November 21, 2014

Day Trip Idea: Giverny, Monet, Culture

In all its fabulousness, Paris can get tiresome. When in need of a tranquil escape, we recommend Giverny, where Monet and his family settled in 1883. You can visit his house and gardens. There are two parts in Monet's garden: a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road.
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Clos Normand Garden
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the Clos Normand gardens with the house in the background
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The two parts of Monet's garden contrast and complement one another. In 1893, ten years after his arrival at Giverny, Monet bought the piece of land neighbouring his property on the other side of the railway (where the road currently runs). With the support of the prefecture, Monet had the first small pond dug ; even though his peasant neighbors were opposed. They were afraid that his strange plants would poison the water. Later on the pond would be enlarged to its present day size. The water garden is full of asymmetries and curves. It is inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the prints he collected avidly.
after crossing the underground passageway under the ex-railroad/road situation, you're met with this view
Japanese-inspired water garden
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIn this water garden you will find the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, other smaller bridges, weeping willows, a bamboo wood, and above all the famous nympheas (flowers) which bloom all summer long. The pond and the surrounding vegetation form an enclosure separated from the surrounding countryside. Never before had a painter so shaped his subjects in nature before painting them so he created his works twice. Monet would find his inspiration in this water garden for more than twenty years. 
After the Japanese bridge series, he would devote himself to the giant decorations of l'Orangerie museum, which we suggest paying a visit to prior to Giverny. It was really cool to see the real thing after seeing the artist's impression of it. Always looking for mist and transparencies, Monet would dedicate himself less to flowers than to reflections in water, a kind of inverted world transfigured by the liquid element. This really comes through in his paintings in l'Orangerie. 
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Upon exiting the house and garden grounds, you are greeted by the town of Giverny.
As you can imagine, tourism is the town's main source of revenue, revolving around the famous painter's abode.
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There was a flea market that we believe takes place every Sunday that went for miles. Miles and miles of stands selling the same exact things. You could find utensils, plates, glasses, clothes, electronics, and old antiques -- chairs, tables, unidentified objects of standing furniture -- as well as old family memorabilia.  
We recommend packing a picnic, strolling around the gardens, and then plopping down on a particularly enticing spot along the flea market to enjoy your food.
Before hopping the train and returning to Paris, to be again reminded why you came here in the first place:
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November 14, 2014

WICE Cultural Studies: Spotlight on Vincent Fournols

WICE presents its Up Close and Personal series to give you an insider view of the fascinating members and staff who make up this exciting association.  This week's focus is on Vincent Fournols, WICE's Cultural Studies instructor. 
Vincent Fournols

Join WICE in welcoming Vincent Fournols,  a Parisian born and raised movie buff.  Since childhood, he has seen, documented, and analyzed around 4,000 different films.

Vincent in his own words:

Paris has allowed me to cultivate and nurture a taste for movies (that I inherited from my parents), that has grown over the years.   There is positively no other city in the world that has as many movie screens and offers such a wide range of films of all kinds and nationalities. When I was 15, I started a cardboard file of all the films I saw, and now it is a hefty computerized database. When I was 22, I spent 3 months in Paris constantly going to the cinemas. Then I did a 3-month internship at Gaumont, one of the two major French film companies. I saw 150 films in 6 months and that's when my expertise on film really started. In my experiences of living abroad and extensive travels, I always watch the local film productions, (most recently India).

October 27, 2014

WICE Cultural Studies: Spotlight on Maggie Cardelus

WICE presents its Up Close and Personal series to give you an insider view of the fascinating members and staff who make up this remarkable association.  This week's focus is on Maggie Cardelus, WICE's Cultural Studies instructor. 

