paris versus new york

I’ve been following Vahram Muratyan’s blog, Paris vs NYC, for a while, and now it’s in book form. People call it a sort of “online travel journal,” but it’s a lot more exciting than that. Muratyan is a graphic designer with a cheeky sense of humor and a clean, minimalistic aesthetic. His playful pairings of iconic images from the two cities generally have a ring of truth to them, for better or for worse. (Winter in Paris? Miserable. I’ve spent enough Februaries there to know Muratyan’s depiction of “météo” in Paris is true. And if I had a dime for every time I heard an American in Paris craving a bagel…)  Some classics below:

paris vs nyc godard and woody allen

paris vs ny baguette bs bagel

the view from up here

It’s raining in Paris, and the sky’s been gray all week. But thanks to my dear friend Jenny, things are looking up, up, up. Jenny dropped me some link love this week with some illustrated rooftop scenes by Australian-born, Brooklyn-based James Gulliver Hancock.

I have a special fondness for Parisian rooftops. When I first moved to Paris back in 2008, I lived up on the 8th floor and had an incredible view of the city, from the Bastille, Hotel de Ville, Pompidou, Eiffel tower and Sacre coeur–they were all there, but I would have been content to just stare out at the rooftops all day even without the greatest hits. I remember moving to a second floor apartment about six months later; oh, how I missed those rooftop scenes! When I went back to Paris in 2010 I stayed in a tiny 10m2 6th floor walk up (!) just to keep those rooftops in view. I’d wager that about half of my photos of Paris are of rooftops alone; they’re just so darned charming! I always loved how that combination of bright orange chimneys and somber blue-grey slate seemed somehow still right even beneath the rain.

But enough reminiscing! Back to jgh, who, as it turns out, has another project, All the buildings in New York, where, yep, you guessed it, he draws all the buildings in New York. Yes that’s right, all of them. Apparently the young Aussie has not yet started on Staten Island, though rumor has it he has made it to the ferry, so… baby steps? Here’s a gander at one of his NY prints:

All of which makes for a pretty good view.

notes on francesca woodman

francesca woodman is one of my fave photographers, ever. she produced over 800 photographs over a very brief lifetime (only ~120 or so have been published). woodman’s portfolio stems largely from her years at RISD, before her death at the age of 22. this is some of the most impressive student work out there, and critics, collectors, and historians alike agree that she likely would have produced a tremendous body of work as a mature artist.

i wrote about fw in college for a seminar on contemporary female artists and have been hooked ever since; i find her use of space and her play with patterns, texture and materiality really wonderful, esp. how she played with long exposure times to blur bodies in with their surroundings. there’s a lot of feminist criticism on this (some good, some bad), and her work is also often read with a heavily psychanalytic lens (to varying degrees of success). visually, her photos are dark, funny, playful and whimsical, sometimes slightly disturbing but somehow oddly sweet.

this year marks the 30th anniversary of her death, so expect big retrospectives coming to a museum near you. the san francisco moma kicks it off this saturday, and seriously, if you are around, you should really go. the show will hit the east coast in january at the guggenheim in 2012, so i’m happy to say i’ll be able to check her stuff out come winter when i’m back in the states. in the meantime, i can content myself with a little photograph i bought last week at the fiac au grand palais. (!!!!!) the fiac is paris’s alternative to london’s frieze. it’s older (some say wiser), larger, has a greater mix of modern and contemporary, as well as a greater range of prices (says the humble newbie collector). like frieze, neon was a big hit at the fair. unlike frieze, there was also a lot of video and, yep, photography. let’s just say my heart skipped a beat when i saw the francesca woodman’s on display.

i won’t flash mine, but here are some of my fave francesca woodman photos:

oh, the gluttony

it’s sunday and i am recovering from pitchfork by staying in bed and refusing to move. instead i am trolling the internet for food that i am far too lazy to make today (but should you be in the 5ème and in a cooking mood, i shall welcome you with open arms).

currently craving these bad boys (unfortch it is impossible to find peanut butter on a sunday in paris, le sigh) and these lemon ricotta pancakes (with sautéed apples!) from deb over at smitten kitchen.

i am a big fan of deb’s blog. unfussy recipes for delicious dishes that taste as good as they look. the food porn thing as we know is booming, so i especially like that deb is the real deal and takes her own photos. prep, photo, prep, photo, cook, photo, repeat!

all photos courtesy of smitten kitchen. cuz i’m still in bed, remember?

file under simple and delicious. as they say en français, miam miam!

sittin’ pretty at le carmen

high ceilings, fancy bar, and an enormous cage? yep, i’ll take it. le carmen is one of paris’s evening hotspots, and it is g-o-o-o-r-geous. once upon a time it was home to Bizet, composer of the now famous opera Carmen. you won’t hear B’s opera pumping in this chichi club, which pays homage to the man in name only. but the interior is luscious and lovely and if you are in town, it is definitely worth a gander.

