Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And speaking of Paris

In 1985 I took my first trip to Europe to visit a friend who had just moved back to Amsterdam after a career at the U.N. in New York.  He graciously agreed to accompany me by train to Paris.  It was a great trip, and I couldn't leave Paris without a serious souvenir.  I came upon a small frame and print shop and purchased a print and a poster.  The poster will show up in a future post.
I considered the print a real find at the time, as it references both Tintin and Andy Warhol.  The image was somewhat familiar to me, and I was excited to find an original print of it.  The cans of crab arose in a Tintin adventure entitled "The Crab with the Golden Claws."  I quote from the Wikipedia entry:  "Tintin had discovered a smuggling ring which used tins of crab meat in order to smuggle their opium."  The work is entitled "Quatre Boites de Crabe Extra" and was created by Floc'h et Riviere, who are a team of illustrators famous in France for their collaborative work.  The print is numbered and bears the signature of both artists.  It is dated 1983.

Please forgive the poor quality of the photograph, which has some annoying artifacts from the light in the kitchen.  I took the photo with all sorts of lights on and off, but this was the best I could come up with.

Why I like this piece:

Of course, this is as close to an Andy Warhol as I'm likely to own.  The whole piece references pop art and pop culture.  It is jokey and fun, and likely the most saturated with color of any art work I have.  This is in the kitchen, and works perfectly as kitchen art.  It seemed out of place anywhere else I put it in the apartment.  It is vibrant and alive, and yes, it makes me want to eat something.

What this piece reminds me of:

I cannot forget how I found this piece, just wandering near the Sorbonne.  It was a small shop and I went in as much to rest as to browse.  But mostly it reminds me of Warhol.  

I used to go to a gay bar on Avenue A called the Pyramid Club.  It was on my list of places to cruise on a Saturday night, starting in the East Village and ending up on the West side.  They used to run a show which was billed as the first gay soap opera.  On a little stage, which was difficult to see from the bar anyway, there would be practically incomprehensible goings on for about 15 minutes or so, starting around 10:00 p.m.  Then the music would start and the area became a dance floor.  I guess Andy and his entourage were there to see the show, but I didn't notice him until I decided to join in the dancing.  There he was with a few other friends surrounding him, sort of bouncing around the way we used to dance back in the late 70s and early 80s.  

I did see him one or two other times; once at Irving Place, another club and once just on the street in the West Village.  New York allows celebrities to live their lives without too much fear of interruption. 

I also remember showing this and the poster to my friend back at the hotel room.  He had become ill and wasn't able to squire me around Paris as he hoped, but I was getting along fairly well on my own.  When I spread them out for him to see I remember his reaction as less than enthusiastic. Chacun à son goût!

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