Spend your evening with the poet and provocateur Serge Gainsbourg, a man who never met a rule he didn’t want to smash to smithereens. If nothing else, you’ll feel as if you’ve smoked about a thousand cigarettes second-hand.
First up, it’s the last few days of Serge Gainsbourg: Initials L.G., a collection of photographs that drew rave reviews and was one of the most buzzed-about cultural happenings when it opened at Sotheby's in Paris in February, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the musician’s death in March. (The exhibit, at the Alliance Française/ FIAF Gallery, closes April 23.)
The 80 photographs, curated by Antwerp’s Fifty One Fine Art Photography, run from the knowingly transgressive (Serge in drag, Serge naked but draped in the French flag, etc.) to the ultra-domestic (Serge strolling Paris with his longtime partner Jane Birkin and their daughter, Charlotte, with whom the musician famously, ire-stokingly recorded the song “Lemon Incest” when she was 12), sprung forth from the lenses of everyone from William Klein to Helmut Newton.
Then head to Florence Gould Hall for a 7:30PM screening of Gainsbourg (Gainsbourg, vie héroïque), the hugely successful 2010 biopic that received eight César nominations (a.k.a. French Oscars), and notably a win for Eric Elmosnino’s pitch-perfect portrayal of the louche rogue. Directed by best-selling comic book artist Joann Sfar, the film follows Gainsbourg from his childhood in Nazi-occupied Paris to his creative blossoming, first as a painter, then as a jazz musician, and finally into the pop superstar and self-destructive spiral that marked his later years. It also touches upon his incorrigible ladies-man side: SG loved beautiful women, starting with none other than Brigitte Bardot. (Trailer below.)
Serge Gainsbourg: Initials L.G., through Saturday April 23 at FIAF Gallery 22 East 60th Street; 212-355-6100. Tue–Fri: 11am–6pm, Sat: 11am–5pm. Free.