Sunday, May 31, 2009

Swedish Classic

the fool looks at the finger that points to the sky

Marie's mother is in town.


A friend of mine from my art history program in Copenhagen once told me that she fell in love with Art when she saw and started reading about Velàsquez' Las Meninas. My point of entry to the Art World was a little less profound I think. It was Andy Warhol who caught my imagination, and in fact, not so much his paintings, as the stories about him and the scene that he managed to place himself in the midst of. Thus I would sit for hours on end and look at black and white images of the people who frequented the Factory, Studio 54 and Max's Kansas City, daydreaming myself a good 20, 30 or 40 years back to when Bianca Jagger was skinny still, Edie Sedgwick was alive and well, and the factory was covered in silver lining.
Or tin foil it might have been.

The other day Marie invited us to come along to a Stephen Shore opening at 303 Gallery. She has been doing a private study with him the past year, and so we were all eager to see the man himself just as much as his work. Much to Marie's chagrin, however, it turned out to be an exhibition of old work, shot when he was in his teens and an integral part of, yes, the Factory.

And it's funny, because even though that scene represents my very first love with the art world, I almost can't bear looking at images of it now. I'm unable to identify any interesting or aesthetic qualities in them (even though I'm positive that they're there in plenty), and simply feel annoyed with seeing yet another black and white photo of Warhol, Edie, Bridget, Name, it all.

I was reflecting about Picasso recently, on the way he moved from being an avant-garde figure to completely loosing his cool and relevance in the realm of contemporary art. And it wasn't just his art, it was just as much the images of him that became empty clichés, jokes almost. All these images of Picasso sketching, sitting at the table with his children, his arm wrapped around his woman du jour. Reproduced. As postcards.

Even though I recognize that Warhol is still interesting and a major source of inspiration in contemporary art, I do wonder if he is heading in the same direction as Picasso. If he's becoming a joke somehow. Because of these widely distributed images of him. Of Marilyn. Of soup cans.

I guess it's largely a consequence of mass-distribution and mass-ownership and an art world that will always have a soft spot for the less known, the less understood, and distancing itself through differentiation. In that regard, it's all same same. It's just kind of interesting when you realize the extent to which you go through these transitions yourself, not least as a consequence of gaining greater knowledge about a discipline or subject - or however you wish to categorize the field of art appreciation.


Yesterday, Flemming pointed out to Asger and me that he has yet to meet a French friend of Marie who doesn't smoke. Which made me realize that I have yet to acquaint a French-speaking friend who doesn't smoke. Of all the Swiss and French people I know, I think every single one of them does. Or at least they smoked once, and thus aren't reluctant to have a cigarette once night falls and they've had a drink or two.

Lucky for them that French gives an air of sophistication to just about everything, be it snails on a plate or the liver of force-fed poultry on toast. Even "Smoking Kills" sounds kind of pretty in French, I think.

Everything you ever wanted to know

Matteo made me a copy of Woody Allen's "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex* (*but were afraid to ask"), which consists of seven different vignettes, each trying to answer a sex-related question, such as "Are Transvestites Homosexuals?" and "What are Sex Perverts?"

If you haven't seen it already I must urge you to do so, 'cos chances are, that like me, you'll be laughing so hard you'll be slapping your thighs (the first one, however, I didn't find all that funny, so don't feel discouraged from seeing the rest of them if you find it a bit lame).

My absolute two favorites were "What is Sodomy?", featuring Gene Wilder as a doctor falling in love with an Armenian sheep, and "What Happens During Ejaculation?", in which Allen invites you inside the control system of a pre- and post-coital male.

Ooo, and if you think it wouldn't be possible for a Jewish director to portray a rabbi whose sexual fantasy is being bondage whipped while his wife sits on the floor eating pork, you can think again....

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chasing rainbows and dirty deeds

My friend Maj inspired me to watch Bonnie and Clyde which I've incidentally had laying around ever since my sister gave it to me for Christmas. And really what was not to love about the sultry colors, the story of the outlaws that are good at heart, the otherworldly beautiful and splendid actors - Faye Dunaway and Warren Beaty of course, but also Michael Pollard, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons were perfect. No, all in all, it was quite a treat to watch.

It struck me that it was quite cartoon-like in its content, for lack of a better word, everything so fast-paced and loud, the acting exaggerated and mannered - I guess something that the Hollywood New Wave (as I've just read the movie was part of) snitched from the French Nouvelle Vague. But it wasn't just the formal aspects though that struck me to have these characteristics. I think it was equally so the story and the acting and the conveyance of feelings and emotions, always these extreme emotions that last for only a second or two. I don't know if this rings a bell with any of you, but I found that you see teeth so much - teeth shown in big broad smiles, teeth shown in moments of pain, boredom, agony, excitement, pleasure - the works.

On top of that I found it a great example of one those movies that manage to ooze sex without ever showing the dirty deed. The colors, the heat, the dust and the dirt of the south and Midwest serve as a perfect backdrop for the kids that are bored out of their mind, chasing for life at its most extreme, and yet unable to indulge in what's under their very noses: Each other.

I think Bonnie and Clyde' drinking coke on a hot afternoon will go down in the history of my mind as one of the sexiest scenes I've ever seen, as will their love-making gone awry due to Clyde's impotence, as well as the scene in which he comforts her by planting his hands on her face.

