When I was at the Kusama retrospective last week at the Centre Pompidou I realized that most people don't know what an amazing and influential artist she is, a true trailblazer in the 1960s and 70s, setting the bar for many contemporary artists of that era.
Yayoi Kusama was born in Japan in 1929 and is an artist that works in many mediums including painting, sculpture, film, collage, and environmental installations. Her indefinable style runs the gamut of different art movements: minimalism, surrealism, pop art, and abstract expressionism. Most of her work is underscored with her lifelong obsession with polka dots and she said, "My life is a dot lost among thousands of other dots". Kusama has had hallucinations since childhood and struggles with mental illness. After living in Tokyo and France, she moved to New York in 1956. She flourished in New York and quickly made a name for herself among New York avant garde artists. She was also political and staged outrageous happenings to protest the Vietnam War, which involved painting dots on herself and walking naked through Central Park. In 1973 she returned to Tokyo feeling mentally unstable and suicidal and has lived in a mental illness facility since with her studio close by.
The exhibition shows a full range of her works including her films of her happenings and performances, soft sculptures, large paintings, and room installations.
I love the whimsical room installations and the day I was there, both children and adults were staring in wonderment at the mesmerizing lights in one and the captivating polka dots in the other. The brilliant sculptures are simple, soft shapes but resonate a certain mystical power. As playful and whimsical as Kusama's work is, the serious, obsessive nature comes through. My favorite artists are the ones that create a world of their own, a world like no other, and one that you can get lost in. I think that is why I connected with the show so much. Kusama creates a world I have never experienced before. She is often quoted as saying: "If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago". Here is an artist who is more than obsessed: art is her savior.
Till January 9
Open 11AM to 9PM Wednesday to Monday
Eye Prefer Paris Photos for Sale
I am happy to announce the sale of prints of my Eye Prefer Paris Photos. I am offering 17 of my most popular and iconic images for sale including my courtyards, doors, architectural details, statues, and monuments. They will make great gifts for all your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues but don't forget to buy some for yourself.
Click here to see photos and for full details including sizes, prices, and shipping. Here is a sample of some of the photos.
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 195 euros for up to 3 people, and 65 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com