ridiculous columns.
this is the kind of ceiling that makes you forget you’re in a bar.
hello, chandelier.
la cage. why yes, that’s french for cage.

did i mention there’s a bed in there? true story.

images via le-carmen.fr

at frieze, it’s hip to be square

the anish kapor@ lisson + your resident blogger + a whoooole lotta strangers

This weekend I hopped on the Eurostar to London for Frieze Art Fair. Frieze features the crème de la crème of the gallery world, while offshoot fairs like Moniker and Sunday offer alternative, more affordable pieces by lesser known artists. Though much of what was shown at Frieze wasn’t exactly revelatory per se, it was still and unsurprisingly a Pretty Good Show. Unfortunately Moniker and Sunday Art Fair were severely underwhelming, which was disappointing as it left little purchasing room for the neophyte collector. (I did really like the space @ Ambika for Sunday, though.) Multiplied Art Fair, Christie’s fair in South Kensington, was supposedly a good one for the mid-range collector, but unfortunately I missed that one.

The big hype @ Frieze came from Foundation projects like Pierre Huyghe’s hermit-crab-homage to Brancusi and Christian Jankowski’s yacht, which, depending on who you asked were either silly or stellar. (I will admit that I was pretty skeptical about the hermit crab, especially after it was turned back at customs, but in the end I surprised myself by hanging around to watch that little crab do his thing.) LuckyPDF‘s project space was the most interactive of the bunch, with the young crew filming live and hosting open rehearsals all day. Their space drew a younger, dare I say hipper, crowd than those milling about the aforementioned yacht and/or hermit crab.

Aside from those project spaces, there was FRAME, a section dedicated to younger, emerging galleries, Frieze Talks by artists, curators, and the like, and of course the seemingly endless rows of the gallery world’s latest and greatest hits. This is where the average fair-goer becomes overwhelmed trying to 1. see everything, and 2. process everything he or she has just seen. The spectator’s experience is akin to watching a continuous photomontage of a wide variety of images; it is visually stimulating but hard to keep track of, and many young and new collectors in the end quickly forget what they liked or why. (This I think is a big mistake many aspiring collectors make; ie checking off every single work of art to ensure they’ve covered their ground before purchasing. It is an impossible and fruitless task, and better to just go with your gut, if you ask me.)

I knew I couldn’t possibly see everything in every stand (and à vrai dire did not want to), so besides checking out the must-see heavy-hitters of the gallery world, I only stopped when something really caught my eye. Off the bat I noticed what seemed to be an underlying theme amongst a number of stands, many of which featured geometrically-inspired work. This suited me, as I am often drawn to linear, colorful, geometric works (perso, I tend to prefer those on paper, in case you are looking to gift me). More precisely, squares made it into the spotlight, often superimposed on different media as a kind of cheeky throwback to modernist tropes of the flatness of the picture plane and the limitations of the canvas. This being 2011, these ideas had to be updated beyond paint on canvas alone.

Paul Chan’s Volumes at the Greene Naftali stand, for instance, featured 28 book covers, each home to a seemingly sporadic arrangement of painted squares, mounted on one wall of the stand and creating a striking visual display.

Unfortunately, the stand was packed when I shot this, so the work’s impact doesn’t quite translate here, but it was one worth stopping in front of. (If I had a nickel for every time someone stepped in front of me to take a photo…)

Next I spotted a series of Moyra Daveys at Greengrassi’s stand, and again a few aisles over in Murray Guy’s stand for c-prints and postage from Davey’s 2011 Trust Me.

       

MD@greengrassi

MD@murrayguy

I quite like these stamp and postage-peppered pieces, and especially the odd and nearly pixelated effect the bits of green tape give from afar.

Squares played a part also in Marine Hugonnier’s Art For Modern Architecture Glr Guardian Iranian Revolution/Hostage Crisis, at Max Wigram. Taking a series of 1970s/80s articles from the Guardian, Hugonnier uses decorative neons and square and rectangle shapes to redact sections of each story. The result is a colorful and clever censorship and was one of the few works on display at Frieze that came close to anything like political commentary (a rarity this year).

        

Luiz Zerbini’s aluminium and acrylic Typo (below), also at Max Wigram, took a decidely more neutral approach.

Me, I happen to like the sharp edges of a square (Joseph Albers, anyone?) and find them generally visually appealing. (Circles, not so much.)  But I’ll be curious to see if the square resurfaces as often at FIAC this week in Paris. Other than squares, neon lights and colors also made frequent appearances @ Frieze, though video art was conspicuously absent, aside from a few pieces. My hunch is there will be more video in Paris than London, but tune in this weekend post another round of fair-hopping for more on that matter.