...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Dispatch from home, post-Paris

Assembling another blog post via my phone became too much of a hassle, so I spent my Parisian quiet time either reading dozens of J.G. Ballard's fever dream short stories or drinking Chablis, or both.

Using my iPhone notes, I will now attempt to reproduce what should have been my second blog post from Paris:

from Chaïm Soutaine's La Juene Anglais

My previous dispatch may have come across dismissive of art and art history. To clarify (or not), I react emotionally, not intellectually, to art. While The Louvre is tremendous and I recommend it to everyone, it reminds me of Washington, DC, designed to confuse invaders. Its floors and routes are disorienting, and perhaps that's why people stay in the building for so long. Hell, it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to exit the place. Anyway, back to Art. My only emotional connections at The Louvre happened among the sculptures and non-European art. Otherwise it felt very intellectual, and a little cold.

— The Musée D’Orsay was another story. Near tears a half dozen times within the first 30 minutes, I lingered on every angle of every creation. It felt as if the museum's curators and I function on the same emotional level. Yes, I know that’s vague. Just know that Musée D’Orsay is remarkable (and intuitively structured). I spent six hours there, and only left the building because security wouldn't let me sleep at the base of The Gates of Hell.

— A peaceful marriage of Kyoto's gardens and the French countryside, Monet's home in Giverny offered one of the richest experiences of the trip. The waterlilies, the river, the bridge, they're all still there, all somehow even quieter than Monet's paintings.

— A different Monet immersion overwhelmed me at Musée de l'Orangerie, where eight massive impressions of les nymphéas curl around, forming a giant infinity symbol.

— Then there was this:

— On a related note: Despite walking 10 to 20 miles per day, I've returned to The States carrying some croissant weight. Is there such a thing as the French Fifteen? I'm asking for a friend. My tummy.

— And finally, yes, I drank some whisky. More about that on Friday.