September 26- Career: how to face a provocative person?

Hello September,

I went to a cocktail at an art gallery, and I saw a woman who, I was told, could help me professionally because she works for a museum of contemporary art. In what way? To find a regular job!

I approached with my glass of wine, and introduced myself. We had a common friend who suggested I should get in touch with her for advice. Actually we had met in several occasions, but never talked before.

And there, bang! I was surprised to be attacked out of the blue: she told me she knew who I was. How  impertinent of me to dare address her in this informal style. I should sent her an email and then she might decide to answer or not.

I was surprised, so I muttered something like, eh, we don’t need to meet actually… and thought to myself, forget about getting help, it seems you’d better avoid this lady, April.

The thing is we are related to the Platform, my institution, so we will meet from time to time. She must be about three years older than me, but has a position that is stable and well paid in the art business. Why does she need to be nasty?

But I realize I can be a “menace” for her kind: I seem care-free from hierarchical struggle, and have a relative independence. I have the possibility to make choices, even if not always the budget that goes with them. Actually we do the same job, but I do it as a stressed free-lance, who doesn’t know what comes next, shes does it as a functionary.

Do I need her?

What I need is to get close to people who want to co-create, and forget false stability. I didn’t like to be part of an obedient hierarchy, I want to be free and creative. And respectful of others, of course. But respectful doesn’t imply being servile to those with more institutional power.

I need to focus on my project. This is an experience to help me realize: what do I really want from life? Recognition from this type of individual? Or some stupid revenge?

Well, pit bulls are not to be ignored or underestimated for their possibility to be troublesome.

But we can slalom around them 😉

P.S. I am apologize to pit bulls for using them as a metaphor for aggressive behavior …


Mikaela Shiffrin




June 8- Paris Museums 1: Grand Palais and Palais de Tokyo

Dear June

Sunday was a Museum day: my friend T arrived from Switzerland with a big list of art exhibitions that were a must to him: among them, the Grand Palais and the Palais de Tokyo. Two of the museums that host contemporary art exhibitions. He hardly left his suitcase, and we started running around the city.

I am usually lazy on Sundays. I like to take things easy. But there was no time to lose.

We started with Bill Viola, the video artist, at the Grand Palais: it was very impressive, the first time actually I was acquainted with his work: conceptual videos on life, death and transfiguration, that were like moving paintings. My friend was also interested in the second Grand Palais exhibition: the photographs of  Robert Mapplethorpe.

Next stop: Palais de Tokyo. We were to join other friends, there, and his colleague who was in Paris. To begin with, “Flamme Eternelle”, or Eternal Flame, by Thomas Hirschhorn who lives and works in Paris. Inspired also by contemporary political philosophers, he creates a space that is free and open to the public. So different from the other exhibition of the photograph Sugimoto.

This intensive visitation is not at all my style. I’d rather be slow with a work of art, a person, and a situation. And choose one at a time. I’d rather take all my time. That makes also a choice more important.

I left them with Sugimoto and went to the museum café. There is a beautiful terrace outside, between the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’Art Modern that overlooks the river, la Seine. There were some adolescents with their skates, occupying part of the museum terrace. Tourists taking photos: families, couples, friends, all ages, different origins. The light was beautiful, and the “bateau-mouches” were passing by. Another form of “contemporary art”, an installation were I was participating myself.