BogeArt: ART-cessorize

I love exhibition and museum gift shops. If I had unlimited funds I would have an abundance of over-priced canvas bags and exhibition catalogs. Art+shopping, whats not to love? Here are some snaps of the arty merch we found this summer:

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For a completely unreasonable 50euro this canvas bag with Les Roses de Heliogabale printed on it; or study in style with this Les Plaisirs du Bain folder!         Musée Jacquemart-André

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The sexiest art merch I have ever seen was at the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition. Blow your nose on a cheeky nipple handkerchief. Naughty.

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I went to Perugia in September and was underwhelmed by their national gallery’s gift shop. But then I walked across the street to find these beautiful liquor chocolates with a gold-printed Perugino on them- yum!

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Isabella Bornholt; BogeArt

BogeArt’s 10 Cultural Alternatives- Paris:

Living in London has limitless perks (proud Londoner blogging), but, undeniably, one of the main ones is that Paris is only a short Eurostar away! So, if you haven’t multiple times already, book a ticket and enjoy a weekend in the city of lights. There are an abundance of museums and masterpieces; the queues are long and the rooms are crowded, so we thought we would give you our list of cultural alternatives to the big museums in Paris:

-Sainte-Chappelle

One of the most beautiful spaces I have ever been in my life. This medieval Gothic Chapel was made by King Louis IX to house the crown of thorns. He wanted to impress influential guests with it’s beauty, as part of his quest to cement Paris as the Capital of Christendom. You have to book in advance but it is well worth it and, if you feel like a real treat, see one of the concerts the hold in the upper chapel.

http://sainte-chapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/

Courtesy of fineartamerica.com

Courtesy of fineartamerica.com

-Musee Jacquemart-Andre

Could be called the french Wallace Collection. This magnificent mansion was made in 1875 for avid collector Edouard Andre. It has a fabulous Italian section with works by Donatello, Perugino, Botticelli and Ucello. When the BogeArt team last went they had the ‘Watteau to Fragnard’ exhibition on; pretty architecture and pretty Rococo paintings on a pretty day in Paris- perfection. To top it all of the in-house cafe is a beautiful spot that epitomises 19th century Parisian elegance.

http://musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en

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-Street Art Tour

Paris has its own very distinctive street art/graffiti scene. It’s aesthetics’s are more traditionally pleasing than much of what London has to offer. Start your tour by looking at the track side works on your Eurostar journey, and if you like what you see check out a walking tour:

http://undergroundparis.org/street-art-tours-paris

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-Musee Rodin

Ok, this is quite a large museum, but not as many people know about it as you would expect, and it really is a tranquil haven in the middle of the busy city. It is a gorgeous house, with a gorgeous garden and gorgeous sculptures- a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!

http://www.musee-rodin.fr/

Courtesy of wikimedia.org

Courtesy of wikimedia.org

-Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

We stumbled across this curious place whilst walking around Le Marais on Sunday (when many museums are free). Its not very big, so it is easy to fit into your schedule and there are plenty trendy galleries in the area. This quirky place is a museum of hunting and nature with copious amounts of taxidermy. They are really inventive when it comes to the curation of the stuffed animals- one room has a ceiling made of owl heads and feathers.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/museum-hunt-nature

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-Au Lapin Agile

The famous cabaret club that was a popular haunt for struggling artists and writers at the turn of the century. The ‘Moulin Rouge’, if you will, for Picasso, Modigliani, Utrillo to name a few. You can still go for a drink and see a performance of song, dance and/or comedy- a nice change from the euro-trash clubs.

http://www.au-lapin-agile.com/

Au Lapin

-Musee Picasso

The elegant 17th century building currently being revenerated, we cannot wait to see the new museum when it’s finished. Especially since it houses over 5000 Picasso pieces in it’s collection.

http://www.museepicassoparis.fr/

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-Brancusi’s Studio

BogeArt did a review of the studio a couple of posts back. Its right next to the Pompidou so you can kill two birds with one stone!

Courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Courtesy of tripadvisor.com

-L’Entrepot

For those in the know, this multidisciplinary arts centre and cinema is a great place to spend an evening. It has a restaurant, poetry nights, regular debates, music concerts and lets not forget all the beautiful arty people.

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-Musee de l’Orangerie

Not many people know that this is where Monet’s waterlilies are shown. A small classical building in the corner of the Tuileries gardens also has a great selection of impressionist, post-impressionist and fauvist paintings. It should not be missed, you will be surprised at how many pieces you recognise.

http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/

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Bon Voyage!

BogeArt; Isabella Bornholt

BogeArt Review: Brancusi Museum Paris

By The Centre Pompidou in the Place Georges Pompidou Renzo Piano has created a space that is open to the public yet feels hidden, cut off and internalised: the reconstruction of Atelier Brancusi’s studio. It was created, not to be an exact replica of the original studio near Montparnasse, but to communicate ‘the unity that Brancusi created between his sculptures inside that studio space’.

Brancusi valued the studio as much as he did the work inside it. Towards the end of his life he stopped moving works from his studio as he believed he had found the perfect arrangement for them to be viewed in. In the 1920s the studio became his preferred place for the presentation and comprehension of his sculptures. He eventually stopped making new pieces and instead focused on expanding and metamorphosing existing ones within their space. This relationship between Brancusi’s sculptures and the space around them became so important to him that by the 1950s he would replace works he sold with plaster copies as not to disrupt the unity of the studio.

When in the Brancusi museum the individual pieces on display are not what we are meant to focus on; they are all plaster replicas for one, a glass barrier separates the viewer from the studio, and there are far too many of them to zoom in on specific sculptures anyway. In the museums leaflet the say that Brancusi endowed on plaster ‘the importance of marble’; I can’t say this translates effectively when spectating. If the sculptures had been in marble, the dense, weighty and historical medium, might have encouraged us to attempt to zoom in on specific pieces rather than understanding the sculptures as a collective. Perhaps the plaster copies work better in the studio than the originals.

As I write that I realise how my argument simultaneously agrees with and contradicts Brancusi. Showing work in a studio draws to attention the process and materials involved in sculpting. Brancusi saw the role of the artist as one who reveals the ‘cosmic essence of the material’ lying at the very heart of the medium being used. Brancusi wanted to convey the material in its most honest and plasmic form, and display the sculptures in the most organic environment, where this cosmic essence was first unveiled- the studio. All the tools on display at this studio replica remind us of these principles.

As a real fan of Brancusi’s work (he is my favourite sculpture along with Rodin), I do feel there is something sacred about aesthetically appreciating one of his works in a singular way, without focusing too much on the space around it. I am in two minds though about enjoying his work this way though as part of me feels I am being unfaithful to what Brancusi was trying to communicate. Therefore whilst sitting in the museum reflecting over the Brancusi heads and phallic shapes, I realised that this reconstruction gives us the best of both worlds. We get to see the bronze and marble sculptures in other institutions in more singular spaces where we can have more intimate and personal responses; and we get this serene place in the center of Paris to aid our understanding of Brancusi’s body of work as a whole.

BogeArt; Isabella Bornholt

BogeArt Went to Paris!

We went to Paris! A cultural trip to the home of the artisan, the bohemian and the romantic was just what we needed to prepare ourselves for another academic year! We drank a lot of wine, ate a lot of cheese and saw a lot of art; here are some snaps.

‘There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris’ -Hemingway

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‘Paris is always a good idea’ -Audrey Hepburn

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‘That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me’ – from Midnight in Paris

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The queue to the Centre Pompidou was unreal- embracing the lazy french attitude, we went to the Brancusi museum and then for a crepe instead!

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It rained almost consistently, but it did not dampen our spirits! Instead we remembered Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris:

‘Actually I think Paris is more beautiful in the rain!‘ -Midnight in Paris

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‘Paris is a place where, for me, just walking down a street that I’ve never been down before is like going to a movie or something. Just wandering the city is entertainment’ -Wes Anderson

Isabella Bornholt; BogeArt

BogeArt Review: Robert Mapplethorpe at the Grand Palais.

