Miriam Rosen

  • Printemps de Cahors

    The Printemps de Cahors is, in the words of its organizers, an annual “gamble.” The youngest of France’s major photography events (the venerable Rencontres Internationals in Arles is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this summer, while Perpignan’s “Visa for the Image,” devoted to photojournalism, is now in its eleventh year), the eight-year-old festival is dedicated to presenting the cutting edge of photography and the visual arts to the broadest possible public—an inevitable challenge. But Printemps de Cahors has clearly staked out both its territory and its style. The focus on photography

  • Issey Miyake

    With overtones of Picasso’s Cubist-inspired costumes for the 1917 ballet Parade and undertones of Rebecca Horn’s self-playing musical instruments, some twenty-five of Issey Miyake’s designer fashions leaped about in a mechanized ballet called Jumping, which served to welcome the public to “Issey Miyake Making Things,” the exhibition he conceived for the Fondation Cartier. For those who may not have grasped the English-language title, the dresses, coats, and other outfits bouncing down from the ceiling and up from the floor doubtless conveyed the iconoclastic spirit of the undertaking (especially


    Johan van der Keuken has been rediscovered at least once every decade since the first appearance of his work in the ’50s. In 1955—he was seventeen at the time—a precocious book of photo portraits (entitled, appropriately enough, We Are 17) earned him considerable attention in his native Holland; a two-year scholarship to the prestigious IDHEC film school in Paris followed. In 1965-66, a major exhibition of his photographs made its way to various Dutch museums, and in 1975 the Cinémathèque Québécoise in Montreal granted van der Keuken his first film retrospective outside the Netherlands.

  • “Le Travail de mémoire”

    In a year of seemingly nonstop commemorations in France (the Edict of Nantes, the abolition of slavery in the French colonies, May ’68), the Parc de la Villette organized a timely if provocative program of photo exhibits and panel discussions invoking less glorious aspects of recent history under the collective title “1914–1998, Le travail de memoire” (1914–1998: The work of remembering). Visitors were greeted at the entrance to one of the two exhibition sites by a lengthy quote from Walter Benjamin on the necessity of “working” memory as one works the land, but a single sentence from one of

  • the Festival d’Automne

    FOR LAST YEAR’S FESTIVAL D’AUTOMNE in Paris, guest artist Tadashi Kawamata stacked 7,000 chairs into a 30-foot scaffolded tower beneath the dome of the Salpêtrière Hospital’s St. Louis Chapel. This month—with the floor of the venerable seventeenth-century structure reinforced to accommodate the proceedings—Anish Kapoor is installing three of his giant tinted mirrors and a beige stone sculpture. The five—ton work will be on view from September 18 to November 1.

    Founded in 1972 by Michel Guy (a mythical figure on France’s post–Malraux, pre–Jack Lang cultural scene), the annual festival is a

  • Johan van der Keuken: Le Corps et la Ville

    After more than forty years of pursuing the “fiction of the real” through photography, film, and video, Johan van der Keuken has mounted not a retrospective but a multisite “production” of his work, conceived in collaboration with Jeroen de Vries. Seven photo and/or video installations, plus the artist’s latest film, juxtapose, decompose, and recompose still and moving images, while two photo exhibits and two film series provide an overview of the artist’s work. As befits the notion of “Body and City,” it’s all being presented at various sites in Paris (the Institut Néerlandais, the Maison

  • “Musiques en Scène”

    In the Lyons subway station, the wait is enlivened not only by music playing supermarket-style over the platforms but also by a mini-slide show—projected onto billboards between the tracks—of ads for the likes of McDonald’s and local drop-in centers. This no-frills approach to media technology might well go unnoticed were it not for the unwitting commentary it offers on the far more ambitious display of multimedia prowess recently presented above ground at the Museum of Contemporary Art in conjunction with the “Musiques en scène” (Musics on stage) festival of contemporary music. Now in its


    WHAT THE FILMS OF ABBAS KIAROSTAMI bring to the cinema is a few thousand extra years of history. While the images, it’s true, still go by at twenty-four frames per second, they are dense with time—not only real and “reel” time, but the cumulative time of a millennial vision of culture. Kiarostami’s most recent film, Taste of Cherry (1997), for example, follows a middle-aged man as he circles an industrial suburb of Tehran in search of someone to throw dirt on his body should he commit suicide, or to help him out of the grave should he be found alive. In discussing this austere journey along

  • Tadashi Kawamata

    The twelve monumental apostles lining the transepts of the seventeenth-century chapel at La Salpêtriére Hospital have entered into an unlikely aesthetic communion with numerous works of contemporary art, from Christian Boltanski’s latter-day votive altars and Rebecca Horn’s self-playing musical instruments to Mario Merz’s igloos and a Bill Viola video triptych. Every year, the august sculptures—like the various altar paintings, religious statues, and other incitements to piety distributed throughout this imposing sanctuary—become setting and foil for a site-specific intervention commissioned as

  • Gilbert Boyer

    In Montréal, if you want to see Gilbert Boyer’s La montagne des jours (The mountain of days, 1991), you take the footpath that winds up and around Mount Royal and look along the ground for five big, flat roundels of granite, which, depending on the season and/or maintenance, may or may not be covered by leaves or snow. In Paris, the two flights of elegantly carpeted stairs leading to Boyer’s recent exhibit also went up and around, and if the trek wasn’t exactly the same, the sixteen “Réflexions-Intérieur” (Reflections-interior) lining the gallery walls were—as the title suggests—among other

  • Catherine Trautmann

    FOR THE PRICE OF A tramway ticket, the Strasbourg commuter purchases not only a ride through the city in a transparent, state-of-the-art streetcar, but also a series of encounters with contemporary artworks: Barbara Kruger’s monumental anti-advertising campaign covering the lone underground station, Mario Merz’s red-neon Fibonacci numbers in translucent glass boxes embedded between the rails over nearly a mile of the surface line, and Jonathan Borofsky’s Woman Walking to the Sky, on an eighty-two-foot pole that rises diagonally over a public square (a pendant to his Man Walking to the Sky in

  • “Paris sous verre”

    Windows, walls, doors, floors, ceilings: glass is everywhere and yet, almost by definition, we tend to look right through it. This explains in part the fascination of “Paris sous verre—la ville et ses reflets” (Paris under glass, the city and its reflections), presented at the Pavillon de l’Arsénal, the city’s center for urbanism and architecture. By focusing eye and mind on the use of glass in the architecture of Paris and its environs, this seemingly modest affair of documentary photographs and large-format light-boxes, plus a few scale models and technical demonstrations, succeeded in putting