Sow Didn't Go

photo: one man sow, pont des arts

By popular demand, the Pont des Arts sculpture show by
Sow is still with us.

Glum News: Strikes Continue

Paris:- Saturday, 29. May 1999:- With an estimated average of 40,000 pedestrians a day tramping across the Pont des Arts to see Ousmane Sow's one-man sculpture show of the battle the 'Little Big Horn,' its final day of 20. May has come and gone... on.

For what must be one of the bigger - and possibly surprise - successes of this Paris season, the period to see the free show of the bridge has been prolonged until Tuesday, 15. June. Since the first day, it is estimated 3.5 million have used the bridge shortcut across the Seine, turned into an outdoor gallery between the Louvre and the Latin Quarter.

African sculptor Ousmane Sow's rendering of some principal figures of the Battle of the Little Big Horn are represented by 11 near-full-size horses and 28 figures of indians and soldiers. The Pont des Artsbrochure: fete 6 june, chatou makes a good gallery; there is a lot of light in the middle of the Seine, which you can cross while seeing the exhibit. If you are in Paris, don't miss it. Open daily, no charge.

National Museum Strikes - are continuing in Paris and around France as negotiations drag on and visitors seek other sites, such as Paris' own city museums which are open just about every day except Mondays.

Last Thursday, a striker outside the Louvre told me the 1000 new workers which are at the core of the worker's demands, are required for all of France's national museums - not just for ones located in the Paris area. He was optimistic that talks on Friday would be successful, but later reports said the sides were as far apart as ever. For next year, the government has budgeted for 96 new employees.

If you are in Paris and there seem to be a lot of people around, it is probably because of the strikes. I do not know the official capacity of all of Paris' national museums and monuments, but it seems clear a lot of visitors are not in them. Bad luck, but there are other things to see and do in Paris. Warning: There are a number of national museums listed here. Be sure to call all 'Info. Tel.' numbers before attempting any visits.

Festival Onze - is a wild 11 day party featuring 'young talent' in the fields of music, theatre, shows, cinema, dance - in all 200 events, all of them no charge, no entry fee! The program for it fills a booklet of 70 pages; and most of it is done by volunteers and not for profit.

All the same, performing artists are paid and halls have to be rented, so this is sort of a very big and long neighborhood party, covering the entire 11th arrondissement. This of course includes 'high-life' hotspots such as Bastille, République, the 'in' zone of Oberkampf and the more sedate Nation corner.

Festival Onze - runs from Thursday, 3. June until Sunday, 13. June and you can get detailed information at 'Kiosque 11' at the Mairie, Place Léon Blum, Paris 11. Métro: Voltaire. Info. Tel.: 01 53 27 11 47.

Casablanca - or 'Birth of a Modern City On African Soil' is an exhibition about how Casablanca came to be and what it like today. Somewhatbrochure: expo casablanca similar to Americans settling their west coast, the Moroccan city of Casablanca has become the 'Far West' to all North Africans and peoples from all around the Mediterranean.

Photo Casablanca: ©Marc Lacroix

With an entire continent at its back and the Atlantic Ocean as its front door, Casablanca has welcomed all religions and all forms of art and architecture - most of it relatively modern, as Casablanca is a 20th century creation. While Hollywood helped make Casablanca famous - or notorious - with a stage set; the real is many times more intriguing.

Espace Electra, 6. Rue Récamier, Paris 7. Métro: Sèvres-Babylone. Until Sunday, 18. July. Open from 12:00 to 19:00, except Mondays and public holidays. Entry: 20 francs. Publication 'Portrait de Ville,' 100 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 53 63 23 45.

Paris-Casa 'Suites Marocaines' - in conjunction with 'Casablanca,' this exhibition featuresbrochure: expo paris-casa the contemporary artistic Franco-Moroccan scene in styles both traditional and modern. A parallel program of concerts, debates, video showings and dances are scheduled for every Friday and Saturday, until 17. July.

Au Couvent des Cordeliers, 15. Rue de l'Ecole de Médecine, Paris 6. Métro: Odéon. Until 25. July. Except Mondays, open daily from 11:00 to 19:00. Info. Tel.: 01 43 29 75 39. More artistic Moroccan works are featured until 26. June in various Paris' libraries. Phone 01 44 78 80 00 for further information.

