Quirky, Kinetic Fountain Honors Composer Stravinksy

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In addition to visiting Paris’s futuristic Pompidou Center, many tourists also enjoy the next-door Fontaine Stravinsky (Stravinsky Fountain), a quirky, kinetic public fountain designed to honor composer Igor Stravinsky, a Russian composer—later a naturalized French citizen—considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century. The Paris fountain that honors the composer was created in 1983 by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, known for his kinetic-art pieces, and his wife, French sculptor, painter and filmmaker Niki de Saint Phalle. The 580-square-meter basin is ornamented with 16 pieces of sculpture and water-movement installations that represent 16 of Stravinsky’s works, including those from his best-known ballet “The Rite of Spring.” Continue Reading →

A Serious Museum Examining Sex and Sexuality

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Paris is bursting at the seams with museums and galleries. And among the City of Light’s 175 public and private museums are several unconventional collections, including the Musee de l’Erotisme (Museum of Eroticism). And let’s set the record straight: This unusual seven-level exhibition space in Paris’s Pigalle district is a serious museum, not a prurient tourist trap. The artifacts on display, amassed since the 1960s by cultural anthropologists Alain Plumey and Joseph Khalifa, date back to the 1st century A.D. and provide a fascinating examination of the roles that sex and sexuality have played in numerous cultures and civilizations during the past two millennia. Continue Reading →

Free Exhibit Chronicles Paris’s 20th Century History

Paris, 1953. By Marc Riboud © Marc Riboud/Magnum Photos

A free exhibit of 150 photographs chronicling the sometimes turbulent history of Paris, its residents, and its challenges and triumphs throughout the 20th century has just been extended by a month so that Parisians and visitors to the City of Light can experience the region’s rich history as seen through the lenses of some of the world’s best photojournalists. Titled “Paris Magnum,” the exhibition includes images taken by 30 photographers from the renowned Magnum photo agency. The photo display, which opened just before last Christmas, was originally scheduled to conclude on March 27, but recently was extended an additional month through April 25. Continue Reading →

Marvelous Modern Art at the Pompidou Center

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Modern art is not everyone’s cup of tea. Personally, I prefer avant-garde paintings, sculpture and other futuristic installations over gallery upon gallery of Christian imagery, and I adore the work of Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. To each his or her own, right? But even I sometimes find some modern art pieces to be, shall we say, wanting. There is a museum in Paris, however, that I highly recommend to everyone, even those who normally are turned off by modern art—the Musee National d’Art Moderne, housed in the city’s equally futuristic—and fascinating—Pompidou Center. Continue Reading →

Paris Rooftop Photos Shown at Marais Gallery

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As anyone who has ever rented a Parisian apartment—even for just a short stay in the City of Light—knows, one of the true pleasures of non-hotel living in Paris is the views over the city’s iconic rooftops. The hundreds of tiny clay chimneys. The ornate sloping roofs adorning ancient stone buildings. The skylights and wrought-iron balconies peering out over the entire scene. It’s magical. And now, a photo exhibit staged at Paris’s La Galerie Particuliere, located in the artsy Marais, celebrates those picturesque canopies through the images of renowned photographer Michael Wolf.
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World’s Premier Photo Show Held Nov. 13-16 in Paris

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Photographers and lovers of the photographic medium will be in sheer heaven this week when Paris’s Grand Palais hosts “Paris Photo”—widely considered the world’s premier international photography art fair. This year’s show marks the 18th anniversary of the event that is known across the globe not only for its stunning displays of photography, but also for its innovative and high-level programming. Paris Photo will include nearly 170 exhibits from more than 1,200 photographers, collectors and galleries spanning 33 nations. Continue Reading →

Picasso Museum Set for Reopening. Again

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Paris’s famed Picasso Museum is set to reopen on Saturday, October 25, after a planned two-year renovation project stretched to more than five years in length and resulted in cost overruns nearly doubling the initial eight-figure budget. The museum, established when Picasso’s family members donated hundreds of pieces of art to the French government in lieu of estate taxes when the artist passed away, shut in August 2009 for a planned two-year, $40 million renovation. Numerous times since, the museum’s administration announced additional delays and more expenditures. In fact, just this spring the renovation team announced a June reopening. Obviously, that never happened. So will Saturday’s reopening actually occur? There’s every indication that this time it’s done deal. Continue Reading →

Bottazzi Holds Art-Creation Event at La Defense

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French painter Guillaume Bottazzi is currently staging a live art-creation event at the futuristic D2 Tower in Paris’s La Defense district, where the artist is publicly painting a 250-square-meter (820-square-foot) work, adding to it a bit each day through November 18. The artist has installed an outdoor workshop at the base of the skyscraper located on the eastern edge of the La Defense district, where he works from sunrise to sunset each day on the work that will be displayed permanently in front of the building. Continue Reading →

Marcel Duchamp Show Opens at the Pompidou Center

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Opening today at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris’s Pompidou Center is a fantastic new show highlighting works by French/American artist Marcel Duchamp titled “Marcel Duchamp. La Peinture, Meme.” Duchamp, who lived from 1887 to 1968, has been described as both the father of contemporary art and one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. However, the artist and his works are less well known in France than in other countries (particularly in America), and the new Paris show aims to introduce Duchamp to both the French and to international tourists visiting the City of Light. Continue Reading →

Golden Statue Near the Louvre Honors Joan of Arc

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Visitors to the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens are often surprised to stumble across a glittering gold statue of a soldier on horseback, seemingly guarding the posh Hotel Regina that overlooks the area. And many snap pics of the equestrian sculpture without ever really knowing that they’ve captured the likeness of Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc), a peasant from northeast France who became a commander in the French military and led several victories over the invading English forces during the Hundred Years’ War. Today, Jeanne d’Arc is a martyr of the Catholic Church and one of the nine patron saints of France. Continue Reading →