Tag Archives: france

RADICAL: ARTIST SELF-PORTRAIT REVEALS POSSIBLE IDENTITY CRISIS

When you hear the words “self-portrait” you think painting or image by an artist or photographer of him or her self. In modern parlance, that’s a selfie, if you will.

It’s straightforward. A picture … of your self, by your self. Usually, there’s just one of you. It’s pretty narrowly defined.

Unless you’re the Venezuelan artist who goes by the name Marisol, who has recently blown our mind with her sculptural artwork titled “Self-Portrait.” Back in the ancient times of the late 1960s she created a three-dimensional selfie in wood that expresses seven versions of herself. Yes, SEVEN!

Now you, savvy reader, may be thinking what we’re all thinking here now, that this reveals some fucked-up shit. You may be right about that or you may be completely wrong.

You may be formulating an off-the-cuff interpretation that the artwork is telling you the artist had an identity crisis of some sort. You may be right. Or not.

You may be thinking, “What kind of wood is that? That wood is beautiful! Can I find that type of wood at a Home Depot?” And, ok, sure, whatever, that’s fine. 

Marisol’s wood sculpture may well indeed be a self-portrait of a troubled mind or an expression of multiple identities. But aren’t we all at any given moment just revealing one facet of the many versions of our inherently complicated human selves? 

Marisol’s artwork brilliantly gives us pause for thought, perhaps even grave concern coupled with a heady stew of awe and wonderment. Perhaps it even raises questions we never thought we’d ask, like Does our healthcare plan cover the cost of professional counseling? (And, if so, what’s the co-pay?)”

But seriously, that all said, real mental health issues are nothing to joke about.

Back to the artwork at hand. In an interesting twist, three of the depictions of Marisol’s face are close representations of the artist’s actual likeness, and in this way capture various states of her real physical appearance.

The other “portraits” are mysterious, weird, more deeply subject to interpretation and disturbing, and a little grotesque. These look nothing like the artist but instead suggest a more complicated expression of her intention, her personality and state of mind.

The sculpture could also be interpreted as a catalog of roles the artist plays or roles that have been assigned to her by a society and culture at the time that could be seen as more patriarchal and chauvinistic than it is today.

“Self-Portrait” is on view as one of hundreds of artworks by various Latin American women artists at the Hammer Museum called “Radical Woman: Latin American Art, 1960-1985.”

Like with all great artwork, “Self-Portrait” makes the viewer ask questions and search for answers we may never know. We become more curious. In trying to understand what it all means, we look for context, we want to know about the artist, her experiences, her points of view and background. We look for patterns and clues in her other works.

So who is Marisol? She may be one of the most important pop artists you’ve never heard of. Her full name was Marisol Esobar, and she passed away in 2016 while living in New York City. She’s included in the Hammer exhibition as a Latina artist, but she was born in France to Venezuelan parents who spent many years in Europe, traveling frequently there and in the U.S. and Venezuela before settling in the States.

Reading her biography, two things stand out about her background. One, her parents died while Marisol was still a child. She eventually spent most of her formative teenage years at boarding schools in New York and Los Angeles. The second thing is that she was a deeply religious Catholic. 

No doubt these experiences informed her body of work over a career that spanned six decades.

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ロサンゼルスのハンマー美術館でベネズエラのアーティストMarisol Escobarによる木彫り。アートワークのタイトルは「セルフポートレート」です。アートワークは、1960年から1985年の間にラテンアメリカの女性が作ったアートワークの展示品です。

In Tokyo … Tiny A.P.C. Storefront in Daikanyama

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The French clothing label A.P.C. is one of our all-time favorite style brands, and we’ve been buying shirts, sweaters and jeans at their shops in Paris, New York, Osaka and Tokyo for many years while on our travels and living abroad. While A.P.C.’s retail presence in the U.S. and even is native France is relatively small, the company has many boutiques big and small throughout Japan’s major cities. This one pictured here is in the chic Tokyo neighborhood of Daikanyama, tucked between Shibuya and Naka-Meguro. It’s a tiny storefront and shop space, but it has this beautiful, minimalist style than manages to fit right into the neighborhood’s quiet ambiance and human-sized architectural scale. It’s also incorporated some leafy greenery into the space. And it’s totally “on brand.”

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“Inside the Monster” … The Dangers of Big Wave Surfing in Tahiti

INSIDE THE MONSTER from gilles HUCAULT on Vimeo.

The 2004 film “Riding Giants” introduced the rarefied world of big-wave surfing to the wider public. Nearly a decade later, some of these famous big-wave surf spots have become very crowded and thus even more dangerous. Teahupoo in Tahiti is one such spot where the growing number of surfers has drawn ever larger hordes of spectators, filmmakers, photographers and thus more boats and jetskis and inexperienced thrill seekers. This short film from France’s TV1 titled “Inside the Monster” (French, subtitled in English) is absolutely gorgeous, but highlights the problems of a crowded and dangerous surf spot.

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In Paris … “Death of King” at Palais de Tokio

This space in the main exhibition space at the Palais de Tokio, that wonderful leading-edgy and influential contemporary art museum in Paris, recently had a massive installation work by artist Ulla von Brandenburg. Titled the “The King is Dead,” the beautiful abstract work fills a massive space and at first-glance looks like a colorful skateboard ramp.

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The Wonderful Design of Fooding Magazine

We were in Paris a few months ago when some ad agency friends in the French capital turned us on to a new and ground-breaking food magazine and restaurants guide that is blowing up in France at the moment. The magazine is called “Fooding,” and it’s providing a fresh approach — in historically conservative culinary France, at least — to how people think and write about restaurants, dining and food. Its timing coincides with a generational and cultural shift in France (a rebellion, some might say) in how food is prepared and presented within the restaurant dining experience. It’s a big deal because classic French cuisine is amazing, but firmly established and thus, until recently, relatively strict, rigid in its ways, hidebound to traditional methods. Though primarily in French, Fooding (or “Le Fooding”) has a lot of reviews translated in English. We really like the look of the magazine, its layout, design, photography, illustrations and graphics, as the photos from the 2013 edition of the guide below show. And we really appreciate the craft and design of an actual printed magazine, especially now, at a time when so many us consume magazine content online or digitally and — seemingly almost as a reaction to that — he art of the the small-run print magazine is showing a resurgence.

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