See below for other events relating to Paris' Ottoman springtime.

Chatou - is having a one-day 'Fête du Dimanche' this coming Sunday, 6. June. The event has two centres: one is north of the bridge around the Maison Fournaise and the other is south of the bridge, in an area called the Parc des Impressionistes. Both areas will feature music and food, but there will be dancing in the south, and more activities for children.

The Maison Fournaise still has the Pierre Prins exhibition, so if you've seen this there is also the Robert Morris print exhibition to see at the Maison Levanneur, only a few metres away. The Gare d'Eau will be featured and an original Chatou 'monotype' sailboat will be officially launched at 18:00.

Ile des Impressionistes, Chatou. Events - many of them - from 10:00 to 20:00. Parking available from 9:00 to 20:00. Or reach the island from either the RER 'A' station at Rueil-Malmaison or Chatou-Croissy. Info. Tel.: 01 34 80 46 49.

Les Fleurs - of Jacques Henri Lartigue exhibition starts Sunday, 6. June and continues until 19. September.

Located between Cergy-Pontoise and Chantilly, the L'Isle-Adam is in the Val-d'Oise, bracketed by Auvers-sur-Oise and the Abbayes of Maubuisson and Royaumont - where Route Nationale 1 intersects with the Route Nationale 184, and the Autoroute A16 begins. Centre d'Art Jacques Henri Lartique, 31. Grand Rue, 95290 L'Isle-Adam. Open daily from 14:00 to 18:00, except Tuesdays. Info. Tel.: 01 34 08 02 72.

'L'Oeuvre en Movements' - is the name of an 'Opuscule' - or brochure - about an exhibition of paintings by Mark Goodman, presented late last spring at the Galerie Selmersheim in the Marais. A visit to the artist in his Marais atelier, may be the high point of your Paris visit. To arrange this, contact Alain Selmersheim at the Galerie Selmersheim, 9-11. Rue Sainte-Anastase, Paris 3. Closed Mondays; otherwise after 12:00 daily. Métro: Saint-Paul or Saint-Sébastien Froissart. Info. Tel.: 01 44 61 07 46.

Festival de Saint-Denis - is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. For a month, Saint-Denis will be home to classical music, flamenco, music from Morocco, some Spanish 'palm' music, which is part of much else 'arabo-andalou.'

After the exotic there will be accordions, dance, 'Magic Mirrors,' cabaret, jazz, classical soloists - both musicians and singers, and much more until the last performance on Thursday, 1. July. Visit the festival's Web site, or Info. Tel.: 01 48 13 06 07.

'L'Artiste Selon Balzac' - The 'Maison de Balzac' reopened last Thursday with a new exhibition of artistic works relating to an article published in 1830, in which Balzac defined the creative aspects within artists. On exhibit will be Raphael, done by Ingres, La Fontaine, and Balzac by Picasso, plus science types such as Descartes and Newton; to illustrate Balazc's argument.

It is also the bi-centenary of Balzac's birth - on 20. May 1799 - so the Web has swung into gear. In addition to the Web site above you may want to take a look at this other one, to see complete texts and illustrations. These amounted to, at his death, 10,816 pages within 97 volumes.

The exhibition continues until 5. September. The museum's library is currently closed, but will reopen on 19. September. Maison de Balzac, 47. Rue Raynouard, Paris 16. Info. Tel.: 01 42 24 56 38.

Les Jardins 'Allegoria' - these are made up of five imaginary but real gardens, symbolizing the five senses, by Jean-Paul Guerlain. In fact, these gardens are much more than symbolic because you can visit their 400 square metres at the Longchamp racetrack until Monday, 1. June - and see their sculptures, done by Nathalie Decoster as well. Pascal Gasquet helped with the gardens. After a two week pause, the 'gardens' move to the Boutique Guerlain, 68. Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Paris 8 - until 28. August.

24 Heures du Mans - Once every year on a weekend about this time I look out the window and if it is pouring cats and dogs, I know it is the weekend of the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race. By then it is too late to announce it.

This year - by special exception only - I can say the date for the big race is from Saturday, 12. June to Sunday, 13. June. The event actually gets underway on Monday, 7. June, with technical inspections.

