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Sex and Photographs…”de la Découverte”

Can you imagine a public exhibition held anywhere in the United States explicitly displaying how animals procreate open to one and all aged 10 and above?

I can’t. But it exists in France. Naturally.

12-11-12betesexe-212-11-12isabellarosellinin seduce me marquee“Green Porno” – Isabella Rossellini12-11-12betesexe-112-11-12Visuel Officiel Paris Photo 201212-11-12meredith 2Meredith Mullins12-11-12christiesauction12-11-12eyeontheworld

There weren’t many kids in the exhibit and my own laughter resonated well over the others’ as we wandered through “Bêtes de sexe, la séduction dans le monde animal” at the Palais de la Découverte. With text in both French and English, written by some brilliant writer whose tongue-in-cheek sense of humor has the reader giggling throughout while learning fascinating little-known facts, this is one of the most enlightening experiences Paris has ever offered.

Isabella Rossellini’s Webby Award-Winning series about animal attraction called “Green Porno” is played on video screens throughout the exhibition. It’s one of the best features of the display and will have you cracking up. Animal fornication is a main theme on large-screens, as is a good show of males fighting males over females. The females don’t look all that interested — at least the monkey family variety don’t — having sex while feeding each other and reprimanding their children all at the same time.

There are taxidermied animals and birds throughout including a pair of foxes who have managed to get themselves hooked together and twisted up back-to-back unable to separate. Turns out it’s totally natural and happens all the time simply because the male’s member becomes enlarged while ‘doing the dirty,’ and then they turn as a defense mechanism against predators. (If you don’t believe me, see this video on

Fortunately the exhibit is on until August 25, 2013, so you have lots of chance to catch it. Don’t miss it.

Meanwhile, this is “Mois de la Photo” (every other November) and the Paris Photo Art Fair is gearing up for its debut this week, officially opening on Thursday, November 15th (ending November 18th) at the Grand Palais. The art fair, now in its 17th year is launching a new branch in Los Angeles this coming April 2013. L.A. galleries are going to love not having to go too far from home to participate in such an important annual event for the world of fine art photography.

Under the glass dome of the exhibition space, there will be 128 galleries and 23 specialists in photography books, with 22 countries represented. More than two-thirds of the galleries come from outside of France and 36 of them are new to the show. David Lynch plays a major role in the show’s platform this year — for the first time, a personality was selected to choose a number of photos from among the galleries to take the form of a book published by Editions Steidl to be titled Paris Photo by David Lynch.

In conjunction with Paris Photo, the American community’s own Meredith Mullins is the Program Director for the 2012 International Fine Art Photography Competition and the Grand Prix de la Découverte. Meredith’s own photographic work is exhibited internationally and she is author of the award winning photography book, In A Paris Moment, as well as a photography instructor for adults and children. She is also a recipient of several photography awards, including the Prix de la Photographie Paris, the Grand Concours Photo sur Paris, the Worldwide Gala Photo Award, and Julia Margaret Cameron Award.

This week you have the chance to participate in various events sponsored by the competition: Tuesday, November 13th, be present at the American Library when the winners are announced (7:30 p.m., 10 rue du Général Camou, 7th), Friday, November 16th (by invitation only) the awards ceremony will take place and that evening the exhibition will open with a “vernissage” at the Garage Turenne starting at 7 p.m. (donations of 5€ requested, 66, rue de Turenne, 3rd).

Friday and Saturday, November 16th and 17th, Christie’s is auctioning almost 200 photographs of note here in Paris (9, Avenue Matignon, 8th) — with so many galleries and dealers in town, the timing may be perfect to fetch a pretty penny.

The following Monday, November 19th, also taking advantage of the timing, “Eye on the World: Photographic treasures from the archives of the International Herald Tribune,” which have been on display at the Cercle France-Amérique (9, avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 8th) since October 31st (closing today), will be auctioned at l’Hôtel Drouot. The exhibition and auction are part of the Tribune’s 125 year anniversary celebration, comprised of 125 photographs, one for every year of the IHT.

So, take out your checkbook — there are lots of amazing photos to be had and hung on your walls, or simply enjoyed…during this “mois de la découverte.”

A la prochaine…

Adrian-Leeds-Paris thumb

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Don’t miss James Navé, poet, speaker, and storyteller, when he presents “Looking at Light: From the Imaginative Storm to the Creative Form” on November 13, 2012 at our upcoming Parler Paris Après Midi and then sign up for his special workshop on Saturday, November 17th, “Personal Storytelling: An Imaginative Storm Workshop in Paris.” Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information.


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