Eyes and Ears on Paris
AN EYE ON PARIS PHOTO
Every year I make a point of attending Paris Photo because I love photography and started collecting it in the late 1980’s. It may be one reason my daughter became a photographer, having been surrounded by memorable images from an early age.
Paris Photo didn’t take place last year due to Covid-19, like just about any large event in an enclosed space. It has opened its doors at the Grand Palais for many years, but this year, because the Grand Palais is closed due to a complete renovation (until 2024), this 24th edition of such a major international photo fair was held this past week at the Grand Palais Éphémère, a temporary structure at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, just in front of the Ecole Militaire.
I can’t say that I like the eyesore of this temporary eco-responsible structure that blocks the view of the Eiffel Tower from the Ecole Militaire, nor was I thrilled with the interior space that was more of a confusing maze and lacked the openness of the glass and iron roof of the Grand Palais, but the work on display was every bit as exciting as it always is. One hundred forty seven galleries filled the halls, 63 percent of which were from outside of France (20 from North America), plus another 30 publishers from nine countries were present. Twenty of the galleries featured solo shows. According to the event’s press releases, additional exposure was given to women artists, but that’s not necessarily obvious from the works on display.
One of my favorites of the solo shows was the self-portraits by Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop, exhibited by Magnin-A, a gallery here in Paris. Diop was present on Wednesday night when I was there, so I had a chance to speak with him briefly. Then, there was the Tomasz Machciński exhibit presented by Christian Berst Art Brut of Paris. This is a Polish guy who took 22,000 self portraits, with as many different physiognomies that began in 1966. While fascinating, these are not images I want to hang on my wall! But the ones I do want to hang on my walls, as I do now with three of her works, are those of Sandy Skoglund, presented by Paci Contemporary of Brescia, Italy.
Marlborough Galleries from New York had a series of Irving Penn’s photos of his top model wife, Lisa Fonssagrives Penn, one of which I once owned and sold at auction in 2007. When I saw her, I cried, since I miss having her on my wall so much. Hamilton’s of London always has the most beautiful booth, always painted a dark gray with each work specially lit to almost glow. There were two Horst P. Horst photos on their walls that I own, but in different sizes and formats, and one by Herb Ritts that I got close to purchasing in the early ’90s, this time on sale at 30 times the price it was then! The only reason I didn’t buy it at the time was because my then husband didn’t like it…and now I’m kicking myself for having complied with his wishes!
Paris Photo is now over and out until next year, but you still have a chance to see the beautiful photographic work of Meredith Mullins, an American living in Paris, whose work is currently on display at Galerie Maître Albert (6, Rue Maître Albert, Paris, 75005) with her own Solo Exhibit: “In A Paris Moment” from now until November 21st, 2021 with a second “Vernissage” (opening) on November 17th (from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.).
A NOT SO SHADED VIEW ON A FASHION FILM FESTIVAL
Two years ago at Paris Photo, I had the pleasure of celebrating the work of photographer and artist, Steven Arnold, on display in a solo show by the Fahey/Klein Gallery. This was an artist with whom I was very close and whose work I have collected, having amassed one of the artist’s largest collections. A documentary film about his life, “Heavenly Bodies,” in which I have a minuscule part, was produced by Vishnu Dass, and was shown twice during the fair in 2019. For 25 years, I was afraid his work would be lost, but now it has been more than found…so well recognized that one of his photos was a signature piece for the fair, used as a massive poster at the entry to the Grand Palais.
I saw the film twice while at the fair. The first time I cried throughout the entire film, recognizing so many of our mutual friends from Los Angeles who were interviewed about him, as I had been. Seeing him in video and hearing his voice again, as well as realizing the poignancy of his words, overwhelmed me with emotion. There were images of his two homes—the illusionary sets he created, first inside a barn-like building that had once been a pretzel factory and then later as he became sicker with AIDS, in a bungalow in West Hollywood. In both we gathered regularly for his nightly “salons” where we would all have the pleasure of his presence and commune with the others. It was in his bungalow where he died on August 6, 1994, just one month before we moved to France. For 24 hours, we the “disciples,” as we called ourselves, sat vigil with his body, finding it hard to let him go. His friends adorned him in flowers and jewelry, lit candles, said prayers. He was a vision of angels and a beautiful human being up to the very last moment and breath of his life. We all loved him like one might love and revere a kind of Christ.
This may sound awfully sappy to you about someone that was just flesh and bones, but he was the truest artist in every sense of that word and exuded a kind of love that I’ve never known come from anyone else. Watching the documentary, it was clear that everyone who knew him felt this same way. It would be impossible not to comprehend that, just from seeing the film as well his work of films, photos, drawings, paintings and sculptures.
