Christian Dior and his artists, Segalen in Polynesia, Chillida and his steel sculptures, Ker-Xavier Roussel, a forgotten Nabi...

Canaletto, Piazza San Marco in Venice, before 1723,
oil on canvas, 74 x 96 cm © Sammlungen des Fürsten von und zu Liechtenstein, Vaduz–Wien (exhibition in Evian).

Chillida, a man of steel

SAINT-PAUL-DE-VENCE - It is a story of loyalty: Antonio Chillida (1924-2002) was the youngest artist exhibited at the moment of the inauguration of the fondation Maeght in 1964. Nearly half a century later, after he himself has passed away and that his sculpture park in the Spanish Basque country has run into difficulties (after opening in 2000 near San Sebastián, it has been closed to the public since 1st January 2011), this great friend of the Maeght family will benefit from a large retrospective in 150 works. Of course we will admire the monumental iron Steles and Anvils by the «sculptor become blacksmith» (according to Gaston Bachelard), who always granted great importance to creation for public spaces. But there will also be all the other facets of his art: drawings, special clay, wood reliefs, stone Torso, Hommage to the sea in alabaster including the drawings of the last years, baptized Gravitations, cut-out inks on paper.
Antonio Chillida at the Fondation Maeght, from 26 June to 13 November 2011
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 30 June 2011

François Rouan's weaving

LE CATEAU-CAMBRESIS - From Supports/Surfaces to Matisse… François Rouan, born in 1943, was first known for his shared thinking with Viallat or Dezeuze, animators of the Supports/Surfaces group, who questioned the traditional canvas. He created his own technique called weaving, in which he combined paper strips to be used as the weft and the warp, and he never ceased being close to artists such as Matisse or Hantaï. The former was an important influence from his very first «cut out papers» from 1965-66. Forty years of evolution, during which video, photography, drawing are now combined, show that the figure, without ever being totally recognizable, is increasingly hidden in complex combinations of colors and cut-outs.
François Rouan at the musée départemental Matisse (at Cateau-Cambrésis), from 3 July to 18 September 2011.
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 30 June 2011

Gris’s Cubism

SÈTE – He is one of the best known representatives of «synthetic» cubism, the second phase of the movement launched by Braque and Picasso. Born in a large family in Madrid, José Victoriano González-Pérez (1887-1927) settled in Paris in 1906 and then took up his pseudonym. There eh worked in satirical magazines like l’Assiette au beurre. The exhibition does not delve on his beginnings: it starts with a Livre from 1911, and focuses on the artist when he enters the cubist brotherhood to which he gave a much more luminous (putting aside the grays and browns in favor of livelier colors) and architectural touch. The exhibition, that includes some fifty paintings, gives special attention to the «plastic rimes», works from 1920-25, in which he uses the correspondences of forms between very distinct objects.
Juan Gris, rimes de la forme et de la couleur at the musée Paul Valéry, from 24 June to 31 October 2011.
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 23 June 2011

Venet, the non-ferrous version

TOULON – Images of Gödel’s theory on incompleteness? Graphics from Wall Street? Figures that represent equations, diagrams, the whole thing on graduated paper? All of these ideas seem very far from the Bernar Venet the general public knows, the one who plants steel volutes in the court of honor of the château de Versailles. And yet it is the same person as this retrospective of the artist’s painted work reminds us. A lover of formulas and equations since his beginnings, Venet (born in 1941) has transposed them for the past 50 years on canvas, first in a very austere manner, then, with time, has added color to them. Convex functions, saturations with 33 zeros, integrals: for once, mathematics can be appreciated in an original manner, without reviewing before …
Bernar Venet at the Hôtel des Arts, from 11 June to 18 September 2011
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 9 June 2011

The Liechtenstein, long term collectors

EVIAN – Liechtenstein has always been known for being a tax haven or, in another, lighter sector, as the crib of a family of ski champions, the Wenzel brothers. For some time now, and mostly since the reopening of the Liechtenstein museum in Vienna, in 2004, the tranquil duché has recovered a reputation that suits it just as well – that of a unique art centre with an exceptional princely collection, enriched uninterruptedly from the Renaissance up to our day. Following the aborted exhibition in London last year, a few of its finest samples have finally travelled to us. The palais Lumière presents some one hundred works, among them Bruegels, Rembrandts, Rubens and Canalettos, some of them in large formats, and a beautiful selection of Amerling, the leading artist of the Biedermeier. But there are sculptures as well – and, the least expected part of the exhibition – furniture with a sumptuous cabinet in de pierres dures by Melchior Baumgartner.
Splendeurs des collections princières du Liechtenstein at the palais Lumière, from 4 June to 2 October 2011.
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 2 June 2011

