A few weeks ago I went to a friend's apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he had created an art gallery of some sort by removing all plumbing and appliances from his bathroom and kitchen. The artist being exhibited was a man called Matt Carols. I feel I should share this experience with the E2 community in order to warn/excite people about him, depending on their tolerance for - how do you say it - artistic freedom?

I had the chance to meet him, and apart from finding him rather feisty, I can say confidently he is also just plain nuts. I am not French, but I have many, many French friends and a general dislike for xenophobia of any kind, so I was taken aback to see that the photographs and sketches being exhibited were all of anti-French sentiment, and rather fervently so. But before I could express my own opinion on the situation, another Parisian patron explained to me that the guy is actually extremely popular among French collectors (????), so, I relaxed and actually began to enjoy the little show in the makeshift gallery near Bedford Avenue, one of America's most exciting artistic locations.

As I said before, when I spoke to him, heard his rants on French government, artists and movie stars, he came across as absolutely mad. And furthermore, when it dawned on me after about the 20th-straight minute of him talking at (at) me that his entire career is now a full time project passionately aimed at discrediting every single aspect of France as a nation, I began to see the appeal of having this artist around (sometimes).

According to some other French fans of the artist I met that day, the guy once had a project called Francatalia, a series of watercolors that stressed the phallic and vaginal imagery dominating the visualization method of the typical French architect(or something). Nine different pieces used the Eiffel Tower to represent either a loin, a sex organ, a sex position or in one case an abstract depiction of gang rape. The Sacré-Cœur Basilica was convincingly transformed into a wonderland “Titty Town”, and the Arc de Triomphe was used in such a way that prompted the French Institute Alliance Française in New York City to sue him for libel.

And my favorite story was that his thesis at the New York Academy of Art was a project he called the Historical Restoration Society, which involved reediting history books in a New York public library to shift the overall momentum of intellectual influence that propels and directs thought and action through time (again, or something). In the ten months the project went unnoticed, Carols took credit away from Napoleon Bonaparte for creating the Napoleonic Code, removed France from the Allies, defined France has a nuclear rogue state, renationalized Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre as Belgian, revealed St. Joan of Arc to be a fictitious character, removed all traces of René Descartes, decreased the population of Paris by two-thirds, installed the English monarchy as the ruling sovereign over France for more than three hundred years, and replaced all printed notations of Debussy’s works with songs from 1970’s sitcoms.

Might not be your thing. But if you feel like laughing at the stupidity of a bigot, try and find the guy.

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