Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Paris is filled with art. Art in museums, gargoyles perched along the edge of buildings, sculptures and statues everywhere, artistic window displays. But let's take a break from the "intentional" art to find the unexpected art that shows up in unexpected places.

This little guy was a door stopper. There was one on both sides of these double doors, I'm assuming to make sure the doors weren't opened too far out in this direction. I might be wrong, they may have had a different purpose.

These little fellows/ladies held open a series of wooden shutters.

This small art piece - is it a clock? - is signed in the corner - Dali. THE Dali??? In any case, it was just on the edge of a building that started a rather ordinary street full of touristy shops. I think it was in the Latin Quarter. And of course there's that decorative ironwork as well.

This little vignette was sitting all alone in the center of the plaza in front of the Centre Pompidou. This area is filled with street performers, so I assume the owner of it wasn't far off, but it sure seemed abandoned. We walked by it several times. No one touched or bothered it. It was like a little piece of art creates it's own little bubble of respect. (Knock on wood)

Official murals or, more likely, artistic graffiti? The whole wall, including the street signs, needs a bit of sprucing up. Fun though. This was in the Marais.

Beautiful raised paintings on a small shop. I'm not sure what kind of shop - maybe a tanning boutique?

Up in Montmartre this chalk (paint?) artist was painting chalk (paint?) images of chalk (paint?) seagulls. I thought he was a sign for a studio until...

I saw this suspiciously similar guy reaching up to more sea gulls painted on the bottom of this very long, long, long series of steps. I didn't even notice he was here, actually. I was taking a photo of those neverending stairs and only realized he was there when I looked at the uploaded photo. If I'd stepped a couple of feet to the left to take the photo, I might have put him together better.

This color wheel was painted on the platform leading up over a bridge over the St. Martin Canal out in the 19th arrondissement. This is a city of artists. I guess you never know when one of them will have an emergency need for a color wheel.

This slightly annoyed looking fish skeleton (I guess you'd be annoyed too if someone had fileted you) filled up the side of a very large building in the ....Bastille .... I think it was the Bastille.

This lovely mosaic tile work was along the bottom of a restaurant. It was a restaurant I noticed often - for the tile work, the beautiful periwinkle blue paint, the quirky fairy hanging inside the front window.... it also had a somewhat pricey menu. So, alas, we never did try it out.

Even the inside of the metro tunnels and railway passages were "decorated". Hubby thought it was ugly. I thought it was .... entertaining. What is art? There's a long continuum with fancy statues and highly priced commissioned murals in the town square on one end of the spectrum and graffiti and tagging in the dark of the alleys and tunnels on the other. In the middle there's street art that slides from legal to illegal somewhere along the way. Where and what makes the difference? What's art and what isn't? That's an interesting discussion. For me it has more to do with whether the intent is expression/respect or destruction/disprespect and NOT about the more technical legalities.

Well, we've walked ALLLLL over Paris today. Hungry? Click on over to Beach Treasure for a bit of Parisian bread or pastry?


GreenishLady said...

I am SO enjoying this! You have a marvellous eye. You even caught the street-sign from "our" street! (We stayed on Rue Quincampoix in the Marais). I stood right beside that flight of steps and didn't notice that gull-catcher either. Maybe it had gone by the time we visited?

Stephanie said...

I love the chalk guy showing up on the stairs! I've so enjoyed walking through this part of the world, love all the graffiti and tiny works.