Friday, November 30, 2007

Art, art everywhere (except in some of the museums)

One of the things I loved most about being in the non-touristy, funky 10th arondissement, was that there was street art all over the place. Some of it sanctioned, most of it not, but all of it wonderful. I think street art is, like folk art, a pure expression of the desire to communicate your vision, simply for it's own sake and without concern for status or gain. (Hey! kind of like blogs!) Here are some of the images I saw around town.

I love this because he's so normal, with his tennis shoes, shopping bag, and nylon jacket, and yet so very French - with his too-cool-for-school glance and his deadpan face.

What an odd, interesting thing to celebrate in guerilla street art - this end-of-the-work-day business man, with his very French face.

Amen (You don't want to get me started on the state of arts funding in our country.)

The gates to Damascus in an out-of-the-way Paris neighborhood. I love these ancient looking pillars with their terra cotta background, giving the quiet street the air of an ancient ruin.

All of which somewhat made up for the fact that, because of the transport strike, many of the museums had the art we really wanted to see, closed off. The Musee D'Orsay - with the best impressionist and post impressionist collection in France - was showing only its academic art. The top two floors - with all the impressionist & post work - were closed. Yet all of the museum's eateries, on all the floors, were open and fully staffed! Which expresses something about the priorities of the French. Food vs. Art? (or anything else for that matter) No contest. When i asked a museum staffer about the gallery closings, and when they might be open for visitors from far, far away to view, she said, "vous voulez trop." You want too much! Zut alors!


Ms. Place said...

I tried three times to see Ste. Chapelle and each time I was turned away. One time the line cut off just ahead of me. When I said it was my last day in Paris, the guard merely shrugged. I could still kick myself for not having seen that beautiful stained glass interior.

Having said that, I was in Le Maraise and noticed very little graffiti. My mother's doctor was turned off by it during his visit. Aren't we interesting? The things we notice, and the little things that make or break our vacation? Those exhibits on the upper floors at the Musee d'Orsay were unforgettable. I am so sorry that you did not get to see the paintings.

I also missed the exhibit at the L'Orangerie(and I walked right past it!) From what I understand the Monet exhibit showing at the time was breathtaking.

more cowbell said...

Love the street shots! I have a pic of myself in front of a long graffitied fence outside the Louvre, years back. My young self attempted to be creative, acting like I was painting on the fence. Yeah, looked really authentic, ha! That was also when my Ex and a little old lady were jockeying for position to snap a pic of the Mona Lisa, which was so much smaller than I imagined it.

Elizabeth said...

Ms. Place - Ah, the Gallic shrug.... So charming and irritating at the same time. They just cut you off? That is cold. I'm sorry I missed the upper floor too. But at least, in my case, no one else was getting in in front of me. Bonnard and Ste. Chapelle will wait for us.

CB: Not authentic maybe, but I bet it was cute in that silly, young self way. Yeah, isn't Mona smaller than you think she should be? And I find it's hard to actually SEE something you've seen so many images of before, and been told so completely what you're supposed to think about it.

Willym said...

Now Elizabeth we all know that Museums in France (and Italy for that matter) are only there to give lifelong employment to a group of sour-faced, indifferent and uncaring functionaires.

Love the street shoots.

Elizabeth said...

Silly me! To think that I could just waltz in and see the paintings the museum is actually most famous for!