Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Great Inexpensive Paris Lunch

If you find yourself wandering the Latin Quarter around Luxembourg Gardens in Paris and wish you could find a place for a light, tasty and inexpensive spot for lunch
we would recommend La Maison des Tartes at 67 rue Moufftard, the market street that runs south of the Pantheon.
This tiny restaurant and take-away spot offers a nice selection of savoury and sweet pies from which to choose at prices that are hard to beat in this town.
We have dropped by twice so far and there was a free table both times.
We had the lunch special -- a large piece of savoury tart with green salad and a glass of excellent red wine for five euros each. Can't beat that!
Madame is charming as is the little dining area with white-washed walls and a beamed ceiling.
We were both well satisfied
by the large piece of chèvre and spinach pie and simple salad at that price.
We'll certainly drop by any time we're in the neighbourhood and suggest that you give it a try!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Jewellery by Artists at MAD

John and I have had a great time at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD) this trip to Paris. One of the cool shows on view is From Calder to Koons, Jewellery by Artists which showcases the collection of Diane Venet. Let's have a peek at some of the pieces in the exhibition.
 Pablo Picasso; Pendant, Le  Grand Faun, 1973 in gold
 Jean Arp's Spade, a pendant/brooch, 1967
 Alexander Calder, Seven Spirals collar, ca 1940 -- leather, gold and bronze
 Louise Nevelson's pair of unique earrings, 1966.  Painted wood
Ellipse bracelet, 1967, by Lucio Fontana
 Man Ray, Pendant necklace La Jolie, 1970 (designed in 1961) in gold and lapis-lazuli
 Roberto Matta's necklace in gold and pearls (one of a kind piece)
A necklace assemblage, 1975 -- recognizably by Niki de Saint Phalle
Another Niki de Saint Phalle --  Pendant/brooch, L'Oeil, 1991, in gold and enamel
 This pendant-brooch Flamenco was designed by Sonia Delaunay in 1930 and produced in 1979.  Gold and polychrome lacquer
 Roy Lichtenstein's brooch/pendant Modern Head, 1968 -- enamel on metal (limited edition)
 Arman's  Inclusion, pendant, 1972 -- pieces of watches in polyester resin
 I personally love this ring by Sandro Chia 2012 (gold, onyx, enamel)
 Louise Bourgeois, Gold Spider Brooch, 1996
 Or how about a John Chamberlain Brooch, 1998, in paint and aluminum?
  Who could resist Erwin Wurm's Cucumber brooch, 2014 in silver and sapphires (an edition of 10)?
Well, let's end our little selection from the exhibition with Hiroshi Sugimoto's Eyeglasses, Oculist Witness, 2015 in silver with 7 pairs of tinted glass. Fun stuff!
This exhibition is on until July 8th

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Oldest Paris Firehall Opens Doors

 The Marais Fire Station, the oldest firehall in Paris, opened its doors to the public this weekend.
It occupies the old Hotel de Chavigny on the rue de Sévigné, near the Saint Paul Church.
Bill and I often pass by after grocery shopping on Rue Saint Antoine. It was fun to finally look through the massive open gate
and be welcomed by the sapeur pompiers (firemen) who work there.
 The two day event was well organized with a special emphasis on entertaining the children. The firemen parked one of their trucks in the courtyard with the enormous ladder extended to a nearby rooftop for the children to climb.
 If they were old enough they were kitted up with official helmets.
 A long line formed as the kids were taken up the ladder one at a time.
Those kids had a ball and I noticed they were given a certificate afterwards. Fun.
 In the station other firemen demonstrated lifesaving techniques
 for which they are justly famous.
Another highlight for the kids was a chance to hold the firehose
 guided with a firm helping hand.
 The wall of the courtyard provided a suitable target.
Bill noticed this tot sneaking around the edge of the line for a closer look. A future fireman perhaps?
I have to say I was tempted to join the line.
At the end of the afternoon the firemen performed a mock rescue. A smoke bomb was released in an upper window of the Hotel de Chavigny and a figure appeared crying out for rescue.
 As in a well-rehearsed play the heroes duly arrived,
 threw up a ladder,
 and arranged a drop for the now unconscious victim.
 Smoke soon filled the courtyard
 but cleared
 in time for our heroes to take a bow.
The firemen must have done something right, because an actual teenager asked one of them to pose for a selfie. Can there be more sincere praise?
Our thanks to the Sapeur Pompiers for their great hospitality! One parting note: their blockbuster Bastille Day champagne dance party is a local legend. Just saying.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Roman Cieslewicz at MAD

Yesterday Bill and I were wowed by decades of work by Polish graphic designer Roman Cieslewicz (1930-1996) at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
 Neither of us had heard his name before but as we walked through the show we realized we had been seeing his work and his influence since the late sixties into the early eighties.
Cieslewicz did all kinds of graphic work, posters, book covers and lots of work for magazines. 
I like the simplicity of his work for Zoom magazine. Their motto: Against the pollution of the eye.
 What did it take to achieve this successful innovation with the yin yang symbol?
A printed landscape upside down plus two 3-D elements equals this lovely, fresh greeting card.
 In a video Cieslewicz says his tools are scissors and glue.  
 All this work was done before the age of computers.
I see he is using coloured, paste-on "letraset" letters here. Did you ever use letraset?
Cieslewicz's work from the 60s and 70s evoked strong memories for both of us.
 Bill felt more affection for the period than I did. ;-)
I feel more sympathy for Cieslewicz's conceptual side. "Ça va? Ça va. "
 Don't even have to look at the label -- end of the sixties, right?
 Again, if you look closely, you can see the lettering is cut out with scissors and pasted on.
I have particular affection for this set of collages.
 Still very fresh.
 And fun.
 What that man could do with scissors and glue!
 So -- late 60's, early 70s?
 Cieslewicz himself had a lot of affection for Leonardo's Mona Lisa, did many, many variations on the theme. 
 Culminating in this Mona/Mao mash-up.
 After a heart attack weakened his left hand, Cieslewicz continued to work
but concentrated more on words and the colours red and black
to do his magic. 
One final look at how pages were once put together with scissors and glue.
On until September 23rd