Zaha Hadid or dinosaurs? Rodin or contemporary art from India? Make your choice among a wide range of exhibitions.

Prosaurolophus Maximus (11 meter long) © Sotheby’s

A summer with the dinosaurs

PARIS – Who would like to stand in front of a 6 meter tall, ill-humored tenontosaurus, ready to whip any jokers with its powerful tail, like a steel rod? Or in front of the suuwassae emiliae, also known as diplodocus with a long neck, an 11-meter tall monster? They say he eats grass, but one never knows … Or even in front of these flying reptiles with a 4 meter-wide wing span? Actually, these encounters are quite possible: these fossils are in an exceptional state of conservation and will be put up for auction at Sotheby’s this fall (14 October). They are being exhibited at the Institut de paléontologie humaine. The foundation we owe to Albert I of Monaco will open its doors exceptionally to present these creatures, some of which have been dug up very recently (in 2008 and 2009), in the setting of an amphitheater with Art nouveau hinges newly restored.
Trésors de dinosaures at the Institut de paléontologie humaine, from 1 July to 15 September 2011.
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Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 7 July 2011

A voyage through illuminations

PARIS – The Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Louvre museum have inaugurated on the same day two exhibitions with similar themes: the first focuses on the art of illumination in Islam while the second studies the respective masterpieces in the Western world. The gap is obvious: on the one hand the human figure, not on the other. Actually, the divide is not that clear. Christian copyists created superb abstract or floral motifs and their Mohammedan counterparts produced manuscripts dedicated to poetry, to history, to the epic, full of individuals, as the interdiction only applied strictly to religion. These two exhibitions allow the two institutions to show off their respective collections: 70 illuminations, of which some by Lorenzo Monaco or Jean Fouquet at the Louvre, against 87 Arab, Persian and Turk manuscripts
Enluminures en terre d’Islam at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, from 7 July to 25 September 2011.
Enluminures du Moyen Âge et de la Renaissance, from 7 July to 10 October 2011 at the Louvre museum.
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Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 7 July 2011

On the road to Winnipeg

PARIS - Winnipeg, the most improbable destination for a pleasure trip … It is in the midst of the great Canadian plains, and one suffocates with the summer heat and freezes with the polar winter when the North wind blows. And yet things are always happening in the capital of Manitoba, and this very original exhibition in the Maison rouge is out to prove it, the first of a series that is interested in the outskirts and not the capitals of contemporary art. Those who saw Winnipeg mon amour, Guy Maddin’s movie where there is spiritualism, old men playing hockey, a big escape of buffaloes, horses caught in the ice like in Malaparte’s Kaputt, will easily imagine the capacity of delirium and invention this cereal metropolis has. Whether in painting, video or installations, the artists presented are here to prove it: well-known Marcel Dzama as well as Wanda Koop, Bonnie Marin, Paul Butler and his Collage Parties, Guy Maddin with a series of new short films and many others.
My Winnipeg at the Maison rouge from 23 June to 25 September 2011. The exhibition will be presented at the Miam in Sète from 5 November 2011 to 20 May 2012 then at Plug-in ICA in Winnipeg during the summer of 2012.
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Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 30 June 2011

The Maya spirit in Guatemala

PARIS - They were one of the most brilliant civilizations of ancient times and the mystery around their disappearance continues to intrigue us: why did the Maya «evaporate» around the year 900, leaving behind them ruined cities in the jungle that fascinated the Europeans? Draught, food shortages and wars undoubtedly combined to cause their downfall. The collections from Guatemala give a wide idea of their art (but obviously incomplete: the codex, those books on the bark of ficus trees, were burnt by the Spaniards and the frescoes cannot be transported). This selection consoles us from the exhibition on the jade masks at the Pinacothèque that was cancelled (and which finally could be held in 2012). It is an initiation to the work on jade, to the extraordinary variety of ceramics (with the very particular «Maya blue»), to the flint «eccentrics», the limestone panels with glyphs, sculptures on alabaster, shell mosaics …
Mayas, de l’aube au crépuscule, les collections nationales du Guatemala at the musée du quai Branly, from 21 June to 2 October 2011.
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Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 23 June 2011

