Reflections on art, fitness, family, politics and literature that hit me like bricks as I chauffeur my children from place to place...
A pink taxi
August 8, 2010
Maquette de Venet
This summer, in Nice, a 30m high Venet sculpture , which consists of vertical beams jutting towards the sky, was installed permanently on the prestigious Promenade des Anglais. Its rust color looking like a summer tan, the sculpture stands proud to have been inaugurated by the President Sarkozy, this june.
At La "Petite Maison", you can dine in very close proximity to the impressive Venet piece. La Petite Maison is one of the few restaurants for the wealthy, in the old city of Nice. Why do the rich shun Nice? Why do they look down on the rue Pietonne, the old City and it's socca stores (a pizza of chickpea base, a Nice delicacy)? Why do they forget to visit the Musee de Nice and the Musee Matisse? They arrive, chauffeur driven, like Kashoggi did recently, dropped off at the restaurant famous for its local loup de mer and its artichoke entree. What stunned me when I entered this restaurant was the amount of pampered people dining in elegance, in contrast with the otherwise urban-touristic-casual atmosphere of Nice. When they brought us the bread, piping hot, in a boulangerie paper bag, I couldn't help noticing the illustration by Ben, the Nicois artist, in his ubiquitous handwriting: " ici, tous celebres" (here, all are famous).
Other famous clients of La Petite Maison, besides royalty, are Bernar and Diane Venet who are very pleased that their sculpture, a donation to the city, found a locale that is on the Promenade and of course, in front of their favorite restaurant. This they confirmed to me today, on a visit we made to their domaine in Muy.
Bernar Venet also assured me that his grand plan to exhibit at Versailles could finally be disclosed. "What an honor!" I exclaimed when he had informed me of the project. "For who?" he asked, with much humour. My memorable trip to Versailles was barely a month old and I listened closely to the story behind the project.
In the posting "Patrick Tourneboeuf ", I had alluded to the unforgetable Jeff Koones exhibit at Versailles: his giant lobster baloon hanging in the Hall of Mirrors. I should have also mentioned the upcoming September exhibit of Murikami at Versailles (I am sorry I will miss that by two months). Yet, the discovery of an exhibit of Bernar Venet, who would be the third contemporary artist, at this historical monument, strung a personal chord for me. Like the other two artists that I admire, Venet's strong and simple lines will create a lovely contrast between 21st century art and classical French art at its best.
The story is even more intriguing. Venet was contacted to create a very signicative and symbolic work of art: a commission to retrieve the steel from the infamous New York Twin Towers, melt it as and create a sculpture. He has selected two immense twin sculptures, consisting each of a collection of standing arcs. He would install them next to the fountains in Versailles, in the gardens of Le Notre, at a distance, framing the palace. The reminded me of two large parentheses. He smiled my idea away. "A frame" was certainly more artisitic.
My child and my nephew, sat in Venet's kitchen, devouring croissants for an early breakfast. Petit dejeuner avec Venet.
We discussed art with him, and a family member invested in the original maquette of the Nice statue, which we had admired from our table at La Petite Maison. Appetite for art can always be opened after a satisfying meal.
The pink taxi runs from 7 am to 7pm. It picks and drops off my 3 kids at school, ballet,judo, aikido, violin, climbing, riding, squash, basketball, skiing, skating, swim team, friends, grandparents and teachers. The car, not pink, but a black SUV, drives to Carrefour and Coop. To Club stretch for pilates and Aviation club for weekly workouts. It is driven by a woman who navigates on the radio, gets DJed by her 4 year old or sometimes quietly reflects. The thoughts are about politics, family, humor, literature, art or fitness. Sometimes they are excruciatingly longwinded, other times they are gossipy and hot.
I hope you will all enjoy!