Art Of The Day Weekly
#10 - from 29 June 2006 to 5 July 2006
IN THE AIR
ARLES- At the beginning of the XXIst century the International Photography Encounters in Arles were not doing too well, in terms of attendance and financial results. But when François Barré and François Hébel stepped in as president and director respectively, the situation took an upward turn. In just a few years attendance went from 10 000 to more than 30 000 visitors, the program enlarged from 15 to 50 exhibitions and self-financing increased from 12 to 52%. According to the gross figures this is a classical case for the Harvard Business review, since the "Rencontres", soon to be celebrating their fortieth birthday, have found the right formula. This year Raymond Depardon will be at the helm. He has invited his younger and less young "fellow travellers" who have written or are still writing a beautiful page in the history of photography: Don McCullin (war), Jean Gaumy (the sea), Guy Le Querrec (jazz), Lise Sarfati (Russia), Andres Petersen (the relegated), etc. The program will be completed by training courses and organized evenings.
A small Louvre for Luxembourg
LUXEMBOURG- On 1 July the Great Duchy will open to the public one of its most important cultural projects of these last years: the MUDAM. The name masks the Great Duke John Museum of Modern Art. It was designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, the architect of the Louvre. The artist follows the traces of the old fortification on the site of Fort Thüngen, in the middle of a park that has been reorganized by landscape artist Michel Devigne. He also used the glass walls abundantly as well as the same Bourgogne stone as in the Parisian museum. The museum covers nearly 5 000 sq. meters of exhibition area. Marie- Claude Beaud, the former director of the Cartier foundation as well as of the Union of decorative arts, is at the head of this young collection (initiated in 1996), with nearly 250 works of art. The opening exhibition, called Eldorado, presents a part of this collection next to projects designed specifically for the museum (furniture, guards' outfits, lighting, "bicycle tree", etc) by designers such as the Bouroullec brothers, Martin Skekely or David Dubois.
Contemporary art under the sun of Cascais
LISBONNE – The Portuguese art scene has been enriched with a new ambitious actor. The Ellipse foundation, born under the auspices of João Rendeiro, president of the Banco Privado Portugués, one of the main banks in the country, was inaugurated on 24 June 2006. It is nestled in Cascais, some thirty kilometres from the capital, in a large warehouse converted and painted in black. It has a budget of 20 million euros for 5 years. Some 300 works have already been purchased and the purchasing campaign – focused on works of the 70s to our day - will continue over the years to come, directed by three commissioners, Alexandre Melo (the Prime Minister's cultural advicer), Pedro Lapa (director of the Chiado museum) and Manuel González, formerly in charge of the Chase JP Morgan collection, in New York. The artists exhibited combine installations, photography and traditional media and associate young portuguese artists (Vasco Araujo, João Pedro Vale) and international stars (Concrete Shock by Thomas Hirschhorn, Film noir by Douglas Gordon, Ernesto Neto, Cristina Iglesias, Richard Prince, Gabriel Orozco, etc). With 1600 m2 of exhibition space, the presentation will change regularly.
Versailles, cottages, digital generation
The Petit Trianon, the Queen's Theater, the French Pavilion, the Temple of Love, the Hamlet and its cottages, the Belvedere and the Grotto: Marie- Antoinette's domain will be open to the public once again as of 1st July. And it will be restaured between 2007 and 2009, through the patronage of Breguet who has reserved 5 million Euros for this. The English garden, very damaged by the storm in 1999, has regained its long gone colours. Next to the private patronage and the corporate sponsorship which has been a long tradition for Versailles, there is no lack for projects which – for the good cause– make marketing people dream: a Marie Antoinette perfume, a mineral water source found next to the Temple of Love, 1900 vines that will be harvested for the first time in september, by a brotherhood and with artist labels ... Another project that has made significant progress isThe larger, digital Versailles of which the first phase has begun. A window display site already presents 3D visits as well as the downloading of audio and video sequences. And as of 10 July help will be available to the visitors with aids like the wifi network and ipods ... Another Revolution.
