Citywide in Paris: First Evaluations
August 18, 2012, 10:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


First, an apology. This post is kind of (very) late. I’m sorry. Now back to business.

When August comes around, you always find yourself wondering where the summer has gone, at least I do. And so it came time to reflect upon what I’d seen in Paris, so I got in touch with Shelby Donnelly, a Philly-based artist who ended an artist residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris. I stumbled upon her Kickstarter page because I wanted to get in touch with American artists who were working in Paris and her study of the state of leisure in the French capital seemed particularly a propos for the show.

Donnelly, as I mention in the interview, says developing art work is a form of cultural exploration. that was what these shows attempted to do and I thought it might be nice to try to put what came out of these visits into words.

What we end up with is still somewhat bathed in a Midnight In Paris-like light : where the ideal of Paris is impossible to shake and experiencing the city is more of a time travel type of experience. I think an actual sociological and anthropological study of the place of leisure in French society and French art would take much longer than the 30 minutes of our show, but even at this level, it’s interesting to see how the level of fantasy attached to New York is nourished by images of the Beat Generation, Warholian icons and more recently Sex and the City escapades, its status as a model of cosmopolitanism makes the fancy much more contemporary : people come to New York looking for the cool thing happening you need to know about right now, whereas it seems visitors in Paris want to ride around the Concorde like Seberg and Belmondo in Breathless or retrace Hemingway’s steps with A Moveable Feast in hand.

Is that fantasy somehow less valuable than a desire to experience the now? I couldn’t really say, especially since it is a big point of pride for the French; Maybe that’s a question to answer in a future show? Ideas, Ideas…

Listen again to my interview with Shelby below. For more info on her and her work, check out


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