Ker-Xavier Roussel, a forgotten Nabi

PONT-AVEN – He was nicknamed the «Bucolic nabi». Ker-Xavier Roussel is not the best known among that group of painters who were first inspired by Brittany (materialized by this native from Lorraine by adding the prefix Ker to his first name). Having always been in the shadow of Gauguin, Sérusier, Maurice Denis and Emile Bernard, this first exhibition in France in the last twenty years of his monographic work should give him a place of his own. He had a long artistic career (born in 1867, he died in 1944) and the works presented go from the 1890s to the decade of the 1930s. He left an important corpus of prints as well as monumental decorations for the palais de Chaillot or the Society of Nations. The nearly one hundred works presented show his attachment to the mythological themes, to intimate scenes (he was Vuillard’s brother-in-law) and his taste for landscape that made him assimilate Cezanne’s «lesson», the master he then visited when on a pilgrimage on bicycle in Provence, in 1906…
Ker-Xavier Roussel at the museum of Pont-Aven from 28 May to 2 October 2011
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 26 May 2011

Between utopia and dystopia

BORDEAUX -Here is an exhibition that throws us off from the beginning: those who will be able to decipher the title will be the very happy few. For all the rest of us, dystopia is the contrary of utopia. It was thought of by a writer of science-fiction, Mark von Schlegell, and it tries to show how many of our current avant-gardes have been contaminated by the consumerist creed. Our world is described in New Dystopia, the title of the author’s latest book, and it is clearly apocalyptic. To do so he brought together the works of some fifty artists (from Cyprien Gaillard to Franz West) who describe hostile spaces, explosions, radiations, solitary existences. There is nevertheless some space for hope: at the bottom of this black hole, of this industrial catastrophe, new utopias can come to life. The catalogue itself is quite original, as it is presented as a novel, written by the same curator.
Dystopia at the CAPC from 14 May to 28 August 2011.
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 12 May 2011

Dior, a lover of artists

GRANVILLE -The extraordinary success of the «New Look» and his couture house often make the public forget that Christian Dior started his career in the difficult years as a gallery owner, around the crisis of 1929. He had one on rue Cambacérès with Pierre Colle where future glories such as Giacometti, Calder or Leonor Fini had their first personal exhibitions. Dior kept that sensitivity for contemporary art throughout his life as can be seen in the retrospective that brings together, in his charming Normand villa Les Rhumbs, all those who counted for him. Of course there is Christian Bérard, Jean Cocteau and composer Henri Sauguet, as well as illustrator René Gruau or photographer Willy Maywald, whom he asked to help him forge the image of his house. The pieces shown are very stimulating by their eclecticism, and they range from a gouache by Max Jacob to the bathrobe created by Edward Molyneux based on a drawing by Raoul Dufy, including the dress designed by Elsa Schiaparelli for the fiftieth anniversary of the Eiffel tower.
Christian Dior, le bal des artistes at the musée Christian Dior, from 14 May to 25 September 2011.
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 12 May 2011

The man with the bands

METZ - He is not France’s representative to the Biennale in Venice for 2011 (it will be Christian Boltanski) but he is one of the heavyweights of French contemporary art, together with Annette Messager, Sophie Calle or Bertrand Lavier. He has one obsession, and it is bands 8 .7 cm wide (very precisely), which he inescapably aligns in white and in color. We saw the scandal he created a long time ago at the Guggenheim (in 1971, when his installation was censured, notably, by his artist colleagues), then in Paris (at the Palais-Royal, in 1986). Since then Daniel Buren has become a confirmed value: he returned to the Guggenheim in 2005 and supervised the restoration of his columns in the Palais-Royal in 2009-2010. For his 2000th intervention, or almost, the artist has remained faithful to his medium. This time he will unfold it «in situ» as usual, in a venue that has become a new reference in contemporary art – the Centre Pompidou Metz. Buren’s obsession with bands, dug out at the Marché Saint-Pierre, dates back to 1965.?
Daniel Buren presents, Echos at Centre Pompidou Metz, from 8 May to 12 September 2011.
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 5 May 2011

Segalen, his Polynesian side

DAOULAS – The man left a fugitive but dazzling trace in the album of explorers-ethnographers. It is difficult to define Victor Segalen (1878-1919). He was a Navy doctor, a poet (Stèles), drawer, sinologist, archaeologist author of discoveries in China (monuments of the Han dynasty). The one category he definitely belongs to is that of the eternal travellers. The abbey of Daoulas looks into this original character by bringing together testimonies of his passion for Polynesia: masks and wood Tikis, the bows of pirogues, jewels and ornaments, puzzles from the clubs from the Marquises or religious effigies, including his surgeon’s satchel. The objects, real littel jewels, are on loan, not from major international institutions, but rather from small museums in the province rarely visited – be it the musée d’Art et d’Histoire of Langres or the Castle-museum of Boulogne-sur-Mer.
Victor Segalen, Rencontres en Polynésie at the Abbaye de Daoulas, from 22 April up to 6 November 2011.
Know more about the exhibition
Read again the art-of-the-day.info newsletter from 28 April 2011