|Ceci N'est Pas|
|Alexandra Grant's work in the window of Here is Elsewhere gallery opening night of "Ma Prochain La Vie", a three-location show Isabelle Le Normand curated with Jon Bernad|
Last week, New York-based, French artist Davide Balula picked the lock of Hammer curatorial associate Elizabeth Cline's house while a small crowd stood by. Paris-based artist Michel Blazy, or his proxies, cut the lawn of L.A. collector Danny First and affixed the loose, cut-off grass to the wall of a small room at First's house. In addition, seven Paris galleries, most of which had never exhibited there, had booths at Art Los Angeles Contemporary, the fair at Barker Hangar.
All of this fell under the umbrella of Ceci N'est Pas, a five-month initiative organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S., funded by the Institut Francais (the French government's cultural arm) and meant to bring Paris and Los Angeles artists together. French curator Isabelle Le Normand, who has spent the last five years finding and sometimes creating Paris-L.A. convergences, had a hand in at least a third of the week's events.
Le Normand came to Los Angeles for the first time in 2007, looking for an art internship. She had reserved a rental car. But spread-out, segmented LAX confused her, and since she never found the car, she took the bus instead. Because she did, she met Jon Bernad, who noticed her putting a twenty dollar bill into the unsophisticated Metro ticket dispenser and advised she use smaller bills in the future.
A recent college graduate, he had just moved to L.A. to live in a traveling movie producer's back house and care for two French bulldogs (an arrangement that was supposed to last two months but ended up lasting six years). "I had all this free time, " he remembers. He had been using it to explore the city. "I wanted to share the experience." He helped Le Normand navigate on that first visit and then again on visits to come.More »