Foto Fever for Fun
When we entered Paris Photo on Wednesday evening, among a sea of collectors, dealers, artists and looky-loos, I “almost” forgot about the U.S. presidential election results — at least long enough to enjoy the photo fair. Dealers later confessed that the sales started slower than usual because the mood was so morose and collectors were thinking more about the election than their next art purchase.
It takes hours to see all 153 of the galleries, the 30 publishers and all the works on display in this 20th edition of the fair, so I returned on Saturday with my daughter, a photographer (ericasimone.com), again really only skimming the surface of what’s on show. We stopped to talk with a few of our gallery friends and ran into a few other friends and acquaintances in the photo world as we perused the aisles. As a collector of photography, I am still hooked on the classics while Erica was anxious to see innovative use of photography from which she could gather ideas.
Robert Currie’s plexi photo sculptures at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery were perhaps the most intriguing, and as it turned out, proprietor Bryce is a long-time acquaintance of Erica’s from New York. New York’s Yossi Milo also always shows a broad selection of the latest ground-breaking work. I first met Yossi years ago when, as a fan of House Hunters International, he called out to me while walking past his booth. I make a point to say hello every year. Hamilton’s Gallery from London is one of those I make a special point to visit as they represent my favorite fashion photographers. This year they showed a collection of Irving Penn’s latest work — the images he created just before his death. (I am dreaming of making at least one them my own, but the price is seriously healthy.) Meanwhile, I always stop to say hello to Theresa Luisotti of Gallery Luisotti where artist Mark Ruwedel’s work was on display, and he was on hand, too, chatting with his dealer. Theresa and I once worked together in Los Angeles holding photography open house shows in my own home by taking down everything on my walls and replacing them with works for sale that she represented.
Every year these galleries come to Paris and claim it to be one of their best investments in time and money. Last year, the show was cut short due to the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris. Dealers said that while tragic, their sales were mostly done the first couple of days of the show and therefore they didn’t hesitate to come back for another year. This year the quality was high and the level of the dealers exceptional, from all over the world. You can also take a virtual tour of the fair.
Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the November 13th terrorist attacks on Paris. Those of us here in Paris will likely never forget where we were the moment we heard about them, like I can still remember the moment we heard that John F. Kennedy had been shot. Can’t you? Some things will never fade from memory. While I was having a particularly fun dinner with a large group of newly made American friends, the attacks were happening just a few streets away.
The following Sunday after the attack, I visited most all of the cafés and restaurants in the 11th arrondissement that were hit, but couldn’t bare to visit the Bataclan Theater…and never ventured near there all year long. The images in my own head were enough for me. This is where 90 people were killed when gunmen stormed the building during a concert by the Eagles of Death Metal.
(Read about last year’s event in Parler Paris.)
The Bataclan reopened on Saturday, November 12th, with a concert by Sting to about a thousand people including members of the victims’ families and members of the Eagles of Death Metal to remember and honor those that died. On Sunday at a memorial of the attacks, government officials unveiled memorial plaques at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, as well as the bars and restaurants (Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, Café Bonne Bière and La Casa Nostra) and the Bataclan concert hall listing the names of the victims at each. Survivors and families later gathered at the town hall of the 11th arrondissement.
Erica Simone signed a stack of her Nue York: Self Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen books at Club Rayé Friday night with a host of friends and fans while sipping on a specially invented drink on her behalf — “Bare and Bubbly,” that went down way too easily (!) with the hors-d’œuvres and cakes. Among them was Sculptor Laura Figuero who has her own show coming up this Wednesday evening at the Galerie Mona Lisa. A special thanks goes to proprietor Kein Cross and Club Rayé for hosting the event with pizazz.
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(with Erica Simone and Laura Figueroa at Club Rayé)
P.S. Special note: I’d like to thank all of you who wrote in response to last week’s several Nouvellettres® — to those who are on both sides of the proverbial fence, and either agree with my points of view or don’t. It was refreshing to see that many of you who didn’t share my side of that fence were willing to provide arguments for your own. It helped me see things a little clearer to understand how we as a nation of immigrants and multi-colors became so polarized that we could end up with two candidates equally polarized.
Still, there were a few in the bunch that were rude, hateful and insulting. I don’t believe I was ever any of those things in anything I wrote in expressing my point of view and never called anyone any names. It’s simply not my style…but some people, particularly now with the fallout from this election, feel entitled to be as politically incorrect as the president elect himself.
This is by far the most worrisome aspect of all — that our respect for one another has been cast aside as I watch the hatred, racism, xenophobia and downright lying bubble to the surface on Social Media, on walls and via physical violence.
Now, almost a week later, I still can’t quite get my head around this decision made by half the American people and the system that the Electoral College created for the fifth time in our history, when the popular vote didn’t count. It will be our faith in humankind that must prevail — that the opposition will create the necessary balance and that the entire world will rise to “tame the bully.”