Friday, April 27, 2012

Modern Art, a Hat, and Dinner Out

Gonna keep this short as it's late; we went out for dinner at a local nice restaurant. Didn't finish until 9:30.

Started the day going out to fetch croissants at a different boulanger than before; same price, but larger, somewhat tastier, maybe a bit more greasy (well, assume that's more butterier?) than the old place. And coffee at home. Then about 9:30, head out for Le Centre Pompidou to check out modern art. The Pompidou is famous for being an inside-out building with all its pipes and framework and escalator outside.

The fifth floor has art from the first half of the 20th century, when Matisse, Derain, etc. were first trying to define a new art game with new rules. (A critic called them "Fauves," wild beasts, so the movement was Fauvism, "wild-beast-ism.") Some of the same guys we saw yesterday in the Paul Guillaume collection. And not all to our liking.

That became modernism and its child movements like Dada, cubism, futurism, abstract expressionism. All these are displayed with examples. One we liked was an early Picasso, "Le Liseur" (the reader).

We joked about trying to photoshop a Kindle or iPhone into her hands in place of the paper.

After a break for a juice in the restaurant on the top floor, we started through the 4th floor, which covers art from 1960 to the present. This was much more enjoyable. The complete freedom artists have today, to use any materials, any color palette, to shape and combine stuff in any way, to draw in any style or combination of styles, produces works that are just boisterous fun to look at. Case in point, "Sofa" by Paton (1970).

Or "Y/Struc/Surf" from 2010. The artist designed the shape in a computer, which directed the cutting of thousands of strips of plastic to be pop-riveted together.

Leaving the Pompidou we walked a bit over a mile to the other side of the Seine to 41 Rue Dauphine, the address of what, according to some diligent internet searching over the past months, is the only hat store in Paris. Where David bought a gorgeous black cashmere fedora. No picture yet.

Continued home for a rest, then out to a local restaurant, where Marian had taken the initiative to make reservations a couple of days ago. All our previous eating out has been not exactly fast food, but simple and cheap. Here, three-course dinner for two with a bottle of wine came to exactly €100, which didn't seem exorbitant at all. The meal was good, the main courses ok and the desserts superb. The wine, a Côtes du Rhone, was unlike any California wine we've had, and good.

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