Sunday, January 9, 2011

Week One - Day 7 - Philippe Auguste Wall

 Blue skies but I am moving slowly. Didn’t get home till 1:30 AM this morning and fortunately got a ride home from Stephanie and Patrick’s from their friend Dennis.

Left the atelier at 5 PM to go to a vernissage at Galerie Daniel Templon – 30 Rue Beauxbourg. Artist Jonathan Meese, born 1970 in Tokyo, is a German painter, sculptor, performance artist and installation artist based in Berlin and Hamburg. Meese is very famous but his work wasn’t very impressive.  We saw his paintings, which appeared to be influenced by Basquait but missed his installation of sculptures that was across the street at Impass Beaubourg. I think that the guy in this photo is Jonathan Meese not an installation.

We also stopped into Galerie Samantha Sellem to view a show by Jean Rustin, a French figurative painter born in 1928.His paintings of sexually graphic images of old people (acrylic on canvas), were well done if not a bit disturbing due to their grotesque element.

It was lightly raining and the streets were very crowded as it was Saturday night. Of course we forgot to bring our new umbrellas.
Next we headed to Metro Parmentier to start a walking tour of Belleville (20th Arrondissement) and visit some more galleries. Began on rue Oberkampf, which feels trendy, and several boulangeries had, lines out the door onto the street. Walked up rue St Maur and continued on rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, and then onto Blvd de Belleville. Stopped at La Cantine at 108 Blvd Belleville for happy hour and got a beer for me and a coffee for john 5.5 e.  Sat outside in a covered area. Clientele was young and hip (if you consider having a Mohawk hair cut hip). Our destination was Marcelle Alix at 4 rue Jouye Pouve. Finally we found it but were not really impressed by the artwork. We had originally planned to visit Suzanne Tarasieve at Loft 19 but it was going to be difficult to find a the hour was getting close to when we should get the Metro to chez Stephanie.

Took the Metro Line 13 to Stop Garibaldi that is the closest stop for Stephanie and Patrick who live in Porte de Saint-Ouen. Stephanie is part owner of a Graphic Design company and Patrick is an artist for the Champagne house Pommery. Their 8-year-old son Mathayus performed a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” for us.

Side note: I am breakfasting on the delicious Lyonnaise cheese Saint-Felicien that we bought yesterday at Marche Saint-Quentin.

Anyway needless to say we drank a lot of excellent champagne accompanied by fois gras before a wonderful curry dinner prepared by Patrick who I found out was born in Madagascar. I’m not big on Madagascar history but it was a French colony and Patrick’s family left as the result of rebellion against the colonial rule of France by nationalists on the island of Madagascar in 1947 and 1948. This rebellion led to the creation of the Republic of Madagascar.

Patrick’s friend Dennis knows the new director of the Cite Intenationale des Arts as he worked with him at the some company.

Their modern condo is very nice and comfortable, not like the difficult, 5 story walk up, beautiful old building in the 18th  where they rented on our last visit. We spoke by Phone to Bruce, Stephanie’s brother. We know this family from our Peace Corps days in Togo, West Africa. Stephanie is the youngest child, the middle child Bruce (who is a consultant and lives in Geneva) and the eldest Pati (who works for Green Peace and lives in Amsterdam) of Gene and Anne Lerner, both now deceased. Gene worked for USAID and was our defacto supervisor when we worked for the Caisse d’Eparner de Togo on an USAID funded infrastructure project. Anne was a lovely French woman who encouraged me to run dances in Togo. Which I did for several years and raised funds to create a Peace Corps lending library. We were sent home with a bottle of Pommery and a book on the art exhibitions that Pommery puts on in the caves.

I recovered from last night just in time to go on a three hour Tour organized by “Paris if you Please” a Meet Up group.  We walked the remnants of the Philippe Auguste Wall, which is one of the most significant and still-in-evidence medieval reminders of Paris’ growing pains. We followed its semi-circular route around the right bank, from the Louvre to the Marais, looking for hidden remnants, including a visit to the intriguing and Tour Jean sans Peur. Penny, an artist at Cite from Australia, who we met the other day, joined us for the tour.

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