Tag Archives: Paris

This is an image from photographer Gerard Castello-Lopes, a “disciple of Henri Cartier-Bresson.” Although you can see the resemblance between Cartier-Bresson’s images and Castello-Lopes’ images, there is obviously a large disconnect in the modernity of their thought and material.

Castello-Lopes took photographs in a war-torn era accompanied by an overall break with uncontested national pride. The result is a beautiful meditation in modern life, heavily influenced by new forms of media (like film).

The Ring was recently installed in Place Vendôme in Paris–it was formed as a way to interact and distort the area around it, and as a result causes passerby to restructure their thinking about their surroundings.

I only wish that I had known about this when I was in Paris a month ago–from the pictures, it seems like something out of a dream sequence.

What I like about this statue is that the structural beauty of its surrounding architecture is what makes the statue come alive; it draws upon and interacts with history, reflecting the high art of Haussmanian buildings (literally) in a new era. The sculpture reminds me of the hall of mirrors at Versailles in both the way that it elongates the space around it as well as the sheer luxury that the flawless mirror seems to embody. The Ring is a manifested “illusion” of grandeur, its material pulling in the blue from the sky as if laying claim to everything that it reflects.

I have spent countless hours sifting through blog posts about Chile, reading Spanish novels (a term I use loosely as the current read happens to be a teen novel translated into Spanish from English), and just generally missing the place in the past few days. It feels like ages since I’ve seen many people that are like family to me: my boyfriend Francisco, his entire family, my once-host family, and the friends and acquaintances that made my time there incredible. I’m even missing the (insane, copious) amount of mayonnaise that they spread over every food item in their path (although I still do not miss manjar, that sticky caramel-y stick-to-your-arteries substance that Francisco adores). All in good time, I suppose–and in the meantime I can consider my explorations in the blogosphere a form of research for my quickly-approaching senior thesis about Mapuche art within Chilean culture.

I’m getting knee-deep into my exhibition on John Baeder now. I’m a few paragraphs into my rough draft, which needs to be finished within the week–I think I should start hitting the library soon or else I’m never going to get anything done.

I’m also going to be working with the head of academic programs at the Museo Larco in Lima, Peru in order to create new material having to do with Latin American Art for Smarthistory–the website is a fantastic resource for Western art, but is notably lacking in academic articles about the art of the Americas, Africa, Oceania or Asia, which they are in the process of correcting.

Anyway, here is a picture of the Museé de la Mode et du Design in Paris, where I was lucky enough to be able to visit an exhibit on the trademark style of the Spanish couturier Balenciaga maintained throughout the past 100 or so years:

View from the Seine

View from inside the green shenanigans

Great Blogs from English Expats in Chile:
Way South of the Border
Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture
Bearshapedsphere (a travel blog by a professional freelance writer)

Went to the Masur Museum for the first time this summer, can’t wait until I can start putting together my own exhibition on John Baeder (next week!).

Anyway, here are some of the photos I never uploaded from Europe.

One of my first days in Paris, in front of the Maison Internationale opposite my dorm.


Francisco at the park in the 14th arrondisement.


Me at the park in the 14th arrondisement.


Amiens, France


Amiens, France


Amiens, France


Bruges, Belgium


Canal in Bruges


I kind of went to Finland (Brussels, Belgium)


Belgium Babys.


Well, this turned out to be an extremely random assortment of photos–I was pulling from the disorganized mess I pulled from Fco’s hard drive that was filtered through the lens of tiny horrible thumbnails.

I will probably upload more.


Lucie wrote this blog post and put it on her tumblr a day ago. I feel like much of it really hit the nail on the head about Paris and our existence within the city, socially and emotionally:

“I never thought I would come back to Paris. It is the city of cigarettes, piss, thieves, rude natives, and the foreign language I thought would have been a waste of a language class. Once I arrived, I noticed that it felt different than my 4 day tourist excursion the first time through, and the city beat and schedule quickly became more natural than I could have ever imagined. There was a high level or trust, or maybe apathy, towards how other people perceived me and my ability to make decisions as an adult. The first five weeks were filled with sleepless nights, more work than I anticipated, nightmares, cultural isolation, and the strange sensation of looking at my surroundings and realizing that nobody really knew who I was. I began to wonder why I was obsessed with someone knowing my thoughts and passions and habits. Perhaps without that removed gaze, my decisions and reactions could never be validated. My existence meant nothing without another mind recognizing me. That might be juvenile, but it doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t pretend to not care about the people I surround myself with, I willingly allow myself to be vulnerable and honest and deeply affected. I’ve met so many people here who have prevailed in earning my trust or respect, and into their good nature I have surrendered my preconceptions about life and myself.

