Art Of The Day Weekly
#8 - from 15 June 2006 to 21 June 2006
IN THE AIR
Branly, here we go
PARIS – The opening of the Quai Branly museum in a context that is, to say the least, rather sullen, is going to allow Jacques Chirac to catch a second breath. And particularly because it represents his large cultural project, to dedicate a frame to non-European civilizations, the ones no one dares call primitive anymore. Jean Nouvel's colourful building and Patrick Blanc's vegetable wall already give an architectural appeal. The wealth of the collections – 300 000 objects of which a great part come from the Natural History museum and the museum of African and Oceanian Art – give it a true legitimacy. And the abundance of activities announced – exhibitions, conferences, workshops, concerts and shows in either of the two theatres – should turn it into a very lively place. One million visitors are expected the first year, allowing the new museum to work its way up to the level of the Parisian leaders, far behind the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou and the Orsay museum, but nevertheless at the foot of the podium, together with the museum of the... Army.
Do not miss the GASTON CHAISSAC, "a man of letters " exhibition... . The letter and letters triumph with Gaston Chaissac, through 200 paintings, collages, letters and drawings often shown for the first time. At the Musée de la Poste, in Paris, until July 19
Cranachs all the way from Mexico
MADRID - The Thyssen-Bornemisza museum dedicates its temporary rooms to the Pérez Simón collection. The European amateurs do not know it, for two reasons. First of all because the owner is Mexican and secondly because he has not yet shown it to the public. But as it is now looking for a home in Mexico, it is no longer the moment to be discreet. Among the one thousand works that it holds - manuscripts, objets d'art, sculptures, paintings - the selection pointed to some sixty paintings that give an idea of the quality of the whole collection. From Bronzino and Cranach to Rubens (aVirgin), from Canaletto (the Palace of the Doges) to Tiepolo, from Fantin-Latour (a beautiful flower composition) to Cézanne, including Gauguin or a View of Antibes by Monet, the history of western art is shown in its ensemble. We will surely not discover absolute masterpieces but rather a very solid base that would make any museum in the province jump for joy. This also proves that in order to follow a traditional Grand Tour, one needs to skip over the oceans…
I love Paris
PARIS - France and the United States have not always had a love story. On the other hand, between France and American artists, feelings have always been fruitful and cordial. We see this clearly in an exhibition on the interest painters from across the Atlantic ocean have always had in the Louvre museum. Nearly thirty paintings are presented, of which some were quite famous in the past, such as Panorama du Salon carré et de la Grande Galerie( Panorama of the Square room and the Great Gallery) (1831) by Samuel Morse, hung precisely in the location it describes. Another artist was famous in his time, George Catlin (1796-1872). In 1845, Louis-Philippe granted him the extraordinary privilege of an exhibition in the Salle des Séances (the Meeting Room) for its series of paintings on the Indians from Missouri. But the study visit to the Louvre is a tradition that still existed in the XXth century, as can be seen in the examples of Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hopper.
Ketchup in the cold
STOCKHOLM - The iconoclast Paul McCarthy has landed in Sweden for an exhibition that will undoubtedly make history: it covers 2000 m2, and is the largest ever dedicated to him. It will be anounced at the entrance by his monumental Daddies Ketchup inflatable and 9 metres tall. Sixty films will be presented and the span of his works will be very wide, from sculpture Dead H in 1968 up to the installation Bunker Basement, done between 2003 and 2006. The artist, born in 1945, draws up metaphors on colonialism, on the cult of images, on consumer society, loves to represent body fluids by substitutes such as ketchup or chocolate sauce, and is also fascinated by the world of pirates. He was happy to learn that the Moderna Museet is built on the site of a former naval base and that some of his works will be shown here for the first time in the former prison of the sailors...
Strasbourg taken by abstraction
A surprising coincidence this week places Strasbourg at the heart of the avant-gardes of the thirties ...
1931: BERLIN. Vassily Kandinsky, then professor at the Bauhaus, was commissioned to make the ceramic decoration of a «music room» for the Grosse Berliner Bauaustellung, where architects, painters, sculptors and crafstmen wished to make their work available to the greatest number. The superb wall decoration disappeared at the end of the exhibition, but Nina Kandinsky kept the original gouaches. 1975: l’Oréal, who created Art Curial with the same intention of putting contemporary art at the level of the public at large, suggested to Nina to recreate the room. She accepted, with the condition that afterwards the work of art would only be transferred to a museum, and be permanently exhibited. Art Curial was sold, and l’Oréal who in the meantime changed vocations and is now interested in research, went off looking for the lucky museum. In comes the city of Strasbourg and its beautiful Museum of modern and contemporary art which, like so many others, fights to enrich its collection. And it draws the lucky number and is designated to inherit this exceptional work of art! It will be exhibited as of June 16, in the context of a very well documented exhibition-dossier that groups gouaches, photographs, letters and a few paintings next to the Arp rooms and... the decors of l'Aubette.
