If you think you can walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Venice canals without crossing the street, you’ve either lost your mind or you’re in Las Vegas. Maybe both experiences are one and the same thing, actually. With Las Vegas being mostly all about walking endlessly through hotels and losing oneself (and more!) in the sprawling casinos, what’s real and what’s fake soon amounts to the exact same thing. It can be hard for your brain to know which is which. Disoriented by permanently dimmed lights, a pervasive smell of cigarettes and constant chimes from slot machines, it is quite hard even knowing what time of day it is. Las Vegas being a place where very little brain power is required, what little you bring, you’re encouraged to loose. Nevertheless, ask most people and they will tell you they associate Las Vegas with epic memories, usually rooted in excesses of all kind such as gambling, drinking, spending, but memories all the same. The infamous “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” sums it all.
Earlier this summer, I watched the movie Monet and I on the plane back from Europe. The following day, at a routine vision appointment, I was told I had typical California sun damage AND cataract on both eyes. The drama queen in me immediately thought about Monet and how cataract actually plagued his life, altered his perception of colors and pushed him slowly but surely towards the abstraction visible in his Grandes Décorations (1914-1926) at L’Orangerie. But let’s face it, cataract is no big deal nowadays. I won’t need the routine operation for another 10-15 years so what did I do? I got some cool glasses instead. Then I got a nasty inflammation on my sun damage areas and got to wear my cool frames a lot! This made me think about how much I rely on my eyes. And just like that, I was back thinking of Monet.
Kids, I know, it’s not your fault but when you’re off school, there is a good chance you’ll end at the museums. At least, this is how it goes in my world. Sometimes, my two small loves (8 and 10) hide their joy, pretend to like it or plainly scream “Nooooo, not the museum”…So, I usually make it a surprise (yes, I am a cruel Mum! :-). But I am also a Mum who cares about Art and about what Art does to people, especially kids. So to break the chanting spell of “Mum, can I play on the iPad?” and avoid a nuclear explosion on my part, I took them to Wonderspaces here in San Diego, a small pop-up art installation which was bound to NOT look like a traditional museum. Results: Emerald gave it 9/10 and Gustav 8.7/10. I really wanted to know why so I interviewed them. One less hour on the iPad! Yes! And I’ll even put it in picture.
Frame what you see…Look up and beyond…Learn about yourself… Six months ago when I published my first post, I recognized these as axes underpinning my personal grid. I have always looked intently. I love to learn. Yet what triggered this blog was really the need to frame it all in my eyes, my mind and my life. Along came the hope that others would get it (get me!) and perhaps go see and look a bit more. Writing became a way to crystallize it all while facilitating the sharing element. It was no accident that I chose Robert Irwin’ s caged bougainvillea trees at the Getty Museum as opening picture to my first blog post then. Now at my 6-month mark of weekly publishing, I am thinking about another Robert Irwin’s masterpiece. This one I use like others use prayer beads.
How come I am about to praise the virtues of exercise, writing as a guest of Rancho La Puerta? I was the kind of girl in high school who would look for any excuse NOT to attend Sports (PE) class, especially when the dreaded 12-min long Cooper Test was on the agenda… So what exactly happened to that girl? Why is she writing a blog about completing her first marathon, age 41, in 4 hours…and 35 seconds? And why is she also checking out Running Retreats at Rancho La Puerta, voted Best Destination Spa in the world for many years running?
Remember the days when you were a student? Can you clearly picture yourself almost drinking every word uttered by your favorite teacher or can you only see the blur of the parties? What about going from one class to the next, head bent watching your steps, on automatic pilot. Fully absorbed in your thoughts on managing your work load with all your upcoming deadlines, how often did you remember to look up? What about today? What does it take to look up and what difference does it make to your day? This is a subject dear to Robert Irwin’s heart, a Californian artist who keeps inspiring my vision of life. His art is all about engaging you to look, not just see. Between 1981-1983, he had an opportunity to fight what he so aptly calls “habituation” in a place where this matters most crucially. A university campus. Try walking through a university some time. Each time I do I can’t help but think about which one of these bright kids is thinking hard about a new approach or a new discovery that will change the world we know. If these students succumb to “habituation” and become immune to their surroundings […]
Superficiality, distortion and lack of authenticity are plaguing our world, our news and sometimes our relationships with people. Maybe technology makes everything available but it also buries us under an avalanche of impersonal content with little substance. So, with this in mind, I give you the very personal art of Do Ho Suh and his many variations on the theme of displacement. Have you ever moved to a different country? Have you ever had to leave your comfort zone to start from scratch at school, at work, at the grocery store? I am French, married to a Brit and after living in quite a few countries, we are currently in California. It is not the most extreme expatriation by any means, but displacement knows no geographic measure. For me, Do Ho Suh sums up the many shapes of displacement in this little house landed askance on the roof of a building. His artworks always resonate up close and personal and they’ve helped me long after the exhibitions have closed. I saw his Apartment A (2011–2012), Corridor and Staircase (2011–2012), and Unit 2, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA (2014) during an exhibition at the MCASD last year so I will use my pictures to describe what I feel may […]
Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa (1830) has been on my mind a lot recently. As a print, it’s widely owned by museums around the world as about 5000 copies would have been made from the original color woodblock. Yet, it’s rarely displayed because prolonged exposure to light can too easily fade its contrasting Prussian blue and indigo. It’s so iconic and recognizable but most of us would know it from cheap reproductions, so how closely have you looked at its many subtle variations? The Great Wave is an unmistakably Japanese image, charged with the uncertainty that Japan would have faced as it was forced out of its self-imposed 200 years of isolationism by the battleships of US Commodore Perry. Fast forward to our daily dose of news from the world and The Great Wave keeps on resonating, bringing to mind the force experienced in the surf as one wave retreats and the next one crests. Processing my feelings through the filter of Art helps me put things in perspective. Think about it. When you’re looking at the Great Wave, as viewer you are also in a boat! And here, Hokusai provides a canvas of universal appeal for everybody to lay down their big (or small) fears […]