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Of Two Minds

Entrance to the Basquiat Warhol exhibit at Fondation Louis Vuitton

E-PHOTO, ME PHOTO

The application for French citizenship is almost complete and ready to submit. One of the last tasks was to have an official photo taken. In today’s world, only an “E-Photo” is required—a link to your electronic photo, not the real print on paper.

A member of my staff told me that in no uncertain terms should I just go to any “Photomaton” and have them done. That there was only one place in Paris worth the extra trouble and that is Photo Madeleine, where all the “important people” go. That meant a special trip, so yes, it had better be worth it.

A Photomation shop

It turned into a project. Nearby was my hair stylist who did a cut and color before heading over to Photo Madeleine just a block away. Of course, I wanted to look my best if the photo was going to be on my new French passport. No appointment was necessary. It’s a small shop with autographed celebrity photos lining the countertop so you can see how important everyone who has their photos taken there is. The procedure took just a few moments. A gentleman with a camera instructed me to take off my glasses and earrings, then took a few snaps. Within 10 minutes I walked out with my E-photo in hand as well as more copies than I will ever need.

The counter at Photo Madeleine with photos of important people under glass

The gentleman from the shop ran after me as I was walking down the street to tell me that they were having technical problems with the E portion of the photo. This meant I had to come back the following week to have it redone. Ugh. Why does everything become complicated and take so much time?

Adrian Leed's E-Photo for her French passport

The bottom line is that I imagine it was as good as it was going to get. My immigration attorney, Daniel Tostado, didn’t tell me to do anything but provide the link to it. Cool, right?

Here’s how to get an E-Photo through Photo Madeleine if you’re not in Paris and want to do it on your Smartphone!

For a U.S. passport, the photo requirements are different than for France. If the photo doesn’t meet their requirements, it will be rejected, so take fair warning!

TWO MINDS, FOUR HANDS

BASQUIAT × WARHOL. PAINTING FOUR HANDS is the current exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, on until August 28th, so you have plenty of time to get there to see it…but be prepared. The exhibition is extensive. You may find yourself exhausted and saturated toward the end if you don’t plan for it.

Large poster for the Basquiat Warhol exhibit at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris

This is work that was entirely new to me. It puzzled me that I had been so clueless about the artists’ relationship until now. It turns out that these two very different artists—in age, style and background—painted about 160 very large canvasses in tandem over the course of two years, described as “two minds merging to create a ‘third distinctive and unique mind.'”

Jean-Michel Basquiat was only 24 years old at the time, while Andy Warhol was 56. This exhibition stands as a momentous tribute to their remarkable collaboration, showcasing over three hundred works and documents, including eighty canvases jointly signed by the two artists. The exhibition also features individual works by each artist and a collection of works by other prominent artists from the New York downtown art scene of the 1980s, such as Futura 2000, Michael Halsband, Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, Kenny Scharf, and more, capturing the vibrant energy of that era.

Artwork from the Basquiat Warhol exhibit

The story of this collaboration is fascinating, even more so than the products of it. In 1979, Basquiat spotted Warhol dining at the W.P.A. restaurant on Manhattan’s Spring Street. He introduced himself as a budding artist to Warhol, who ignored him and Initially dismissed him as “too young.” Three years later, Basquiat visited Warhol’s studio-cum-nightclub, The Factory, and it was then that they hit it off. Warhol eventually became Basquiat’s patron, providing him with a loft in Manhattan for his home and studio. From that point forward, they began this collaboration that blended Warhol’s Pop Art style with Basquiat’s expressive and dynamic approach, reinvigorating both artists.

Basquiat Warhol Eiffel Tower

Sadly, their relationship deteriorated rapidly after a gallery show in 1985 received poor critical reception and Basquiat became heavily involved with drugs. The collaboration ended. Warhol passed away in 1987, followed by Basquiat in 1988 at the age of 27.

While many Basquiat and Warhol collaborative paintings are privately owned, the most recent spotlight was on Warhol’s portrait of Basquiat, which was sold at auction in 2021. The painting achieved a final hammer price of $34,700,000, making it the most expensive artwork of the sale. The current owner is unknown, but I hope it’s not just sitting in a vault somewhere for no one to appreciate it!

The painting by Warhol of Basquiat that achieved a final hammer price at auction of $34,700,000

The painting by Warhol of Basquiat that achieved a final hammer price at auction of $34,700,000

LV SHOWS NO LoVe

I love Frank Gehry’s work. The Fondation Louis Vuitton is just one of his dozens of architectural wonders, many of which I have made a point of visiting. My favorite among them all is the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles which resembles a silver “lotus flower” emerging from a sea of concrete. From every angle possible, it is stunning.

Walt Disney Music Center, Los Angeles

Walt Disney Music Center, Los Angeles

While the Paris version of his genius takes the beautiful and elegant form of sailboat sails inflated by the wind, the interior space has not considered the human element. One might spend an entire day enjoying the space, the exhibitions and the ambiance, except it’s near to impossible as it’s void of the amenities one might need. There is literally nowhere to rest, except for a few benches within the exhibition rooms, there are no cafĂŠs or spots at which one might refresh (except for the restaurant, “Frank,” which is a bit expensive and formal), take a drink or discuss what you just experienced. The bathrooms are minimal and ill-placed. The boutique is a sorry excuse for offering souvenirs of your visit and with LVMH as the sponsor, one might expect an elaborate retail center of all they have to offer, instead. It’s very disappointing to leave empty-handed because the T-shirt they are offering costs 95€ and it’s the only thing of interest!

View looking down on the Restaurant Le Frank at the Fondation Louis Vuitton

These are the reasons that I don’t go as often as I should or could—because one must be prepared to “rough it” in order to enjoy any exhibition. And you’d think they would have realized this early on and done something about it. There are multiple terraces that would make perfect outdoor cafĂŠs if they just offered up a few tables and chairs with a small kiosk or cart…easy peasy to do, and not even very expensive. A few drinks and snacks would make a huge difference! So, I often wonder why they haven’t thought of this? Maybe they don’t think they need to or don’t care?

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Fondation Louis Vuitton

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Go see the exhibit, because it’s worth it, but be sure to bring a bottle of water and some snacks with you…or better yet, arrive at 11:45 a.m., be the first in line to lunch at Frank, and fully enjoy your visit.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, photo by Erica SimoneAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds GroupÂŽ

Adrian at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, photo by Erica Simone

North American Expats in France Financial Form promoP.S. Have you registered for our Expats in France Quarterly Financial Forum yet? It’s coming up June 7th! Details and registration are on our website. Sign up today!

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2 Comments

  1. Peggy Allegra Chiang on May 22, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    “LOVE” the photo of you taken by Erica Simone. By far, the best image.

    • Adrian Leeds Group on July 11, 2023 at 3:23 am

      Thank you!

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