A Paris visit with Matthew Rose

Matthew Rose
Artist Matthew Rose, posing in his apartment/studio in Paris.

I was talking in the last Paris post about how even the smallest emporium of business in Paris wants to decorate and have something beautiful on the walls. Stella and I got to see this in action the afternoon we visited artist Matthew Rose in his apartment/studio near the market street Rue Daguerre.

Rose, the American ex-pat whose mail art, collage art and stamp art I’ve told you about was in the Axis of Evil show at Nexus in 2005, which is how I know of him. We’ve been email correspondents and since I was going to be in his city I suggested we meet for coffee and to talk about art.

Curating in your neighborhood

[Ed. Note: this section was changed on Dec. 10 to correct some mis-information. Thank you, Matthew Rose, for the corrections!]

art in the window
Here’s what was in the window at La Cave des Papilles when we visited. The artist whose work is on view is Keith Donovan. He was huge, along with his friend Peter Schuyff, in NYC in the 1980s, says Rose. For more window art in the wine shop see Rose’s website.

Recently Rose began to curate temporary art exhibits into several businesses in his neighborhood. He’s friends with the proprietors and so he’s put some of his own works, verbally- and visually-rich collages, along with pieces by other artists in places like La Cave des Papilles, a wine shop owned by his friend Gerard. The shop was debuting a new edition of Beaujolais Nouveau wine with a label designed by Rose, who also named the wine — Quoi d’Neuf? (What’s new?). The producer of the Quoi d’Neuf is Hervé Villemade.

Matthew Rose, Jean-Pascal
Matthew Rose (r) and Jean-Pascal (l) holding Quoi d’Neuf? the the Beaujolais Nouveau wine named by Rose and with the label designed by the artist.

The 4,000 bottles of the wine were down to the last two when I visited. It was Beaujolais Nouveau season, by the way, a short spell that begins each year on the third Thursday in November and lasts maybe two weeks and causes minor outbursts of wine drinking all over the land. This is light wine and I have to say we enjoyed it immensely — including Quoi d’Neuf? — which Matthew broke open for Stella and me so we could taste it. (He and Jean-Pascal also gave us one of the last remaining bottles to take home with us–thanks guys!)

Stephane, proprietor of a book store in Rue Daguerre where Rose has installed some art.

We strolled the neighborhood with Rose and went into a small bookstore run by (I believe) Stephane who had Rose’s art on the walls too. It was clear to me that this kind of curating in your neighborhood was a winning strategy to sell art, create community and liven up the neighborhood. (It’s also good off-site storage for your work, of couse, something artists are always looking for.) Art happens in restaurants and bookstores in Philadelphia and elsewhere but something about Rose’s organizing the whole neighborhood feels new (he also has work in an eatery). The closest comparable neighborhood endeavor art-wise that I can think of was the 1990s window art project organized by the Art Front Partnership (run by Marsha Moss and a colleague) and the Fringe Festival which sometimes offers artists window opportunities.

Nativity creche, left bank
Religious window decor on the left bank. The stuffed animals were mechanized — the squirrel-bunny-lion cubs (???) bobbed up and down and the deer moved its head from side to side. Get a load of the decorated outfits on Jesus and Mary.

Rose is putting together a holiday show at La Cave and he invited Libby and me to send some art for it. We love wine, and we really love the idea of our Philadelphia art works being on view in Paris in a wine store so we happily sent two of our Dorothy Speaks paintings which are cheery and funny may put people in a good enough mood to buy a little vino — or a little art!

Anyway, I’m quitting this post now because it’s already too long, and will tell you about Rose’s art in another. And in a third post I’ll get to Karen Kilimnik, promise.