#97 - from 3 July 2008 to 9 July 2008

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Art rules in Warsaw
What do people talk about in Poland? Of the supposed past of Lech Walesa as a secret agent. Of the bitter defeat at the 2008 European cup – a point in common with France - and the difficulty the country will have in organizing the next edition with Ukraine. Like everywhere else, the artistic scene rarely appears in the daily news. Except when it regards Chopin, who it seems died of cystic fibrosis and not of tuberculosis, and now Polish scientists are asking that his body - buried at Père-Lachaise - be exhumed in order to carry out a DNA test. It is well known that no one ever talks about the trains that are on time. Because while the football stadiums are out of schedule, visual art centres, on the contrary, open on time. The latest one, the CoCA in Torun, Copernicus' town, was inaugurated in June 2008. In Warsaw itself, the CSW (Centre for Contemporary art) in the castle of Ujazdowski, will host a future European artistic exchange centre, that will be set up in the former arsenal. If it maintains its dynamic programs - it is currently hosting an ambitious retrospective of Polish contemporary photography and the rediscovery of the unique Stefan Themerson (1910-1988), author of photograms, of avant-garde films and of symphonic music – the CSW could place itself as one of the indispensable addresses in Central Europe. It attracts the media less than a football victory. But the success is just as worthy of praise…
The website of the CSW Warsaw
The website of the CoCa Torun


Van Dongen, solid as the Rock
MONACO – Fauvism, continuation and end? After Vlaminck, following the Hungarian Fauvist artists, here is Van Dongen, served by an ambitious retrospective of 200 works of which 130 paintings. It is been held in Monaco, as an anticipation of the futur NMNM (Nouveau Musée National Monaco), that will open in 2009 at villa Paloma before migrating in 2015 to a new building that remains to be built. The choice of Van Dongen is natural: it was in the Principality that he died in 1968, at the age of 91. Maybe to take some distance from the current success with Fauvism, the commissaries gave preference to other periods of the artist: before 1905, with his satirical drawings, or during the roaring twenties when he became the favorite portrait artist of the High society, from marquise Casati to Anna de Noailles. A certain number of paintings are part of the collection of the museum that has an active purchasing policy. Others come from private collections and will not be visible for some time, such as Mademoiselle Edmonde Guy or standing nude or a large portrait of Léopold, the king of the Belgians.
  • Kees Van Dongen at the Salle d’Exposition on Quai Antoine Ier, from 25 June to 7 September 2008
  • The website of the NMNM
    Ave César, Nouvel style
    PARIS – The retrospective dedicated to the new realist can be seen from various angles. Of course it honors the sculptor who died ten years ago, on Christmas eve 1998. It is also a homage to Jean Nouvel since it was the architect who was asked to choose the works to be exposed and to design the scenography. Last but not least it can be seen as the survey of the Foundation itself, that opened in 1984 with an exhibition by César, and set up since 1994 in a building by Jean Nouvel… Beyond this game of mirrors, visitors will be happy to see again the emblematic works that marked the career of the artist from Nice: the first metal weldings in 1949; the Imprints, with his famous Pouces ( 19 of them, of which the one 2.5 meters tall, shown at galerie Claude Bernard in 1965, and the one 6 meters, 6 tons that belongs to the General Council of the Hauts-de-Seine) and some Seins; the Expansions in polyurethane foam; finally, the Compressions, which are undoubtedly his work most known by the general public.
  • César, anthologie par Jean Nouvel at the Fondation Cartier, from 8 July to 26 October 2008 Among the events and performances that accompany the exhibition, one should notice the creation of the largest cotton candy in the world, from 20 July at 3 PM, directed by Gilles Stassart.
  • The website of the Cartier Foundation
    Laib and pollen
    GRENOBLE – At the beginning of the seventies Wolfgang Laib (born in 1950) sculpted in Turkey a «brahmanda», that is an egg shaped stone. Thee women thought it was a meteorite and convinced themselves it would bring about fertility. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful tribute paid to the German artist, who always looked for his inspiration in nature. He has taken over the museum of Grenoble with his emblematic works: there are the small rice mountains, «mountains that cannot be climbed». There are areas covered with the pollen he gathers daily, in the spring, in his region of Upper-Souabe and which he spreads out just as patiently with a sieve and a small spoon. There are spaces with walls covered with bees' wax and «milk stones». Laib's work is in obvious accordance with our environmental concerns but it includes a metaphysical, meditative dimension, that is often lacking in the militant organization.
  • Wolfgang Laib at the musée de Grenoble from 5 July to 28 september 2008
  • The website of the museum of Grenoble


