French Kiss

New wave director Agnes Varda and conceptual artist JR document their road trip in Faces Places (France) 2016.

This intergenerational journey celebrates the lives of ordinary people seldom acknowledged. Many are women: a waitress in a small café, the lone resident of a block of homes targeted for demolition, the wives of longshoremen.

Much of the magic involves pasting huge, black and white photos on walls and other exterior surfaces in the locations they visit.

The two artists bring playful delight to a number of communities in France.

It’s one of the nominees for the 2018 Academy Awards.

The film returns to the Alamo Drafthouse New Misison Theater in San Francisco Friday 2 February 2018.

copyright © 2018 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Art Pose

2Fik is a French-born, Quebec-based artist of Moroccan heritage who deals with issues of identity in his work. He is a performance artist and photographer frequently targeting religion and sexuality in playful ways, taking the dual role of artist and model in his performances and photographs.


He’s developed about a dozen personas, both male and female, that include Abdel, a bearded, macho, religious man from Casablanca and his devout wife, Fatima; Ludmilla-Mary, with a big beard, a veil, and a huge personality; Marco, a closeted, Italian Moroccan with a secret crush on Abdel; and Sofiane, Abel’s younger brother, an aspiring hip-hop artist.

2Fik recreated a number of signature paintings such as Manet’s well-known dejeuner sur l’herbe posed as each of the four figures. In one version the man facing the nude figure wears a purple hoodie. In another he wears a yellow polo shirt and chinos.

La Grande Intendante (The Great Maiden) is a contemporary take on Ingre’s Grande Odalique (Great Chambermaid). A nude Ludmilla-Mary stretches out, wearing a long, pink glove and holding a black feather-duster, a plastic bottle of bright blue window cleaning liquid nearby.

The artist recently presented a public talk and slide show at the San Francisco Art Institute as part of the school’s Visiting Artists And Scholars Lecture Series. The event was co-sponsored by the French Consulate.

More information about 2Fik is available on his Facebook page.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

Art Whirl

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro published (2112) by Algonquin Books Of Chapel Hill is an engaging and quite believable fictional narrative told from the perspective of a contemporary artist living and working in Boston.


The protagonist manages to support herself copying famous artworks while struggling to overcome obstacles preventing her from being recognized as an outstanding, talented painter in her own right. She receives an incredible offer from the owner of a prominent gallery that will change her life.

Shapiro delves into many complicated issues involving money and art in present day society. The roles of museums and galleries as arbiters of taste. The quixotic nature of public opinion fueled by media reports and gossip. The illusive definition of creative achievement and its relation to financial success.

The novel begins with a newspaper article about the theft of artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a crime still unsolved after more than two decades, and goes on to speculate about a possible romantic liaison between its founder and French impressionist artist Edgar Degas a century ago.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Istanbul Art Fairs

Istanbul hosted two international art fairs this month. ArtInternational (16 – 18 September 2013) was a new event in the city featuring contemporary art. Over sixty galleries from Turkey, the Middle East, Europe and the US participated. 4 – 5,00 attended on the opening day. And at the close of the fair an estimated € 21,000,000 in sales to collectors was reported.


Challenges this year included the Gezi Park protests in June that began with opposition to construction of a mall that would eliminate one of the few public spaces in the heart of Istanbul. These soon spread to other parts of the country and broadened to include complaints about Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policies that secularists claimed were limiting personal freedom and moving the country in a more religiously conservative direction.

Fulya Erdemci, curator of the 13th Istanbul Biennial (14 September – 20 October 2013), decided to embrace the controversy rather than ignore the situation. The theme for this year’s events Mom, Am I Barbarian? focuses on the place of public art in society. All exhibitions are free but the biennial will not install art in public spaces.

More information about ArtInternational and Istanbul Biennial online.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Biennale Arte 2013

Il Palazzo Enciclopedico / The Encyclopedic Palace, a work by Italian-American artist Marino Aurti, is the centerpiece of the 55th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, 1 June to 24 November 2013. It represents the dream of bringing together all the knowledge of the world in one gigantic museum, perhaps inspired by the potential of the Internet to aggregate information.


This year there are over 150 artists from 37 countries including Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, and Turkey. There is national participation from: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Montenegro, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, and Turkey.

For more information and online tickets contact La Biennale di Venezia.

photo copyright © Haupt & Binder

text copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Paris Art Market

The Republican Party in the United States continues its hollow claims that taxing the wealthy one percent will ultimately hurt the other ninety-nine because it is those at the very top that provide private sector jobs

However, The Wall Street Journal a few days ago reported that art auction houses such as Christies and Sotheby’s are doing well because their rich clients believe art is a more secure commodity presently than either stocks or real estate.

Paris bridge, 2004

January 2011 Art Exchange opened a centralized marketplace in Paris to sell shares in works of art much like stock exchanges around the world sell shares in major companies. The first piece offered was a painting by Italian artist Francesco Vezolli, The Premier Of A Play That Will Never End, valued at €135,000, with individual shares going for €10 each.

Roxani Azmi, a journalist who covered the story for The Art Newspaper, attended the Paris Photo fair in November 2011. Prices were astronomical. The fair was held in the Grand Palais to accommodate more exhibitors including well-established international galleries such as Fraenkel, Gagosian, and Pace/MacGill.

Purchases were made by Los Angeles County Museum Of Art, Metropolitan Museum, and San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art, paying from €3,000 to €12,00 for vintage photographs.

There are speculations that Paris is becoming the photo capital. It was the undisputed art capital over half a century ago but after World War II the center shifted across the Atlantic to New York. Perhaps one reason it is regaining its status is because rich Americans love going to Paris, especially when top work is offered.

image & text copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved