After our weekend of driving and wine tasting, we spent 5 nights in Athens, in a clean, non-descript hotel in a bad part of town – or so people said. We chose the hotel because it was cheap and convenient: located near Viktoria Station, a metro stop on the same line as the school where we took our Greek classes. While I wouldn’t describe the area as seedy exactly (more…)
The weather was pretty lousy during our last few days in Niederbronn, which was just as well as we needed to pack and clean the apartment before heading out.
Our next destination was the region of Lorraine, which has two important cities: Nancy, which we’d never visited before, and Metz, which we had. We spent two nights in each – not nearly enough.
The heart of Nancy is the beautiful gold-and-black trimmed Place Stanislas, named for Stanislaw Leszczynski, the deposed Polish king who became Duke of Lorraine and created this royal square. Other points of interest are the Saint-Epvre Basilica, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Annonciation, numerous gardens, and various museums.
We also visited nearby Toul and tasted the famous Gris de Toul, a type of rosé wine found only in this area. We were very surprised at how much weaker Lorraine wine is than its neighboring Alsace’s – the food in the two regions is very similar, but the wine couldn’t be more different.
Metz has a reputation as a dirty, industrial city, but in fact it is very beautiful and full of flowers, and the cathedral is stunning. We’d already gotten a good taste of Metz during our visit in 2008; we went this time solely to visit the brand-new Pompidou museum (Centre Pompidou-Metz), which I’d been dying to see since I first read about the construction plans about 7 years ago. I wasn’t disappointed – it’s an amazing building.
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Usually I get an idea for an art project and let it simmer for a while. I have a few ideas that I’ve been kicking around for years – they may never get done. But My Fishbowl was different: I thought of it while lying in bed, spent the morning working on it, and it was up on the wall shortly after lunch.
It’s hard to tell from the picture, but this flower collage is actually pasted on the ceiling. The flowers in the center are spiral, and when hanging from the wall they sort of drooped down it – not very interesting. I realized that they need to hang so that the basic shape created by the spiral was still more or less recognizable, and the only to do that was to hang them from the ceiling. Of course, gravity works its wonders and the collage falls down every couple of weeks, but you can’t have everything.
I love cute images/drawings/paintings of people, so as you can imagine I’m a huge Keith Haring fan. When I found out about a special exhibit of his work at the Musée d’art contemporain in Lyon, I had to go. This was an exhibit like no other. The entire museum (3 stories) was filled with his work – over 250 pieces, including a number of huge paintings. There was also a slide-show of some of his sidewalk art; a movie about his murals in New York, Chicago, and Pisa (yes, as in Leaning Tower of); a room covered in photographs of his life and art in New York; and the actual Tokyo Pop Shop. It was spectacular.
Seeing so much of his art in one place was fantastic, but it was also fascinating to learn more about him. I knew that he died of AIDS, but I hadn’t known that a lot of people thought his Pop Shop made him a sell-out. In fact, what he wanted was to make his art accessible to as many people as possible (he had stopped doing paper drawings in subway stations and such when people started stealing them) and he donated most of his profits to charity, notably for AIDS research. I just wish it had been enough to save his life.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved construction paper. Making art with construction paper (or any kind of colored paper) has always sparked my imagination much more than painting or drawing. My latest spurt of creativity has involved flowers, and while I know it’s not fine art, it’s colorful and fun and definitely helps brighten up my excessively white apartment. I’ve made two collages (for lack of a better word) so far – you can see the first one here (click the picture to see a larger image). I’ll post the second collage in a week or so.