It’s the end of a short-lived era: Polly is moving back to the U.S. and we will no longer have our monthly Sundays together. Of course I was shattered by her news and I begged, cajoled, pleaded, and cried hysterically for her to stay. I swore to throw myself off the Eiffel Tower if she left and even went so far as to say I would vote for that other candidate for president after she said the only thing that would make her stay is if the other candidate won. But none of my desperate tactics worked: Polly is a goner by Thanksgiving.
Monday night was our Sunday this month and a bittersweet one at that, since it was probably our last. Our friend, Rosemary Flannery invited us to the opening of the opening of The Seventies: Le Choc de la Photographie Americaine, an exhibit of black and white photos from the 1970s by celebrated American photographers at the Bibliotheque Nationale.
We had to wait on line for about 15 minutes and once inside the long, narrow exhibition rooms were packed to the gills, making it difficult to see the work. One of the first rooms had a series of Diane Arbus photos, iconic images that I love but had seen too many times before. I immediately thought, here we go again, another unimaginative, unchallenging photographic exhibit with the same 100 images we’ve seen a hundred times. But as I entered the next series of rooms I was surprised and thoroughly captivated by the arresting images, many by photographers whose work I was not familiar with and some new images I had never seen before by photographers I knew. In an ironic twist, the Diane Arbus photos turned out to be the most disappointing and predictable of the exhibition.
A series of Larry Clark’s best photos confirmed he is one of the great realist photographers of that period with his searing portraits of naked, raw youth. Striking meticulously lit portraits by Ralph Gibson shows you the soul of its subject. Photos of mundane landscapes like white painted lane dividers on a highway and tires against a wall become graphic works of art when taken by Burk Uzzle. My favorite photo, named Doug, Jackie, & Rollin, by Jeffrey K. Silverthorne, was a portrait of three transvestites with deadpan expressions on their faces saying don’t mess with us, taken in Providence Rhode Island in 1972. Nude tableaux by Les Krims were fascinating and amusing. Other photographers included Mary Ellen Mark, Garry Winograd, William Klein, Bill Owens, Lee Friedlander, Joel Peter Witkin, Robert Frank and Walker Evans.
Afterwards we had dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant, one of those fluorescent-lit places with no atmosphere but great food to make up for it. I had a steaming black kettle pot filled with beef sukiyaki, which was the perfect dish to warm my cold cockles. We chatted mostly about Polly’s move and her new life in the U.S., which will be so different than the one she had here. Polly invited me to visit anytime, so if I do, I promise we will write a new Sundays with Polly and Richard.
Like the song says, Sunday just will never be the same without Polly.
Click here to read what Polly had to say about our last adventure.
The Seventies: Le Choc de la Photographie Americaine
58 rue de Richelieu, 2nd arr.
Metro: Palais Royal
Tuesday to Saturday, 10AM to 7PM
Sunday 12PM to 7PM
Tel 01 53 79 59 59
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.
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