I guess it's the age-old of capturing the imagination of the viewer by alluding to what you should only long to have, chase for, but never catch. The bitter-sweetness of desire at its very best.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Readers' Polaroids

Some attempts at engaging audiences are nicer than others, this one at the New York Times - in my humble opinion - being one good example. Some of the submitted polaroids are really beautiful, but better yet, I love the little snippets of text people add as way of explanation for the subject matter.

I don't know why I fell for these two above. I think there was something about the light that seemed so familiar and made me long for warm and lazy summer days where you go about waiting for something amazing to happen.

Mother Darling

My mother is by far one of the most talented and crafty people I know. This is what she has been investing her time in of late: Putting down a terrace in the garden at her country house in Sweden, arranging the bricks in a neat pattern and all. And, on top of that, she built a wooden bench. Yes, built it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Old Love. No Rust.

I've decided that I'm back to being infatuated with my very first barista crush, the one with tattoos and a large dog, the one who was the very first to look me deep in the eye and say "small Americano?" before I got a chance to place my order, the one who prepared it before it was my turn to be served, the one in whose presence I always wind up blushing crimson red.

This barista, I realize, is somewhat of a ladies man, a womanizer perhaps, but so be it. Nobody is perfect.

I'm very fickle when it comes to falling in and out of love, I realize. Or, I should say, I fall in and out easily - in at the slightest increase of attention, out at the slightest decrease.

Thus you may understand how very disappointed I felt this morning when my barista crush number two who has otherwise been very attentive to me of late, close to disregarded me when I stepped into the coffee shop. Not least because he was busy talking with...ANOTHER GIRL!!! He didn't even ring me up or anything, that's how busy he was. Tsk tsk. Perhaps he's getting back at me for not having come down while my dad was in town, but I'm not going to succumb to such children's games. No siree.

My very first barista crush, on the other hand, looked me deep, deep - DEEP! - in the eye when I stepped into the shop and mouthed "small Americano?". "No", I mouthed back, "Iced". When I attempted to pay, he gave a nod in the direction of barista crush number two, who said: "Oh, sorry Sarah, how's it going", and rang me up. Tsk tsk...

Then I walked home, feeling a bit bummed, not least because I think I have one of those pretty days, where I look a little nicer than usual - my face kind of oddly petite looking, my hair assembled in a good little pony tail accentuating something that looks like...maybe cheek bones?

But as I walked down the street, positively heartbroken, I turned a corner, and who did I see but my very first barista crush sitting in his car, waiting for the lights to switch. He looked like a true rebel without a cause, one hand hanging outside the window, holding a cigarette. I figure he must have left the shop immediately after I left it.

And he smiled at me and giggled a very hoarse and manly giggle, and I said: "Wow, you're fast!".
"I know!", he answered. Laughed a little again.

And then I stepped into my building, realizing my infatuation is back where it belongs. I can't believe how silly I was to fall so easily.

Italian Shelf Status.

Immaculately Conceived. Almost.

Matteo came back late last night, and as he started unpacking his bag I sat and asked him questions about his trip - how many girls did you kiss? What did your mother cook you? Is your brother's book getting rave reviews? - doing my absolute best to behave as if presents from Rome were the last thing on my mind.

But alas, he knows me well, and before unpacking anything else he unpacked a total of 5 - FIVE! - little parcels, all for me - ME! Color me lucky!

I got a beautiful box of neatly packed Baci chocolates and a little jar of fancy cocoa "to experiment with", as Matteo put it. I think this translates into "baking brownies". Albeit fancier ones than usual.

I also got a beautiful, beautiful glow-in-the-dark Virgin Mary with a 24 carat gold halo on which it says "Je suis immaculee conception" - little did I know Virgin Mary was French!

I took her to the bathroom where she glowed like an angel in the dark. Unfortunately my camera couldn't quite capture the moment.

And what do you know, a Colosseum snow globe! "I bet a small child in Asia made this", I said to Matteo last night as I was lying on my bed shaking it over and over again in order to watch the disproportionately large snowflakes settle on that fine piece of circular architecture. "It takes neat little fingers to make something this beautiful".
"Or a gypsy child", Matteo suggested.

And look look! Amarelli! Loads of them! In beautiful tin boxes decorated with images of Harlequins and other Italian things. I've had two pieces already to kill my morning breath and I feel great!

"I hope you know I wasn't serious when I wished for all this things before you left", I said to Matteo when I had unwrapped all the delights.
"No", he answered. "But you were hoping right?"
"Yes", I said. "You know me so well".

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Perfect Ensemble

Art on Tuesday

Alice Neel at David Zwirner.

Jacob Hashimoto at Mary Boone.

Someone whose name I didn't get at Lio Malca.

Patricia Coffie at Nicole Klagsbrun.

Dad and Jonathan Monk at Casey Kaplan.

Brian Jobe on fire escape.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Treats. And things that aren't what they appear to be.

Pssst! The desert below isn't a scoop of ice cream. It's Pavlova!

Psst! Psst! The guy below isn't George Clooney! It's my dad!

Pssst! Pssst! Pssst! This isn't a fruit bowl. It's 160 calories! (Pain Quotidien have begun informing about the calorie content of every single thing on their menu. Can you believe it?! So depressing. I ate a croissant in pure defiance!)

Pssst! Pssst! Pssst! Pssssssst! This wasn't sour.