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Baselitz, the world upside down
LAUSANNE – For 35 years, Georg Kern has systematically painted his figures backwards. Before being known by the name of Baselitz (as in the case of Stendhal, his pseudonym is taken from the name of a German town, in this case the town where he was born in 1938, Deutschbaselitz), he was influenced by Cubism and Surrealism, by Picasso and Antonin Artaud. In opposition to the major currents after the war such as abstract expressionism, Baselitz remained faithful to the figure and to «traditional» motives in painting – portraits, landscapes, still lives. From exhibited sexuality in the first decades to the current research on light, the evolution of Baselitz's work is illustrated in nearly 80 works, paintings, engravings or drawings. They share one original characteristic, as they all come from the artist's personal collection and therefore represent a sort of secret garden.
Portrait of the artist as a martyr
LONDON – It was Romanticism that allowed the image of the accursed artist, on the margin of the society he is fighting against, to assert itself as a sound value (even if it existed before: just remember Borromini who committed suicide by throwing himself on his sword). With Van Gogh, Gauguin, failure, suffering, unhappiness become dazzling signs of talent. This is the «mythology» the National Gallery analyses in its Summer exhibition. It has invited specialists in the field with this aim, as they experienced this in their own flesh and blood or because they personified it perfectly: Courbet, with a self-portrait from his youth whose trace had been lost for nearly thirty years, Delacroix with representations of tutelary divinities such as Tasso or Michel-Angelo, Manet, the Nabis. But not only French artists, even if they excelled in this field: we can also mention Whistler, Munch or Schiele, whose existence was so tragically short. The 70 works presented are put in order in significant themed sections–the heroe, the dandy, the bohème, etc.
Manifesta, a new Cyprus war
AMSTERDAM- The quarrel around Manifesta 6 is taking on a sour taste. The event, organized by a Dutch non-profit organization, is held very two years in a new European country in order to use the local sites as best possible and to put forward contemporary artistic creation. The 2006 edition was to be held this autumn at Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. It seems that the wish of the commissioners to also organise events beyond the Green line in the Chypriotic Turkish part of the country is the cause for a violent reaction on the part of the authorities in Nicosia. They first cancelled the event before announcing they would sue both International Foundation Manifesta, based in Amsterdam, and, individually, each of the three commissioners, Mai Abu ElDahab, Anton Vidokle and Florian Waldvogl, to prevent them from exhibiting elsewhere what had been designed for Cyprus.
The abbot who loved prehistory
He is something of a character out of a cartoon strip. His cassock over his big shoes, his eternal cigarette hanging from his lips and his assistant -a British spinster true to Agatha Christie's finest books - all contribute to make Henri Breuil (1877-1961) a priest worthy of interest. We must add to this of course his contribution to the knowledge of prehistory: for decades he roamed the world, from the grotto of Niaux to the one in Altamira (Spain), from the Romanelli cave(Italy) to the rupestrian frescoes in South Africa. While doing so he defended the cause of stratigraphy, incited all towards healthy discussions (on the Aurignacian period in particular) and lent credibility to the discipline: in 1929, the chair of paleonthology at the Collège de France was created just for him. The book is pleasantly illustrated (old photos, enhanced with water colors) and is the catalogue of a retrospective exhibition that is presently at L'Isle-Adam, the municipality this remarkable priest adopted.
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ATLANTA-The archives of Martin Luther King that were to be scatterd by Sotheby's, were finally purchased from his heirs by a consortium of local business people for 32 million dollars.They will be handed to Morehouse College, where he wa a student.
AUBERIVE (Haute-Marne) - The Cistercian abbey that in the past belonged to the Diderot family, was a prison for women and a summer camp for the Solvay plants is known today for its «apple conservatory", with its orchard full of rare varieties. On 24 June it inaugurated a contemporary art space in which it will organize exhibitions on artists «with a unique itinerary». The first exhibition will associate Rebeyrolle, Stani Nitkowski and Roger-Edgar Gillet.
