• Fernand Léger

    Centre Pompidou

    Unlike nearly all his great Parisian contemporaries, Fernand Léger seems never in his mature work to have taken his studio as a subject for his painting, nor to have made a self-portrait, two classic themes in French art. Always he looked outside, utopian eyes taking in the scene. The spectacle of the modern world was his theater; he had no truck with sensuous fantasy, introspective chiaroscuro, or the venting of personal feelings. His sturdy delight in la vie moderne is embodied in depictions of work and sport, leisure and application, the new and the raw. In all of these the human figure is

    Read more
  • Chéri Samba

    Musée national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie

    Paris likes to brag about being the capital of African art, ahead of London, Tokyo, and New York. African art flourishes on the Left Bank: there are antique shops on Rue de la Seine, and this summer brought shows of Ouattara at Gallerie Boulakia at the Rue Bonaparte and a combined photography and mask exhibit entitled “Les Dogons” on Rue des Beaux-Arts. The Musée National des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie recently showed 276 traditional pieces from Nigeria—a stunning exhibition including some of the most beautiful Igbo masks I have ever seen along with Benin, Yoruba, and Ogoni statutes and masks.

    Read more
  • “Paris sous verre”

    Pavillon de l'Arsénal

    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

    Read more