netherlands-based Italian choreographer whose “OOOOOOO” is inspired by Zagreb’s “Museum of Broken Relationships,” and Jasna Vinovrski’s “Lady Justice,” addressing the relationship between justice and art. Speaking of art, we’d also like to bring you Yasmina Reza’s “Art” as interpreted at the Theatre de la Bastille by the pioneering Belgium theater company STAN . And of intersections between art and society, this year’s Chantiers (Building Projects) d’Europe festival at the Theatre de la Ville features countries in the front lines of the refugee crisis, notably in six short films from Greece addressing this topic and a public brainstorming session with artists from six countries. Most of all we’ll be able to bring you into the studios of the 200+ artists taking part in the Open Studios of Belleville — a neighborhood which in its very MULTI-CULTURAL contours and dimensions provides the best retort to the cloistered vision of French culture represented by the National Front. (We share the FN’s stated pride in traditional French culture; we simply argue that this definition is too limited and does not do justice to the grandeur and ouverture to the world that has always been French culture.) Click here to read our coverage of last year’s Open Studios / Portes Ouvertes de Belleville.
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France, too, is at the crossroads. On May 7 the country will choose between the fear represented by the National Front and the hope and optimism represented by Emmanuel Macron. Between closure and opening. In the campaign between these two ‘cultures’ that has raged in this country for the past two years, CULTURE has been all but forgotten. (Among Macron’s refreshing ideas: More library hours.) With your help, we will be able to do our part in restoring some light to what has always been France’s principal calling card around the world. Our calling for more than 20 years.Many thanks and
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By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2010, 2017 Paul Ben-Itzak
PARIS — Up until two weeks ago, I spent my evenings regarding a Marseille-based soap opera, “Plus belle la vie,” romantic comedies, and ‘policiers’ or crime shows. When you’re living in an isolated 300-year-old stone house in the land of pre-history in the southwest of France, there isn’t much else to do at night but plant yourself in front of the television. (Living alone, I found it hard to read at night; television at least provided the illusion of company.) But since I have returned to Paris, I have found myself embroiled in my own French soap opera, romantic comedy, and even a police drama, with me cast in the role of the kindly neighbor who the police ask to stay with ‘the little lady’ in case the schizophren who knocked down her door returns. (This was the same young man who previously had lavished my neighbor-friend Sophie and I with fromage, charcuterie, and even multi-colored marshmellows, as well as taken us dancing to a reggae bar on the rue Bagnolet in the netherworlds of the 20eme arrondissement. In the big city, heroes and villains often inter-mingle, sometimes in the same person.) It all ended — until the next chapter, anyway, still unfolding — with Sophie hailing me as the man from providence after I wrested a handful of sleeping pills from her fist on their way to her mouth and before she took off on another two-bottle rouge trip and insisted we watch “Sophie’s Choice” for the umpteenth time.
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As of January 1, 2017, new Arts Voyager articles and art will be made available exclusively to subscribers and delivered via e-mail.
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Willy Ronis (1910 – 2009), “Boulevard Sérurier, Paris,” 1948. Gelatin silver print (circa 1990), 15.95 x 12 inches, including margins. Title, date, and negative number in artist’s hand on back. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 1,500 – 2,000 Euros. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial.
Willy Ronis (1910 – 2009), “Le nu provencal (Provencal nude),” summer 1949. Gelatin silver print, 51 x 34.25 inches, including margins. Signed in ink at lower right. (See story for details.) Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 10,000 – 15,000 Euros. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial.
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2016 Paul Ben-Itzak
If Willy Ronis, from whom a monumental 163 lots of photographs from the 6,000 inherited by his grandson Stéphane Kovalsky spanning eight decades go on sale tonight at Artcurial in Paris (the rest went to the State on or before the photographer’s death in 2009 at age 99), is not as cloying as Robert Doisneau, crafty as Brassai, clever as André Kertesz, lucky as Henri Cartier-Bresson nor eternally naive (in the positive sense) as Jacques Lartigue, none of these worthy peers come close to him as an instinctive chronicler of a proletarian Paris which, if not completely disappeared, has at least been dispersed and upscaled in recent years: the terrain of what would become the parc Belleville before it was a well-manicured garden that closed at sunset; wide-open catty-corners in pre-BoBo (Bourgeosie Bohemian) Belleville-Menilmontant when the drying linen that was still permitted on the balconies became a stage curtain for the intricate charades of ragamuffins; a wine and liquor store that doubled as a charcoal depot before rising pollution threatened to ban chimneys from the Metropole; artisanal glassmakers and above all that ramshackle sky-line before developers started eliminating the former and blighting the latter.
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Helmut Newton (1920 – 1984), “Veruschka on the Terrace of the Presidential Suite, Hotel Meridien, Nice,” 1975. Silver gelatin print, 7.48 x 11.42 inches. Signed, titled, and dated with artist’s stamp on back. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 15,000 – 20,000 Euros. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial.
One might think that scheduled as a curtain closer on the same evening as its monumental “From the Willy Ronis Inheritance” sale, which offers 163 lots starting with a 1926 self-portrait and finishing with a 1990 nude, book-ending no less than a photo-biography of a largely mid-20th century popular Paris, an auction entitled simply “Photography” might have trouble holding one’s attention. But if the scale is more modest, the scope of tonight’s second Artcurial auction is in a way more audacious than the Ronis sale, with one predominant — and timely — theme emerging: Frontiers. We’ve chosen to share a some samples, ranging from the intimate to the inter-galactic and finishing with a presidential epilogue, from, respectively, Helmut Newton, NASA, Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, Man Ray, and Mark Seliger, whose portrait of a retreating Barack Obama is just begging to be Photo-shopped. – Paul Ben-Itzak
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