When Diane Pernet and Vincent Gagliostro of ASVOFF (A Shaded View on Fashion Film) contacted me to present Heavenly Bodies at the 13th edition of ASVOFF on December 3rd, I was truly honored and immediately accepted. I hope I don’t break out in tears making the presentation!
November 30th and December 1st, the film will also be on the A Shaded View on Fashion Film Channel, available on smart tv’s, all iOS devices and
Googleplay. The FNL app is free and downloadable.
To learn more and participate in the festival, visit their site.
AN EAR ON TWICE 5 MILES RADIO
James Navé, poet, storyteller, teacher, coach…and old friend…hosts radio show Twice 5 Miles on WPVMFM in Asheville, North Carolina and KCEI in Taos, New Mexico. Of course, I couldn’t say no to his request for an interview to be aired on his show. Just one-hour long, you might enjoy our repartee in which we talk about how “Paris is Alive and Sizzling” after the Covid-19 pandemic kept us at home and left the cafés empty in our rearranged world.
Click here to read James’ preface and listen to the podcast.
James Navé will be live and in person at Après-Midi on May 10th, 2022, here in Paris. He has performed for the public well over 10,000 times over his long career as a poet, teacher, and storyteller. Co-founded of The Artist’s Way Creativity Camp in partnership with Julia Cameron, author of the perennially bestselling guide to creativity, The Artist’s Way, he has taught writing, creativity, performance poetry, and public speaking worldwide, from Nouakchott, Mauritania, to Galway, Ireland, to Bangkok, Lima, and all across the US…and will be teaching us at our gathering here in Paris!
FINGERS ON THE PULSE OF US AND EUROPE
“Are the US and Europe Drifting Apart?” That’s the topic on December 8th at the American Library in Paris when journalists Liz Alderman (New York Times chief European business correspondent), Ulysse Gosset (foreign affairs correspondent for BFM-TV), Michaela Wiegel (correspondent for Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung), Vivienne Walt (OPC Governor and Paris correspondent for TIME & Fortune) and Stanley Pignal (European correspondent, The Economist) gather together, with the discussion moderated by David A. Andelman (Past OPC President, CNN columnist and former CBS News Paris correspondent and author of A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen), from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) and the American Library in Paris are closing out a big news year with this impressive panel of journalists. With Germany and France both in political churn, one issue hangs over the EU: Will its unquestioned alliance with the US survive? Each is cutting its own path on everything from nuclear subs, Big Tech, climate, and China. Can this marriage be saved?
We’ll find out! Registration is required, but it’s free and open to the public. The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (all panelists will appear in the Reading Room), the Library will stream the conversation on Zoom for a live viewing experience. Both in-person and online attendees will be able to pose questions.
Visit the American Library in Paris’ website for more information and to register.
Special Note: David Andelman, moderator of the event, will be presented with the rank of chevalier (knight) of the Légion d’Honneur on December 1, by decree of French President Emmanuel Macron. He will be speaking at Après-Midi on June 14th, 2022.
EYE PREFER PARIS DOORS
Also in the photo news is our American tour guide, photographer and friend, Richard Nahem of Eye Prefer Paris, who has created a series of postcards with his iconic photos of Paris doors. They come in sets of three (nine postcards) or six (18 postcards) from the Eye Prefer Paris Etsy shop. The series of six includes: blue doors, red doors, green doors, iron doors, wood doors, and elegant door knockers. The doors range from massive wood doors from 17th century palaces to the ornate metal work of the Haussmann style to Art Nouveau buildings. Each set of postcards is hand wrapped with love and mailed in an elegant, French blue envelope. For the holiday gift season, Eye Prefer Paris will include a handwritten personalized note to the gift recipient. The cost for a series of three packets is $35 plus $5 shipping, or a series of six packets for $65 which includes free shipping.
PARIS UNDERGROUND, ABOVE GROUND
I was dressed when podcaster Kathryn Kemp-Griffin of “Paris Undressed” interviewed me for Paris Underground Radio. She goes behind the seams of the lingerie capital to explore femininity and sensuality as she did with me. The podcast goes live on Tuesday, November 23rd, so mark you calendars and click here to hear it. It will also be available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, YouTube and many other podcast hosting sites, but those links won’t be available until the episode is live.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. A word to the wise: When you travel to France, don’t fret about having an official QR Code Pass Sanitaire. You will not be denied entry to anything if you show your US vaccination card.