I have read around the web and seen the range of reactions to this exhibit, from enthusiasm to damning with faint praise to various forms of belittling and even downright hostility. So the nerve has been struck, obviously, in the art world. That is very good. The overall impression I got was of a great variety of approaches and much wit and imagination. And greatness, too. Women live a different, less privileged reality than men (Sorry, that's just true but is not the same as saying women and their work are inferior.) and women's art reflects that. There are some great fighters here.
Niki St. Phalle always reaches me. I was glad to see a huge retrospective of her work in Nice several years ago, something that is rare to see for any artist. Her nanas are beloved, but she did a lot of much stronger work as well, for instance this piece, The Crucifixion (above).
Dorothea Tanning projects her strange inner world into my understanding in this installation.
And I just thought this piece by Barbara Kruger was so amusing after seeing Michelangelo's muscle men! The point is, I guess, that while men may portray women (and men) as they wish to in art, women cannot return the favor. Yes. And as men continue to dominate, they change their tactics constantly. It's all very wearying.
Women too easily get the notion that if they create things they must be pretty and nice. Then they are told that their work is insipid and second rate. You can't win. Well there is nothing insipid about the work here! The most shocking piece was a film of a naked woman hooping with a barbed wire hoop! Wow. Still, to take on men and their bodies as men have done to women: no, women don't dare that much (yet).
The Louvre abounds in naked ladies and gentlemen. Here is one famous sans everything gentleman:
That's me in the background with my electronic museum guide, getting the lowdown on Michelangelo's slave in bonds here. Apparently he is in some kind of erotic swoon or something. Whatever. I used to take this sort of thing more seriously. Is this an advantage of age or a disadvantage? I do not know.
I am completely exhausted and glad we are heading home tomorrow. Two major cities in two weeks is a lot. So much happened, and we learned so much, too. One thing for sure: the crowding in these cities has reach a crisis point. I don't know how anyone can stand it. I'll be glad to get away from the mad crush of people. It is decidedly worse than it used to be. Some pix from Notre Dame:
Was literally unable to locate Notre Dame today, even though it is very close. Will try again tomorrow.The weather is lovely.
Some pix from the Orangerie. These are dollhouse rooms showing the Jean Walter and Paul Guilliame collection as displayed in their home. I love things like this, so tiny so perfect. This is the collection now (full size) at the Orangerie.
So wonderful to see these impressionist (and later) paintings in a lovely renovated museum. The Monet Water Lilies at the Orangerie were very nice, but it was the Walter-Guilliame collection that interested me most. I'll post more when I get home. Not too much online about this museum, which would be a sensation in most cities but is just another museum in Paris.
More: for scale: the chandelier is 3" in diameter.
Our French friend took us to a cuisine minceur place, and it was all I could do to take little sips of wine and tiny bites of food and not appear hungry. The food service was so amusing. In fact, some of the patrons, French
they were, too, were laughing at the vegetables contorted into flower shapes or served up in little
pots and so on. My "boeuf" dish was a small amount of shredded beef topped with pea-sized pieces of calamari. They were striving for originality, all right. Our friend is a Parisienne, a non-stop kind of mover around and talker who eats very little food! Her life would exhaust me, but she seems to thrive on constant tension! She does complain of tinnitus and funny sounds in her brain, but I have those too! She did take the opportunity to lecture us on the proper way to eat, namely, not to eat much! I have found a way to eat that works for me here: salads, mostly. We are going to the Orangerie today to see the Monet water lilies in the setting they were designed for.
Just one of many fine shots that Terry took.
Fear no more the heat o' the sun, Nor the furious winter's rages: Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone, and ta'en they wages: Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Our apartment is great! It is in the first arrondisement, that is in the heart of Paris and within walking distance of many major museums and other sights. This is a much cheaper and more comfortable way to stay in Paris than in a hotel. It took Terry three days to book this place online before we left, but it is so worth it. We have a comfortable living room with TV, a bedroom, wireless, nicely appointed bathroom, a small kitchen and washer and dryer. The cost is $800.00 for 7 nights. Being able to make your morning coffee and have your baguette at "home" gives you a jump on the other tourists. So we got to the Louvre very early and saw the Assyrian and Egyptian displays. Terry was very excited and took many many pictures. I won't be able to post them on Flickr until I get home but will put some up from time to time. We're going out tonight with a friend for dinner at some nice place, and I have to get ready. Adieu for now!
We toured the Villa Borghese today and saw all the Berninis there. Unluckily for us, the Caravaggios were not on display. I enjoyed the Cranach, which reminds me of Marlene Dietrich, I can't say why. Since no photos are allowed, we bought a book that shows some of the major works there. Yesterday was The Vatican and St. Peters. The Vatican was something of an ordeal, because we did not time our visit well and got caught in the huge midafternoon crush going through the Museum to the Sistine Chapel. I could not judge the Sistine Chapel very well, but I think it has been overrestored. At any rate, I did not feel any spiritual vibes there. But St. Peters: well, wow! I have a crick in my neck from looking up! It is such an astonishing place. After our Vatican ordeal, we sat in the square for a couple of hours, just watching the crowds and taking in the details of the architecture in St. Peter's Square. Cleverly, we went into the church at exactly the right time: around 5 p.m. when a mass was taking place and providing bursts of exquisite music, and when it was pleasantly busy but not overcrowded. We took in St. Peter's statue, or the one they say is St. Peter, and watched the pilgrims touch his toe for good luck. The sunburst with the dove behind it at the altar was at its lovliest but alas our photos did not come out. No photos can do justice to the interior of St. Peter's anyhow. We have to go back, because we ran out of steam and did not climb to the top of the dome, nor did we descend into the Catacombs. Rome is organized chaos and works very well. It's most impressive. There are mishaps, though, as a photo above shows. Day before yesterday I visited the Roman National Museum near the train station and the Baths. I can't find much info about this museum on the Internet. It is in a restored villa and only recently opened (I think). I spent hours in there, long enough to get the holy creeps at how old antiquity is! Really! I started imagining that the statues would come to life. Well, I have certainly seen a lot of bare ladies and gentlemen in the past few days! Tonight's our last night. We will dine well one last time here and then it's off to Paris for yet more fine dining.This time I won't miss Notre Dame!
Last night we went to a trattoria in "our" neighborhood for the second time, we liked it so well. We sat in an outdoor area covered with tarps against the thunderstorm raging away and ate very basic Italian food (salad, antipasto, pasta, organ meats, a little wine, etc.). This is good every day dining. For the rest of it, we have been eating at "home:" bread, butter, jam, cereal, cheese, fruit, etc. This is much the way we always eat, such has been the Italian influence on American cooking, except that the meat here is much leaner. Not nearly so much fat in the food, overall. Controlling portions is easy when you get a variety of foods to choose from. The weather has changed, but it is quite comfortable, just not sunny. Terry is giving his talk today and will be busy tomorrow, but otherwise it's been a nice holiday for him too. We are both feeling fine. Pix to come. Still dealing with computer glitches.