This and That

June 13, 2007 at 7:22 pm | Posted in art, food | 6 Comments

I’m way behind on blogging, and I’m leaving for Japan in about twenty-four hours, so please forgive me for this summary post — it’s the only way I’ll ever get around to recording this stuff.

1. Last Thursday I headed out to Chaumont-sur-Loire to see the annual Festival des Jardins. We’re not talking flower beds, here — twenty-seven landscape architects were given similar plots of land on which to build highly-conceptual gardens around the theme of “mobility”.

Blue Men Trees

These blue dudes were particularly impressive, but you can see much more here.

2. Went to see Anselm Kiefer at the Grand Palais, the first of their so-called “Monumenta” exhibits. It was a bit strange — the first thing you are told when you walk in is that art is in the eye of the beholder, and that Kiefer has no desire to tell you how to interpret or respond to his pieces. Then the exhibit proceeds to do exactly that! Between the mandatory headphones, the banal explanatory texts, and the over-eager “guides” who will pull you aside to make sure you’re fully “getting” the art, the experience was so micro-managed that I found it unbearable.

The art itself was variable, with some very strong pieces, and others that felt pointless or half-hearted.

More Lead Books

See more here.

3. Yesterday I headed out at long last to MAC/Val, the newish contemporary art museum just outside of Paris (don’t worry, you can get there on a Zone 1-2 metro ticket!). Aside from a Daniel Buren and a few Dubuffets, there are no really big name artists out there, but they still managed to put together some compelling pieces.

Cake and Pie

I liked this one, of chocolate cake putting the moves on a slice of pie. Check out some more here.

4. And speaking of food, some of you may have heard that MAC/Val is as well known for its restaurant, Transversal, as for its art. And not without reason! We had a really terrific lunch there — at least once we figured out the very idiosyncratic menu.

Tomates et Tartare d'Algues

Luscious cherry tomatoes with something identified as seaweed tartare. It might not sound promising, but it was truly delicious — a bit like pesto, but with a wonderful briny accent. And as always, more pics here.

Okay, that’s all! Watch this space in a couple weeks to see if I survived Tokyo!



  1. Wow, I love the blue dudes! Have a safe trip, bon voyage!

  2. did you get to sample the MAC/Val chocolate cake? Tokyo is fab, you’ll have a great time, bon voyage and see you soon!

  3. Oh, that chocolate cake looks incredible! We had the creme aux oeufs instead, that was also lovely.

    I love your whole MAC/Val set.

  4. Bon voyage!

  5. Aaaa, I didn’t get to wish you a bon voyage before you left! I don’t know how I missed your post yesterday, but silly me still hasn’t registered with Bloglines, so that may well explain it…

    I hope you have an incredible time in Japen (lucky dog, you!) and that you come back with some amazing stories to tell — I’m sure you’re going to have some unforgettable photos — oh, I meant experiences!

    See you soon…

  6. Great writing and compulsive reading – on subjects not especially close to my heart. Hope you’re having a fine time in Tokyo.

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