Saturday's race is supposed to begin at 16:00. Somewhere in the centre of the race area, there is a village which hosts visitors, which may number 185,000. As there are only 2500 rooms available and nearly 4500 camping spots, a little planning is required for a successful weekend of racing at Le Mans.

'Taïkos' - Tambours Japonais - The Cohan group, from the famous 700-year old school of Osuwa Daiko, will be bashing away at their big drums. Two locations and two dates - at the Centre Culturel Georges Pompidou in Vincennes, 142. Rue de Fontenay, on Saturday, 29. May at 20:30. Info. Tel.: 01 43 98 65 79. And at the Centre Culturel Franco-Japonais, at 8-10. Passage Turquetil, Paris 11; from Monday, 31. May until Saturday, 5. June at 19:30. No show on Friday, 4. June. Tickets for both shows, 60 and 80 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 43 48 83 64.

New Stuff: - I have seen posters announcing that Monet's 'Nymphéas' are playing now in the Musée de l'Orangerie, until Monday, 2. August. All the five-star hotels are reported to be booked solid on account of the air show and high-budget arms-sale fair at Le Bourget, which kicks off on Sunday, 13. June.

The Big Shows:

Paris' Ottoman Springtime

'L'Art Ottoman' is a show currently on at the Trianon de Bagatelle. With the 'Temps du Maroc' and the Egyptian mixup, I neglected to mention the details for this one.

Paris is celebrating the 700th anniversary of the Ottoman Empire, which started with Sultan Mehemet II in Constantinople. Objects from various collections make up the show as well as an exhibition by 70 photographers, who have rendered Istanbul in all of its variety.

Trianon de Bagatelle, Parc de Bagatelle, Route de Sèvres, Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16. Métro: Pont de Neuilly and then bus 43 for the rest of the way. This exhibition continues until 1. August. Entry to the park is 10 francs, and to the Trianon, 28 francs.

The Other Related Shows:

Meknès Gate at Concorde - was featured in issue 4.15. Its full name is 'La Porte de Meknès Bab El Mansour.' Its 3000 square metres of complex decor is being recreated by Catherine Feff - in France - but in inspired directly from the original at Meknès, and it will only be fully complete in June. As it is already 15 metres high, it is hard to overlook - but don't miss it!

Maroc - les Trésors du Royaume - is an exhibition featuring more than 400 works from Morocco's long prehistory, up to the Islamic period. A final part of the exhibition deals with European painters who worked in Morocco in the late 19th century, such as Matisse and Dufy.

'Le Temps du Maroc' - until Sunday,18. July - can be visited at the Petit Palais, Avenue du Winston Churchill, Paris 8. Métro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau. Except Monday, open from 10:00 to 17:40; to 20:00 on Thursdays. Catalogue available. Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 12 73.

L'Art Egyptien au Temps des Pyramides - by total coincidence, this exhibition is across the street from Morocco in the Petit Palais, at the Grand Palais. This Egyptian exhibition focuses on the time of the pyramids - from 2700 to 2100 BC. This is also one of the 'big shows' and exhibits have been borrowed from the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Royal Ontario Museum.

L'Art Egyptien - until 12 July, at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Square Jean Perrin, Paris 8. Champs-Elysées Clemenceau. Closed on Tuesdays, otherwise reservations are required for visits from 10:00 to 13:00 - no reservations required from 13:00 to 20:00; 22:00 on Wednesdays. Entry: 56 francs with reservations, 50 francs without. Catalogue available. Info. Tel.: 01 44 13 17 17.

Les Trésors du Sultan Topkapi à Versailles - is a sample of Topkapi's collection, going back through centuries to the treasures of Suleiman, the First as well as the Magnificent. At the Château, continuing until... when? Info. Tel.: 01 30 84 74 00. Also in Versailles, the musical Festival des Yvelines has a date for classical on Thursday, 27. May, in the Royal Chapel of the chateau at 20:30. Reservations required: Info. Tel.: 01 39 07 70 92.

Other Coming Events and Exhibitions:

Now On: 'Wouah! Wouah!' - is a comedy adapted from Roland Topor's novel, with direction and music by Jacques Coutureau. Love causes imaginary crises and over-reactions, depending on different countries at different times; and this is put together by the creator of the Grand Magic Circus. I the Salle Gémier. Showtime will be Tuesday to Saturday at 20:30, and this piece will run until Saturday, 26. June.

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