Paul Ben-Itzak’s new 40-page Memoir, including art by Ansel Adams, Robert L. Berry, Lou Chapman, James Daugherty, Gustave Caillebotte, Jacob Lawrence, Sylvie Lesgourgues, David Levinthal, Roy Lichtenstein, Sam Peckinpah, Charles M. Russell, Saul Steinberg, and Frank Lloyd Wright from both current exhibitions and the AV Archives, is now available. To receive your own copy as a PDF or Word document, including 35 illustrations, please send $19.95 to the AV by designating your PayPal payment to email@example.com, or write us at that address to learn about payment by check. Your purchase includes a complimentary one-year subscription to the Arts Voyager and Dance Insider ($29.95 value). Above: Saul Steinberg, “Train,” From the exhibition Along the Lines: Selected Drawings by Saul Steinberg, on view through October 29 at the Art Institute of Chicago.
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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
Subscribe to the Dance Insider & Arts Voyager today for just $29.95/year or 29.95 in Euros and get complete access to our 20-year archive of more than 2,000 exclusive reviews of performances and exhibitions on five continents by 150 writers, plus Paul Ben-Itzak’s commentaries on the Paris and New York scenes, art, Jill Johnston & more. Just designate your PayPal payment in that amount to email@example.com , or write us at that address to find out about payment by check. Institutional rate of $99 or 99 Euros/year gets full access for your entire company, school, etcetera. Sponsorships start at just $49/month and include placements like that above of DI sponsor Freespace Dance. Photo of Freespace Dance’s Donna Scro Samori and Omni Kitts by and copyright Lois Greenfield. Sign up as a sponsor before May 1, 2017 and receive a second month free. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Louise Bourgeois in Jonas Mekas’s new “Sleepless Nights Stories.” Image courtesy Jonas Mekas.
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011, 2017 Paul Ben-Itzak
Halfway through “La Commune,” Peter Watkins’s 5-hour, 45-minute tour de force which simultaneously resurrects the insurrectional barricades Parisians erected around their city to stave off a new monarchist-leaning government and tears down the barricades between documentary and fiction, I had to stop and e-mail a Parisian friend to ask if she’d seen the film. My friend — an artist denizen of Belleville, one of the quarters which lead the rebellion — had not even heard of it. This vindicated Watkins as far as the one reservation I have about “La Commune,” that the otherwise educative inter-titles, filling in the basic historical timeline around the events of March – May 1871, sometimes cede to the film-maker’s rants about the obstacles to getting his film distributed in France — even its co-producer the German-French television network Arté screened “La Commune” from 11 at night to 4 in the morning — and claims that the Commune is under-taught in French schools. The media blockade is not incidental, indeed validates the pertinence of a film which resurrects a utopian societal ideal which directly menaces the financial elites.
To receive the rest of this article from the Arts Voyager Archives, first published December 13, 2011, including more images and, in addition to “La Commune,” reviews of Alain Tanner’s “Charles, Dead or Alive” and Jonas Mekas’s “Sleepless Nights,” Arts Voyager & Dance Insider subscribers can contact publisher Paul Ben-Itzak at email@example.com. Not a subscriber? Subscribe to the Arts Voyager & Dance Insider for just $29.95/year ($99 for institutions gets full access for all your teachers, students, employees, company, association and collective members, etc.) and receive full access to our Archive of 2,000 articles by 150 leading critics on performances, film, and art and culture from five continents published from 1998 through 2017. Just designate your PayPal payment in that amount to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write us at that address to learn how to pay by check or in Euros. Contact Paul at email@example.com .
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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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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This afternoon on French public radio, a high school student said that if she could vote in next May’s presidential election, she’d choose the Front National, because at least Martine Le Pen’s party would close the borders and keep the foreigners out so they’d stop attacking France. (Never mind, as a classmate pointed out, that the majority of those who have massacred more than 236 French and other nationals over the past two years here have been French.) All the more reason to give thanks for associations that continue to champion crossing borders and frontiers like the Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville and L’Un dans l’Autre, the former of which is hosting an exhibition of the fruits of the latter’s May residence and collaboration with the Cuban artists of the Espacio Altamira in Havana. The exhibition runs December 8 – 11 in the AAB’s gallery at 1 rue Picabia in Belleville, Paris, with an opening night vernissage from 7 p.m. on. Featured artists include: Guillaume Berga, Luis Blanco, Sigolène de Chassy, Jorge Braulio Rodríguez, Jean-Christophe Cibot, Edel Bordon, Sarah Dugrip, Pablo Victor Bordon Pardo, Nicolas Dupeyron, Ignacio Carballo, Laurence Geoffroy, Michel Deschapells, Patrizia Horvath, Inès Garrido, Hector D. Palacios, Raul Villullas, Yamilé Pardo, Aissa Santiso, and Catherine Olivier, an Arts Voyager featured artist who took the bottom copyrighted photo of the collective work “Trinidad.” The top photo of the collective work “La Rampa” was taken by and is copyright Sarah Dugrip. — Paul Ben-Itzak