Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-ParisNight

The view from the Théâtre de l"Odéon at dusk. Photo: Françoise Deberdt-Meunier

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Left Bank gallery crawl
> Open house at 50 galleries for Art Saint Germain des Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Gold in galleries

ParisUpdate-CarreRiveGauche-Passage AH 0

“Passage” ((2017), by Aude Herlédan. At 1831 Art Gallery during Carré Rive Gauche.

> The Carré Rive Gauche, an association of Left Bank galleries, celebrates its 40th anniversary with an event called ExtrORdinaire, featuring gold in works of art. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Literary evening
> The Nuit de la Littérature in Belleville and Ménilmontant presents 20 foreign authors reading their work in French. Various venues, Paris, May 27.

 English-language theater festival
> Paris Fringe returns for its second year of English-language theater and comedy. Various venues, Paris, May 18-28.

Hollywood glam
> Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and more in classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age for the Glamour cycle. Forum des Images, Paris, May 3-31.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Etienne Comar’s Django, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, May 26.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

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Art - Temporary Exhibitions

 

Warhol Unlimited

The Appropriator
Reappropriated

ParisUpdate-Warhol-Museedartmoderne-8. Self portrait

“Self-Portrait” (1966). © 2015. Digital image, MoMA, New York/Scala, Florence © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ADAGP, Paris 2015

Some artists are so well known that it seems almost pointless to do yet another straight-forward exhibition of their work. But those big names bring in the bucks, so curators scrape around for new exhibition angles. For Picasso, the Grand Palais solved the problem by showing the work of other artists influenced by the 20th-century master along with his own works in “Picasso Mania.” For Andy Warhol (1928-87), who is even more problematic in this sense because his work is so familiar and repetitive, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris has made a virtue of that repeti-tiveness by focusing on his series in the exhibition “Warhol Unlimited.”

The show is built around one of the lesser-
known series, “Shadows” (1978-79), which Warhol, in his self-deprecating way (which somehow always sounded self-aggrandizing) described as simply “disco decor.” It is stunningly decorative as displayed in the museum’s huge curving gallery with its repeated abstract panels in mostly black,

ParisUpdate-Warhol-Museedartmoderne-12. Shadows

"Shadows" (1978-79).

slashed with acidic pinks, blues, greens, reds and the occasional splash of white.

This show is even more fun than “Picasso Mania,” primarily because Warhol was such an amusing person. The wall texts are well worth reading for the stories they tell about the works on show and the quotes from Warhol they include. Of the installation “Silver Clouds” (1966), he wrote: “I thought I was really really finished, so to mark the end of my art career I made silver pillows that you could just fill up like balloons and let fly away... But then the ‘Silver Space Pillows’ didn’t float away and my career didn’t float away, either.”

The show starts with his “Screen Tests” (1964-66), films of celebrities sitting silently in front of a camera. It’s fun to see many of them all together, creating a sort of living portrait gallery. It is also revealing of each subject’s personality. Dalí, not surprisingly, hams it up, while Bob Dylan, in dark glasses, sits as stiff as a statue far from the camera wearing a bored grimace on his face. He is so still that it’s kind of exciting when he twitches or moves a bit in his chair. In contrast, the animated Marcel Duchamp is seen in close-up, smiling, smoking and drinking.

The other series on show present other interesting contrasts. The “Electric Chairs” (1964-71), with their grim content in eerie color

ParisUpdate-Warhol-Museedartmoderne-10. Electric Chair2

“Big Electric Chair” (1967) © The Menil Collection, Houston, Gift of the artist; photo: Hickey-Robertson, Houston © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ADAGP, Paris 2015

combinations, hang in a room wallpapered with Warhol’s cheery “Cow” series.

Some introduce a note of tragedy or political commentary, such as the “Jackies” (1964), showing Jackie Kennedy just after the

ParisUpdate-Warhol-Museedartmoderne-3. Jackie2

“Jackie (Gold)” (1964). © The Sonnabend Collection, on loan from Antonio Homem. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ADAGP, Paris 2015

assassination of her husband, and the “Maos” (1972-73), while others, such as Flowers (1964-65) and the aforementioned “Shadows” are purely decorative. The series are set up in such a way as to recall the first time they were shown in galleries and museums back in the 1960s, when their shock value was still great.

As the curators point out, by creating art in series and appropriating famous brands and images, beginning with his Campbell Soup cans and Brillo boxes, Warhol became an instantly recognizable brand himself. They have done a great job of recycling this familiar brand and making it newly fresh and enjoyable, although the controversy is long gone.

Today we, too, can become appropriators and “Warholize” our own photos, as in the image at the top of this page, on Apple’s Photo Booth app, a fact the artist would most likely have appreciated.

Heidi Ellison

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris: 11, avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris. Métro: Alma-Marceau or Iéna. Tel.: 01 53 67 40 00. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Thursday until 10 p.m.). Closed on public holidays. Admission: €12. Through February 7, 2016. www.mam.paris.fr

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