Much to my mother's dismay, I've never really been able to jump on the feminist movement band wagon.
Granted, by traditional standards I would certainly consider myself a feminist: I believe in equality for men and women in the work place, I'm all for a women's right to choose, and I fully support any woman who chooses to be a stay-at-home mom or a CEO (or both if you can figure out how to run a company from your living room with a screaming 2-year-old at your feet). Because after all, it's the choice
part that counts. But I've never taken that next step to march, protest, or strike for women's rights. So I figured I could make up for my lack of
activism by looking at photos of women who actually did
participate in the women's rights movement!
This brings me to the photography exhibit going on right now at the Galerie des Bibliothèques-Ville de Paris
, entitled Photo, Femmes, Féminisme,
which will continue to run through March 13th, 2011.
This collection of photographs, posters, films and original written texts spans over 150 years of history regarding the French feminism movement, beginning in 1860.
These pieces are on loan from
the Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand
, named after one of the early leaders in the French feminist movement, who evolved from an actress at the Comédie-Française
to an active member of the French political movement and founder of the La Fronde
, a feminist newspaper first published back in 1897. Although small, the exhibit did a great job of providing an expansive visual overview of this historical movement. Many of the photos and video clips of women
marching in the streets, chanting in unison for equality were reminiscent of images I've seen from the women's suffrage movement in the U.S. As I was walking through the exhibit, I was curious as to what year women in France were actually
given the right to vote. I naturally assumed it would have been before that right was finally granted in the U.S. (1920
), but I was shocked to discover that it took France until 1944! Seriously guys? You were well behind Myanmar,
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan
(I'll admit I had to look that last one up.
Overall I found this exhibit to be pretty informative - it was like a brief history lesson, but with pictures!
If you have any interest in photography, French history, women's rights or all of the above, I would highly recommend a visit.For additional information on the exhibit, check out this review from Paris Update by Heidi Ellison.
Gallery Info:Galerie des Bibliothèques-Ville de Paris
: 22, rue Malher, Paris 75004. Métro: Saint Paul. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 1pm-7pm, until 9pm on Thursday. Admission: €6. Through March 13th.
www.paris-bibliotheques.orgBibliothèque Marguerite Durand
: 79, rue Nationale, 75013 Paris. Métro: Olympiades.
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 2pm-6pm.
Below are photos I managed to sneak in of some of my favorite photos.
Saturday night I got the chance to mix and mingle with some Parisian (and American/British/Italian) interior design buffs at the 2011 Paris Déco Off
, held from January 20-24 at design showrooms and ateliers throughout the city.
This nearly week-long affair is basically an excuse for all major interior designers, buyers and magazine editors to schmooze and tell the designers how marvelous/stunning/amazing their creations are.Aside from loving the bottomless flutes of ros
é champagne (and I mean real
champagne, not the cheap "sparkling wine" I often buy
) and the delicious hors d'oeuvres, it was great to experience a different crowd of people who are so passionate about this industry.And of course, let's not forget the gorgeous fabrics!I got to visit the showrooms of Pierre Frey and Jim Thompson
(Merci to Sharon from Scout Paris
for inviting me!) both known for their luxury fabrics. It definitely gave me the urge to re-decorate (And believe me, if I had more room in my 11m2
"apartment," I probably would.)Below is a short slide show of photos I took from the event.
Entrance at Le Grand Palais
Like plenty of women (and most cats), I am easily distracted by sparkly things.I gaze into the windows of Harry Winston and Cartier, dreaming of wearing items I will never be able to afford. I stare at
women wearing diamonds the size of gumballs when standing next to them in an elevator. Creepy, I know. But I can't help it. The sparkles just draw me in!So in an attempt to feed my need for all that glitters, I had to
make sure I saw the exhibition “Bulgari: 125 years of Italian Magnificence”
at Le Grand Palais
, which was in Paris from December 10, 2010 through January 12, 2011.
The exhibit featured more than 600 pieces of jewelry displayed in chronological order, beginning with pieces from as early as the 19th century, created by Greek-born Sotiris Boulgaris
, up through the 1990s.
Although the pieces were beautifully displayed, the layout of the exhibit was poorly designed. There were lines of people spending five minutes in front of one piece, which held up the entire crowd (and crowded it was).
Viewing these gorgeous gems became cumbersome, and at times, quite frustrating.
I felt like the museum could have done a better job of moving people along, or displaying the jewels in a way that made them easier to be viewed by large crowds.
But then again, it's the French: masters of creativity, but when it comes to practicality... not so much.
The exhibition also featured a private collection from Elizabeth Taylor
, and rightfully so.
After all, this is the woman who wrote the book "My Love Affair with Jewelry."
She took her diamonds seriously (and I don't blame her one bit.) A short film detailing Taylor's love affair with Bulgari, as well as her relationships with the men and the jewelry that adorned her life, was very informative and allowed visitors to look at the pieces on display with a greater sense of the roles they played throughout her life. Richard Burton
(whom Taylor married and divorced twice) once said, “The only word Elizabeth knows in Italian is Bulgari.”
