Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Coming To America.

Well ladies and gentlemen, I finally finished doing our vacation laundry and now it’s time to repack! Tomorrow morning I’m headed to Brooklyn baby! In fact I’ll be in New York for 2 weeks. This year will be the first time I’ve experienced a good old fashioned 4th of July in America celebration in like---7 years. Then I get back to France just in time for Bastille day. In true Aries fashion---I can never get enough beheadings fireworks!

More importantly this trip to the US will be my first in 2 years. Two whole years! I wonder how quickly I’ll get my American accent and swagger back this time around. Every time I go back to “the States” my brain goes through a slow transformation: It usually takes me roughly 24 hours to stop thinking in French and starting all my sentences, then having to restart them in English. Within 48 hours, I’m back to thinking in English and only a few French words pop up in my brain. By day 3 I’m All-American again and using the F-word like it’s going out of style.

Anyway besides doing a lot of gallery visiting in Chelsea and Brooklyn, and eating too many meals with my friends, the main reason I’m going is to take an intensive art workshop at the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale New York.

Every year WSW hosts a Summer Arts Institute which offers intensive courses in printmaking, hand papermaking, ceramics, letterpress printing, photography, and book arts. I’ll be taking the Cross Pollination: Trace Monoprints, Paper Lithography and Encaustic class, taught by Tatana Kellner and Cynthia Winika. I’m especially excited because the last two days of the workshop we will actually be working at R&F Handmade Paints and learning the basics of encaustic painting. I’ve been toying with the idea of taking this class for 2 years now. Needless to say I am so excited to finally learn some new techniques that I can incorporate into my own work. Tell me this video of a book in-progress doesn't make you just wanna jump up and make something:

Artwork aside, I plan on taking advantage of all the good things that America has to offer like, shopping on Sundays and 24 hour restaurants that serve meals that are bigger than your head. How sad is it that what I’m looking most forward to is eating and shopping?

If you live in the NYC area or you know of any interesting cultural activities that I can do in between my capitalist-obesity fueled orgy, please do leave ideas and activities in comments.

See ya on Bastille Day!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why I Heart France Reason #18: Scandalous!

The BP oil spell is ruining a corner of the planet, there are wildfires blazing in Arizona, and a mine explosion killed 45 people in China, but in France all anyone is talking about is the “Champs de ruines” that is the French National Football team. I thought the whole under-aged prostitution ring scandal was as bad as it could get, but apparently we haven’t seen nothin’ yet! The French simply cannot get enough wine, cheese, and scandal in their diets. How do you say "More please!" in French?

French football manners

Last night there was an hour long special about the incident in which during last week's World Cup match, player Nicolas Anelka told coach Raymond Domenech to quote: “Go get yourself f*cked un the *ss , you dirty son of a wh*re.”


As a nouveau immigrant, I still haven’t fully grasped how much a part of the culture Football is for zee people of France, but last night’s broadcast has brought me a whole heck of alot closer to finally getting it. Seriously—I haven’t seen so many gloomy faces and grim expressions since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I’m talking about grown men on the verge of crying on national television….over effin’ football! I’ve always understood that the French have a gift for the dramatic, but this has become full-fledged theater. Step up and buy your ticket.

Yesterday the entire French football team pulled a no-show for practice in protest of Anelka being kicked out of the World Cup and sent home from South Africa. And oh wait! The plot thickens! I just read that an emergency meeting has been scheduled for today to see if the team can be salvaged. (Warning: If the team collapses it may throw the whole country into civil war. But no worries. In the even that this happens I will continue blogging from the Häagen-Dazs ice-cream shop in Kirchberg mall in Luxembourg City.) I can’t wait to see what happens next. This is better than the last movie I rented on Pay-per-view.

Stay tuned. And don't forget the pop-corn.

Sidenote: All of this TV watching is excellent for my vocabulary. My new favorite expression: “Champs de ruines” which is basically a fancy French way of saying something is FUBAR.

Sidenote#2: Also, Thierry Henry is hot.


Just sayin'.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crete: A Perfect 10!

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The sea was too cold to swim in, but OMFG Crete was fantastic!

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We swam, we ate, we stole rocks.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Bacardi & Hairy Legs.

By the time you read this I will be driving to the airport. Once again FrenchBoy and I are off for one glorious week at the Amirandes resort on Crete. It was so good last year that we had to go back and do it again.

The only thing we don't like about the place is the price of the coffee. Five euros is a steep price to pay for a lukewarm cappuccino. So, we opted for the most logical remedy. Last week in Paris we bought a travel case for our Nespresso machine so we could take it with us to Crete. Yes. We are taking our expresso machine on vacation.

I haven't packed anything yet, but I figure all I need is my swimsuit, my sunglasses, and a pair of busted flip-flops so everyone will immediately understand that I'm American. I'll pick up a couple of bottles of booze at the duty-free shop at the airport before I board, and that will be that.

Oh speaking of busted. I managed to remedy my Frodo-feet issues with this device, which would just be so incredibly wrong, if it didn't work so damn well. I will finally be wearing my Choos without drawing a crowd of horrified gawkers.

And since our suite has a small private pool, I don't even have to shave my legs. People this is the life!

Epilation be gone! Bring on the Bacardi!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thoughts on Lucien Freud at the Pompidou Museum.

I saw the Lucien Freud exhibition at the Pompidou Museum in Paris this weekend.

When I was working on my BFA at the University of Iowa I had a few professors who talked about both Lucien Freud and Susan Rothenberg with an almost religious fervor. Until this weekend I'd only ever seen Freud's work in glossy art books, so I was really looking forward to getting a chance to rediscover them in person.

What can I say? I have no doubt that Cécile Debray is one of the Pompidou's strongest curators. The show was good of course. Small and compact, but good, and filled with some pretty recent works. I know this all sounds a bit flat, but what else can I say that hasn't already been said better about Lucien Freud?

And to be honest, with the exception of the 3 garden, floral paintings, nothing in the entire exhibition really moved me too much. At least not in the same way that a Francis Bacon painting literally makes my heart race or how Alice Neel's paintings give me goosebumps while simultaneously making me cry on the inside.

Some random thoughts & commentaries I had about the show:

1. "I thought it would be much more impressive." I once heard a Texan say these exact words while standing at the foot of the Eiffel tower about 6 years ago. Now I know how he felt and I am sorry that I have been making fun of him for all these many years. Also, I though the paintings would be bigger. Literally bigger.

2. The exhibition audio guide was useless and annoying. I am a museum audio guide junkie, but after paying for this one--I wanted a refund. It's bad enough that I have to walk around looking like a complete freak-show wearing those stylish headphone sets circa 1986, so I most certainly don't like being talked down to by a palm-sized device with a posh British accent.

3. Almost all the paintings were framed behind glass. I'd never seen that before. Interesting and weird. I don't understand why this is so. (If anybody has insights please speak up in comments.)

4. The garden paintings were AMAZING. The color was....like little mini earthquakes. While the rest of the masses were jockeying for position infront of the fleshy portraits, my husband and I stood mesmorized in front of them looking back and forth at eachother like "Holy crap. Are you seeing this!?"

5. I wish my paintings could make mini earthquakes.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Louise Bourgeois: Do it RockStar.

A quick post dedicated to the passing of an absolute Art RockStar.

I was lucky enough to see her retrospective at the Pompidou in 2008. Folks, this is how it's done. This is the kind of artist I want to be when I grow up.

"I have been to hell and back and let me tell you it was wonderful."
-Louise Bourgeois

Photo of Louise: Maplethorpe Gallery