    The encounters of Lacroix
    ARLES – This is the great year for Christian Lacroix in Arles. The couturier has been invited to his town to design an exhibition at the musée Réattu. In this beginning of the Summer, he is also at the head of the Rencontres internationales de la photographie (The International Photography Encounters). He has invited creators whose work he likes and of which some have covered his work. They have be active in the fashion world (Paolo Roversi or Peter Lindbergh who likes to place his models at Beauduc in the Camargue region) or not (like Grégoire Korganow, honored twice, for his portraits of prisoners' wives and his neophyte look on the backstage of fashion parades). Joachim Schmid is one of the curiosities of this edition. He is not photographer but has been collecting for a quarter of a century anonymous cliches found in the street: properly numbered they are an original «cadavre exquis» of our society. To get a panorama of young European creation, no one should miss the Nuit de l’Europe, on 9 July. Twenty seven curators (from Quentin Bajac for France to Margarita Matulyte for Lithuania) have been invited to select thre photographs for each country of the European Union. The result – the production of 81 photographs – will be projected during the night on giant screens.
  • Les Rencontres internationales de la photographie open on 8 July and will last until 14 September. Opening week from 8 to 13 July.
  • The website of the Rencontres d'Arles
    Read the article on the exhibition at the musée Réattu, until 31 October


    View of the installation. Two drawings Pelle di grafite, 2003-2006, graphite on black paper, 300 x 400 cm (4 elements, 150 x 200 cm each) ; La geometria nelle mani, 2007, bronze and inox, 195 x 120 x 103 (h) cm Courtesy Giuseppe Penone and Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris/New York
    Penone, the trunk-man
    It is impossible not to associate him to the Arte Povera movement launched in Torino at the end of the sixties by critic Germano Celant. Like his friends Merz, Kounellis or Fabro, Giuseppe Penone (born in 1947) loves to use raw materials with, in his specific case, a special attraction for the productions of nature. The tree, its trunk, its bark, its roots, are strong motives for inspiration. The galerie Marian Goodman presents recent works – drawings, a sculpture and a large installation, in which the imprint of a centennial cedar is melted into bronze. Penone loves space and we will enjoy discovering his latest creation this summer: in the park of the Venaria Reale, near Torino, he has composed the Garden of fluid sculptures, with 11 installations scattered over 5 hectares.
  • Giuseppe Penone at the galerie Marian Goodman (79, rue du Temple, 75003 Paris), until 12 July
  • The website of the Marian Goodman gallery
    Penone's garden at the Venaria Reale


    Chinese architecture in danger
    Not everything is always said. While Dans la ville chinoise, the large exhibition at the Cité de l’architecture, is interesting given the number of movies, archive images, models (the colossal one of current Beijing), it remains,for obvious diplomatic reasons, very «politically correct». One remains unsatisfied as to the massive destruction of the hutongs (the traditional dwellings in Beijing) or regarding the effect on the urban structure of the colossal migration from the countryside to the cities. The catalogue tries to fill in this gap. First of all it eliminates the prejudice according to which Orientals do not care about ancient constructions and prefer rebuilding indefinitely the same buildings with new materials. The attachment they have to their «heritage» can be compared to ours but the needs imposed by economic growth have led planners to ruthlessly raze the older neighborhoods and to relocate the residents beyond the 4th or 5e ring road. The life of the mingong, the hoards of country-city dwellers, is presented without any cover. And while they continue to use specialist to chose the site and orientation of the building, the authoritarian slogan of the olympic games, «I participate, I am happy, I sacrifice », could raise the real question: until when will the Chinese city be able to sacrifice its past?
  • Dans la ville chinoise, regards sur la mutation d’un empire directed by Frédéric Edelman, Françoise Ged and Yves Kirchner, 2008, co-edited by Cité de l’architecture / CCCB de Barcelone, éditions Actar, 350 p., 42 €, ISBN : 978-849-695457-1
  • Also to be read, the second catalogue Positions, portrait d’une nouvelle génération d’architectes chinois (Positions and portrait of a new generation of Chinese architects), 224 p., 32 €
  • Buy that book from Amazon


    BOSTON - The Museum of Fine Arts has announced it has reached its objective (500 million $) in its campaign of donations to finance its development. The largest part - 350 million $ - will allow the construction of a new building by Foster and Partners.
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    LONDON – The event «Master Drawings», from 5 to 11 July, brings together some twenty galleries of the districts of Mayfair and St James’s, presenting exhibitions of drawings, from the XVth century to our current era.
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    NEW YORK - The installations of Olafur Eliasson – water falls near the Brooklyn bridge - were inaugurated on 26 June. They are visible until 13 October, from 7 AM to 10 PM and are lit at night.
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    PARIS - Corinthe, a plaster sculpture by Jean-Léon Gérôme, presented at Sotheby’s on 25 June, was preempted by the musée d’Orsay, at a price that has just set a new world record for the artist (456 750 €).
    PARIS - A painting by Wassily Kandinsky, Epanouissement 1943 was sold for 1.86 million € on 25 June by the étude Aguttes.
    PARIS - According to report from the Voluntary Sales Council (CVV), the regulatory authority on the French market, sales grew by only 1% in France. While the sale of works of art grew by 33% in the world, the part of France in the total does not stop decreasing (-5.8 % in 2006, -13% in 2007). The CVV speaks in favor of a global refurbishing of French law governing sales and greater transparency.
    VALLAURIS - The international biannual event of contemporary ceramics is held from 28 June to 17 November in seven locations in the city, among which the national Picasso museum (which hosts an exhibition by Richard Deacon) and the Magnelli museum.
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