...to Total Art
1928: STRASBOURG. The Horn brothers were granted a wing of l’Aubette, a heavy building of the 18th century that dominates Place Kléber, to set up «a leisure complex": café, restaurant, movie house, dancing hall… The development was entrusted to Jean Arp and Sophie Arp-Tauber, who called in Dutch artist and architect Théo Van Doesbourg to help them. He was, with Mondrian, De Stijl's great master. This will be a total work of art. The architecture, a synthesis of space, form and colour, structures everything. What is undoubtedly one of the greatest works of the abstract avant-gardes between the two wars was welcomed in different ways. The bright colors and lines did not please everyone. The decors were changed and nothing was left ten yers later. But certain elements still came up to the surface and the municipality decided to restore them. In two campaigns, carried out with all the scientific resources of the time, the first floor, the Ciné bal, the Salle des fêtes (Party room), the Foyer bar and the extraordinary staircase with its stained glass by Arp are restored as closely to the original as possible. The result, revealed this week to the public, is dazzling.
Sorry no illustrations available to give you an afortaste of what you might see on your next trip. But the Museums of Strasbourg promise to put on line very shortly an illustrated presentation of the two events on their website
Vigée-Lebrun...We mean Mrs. Vigée-Lebrun
She was a very level-headed woman, an advocate for Europe before it was in fashion. With her numerous portraits, she met success both in Paris and in Versailles (whre she sang in duos with Marie-Antoinette), in London (where Reynolds was extatic about her painting), in Switzerland and in Saint- Petersburg, where she was made a member of the Academy. While the 250th anniversary of her birthday was just celebrated (1755), her souvenirs so fresh and natural reappear in a very comfortable pocket format in a box. We run into all the beautiful people of the time - dancers, comedians, crowned heads - wrapped in the turmoil of the Revolution and the Restoration period. The militant sub-title (a feminist edition) was justified in 1983 when the aim was to republish all the memories generally truncated by the previous compilers.
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BASEL - Samuel Keller, the director of the Art Basel fair, has announced his resignation. It will become effective as from 2008, when he will take over asdirector of the Beyeler foundation.
BASTIA – The 8th Biennial of photography will be held from 15 June to 31 July at the Una Volta cultural center. It hosts exhibitions by Paulo Nozolino, Jean-François Joly, Olivier Laban-Mattei as well as two photographers in residence, Christel Boertjes and Karolina Nemethova.
CHALON-SUR-SAONE - The Nicéphore-Niépce museum presents from 17 June to 1st October an exhibition on "coloramas", those huge formats (100 m2) the Kodak company posted for half a century in Grand Central station in New York. Nota bene: the twenty reproductions are not at the initial scale...
CHYPRE - The Cypriot authorities have announced the cancelation of Manifesta 6, which was to open this autumn. Manifesta is a large biennial and roaming gathering of contemporary art (Manifesta 5 had been held at San Sebastián, in Spain). The organizers should announce very soon a form of replacement.
FORT WORTH (Texas) - The Kimbell Art Museum has announced it has sufficient proof regarding the despoilment of the painting Glaucus and Scylla by Turner (1841) during the Occupation in Paris, to return it to the heirs of Anna and John Jaffé, the owners.
LONDON - In the spring sale of Modern and Impressionist art, Sotheby's highlight is a Portrait de Jeanne Hébuterne by Modigliani, with a low estimate of £8.5 million. At Christie's, the recently rediscovered Sunflowers by Egon Schiele are priced at £4 million.
LONDON - The Ceramics Fair, a specialized fair, will hold its 25th edition from 15 to 18 June 2006 at the Park Lane Hotel. La Manufacture de Sèvres, which has been producing continuously for the last 250 years will be present for the first time.
LONDON - For the first time in its history, the British Museum will stay open until midnight, to be able to face the public success of the exhibition dedicated to Michael-Angelo's drawings.
MONTPELLIER - The event Chauffe Marcel, aimed at gauging the influence of Marcel Duchamp on contemporary art, will open on 16 June in some twenty different locations in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon.
NEW YORK - Sotheby's has announced the acquisition of Noortman Master Paintings. Bob Noortman is one of the main dealers in ancient masters. The transaction gives him 3.2 % of the shares in Sotheby's.
PARIS - The Dray sale of decorative art of the XXth century, that was held on 8 and 9 June at Christie's, fulfilled all its promises, with a product of 59.7 million euros. The star of the auction was Armand Rateau (1882-1938), whose seven lots sold for more than one million euros, with a pair of window boxes from 1925 running off at 4.1 million euros.
PARIS – The Day of country Patrimony, which enhances the value of windmills, washing places, chapels, etc, will be held this year on sunday 18 June. Nearly 1500 events will be organized throughout France.
This week, do not miss
The city through the lens of French impressionists and German expressionists: such is the confrontation the Schirn Kunsthalle of Francfort offers. The former saw it as a object of admiration with its boulevards, its cafés, its lights, its civilization of leisure. The latter saw it as a monster with tentacles engendering poverty and violence. The truth undoubtedly lies somewhere between the two…