BERLIN - Protests were heard in the German cultural world when Gerhard Richter's painting Aunt Marianne sold for 2.1 million pounds during a sale on 21 June, at Sotheby’s. They deplored it was not bought by a national institution, given what its symbolizes. It represents the artist at the age of 14 months, on the knees of his aunt, who was to die in a psychiatric hospital, during a programme to eliminate mental patients.
EVIAN – The spa inaugurates on 30 June its Palace of Light, the fruit of the transformation of the former thermal baths. This conference centre is equiped with a 600 sq. meter exhibition hall, which its sales promoters hope will become a reference in cultural poles, similar to the Gianadda foundation in Martigny. The first artist presented, from 30 June to 1st October, is the «local of the spa town», Pierre Christin.
LONDON – The Spink auction house, specialised in philately and numismatics, offers a gold florin from the time of Edward III (1344). It was discovered last January and is estimated at 100 000 pounds.
MADRID – Antonio López (born in 1937), one of the best known representatives of the realist movement, received on 26 June the Velázquez prize, the major Spanish reward in the field of plastic arts, representing 90 000 euros.
MINNEAPOLIS - This is the Jean Nouvel season. Two days prior to the opening of the museum of Quai Branly in Paris, his first creation on the American continent, the Guthrie Theater of Minneapolis, was inaugurated.
MOULINS – The National Theater Costume Centre, that keeps 8000 costumes from the Comédie-Française, the Paris operas and the Bibliothèque nationale, will be inaugurated on 2 July. It will be located in a former cavalry barracks, renovated by Jean-Michel Wilmotte.
PARIS – After three years of works, the musée de l’Armée (Military Museum), at the hôtel des Invalides, will open on 1st July its new rooms dedicated to the period from 1871-1945. They cover 3500 m2 (compared to the previous 2300). Over one thousand pieces are presented – uniforms, marshals' batons, various weapons, a canon of 75, up to an authentic taxi from the Marne, restored in 2005.
PARIS -Ieoh Ming Pei, who is on the bill boards in Luxembourg for the new museum, has being called urgently by the Louvre. He is being asked to re-arrange his pyramid as to allow for easier "crowd control" of the current 7 million annual visitors, as compared to the 4 million provided for when he designed it 7 years ago. He has three months to answer.
PARIS - The exhibition La force de l'art (The prime time of art)organized by the Ministry of Culture at the Grand Palais between 10 May and 25 June, has welcomed 130 000 visitors.
PARIS – Artcurial organizes a sale of Chinese art on 29 June at 2:15. A Nude by Pa Yuliang (1895-1977), estimated at nearly 100 000 euros, is the main piece. We can also admire more recent generations, represented by Wang Ziwe, the Gao brothers or Ma Liuming.
SPOLETO – The festival of the Two Worlds will begin on 30 June and will end on 17 July. Aside from music, theater and ballet, it will provide a part of plastic arts with exhibitions dedicated to Umberto Mastroianni and Demetrios Psillos.
WASHINGTON – The American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, two museums under the aegis of the Smithsonian Institution, closed in 2000, will open again to the public on 1st July, following a total renovation.
ON ARTOFTHEDAY info
This week, do not miss
LAUSANNE - A major retrospective spanning Georg Baselitz career from 1960 to 2005. With about a hundred oils, drawing, prints and sculptures, mostly from the artist’s personal collection, the exhibition gives a more essential as well as a more intimate vision of the German painter’s intense work now shown on a par with the greatest, from Picasso to Bacon.
LAVARDENS - In its unique setting, the Castle of Lavardens offers a new perspective of the art of weaving in the XXth century. The tapestries chosen, coming from prestigious private collections, are among the most representative of the artistic movements of the last fifty years, from Jean Lurçat to Calder or Sonia Delaunay. While not pretending to be exhaustive, the exibition focuses on giving a new visiblity to tapestry and tries to redefine more precisely its place in contemporary creation.