For my future roommate, who skyped me frequently, let me into her heart and mind and helped me to see what it is I love so much about my faith and conscientious people

For Alicia and Beca, who both helped me to let go and enjoy what’s in front of me and what’s ahead

For Sam, who has unconsciously challenged me on my promise to love those who reject me and my bearings

For Mark, who has made me put words to thoughts, and by doing so made those thoughts real

And for the Egyptian crêpe maker who kept me company and made me a full meal asking for nothing in return when I was ready to breakdown

Thank you all. Through my anxiety, dejection, isolation, and confusion, I have found myself caught between peace and bliss. And I surprisingly have to say, I’m going to miss this place.  The nostalgic sentiments are already setting in. To my fellow astrophysicists in training, ‘We’ll always have Paris.'”

The Netherlands are truly incredible. It’s hard to write with all these thoughts spinning in my head and finals at my tail, but something was truly great about that place, its art, and its people.

France is fast-paced, ludicrous, high tension, ever-running, competitive, ancient, steeped in history and in blood, passionate about everything and sensitive to it at the same time, where nothing is isolated and conserved by one emotion but complicated, always complicated. In France you are beholden to everything and everyone, and as a foreigner or a Frenchman you are a part of the social fabric, you have a role in society no matter what role it is, and everyone around you is intensely aware of the point in space that you occupy. There are free times, of climbing trees and seeing films, yet they are built into the structure of everyday life, planned for but embraced with the heart and soul of the people living those experiences. Two lovers in a park will completely disentangle themselves from their daily lives for an afternoon in the park, enjoying each other and the sun exclusively before resuming their wonderfully hectic schedule, allowing the meaning to seep into their infinitely productive states of being.

It’s amazing how different a society three hours north by train can be so completely different.

The language knocked me off balance at first. For someone who is moderately well-traveled, I have never been in a place where I could not speak bits and pieces of the language before. Then the people knocked me off balance. They were kind but never relinquished, well-spoken and intensely aware of the culture that they have created for themselves–it is no accident that the Netherlands ended up the way that they did. The people have a sure and open acceptance for those who come to the Netherlands looking to embrace it, not overpower it. There was very little illusion, but there was magic sewn into its architectural and artistic being. To my knowledge, there was no modern controversy over the Iamsterdam sign in front of the Rijksmuseum as there was for the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre–the sign is, and will be, and has integrated itself seamlessly into what the Netherlands represent–carefree love, bound by intelligence and common sense, bordered by quiet pride.

The first day we spent in rolling through parks, stopping to glance in the Van Gogh museum (uncluttered; conscious of its own strengths; flawlessly curated) and taking a dip in a shallow fountain that became a spontaneous public pool in the middle of the spring. The gait was always fast but people walked for the joy of walking.

The red light district was dark and full of contradictions, contorted into a shadowed playground for the lost. Even in the fast-food restaurants, shopkeepers dangled sweet donuts in front of your face, eat this in place of going there, doing that. Amsterdam was electric and alive, and for once I felt not like I was walking through a ghost town populated by the descendants of history past, but as if I was in the here and now, living as history was being written.

The rest of the Netherlands thrived off of that same sense of self cultivated in Holland. I spent Sunday sailing near Zwolle in a sailboat without a motor, tied to the air and the sun and the water below me as I helped adjust the sails and direct our path, like learning to walk again after being reborn. I spent the day in quiet, sunburnt bliss.

If you’re reading this, Robert and Indira, thanks for one of the best weekends I’ve ever had.

I need to start practicing my cycling.