Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Laurie Pike In Paris

Laurie Pike, style editor for Los Angeles Magazine, enjoys a Martini Rouge at one of her favorite cafés, Le Rouquet, (188 Blvd St Germain 75007). Well, she enjoyed it already and now poses showing off her yellow Gucci suede boots she got on eBay ("A steal!").

Laurie says she always comes in to Le Rouquet when she's in Paris.  "It's a visual ice cream sundae."

The fourth-generation establishment, just down the street from the tourist monuments Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, features the original 1954 neon decor, glass bar counter, beige and apricot colored marble walls and wooden paneling.  Le Rouquet probably still has one of the first café telephone booths still in operation.  It's made in style with a history of the future attitude – a rocket ship in varnished walnut.

Just behind Laurie, Matisse-type cutouts in glass and neon flower light fixtures hark back to a time when the Parisian surrealists would stop in on his way to famed art dealer Alexander Iolas, just next door.

"Max Ernst came in here all the time," says Monsieur Barrié, who runs the café with his mother.  "My grandfather created all this," he adds, gesturing to the well-lighted interior. "We haven't changed it."  His daughter, a lawyer, pops in from time to time, keeping her hand on the family business, and perhaps the family album.  It's Paris history.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jean-Baptiste Marot Wishes You A Happy 2011

Jean-Baptiste Marot, French artist and designer of very unusual wall paper, sends out this irreverent New Year's card.  It has a 16th century flavor, don't you think?

See his wall paper here: WILL AND WALLPAPER.  Contact: JB MAROT.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Viv Maudlin Goes School Shopping

A cornucopia of pop art references in a world with carbuncles, nurse's white and Chevelles.


Yes, it's true!  Our favorite hound dog artist, Jeff Koons, has filed suit against a maker and retailer of balloon dog book end makers, accusing these folks of ripping off his famous reflective steel million dollar icon, which the artist borrowed permanently from the public domain. Koons has made a living off the public domain, and at times appropriating other artists' works. (He's lost three of four copyright cases). 

The bookends sell for $30.  Koons, who makes similarly sized (10 1/2 inches) balloon dogs for up tot $12,500.  We're sure there's lots of confusion out there in the retail marketplace as to what's a Koons and what's a copy of...well, a balloon dog.

Koons is seeking to prevent Imm-Living, a Toronto company, from manufacturing the dogs (image, right), and Park Life, a San Francisco gallery, from selling them.  Meanwhile, balloon dogs proliferate everywhere as key rings, designs on shirts and of course at kiddie parties.  Bring in the clowns.

Read the full enchilada and wonky legal analysis at The New York Times.

Above: Librado Romero/The New York Times:  A 10-foot-tall version of Jeff Koons's "Balloon Dog" sculpture on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Matthew Rose's new letterpress print, Fuck You & Your Politics, produced by Swiss artist and letterpress printer, Fritz Sauter, was printed in an edition of 75. Each piece measures 32 x 25.75 cm on acid-free paper. There are 10 unnumbered, signed and dated artist proofs.

Want one?  Write : FY&YP.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

David Nelson: Last Of Radio & TV Family Dies

Last of a family dynasty passes away at 74: David Nelson. Brother Ricky, teen idol, died in 1985 in a plane crash at 45.  You can still hear their radio comedy on iTunes on various OTR (Old Time Radio) stations.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Spirit Duplication: Yara Flores & The Ditto Machine

From Cabinet Magazine: Every technology is a metaphor. That much is clear. The difficult matter is to sort out whether this is a primary or secondary function. Which is to say, did we initially make this universe of instruments, machines, tools, and devices as a way of talking about our condition, only then to discover, post hoc, that all the amassed hardware also proved useful for solving various practical problems (washing dishes, killing neighbors, etc.)? Or did it work the other way around? Did we set out to kill our neighbors, say, and then notice that the sword was a lovely way to say “violence”?

At first glance, the latter may seem much more likely. But presumably the sword said “violence” before it was swung. If the question feels abstruse, remember that the stakes are high: Are we apes who learned to talk, or angels who learned to kill?

But let me be absolutely concrete. In the late 1970s, at the hands of a small, wiry, and inflexible nun, I received two years of formal catechism at an archaically traditional Catholic school. This meant that every Monday morning we received, each of us in the class, a single sheet of metaphysical dogma laid out in a simple question-answer format. For instance:

Q. Who made the world?
A. God made the world.
Q. Where is God?
A. God is everywhere.
Q. What is despair?
A. Despair is the loss of hope in God’s Mercy. 

All images from The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism, 1962.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Alan Riding's And The Show Went On, Cultural Life in Nazi Occupied Paris: An Interview.

When the Nazi army rolled over Paris in late spring, 1940, and occupied the city on June 14, 1940, one might say the lights went out in the world’s greatest cultural beacon. 

But the truth is more complex, morally and aesthetically, as artists, performers, writers and others in the Paris culture industry either co-existed or outright collaborated with the occupiers. Artists and intellectuals “survived” the war in a fashion, and others, particularly in cinema, enjoyed a “good war.”  Sartre famously burnished his war credentials after the Occupation; Picasso was largely selfish and unpolitical; painters Derain and Vlaminck traveled as visiting artists to Germany during the war years; Céline embraced the new destruction along with other French artists who were inspired by the anti-Semitic Nazi occupiers.  
French culture, seen as fragile under the Occupation, was more of a strange political brew, but there is no doubt that Parisian theaters, music halls and cinemas continued to entertain, and Paris became the premiere vacation destination for the Nazi empire.

Paris during the Nazi Occupation is the vast subject Alan Riding takes on with a minesweeper’s verve.  The former European cultural editor for The New York Times recounts in vivid detail the rich history of this errant half decade in And The Show Went On, (Knopf, 2010) laying out how the Nazis rolled over France and how France’s cultural institutions literally played on, staging shows and singing songs and painting pictures.   

The author argues in this 400-page history that the pre-war French art industry managed the morally impossible middle ground surprisingly well, and that the artists of the Occupation and their murky history of existence and collaboration during wartime is as we might expect: Conflicted. Following is an interview with Alan Riding that took place in Paris via e-mail over the last week of 2010.