Iggy Pop 1981 by Robert Mapplethorpe 1946-1989

Prior to visiting Paris recently, I had been largely unfamiliar with Robert Mapplethorpe’s work. I had only really known him as Patti Smith’s boyfriend in the late 1960s, who had famously taken the cover for her legendary album ‘Horses’, and as the protagonist in her autobiographical book ‘Just Kids’. Coming into the exhibition with only a vague idea of what to expect, I quickly became excited by what I saw. Mapplethorpe’s photographs are bold, beautiful (and at times rather naughty), but their powerful ideal of beauty and identity is something to be strongly admired throughout the exhibition.

The retrospective of Mapplethorpe’s work held at the Grand Palais celebrates the life and art of the artist, guiding us through his life, loves and inspirations crucial to his repertoire of stunning photographs. Born into an English-Irish Roman Catholic family in Queens, New York, Mapplethorpe studied graphics at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where during that time he became close with singer-songwriter Patti Smith. It wasn’t until the the early 1970s that he first picked up a polaroid camera and well, the rest is history. Even in his photography, Mapplethorpe’s interest in the fine arts (particularly sculpture) remains potent; he once exclaimed that his works should be viewed first as art and second as photography. Truth be told, it is difficult to view them any other way.

The exhibition begins with a series of high contrast photographs of black and white bodies that twist and turn, flexing muscular limbs and showing the aesthetic possibilities of the male (and female) form. The influences of Greek, Roman and Renaissance sculpture quickly shine through and it is these their humanist view that Mapplethorpe cleverly translates into a photograph: turning sculpted figures into real flesh and blood, instead of the other way around. Mapplethorpe plays with the beautiful past and makes it his own beautiful present. But as well as achieving what Mapplethorpe considered to be aesthetic perfection (see photographs of Lisa Lyon), he was also a master of portraying a poignant sense of identity in his portraits. Around the corner from his stunning flower photographs, the exhibition comes forward with the iconic portraits of Patti Smith that he took in the 70s. Smith’s effortlessly cool air and haunting beauty are perfectly encapsulated in Mapplethorpe’s black and white portraits, in which one later became the album cover for her most iconic album, ‘Horses’.

But Smith was only one amongst a host of influential names that Mapplethorpe worked with up until his death. A whole wall is dedicated to these varying artists in the exhibition. This ‘wall of fame’ includes such faces as Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeoise, Yoko Ono, Blondie, Isabella Rosolini, David Hockney, Roy Litchenstein and Iggy Pop. All of which seem to have been cleverly portrayed in terms of their sense of self; whether it is achieved through Mapplethorpe’s composition, lighting or glamorous styling, each portrait seems to hit the nail on the head.

However it doesn’t quite end there. Before leaving I found myself wondering into another small compartment of the exhibition. Through a beaded doorway (I imagine like walking into the back room of a seedy video shop) you come across Mapplethorpe’s highly erotic and rather X-rated photographs of the male genetalia. Linked with the underground S&M scene in New York in the 1970s/80s which Mapplethorpe was part of, Mapplethorpe expresses his own interest in the male anatomy and sex whilst still maintaining his high standards of beauty. Once again his symmetry, lighting and composition come in to play, but perhaps with some more humorous touches in his work this time, if we think about a personal favourite, “Peeing in a Glass”.

This retrospective at the Grand Palais, overall, seemed to honor the life and art of the late artist, who tragically died of AIDS in 1989. Amongst the timeline of his thought-provoking and bewitching photos, a sense of awe seemed undoubtedly present in the air that day. Mapplethorpe was a master of beauty and mind with a contemporary twist, and artists and photographers alike will continue to look at his work as the epitome of vision, glamour and sex. See a collection of Mapplethorpe’s work now in one of the artist room’s in the Tate Modern (on until 26th October)

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/artist-rooms-robert-mapplethorpe-tate-modern

(Images courtesy of Tate: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/artist-rooms-robert-mapplethorpe-tate-modern)

Maddy Martin: BogeArt