Visit to Atelier des Lumières

Whenever we visit Paris, my beloved generally gets to choose which exhibitions and/or events we visit. This time he elected to visit a relatively new exhibition space in Paris’s 11th arrondissement – not an area we know particularly well – called Atelier des Lumières, Paris’s first digital museum of fine art.

Not quite knowing what to expect, we took the metro over to 11th in Eastern Paris and walked the length of rue Saint-Maur. We almost missed the former foundry had it not been for the long queue outside. This didn’t augur well, my beloved does not like to wait. Fortunately, the queue moved briskly and we were soon inside the large multi-sensory exhibition space operated by Culturespaces, called its “Workshop of Lights.”

The exhibition is dedicated to Gustav Klimt and a century of Viennese painting, includin works by Egon Schiele and Friederich Stowasser, better-known as Hundertwasser. There’s also a smaller studio given over to works by emerging artists.

Using state-of-the-art visuals and audio, the artists’ works are transformed as 140 video projectors expose their works onto and across 10 metre high walls over the vast 3,300 square metre surface area of the refurbished building. These fabulously colourful images provide an immersive and panoramic show to the sound track of music by Wagner, Chopin and Beethoven, among others, using an innovative motion design sound system.

It was a mesmerising digital display and we were transfixed as 360-degree views of the artworks flash across the walls. Over a period of around 30 minutes we’re taken on a journey round neoclassical Vienna. Our favourite  aspect was the exhibition’s attention to details, particularly with Klimt’s “golden” phase.

It’s difficult not to be overawed by the scale and depth of this multi-sensory exhibition. However, in my opinion, the best bit is that it makes fine art more interesting, accessible and available to younger audiences.

Postcard from Long Island

My beloved is on a roll. He successfully navigated our way from Manhattan to Sag Harbor without GPS and has twice selected restaurants for lunch that have been truly magnificent. I can only conclude that after almost 40 years of intensive training he’s now close to perfect. If only he didn’t keep leaving stuff behind in restaurants and hotel rooms.

Now that's what I call a beach - acres of soft, silky sand.
Now that’s what I call a beach – acres of soft, silky sand.

We’re currently chillin’ in The Hamptons. We’ve gone from life in the fast to the slow lane. A few days in New York was enough to catch up with some of our favourite museums and galleries and spend hours pounding the pavements just soaking up our surroundings.

Having watched the film “Woman in Gold” on the flight over my beloved wanted to visit the Neue Gallerie to see Adele Bloch-Bauer’s portrait by Gustav Klimt. I’d already seen the picture in the Belvedere in Vienna before it was returned to its rightful owner and acquired by Ronald Lauder for the gallery. It was well worth seeing again and a trip to the gallery’s typical Viennese coffee shop reminded me that another visit to Vienna might be in order. It’s been over 40 years since my last one – way too long.

No visit to the Big Apple would be complete without a trip to the Guggenheim which sadly was between major shows and the work of a Columbian artist who had mutilated furniture with concrete left us unimpressed. Our sensibilities were soothed by a quick trip to the Frick.

I’ve wanted to visit Long Island for a while largely as a result of watching Ina Garten’s cookery programmes. She lives in a wonderful house in The Hamptons with a truly magnificent garden. She’s a cook not a chef but her recipes deliver real crowd pleasers every time. I’ve not bumped into Ina but her cookery books are in all the book shops, surely the next best thing.

A little bit of France in The Hamptons
A little bit of France in The Hamptons

 

Renovated windmill in East Hampton
Renovated windmill in East Hampton

 

Impossibly cute fire station
Impossibly cute fire station

 

Old Colonial style Hotel in Sag Harbor
Old Colonial style Hotel in Sag Harbor

The Hamptons has lived up to the hype. It’s bigger than I imagined – but that’s the States for you. The property porn is spectacular with wonderful wood clad, historic and modern homes. I particularly love the older properties with a gingerbread trim. For a cool pad, without a sea view, don’t expect much change from US$ 2 million. Add at least another 10 million for a shore side location.

Acres of dunes and forest
Acres of dunes and forest

As we drove around we saw a veritable army of Latino gardeners maintaining the manicured perfection of many gardens. Landscape gardening is clearly big business, along with Pilates studios, organic food stores, art galleries and……bike shops.

Goin' fishin'
Goin’ fishin’

There’s been no problem sticking to my enforced regime. Organic juices, lobster, oysters, shrimp, striped sea bass, salmon and salads (no sauces or dressings) have been easy to source. I’ve even found some vegan, soy and gluten-free baked goodies to enjoy with my afternoon camomile tea. I’m writing this on the balcony overlooking Sag Harbor which is full of yachts – a bit of home from home. The weather’s been a balmy 27C and the season is surely winding down, meaning it’s easier to get tables in the restaurants.

And chill
And chill

If I lived and worked in New York, I too would escape to Long Island at the week-ends to indulge in a less frenetic way of life. Rested and relaxed, our next stop is the road race World Championships in Richmond Virginia.