Paris on Indian time

PARIS – In its beginnings, the Centre Pompidou, directed by then curator Pontus Hulten, had launched the series of exhibitions «Paris… («Paris-Berlin», «Paris-Moscou», «Paris-New York») to «place Paris in the flux of artistic exchanges». This same ambition prevails decades later in the enthusiastic exhibition «Paris-Delhi-Bombay» that will set the Centre Pompidou on Indian time for four months: movies, music, debates and, obviously, contemporary art. The exhibition is founded on various commissions and does not wish to limit itself to the vitality of Indian contemporary creation, from Anita Dube’s videos to the stacks of stainless steel dishes by Subodh Gupta. It also aims at studying the way the French scene looks at this reality which globalization has brought so near and which nevertheless remains so foreign … Gilles Barbier, Orlan or Cyprien Gaillard (among some twenty artists) have thus been invited to deliver their interpretation of «Bharat» (the Sanskrit name of India), combining history, ecology and myth. From karma to Bollywood, including Shiva, Gandhi or the Royal Enfield motorcycle, the dialogue will cover a wide scope…
Paris-Delhi-Bombay at the Centre Pompidou, from 25 May to 19 September 2011
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Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 26 May 2011

An exploration of the European body

PARIS – How did the different cultures of the Mediterranean basin interpret the human body throughout their history? The Fondation Edf challenges this disproportionate problem. Luckily, in this case, the objects speak for themselves and the choice is made in a reservoir of quality, the collections of the MUCEM (Musée national des civilisations de la Méditerranée) – the National Museum of Mediterranean cultures- that is meant to open in Marseille in 2013. Member by member, element by element – the hand, the heart, the eye, hair – our whole physique is detailed. Many popular expressions such as ‘having a flea in your ear’, or ‘to drink bottoms up’ are linked in some way to reality or have a logical explanation that is materialized in a cake pupazza, a ginger bread man or a manual on hand reading …
Morceaux exquis at the Espace Fondation Edf from 27 May to 25 September 2011
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Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 26 May 2011

Cahun faces Cahun

PARIS - A rather enigmatic character, slightly denomic and disquieting, similar to Pierre Molinier, Claude Cahun (1894-1954),the great niece of Marcel Schwob, is on the way to beeing recognized as an important link in photography of the XXth century. The Jeu de paume presents 140 snapshots by this artist, who, through her obsessive introspection, through agressive framing playing on the androgyne aspect, produced a original corpus in which she is practically the only subject of study and which subverts the notion of gender. Razed head, in a bathing suit, or in a theatre costume, playing with superpositions and collages, Claude Cahun repeats herself to infinity in the mirror. She was part of the surrealist movement (she participated in particular in the exhibition in 1936 at the galerie Ratton), she settled in Jersey. Her activities during the resistance led to her death sentence (with her companion Suzanne Malherbe), in 1944, during the German occupation, and the destruction of her workshop, which was the cause for her late recognition.
• Claude Cahun at the Jeu de paume from 24 May to 25 September 2011. The exhibition will be presented at La Virreina Centre de la Imatge in Barcelona (from 27 October 2011 to 29 January 2012) and at the Art Institute of Chicago (from 25 February 2012 to 3June 2012)
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Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 19 May 2011

After Rodin, with Rodin

PARIS - Rodin was always an untouchable icon, in particular between the two wars. But what has been his real influence since the fifties? That is the question the musée Rodin asks by presenting stimulating parallels. The one between the Robe de chambre de Balzac (Balzac’s bathrobe) -a statue that created a scandal at the time- and La Peau (The skin) by Joseph Beuys is particularly expressive: one feels, if not a relation, at least a meeting point. Other matches of this type (the preparatory busts for Clemenceau’s portrait in face of a series of waxes molded by Ugo Rondinone), set out in eleven themed sections (the material, smooth surfaces, modeling, partial figures, dissolve, etc.), refer to Duchamp as well as to Fautrier or Urs Fischer. The presentation ends with a video by Douglas Gordon, Star Trek, Predictable Incident in Unfamiliar Surroundings, that lists the famous Hollywood kisses, a perfect counterpoint to the founding one by Rodin.
L’invention de l’œuvre, Rodin et les ambassadeurs at the musée Rodin, from 6 May to 4 September 2011.
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Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 5 May 2011

Zaha Hadid at home

PARIS –For a long time she was considered as the «architect who would never build». Known for her futuristic projects, based on high tech and on forms that are as insane as Frank Gehry’s, she never went past the last stage of contests or if she did, she would find herself all tangled up in endless problems – like the one of the Opera in Cardiff, which was finally abandoned along the way. Zaha Hadid seemed condemned to a position of a theorist. In a decade things accelerated and she is now part of the Top Five, working in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, in Cincinnati and Marseille. Now it is in the same Mobile Art pavilion she had designed for a roving exhibition– and which has just been offered by Chanel to the Institut du monde arabe – that she presents her itinerary, combining current projects and completed ones (Nile Tower in Cairo, the CMA-CGM tower in Marseille, the central bank in Iraq, the country where she was born in 1950), installations, lightings. A «total» work that goes beyond traditional presentations of architecture projects.
Zaha Hadid, une architecture, at the Institut du monde arabe, from 29 April to 30 October 2011.
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Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 5 May 2011