Yesterday, after lunch, I went to the Centre Pompidou for the second time this week. The first time I went to see the current Big Show--Wilfredo Lam, a Cuban painter of the Picasso era, whose name I thought I knew as a painter the poet Wallace Stevens had collected--and then a small show by Karel Appel, a Dutch painter of the Cobra group. I went back for the contemporary stuff, much of it conceptual and overtly political. Stopped to read a photo-story by Sophie Calle. Mostly I wondered what might stop me in my tracks. I like the tactility of paint, I like colour, I like the feeling of life in motion in kinetic abstract painting. The Appel was expressive: scribbled kids' black-lined drawings of people, loud colour, in your-face aggressivity.
The Museum was pretty much deserted.
I took public transportation over, instead of walking. Metro, Line 4, coming up at Les Halles. The Metro was half-empty--there are lots of ways of getting around the centre of Paris, including scooters, skateboards and bikes (at least as life-threatening, I would guess, as bombs) --and jittery. Les Halles is an underground, multi-level mall smack in the city centre, a hub for all the big north-south, east-west commuter express lines. That Line 11 was shut down at Chatelet--the PA system kept warning--for a bomb scare is routine at the best of times. I walked home.