Sunday, 22 January 2012

Diane Arbus

A comprehensive retrospective of her work at the Jeu de Paume - get your skates on it closes on 5 February. Famous images (trannies, circus performers, nudists, scary-eyed patriots, even scarier old women and odd-looking children) and the almost unknown such as the Hallowe'en parade of Down's children and young adults.

Titles are striking in their political in-correctness. Today we would not note ethnicity or religion so boldly, yet the Down's children are all 'Untitled'. This provoked a discussion with my companion as to whether PC is too PC and whether I am trying to hard. One favourite was Germaine Greer sticking a finger at the world, curiously just titled as 'Feminist', but in a book I riffled through later it is titled with her name. I wonder why this was changed? Curious.

Favourite Arbus quote on photography: 'They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they are still there looking at you.' Just so.

A haunting exhibition. It was good to see all these images gathered together. Well worth 8.50 Euros of anyone's hard earned. Go early as there was no queue before noon.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

TS Eliot Prize

John Burnside, a worthy winner of this years' prize.

Many congratulations to him for Black Cat Bone, a collection you should invest 10 pounds in.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Graffiti Latest

Stencil from a wall in Montparnasse - for David Bowie's birthday week

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Stein collection at Grand Palais

On till 16 January at the Grand Palais is the recreated collection of Leo, Sarah and Gertrude Stein with paintings assembled from the major museums in the US, notably San Franciso's MOMA. Leo favoured Matisse; Gerturde Picasso, so it is an astonishing group of paintings from their early work, along with similar from Cezanne, Manguin, Bonnard and others. My favourites were Picasso's portraits of women with quarter of brie noses, the well known (but mocked at the 1905 salon) Matisse, Woman with a Hat. 12 Euros well spent.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Carol Ann Duffy wins the Costa Prize

Great news for a great poet. I am delighted that Carol Ann has won this year's prize. The Bees is a wonderful book. If you haven't read it yet, I strongly suggest that you do, and soon!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Graffiti Project - latest

A sheepish start to the new year - Rue Chemin Vert, Paris, 11eme.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Pere Lachaise

What better way to spend a gloomy New Year's day than a visit to Oscar Wilde. We wanted to see the revamped grave: lipstick cleaned off, a glass wall now in place to protect Epstein's monument. Kisses on glass are less damaging I suppose, although the whole thing is rather unfriendly to visitors and photographers.