The Dries Van Noten Exhibition at the Musee des Arts Decoratif is really quite stunning and stumbling (it's so dark you bump into other viewers). And the art covering the two entrances on the 2nd and 3rd (American numbering) floors, is really clever.
As loyal readers, who go beyond my food stuff know, I've taken a pledge, no not those, but the Greg Vow to boycott anymore Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, From Michelangelo to Hirst Megashows and try to see stuff that I've not seen before.
This show in an old public bath (Douches) 5 rue Legouve in the 10th features photos that got screwed up. And it's quite refreshing.
Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt 1912-1994), a Venezuelan artist is/was not easily classified. Her works are largely made of wire or painted like wire or reflected wire on bare walls. In any case, I was fascinated.
5.5 Paradis, 14 rue de Paradis in the 10th, 01.45.23.57.98 (but they don't seem to answer their phone much despite a large staff); open 7/7 eventually, but now closed Sundays (Bus 32).
Paradis has received a welcome welcome from the Figaro guys and Trip Advisor, but has pretty much slipped under everyone else's radar. It's on the street where all the crystal & dinner ware folks used to be; the street goes from scuzzy to Bobo to haute in a few hundred meters. The resto itself is really cool; all glass, raw wood, neat rug under the common table and a very cool metal staircase railing (our dining partner said it was bought at auction and came from the France (remember the elegant ship?).
We entered and there were/was no coat rack(s) and no offer to take ours despite the genuinely warm welcome from the staff. We were surprised to see on the tables those tiny wine and water glasses those of you old enough to recall seeing in Italian restaurants on the West Side had in the 1950's. Ok, cut'em some slack. The menu (all a la carte) was quite interesting and ample; we settled on a variety of items. Decibel level as the hipsters arrived moved from 74 to 84 dB.
Our friend, the famous food critic, had the "perfect" egg with a rich soup/sauce; I had wonderful coques (zesty and flavorful) and a second dish with the classic gratin of sweet onions from Cevennes toped with a small salad of young beet greens; Colette got stuck with a huge plateful of al dente vegetables which may have carried Alain Passard's blessing (as Emmanuel Rubin implied), but was not flavorful.
And now a short intermission, actually a long wait for Colette's first as well as our mains.
Colette and our friend hated the Rhone Syrah I had ordered and thus we passed over to a Jura Arbois very speedily. Then we waited.....and waited.....and you get the picture.
Our friend chose the veal cru as his main, OK but not out of this world; Colette had the medallion of veal, equally OK without fireworks; and my duck two ways had a normal duck (OK) but spectacular chopped duck and its innards in a nice sauce with vegetables. Our waggish friend suggested that this dish included all the veggies that Colette left over from the first course.
Now we get to the point: the cheese and dessert: our friend's cheese and Colette's caramel mousse were quickly consumed demonstrating that the dessert chef here had us pegged.
Our bill, with no bottled water, but good bread and coffee and 2.16 bottles of wine, was 186 E for three; thus 124 E a couple - but in our defense, we were in the place more than 3 hours.
Go again? Hummmm. Once they get the kinks ironed out, maybe, but I dunno.
Some bonuses: the whimsical sign of all versions of Paradis and the wonderful fascades of the Boulanger et Co building practically next door.
Adria, Aizpitarte, Alleno, Bras, Grebaut, Humm, Passard, Patterson and Redzepi - some crowd of chefs eh? And at the Palais des Beaux Arts yet. It's supposed to show the relationship between modern cuisine and art and as any such show, some things work better than others.
The highlight for me was a video of Bertrand Grebaut (Septime) torching a veal heart on the rail of the Metro. (Colette also liked Passard's art work)
Le Renaissance et Le Reve at the Luxembourg is a show that is advertised on the buses like Marlboros are in Prague but at least with cigarettes you die; with this stuff you just go comatose wondering if curators have any ideas left.
On reflection, though, it's a perfect bookend to the show at the Orsay called Masculin/Masculin, l'homme nu dans l'art; the Orsay show was labeled by Figaro as a show for gays, this at the Luxembourg is clearly a show for old, very old, male heteros.
OK, admittedly there's a great Veronese and I'm sure some prints are/were good if one could shove other old farts out of the way, but otherwise, I think it was a waste of time. And a stretch for the curators.
Oh, and for pretentious brochures, check out the explanation for the show - "long before psychoanalysis and neuroscience, artists were exploring the dream."
My wonderful wife put an article from the NYT in front of me a few days ago with the note "This sounds wonderful" about a new ballet - Le Parc at the Garnier. Now even though I met her in standing room at the "old" Met for an opera (Walkure), I trust her judgement on ballet. And so, for the first time since I went to the Jerome Robbins' tribute here, when as loyal readers will recall, I rubbed ah, ah, ah, derrieres with Madame Chirac, I found myself at the last minute trying to get "rush" seats for a ballet, since their website said no tickets were left.
After paying a scalper the equivalent of a ransom for my oldest born son (easy cuz I don't have one) we entered this great shrine. Frisons! Wonderful; good view, settle in for a treat - not!
After 10 minutes of jerks banging chairs on the parquet, jerks dragging ladies back and forth and jerks making some militaristic motions toward other jerks, I was ready to leave - screw the Euros wasted. But I know my beloved wife wanted to stay and since I didn't have a car parked nearby, I could bus home. So I waited 15, then 20, then 25 minutes and finally exited the plush box out onto the street and up to the Galeries for some foie gras, chorizo, herring, white beans, caviar and spicy olives for the Reveillon.
I've read and followed the recs of the NYT's critics for 60 years; been devoted to Craig Claiborne, Frank Rich and John Martin and Anna Kisselgoff not to mention Brooks Atkinson, but this "new" (since 2005 yet) ballet critic lady, one Roslyn Sulcas, sure had this one wrong. Or maybe it was the fault of the choreographer - one Angelin Preljocaj - in any case I ain't goin' again 'til they bring back Robbins or Nureyev's stuff. It was dumb, boring and involved too many jerks.
There is a quite wonderful show on now (until January 12th) at the Louis Vuitton Cultural Space on the Champs-Eylsees of Romanian art from a gallery in Cluj. Despite the nonsensical black elevator trip up to the galleries, the rest of the event is lively, colorful and eyeopening.
When I read that Dina Vierny's collection of art was to be sold at auction today, I thought how neat. 1. I like private collections, never seen before and 2. I wanted to see what she and Maillol collected. Well, first off, I doubt that what was on display today was their entire holdings and secondly, having seen Dina' breasts at the Maillol Museum in all their splendor, I don't think I need to see them much more, but I did.
There are many other works up for sale at Artcurial, but like Vierny's breasts, Francis Bacon's huge offerings here wear thin and I got most excited exiting and seeing Gustaf Eiffel's circular stairway - now that's genuine art.