Apparently Eddie Fisher
, her fourth husband (out of eight, or I guess seven, since Burton was a two-for-one) also contributed extensively to Taylor's Bulgari collection, in a failed attempt to salvage their marriage.
Emerald pendants, yellow diamonds, sparkling cocktail rings; I would have given my left foot to wear any of these stunning pieces (see below).
I got scolded for taking photos of the actual exhibit, so here are some I found through the power of Google Images. The photos don't quite do the pieces justice, but they should give you all an idea of Bulgari's stunning and timeless style.
Below are some additional photos I took from the Bulgari expo, of both and outside of Le Grand Palais.
Nathalie Lemaître at work (http://www.nathalielemaitre.com/)
Following my earlier post
on Nathalie Lemaître’s
exhibit at Fesitval America
, I sent her a few interview questions to get a better sense of her methods and cultural perspective regarding this series. Below is a translation of the Q & A.
The full interview in French can be found at the end of this post.
'La Croquese' from Lemaître Poker series
1. Aside from your visual memories of your many visits to New York City, what else served as a source of personal inspiration for this exhibition?
My emotional memory. The emotions that are in me, whether I'm in New York or elsewhere.
2. How long does it generally take for you to create one of these paintings?
I can make a painting in a day, but the preparation takes me much longer. My actual painting technique is very fast, but I do preparatory sketches and I reflect a lot beforehand.
3. What are the main differences you notice between Paris and New York? What are some similarities?
For me, New York and Paris are like two sisters, each filled with dreams and intelligence. Paris is the old Europe; New York is the new world. However, New York is already loaded with nostalgia.
4. Out of all the pieces in this series, which is your favorite? Why?
My favorite painting is "Crystal City" for the effect of contrast, and because it represents New York in an unusual way. But also "Empire Shadow", for the sense of vertigo.
Below is a slideshow of selected pieces from Nathalie's collections, uploaded from her website. They include pieces from series entitled "expressionniste", "ethnique" and "poker."
Original interview text (en français, bien sûr!)
1. A part vos souvenirs de New York, qu'elles ont été vos autres sources d'inspirations pour cette exposition?
Ma mémoire émotionnelle. Les émotions qui sont en moi, que je sois à New York ou ailleurs.
2. Combien de temps est ce que ça vous prend pour créer un tableau en moyenne?
Je peux faire un tableau en une journée, mais la préparation est beaucoup plus longue. Ma peinture est rapide, mais je fais des croquis préparatoires et je réfléchis beaucoup.
3. Quelles sont les grandes différences pour vous entre Paris et New York? Quelles en sont les principales similitudes ?
Pour moi, NYC et Paris sont comme deux soeurs remplies de rêve et d'intelligence. Paris, c'est la vieille europe. New York, c'est le nouveau monde. Pourtant, NYC est déjà chargée de nostalgie.
4. Quelle est votre tableau préféré? Pourquoi?
Mon tableau préféré, c'est "Cristal city" pour l'effet de contraste, parce qu'il represente New York d'une manière inhabituelle. Mais aussi "Empire shadow", pour le vertige.
Photo by Carolyn Englar
This past weekend I went to go see some art.
No, I didn't see pieces by Monet, Rodin or Dali. They were by Nathalie Lemaître
-- my landlord.
Yes, this is Paris, and these things are actually quite normal.
Nathalie's pieces were on display at Festival America
, held this past weekend in Vincennes
. Festival America is a literary festival where more than sixty North American authors convene to “celebrate and discuss the world of letters, and the letters which define the world.”
The event included readings, debates and appearances by a diverse selection of writers from all over North America, as well as film screenings and musical events.
Check out the video below to learn more:
Photo by Carolyn Englar
I will confess – I am cheap, and didn’t want to shell out the 6€ to see the full exhibit, so I just looked at the pieces my landlord had on display in the Coeur de Ville.
The exhibit was titled “Manhattan Dream, New York : la cité rêvée”
and was made up of about ten large paintings all portraying various aspects of New York City.
For these pieces, Nathalie used a combination of painting and collage, oil on paper and magazine clippings to portray different scenes city life, while incorporating cinematic, architectural, literary and musical references.
I am no art expert, but I personally enjoy this style of mixed mediums. And it’s not so avant-garde that you need a Ph.D. in Art History to appreciate it, yet there is certainly a high level of creativity involved that makes these pieces more than just paint on canvas.
I would say my two favorites were “Empire Shadow”
(above left) and “My Little Square.”
The first because it does a great job of portraying the imposing and sometimes overwhelming stature of the city, and I appreciate the use of light and shadow. And I’m not gonna lie, I also enjoy the small pieces of Obama paraphernalia tucked away in the corners. The second piece stands out to me for the vibrant use of color, and well, the cute dog panting in the corner.
Screw communications. I think I’ve clearly found my calling as an art critic.
Check out the gallery below of additional photos I took at Festival America.
And make sure to check out Nathalie’s website
to see more of her amazing work!