Maggie Cardelus is an internationally exhibited multi-media artist whose photo-based works challenge our conventional understanding of photography and stretch its boundaries into drawing, sculpture, installation, and video. Her work is internationally exhibited and collected. At the Accademia di Belle Arti di Santagiulia in Italy, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in studio art and in the theory of photography. She earned her undergraduate degree in studio art and art history from Wellesely College, and her graduate degrees in architecture and fine arts from Columbia University and Hunter College in New York City  

Maggie in her own words:
I am an artist who has worked for 20 years in a variety of media, and most of my work is photo-based. Photo-based work deconstructs photographs and concentrates on specific aspects of the medium, be it its formal qualities like time or flatness, questions related to process, questions related to how society has used photography to document and remember, questions related to its cultural ubiquity and ability to create desire, and much, much more. A look at how contemporary artists delve into these questions is a great way to understand how artists think of photographs not as images but as complex nodes of power that shape how we think.

October 8, 2014

The New Cultural Studies Department

Join WICE in welcoming Nancy Jochimek, the new Cultural Studies Department Director, as she takes this department in the exciting direction of learning experiences with a social twist to them.   Nancy brings to WICE a rich history of working with groups and organizations that use art and cultural events as a fantastic way to bridge the gap between the international and local communities.  

Nancy Jochimek
Cultural Studies Department Director
photo by Ruben Jochimek
As a lawyer turned creative communications manager, Nancy’s extensive experience managing creative talent to produce various projects led her to cofound an organization that promotes art and culture to international communities by way of events that offer both an educational and social experience.  Her organization worked with creative talent and cultural institutions such as the world renowned designer Ron Arad, Bat Sheva Dance troupe, and the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.

September 30, 2014

Nuit Blanche 2014

Time to stay up all night and see Paris like you’ve never seen before.

For one night only, this Saturday, October 4, 2014, the Left Bank of Paris will become an open air museum with art installations from over 50 international contemporary artists.  Every first Saturday in October for the past 13 years has become the annual Nuit Blanche citywide art exhibition which changes neighborhoods and themes each year.   To accommodate the ever growing number of visitors, this year’s theme, Itinéraire de la Grande Randonée Artistique, features six neighborhood walks that will allow everyone to leisurely appreciate the various works of art which will be mainly displayed outdoors.  Some of this year’s artists include the American street artist Mark Jenkins and French aerial artist Chloé Moglia.   

  • For added convenience, several restaurants and food trucks will be open throughout the night along each of the six itineraries. 
  • For families unable to stay up late, a free Sunday Brunch will be offered at both the Cité de la Mode et du Design and Hôpital Necker so that the kids can still see some of the art installations that will not be taken down until Sunday evening.

For more information:

Bonne Nuit Blanche 2014!

September 22, 2014

Open House 2014 – Find Your Piece of Paris in the International Community of WICE

Come and join us this Saturday at WICE’s annual Open House event, where you can have fun finding out about WICE and how it can enrich your stay in Paris.   Open House 2014 is a free event that is open to the public.  Complimentary wine, soft drinks, and snacks will be available.

When:   Saturday, 27 September from 14h30 to 18h30
Where:  American Church of Paris, 65 Quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris
             Metro: Invalides, Alma-Marceau

WICE holds a unique spot in the Paris expat community, with its diverse offering of courses in English.  WICE also holds free weekly French-English conversation groups and many free social events throughout the year.  

September 2, 2014

WICE Visual Arts: Spotlight on Nica Junker

WICE presents its Up Close and Personal series to give you an insider view of the fascinating members and staff who make up this remarkable association.  This week's focus is on Nica Junker, WICE's Film instructor. 

Nica Junker

1)     What brought you to Paris?
 I was assigned by the Quattropole (Metz, Luxembourg, Saarbrücken, Trier) for 2013-2014 for an installation called silent neighbors, that was exhibited there for one year.  Previously I lived in Paris in 1995 studying at the Sorbonne and I always wanted to come back in my mid-thirties. Now I’m here to stay for a while.
2)     How has WICE affected your stay in Paris?
I have met a lot of very nice people at WICE. Having an exchange with all the members has inspired my stay here. WICE is a wonderful network to meet great people.