Art Of The Day Weekly
#35 - from 22 February 2007 to 28 February 2007
IN THE AIR
Sell, something will come from it
French museums remain firm as to the principle of the inalienability of their collections. In other terms, a work of art that enters a public fund, whether it is the Louvre or another museum of the province, can never leave it. The American museums, most of them private, have many less constraints in this aspect. They sometimes get rid of works to get financial resources in order to increase their collections in certain departments that seem priorities. This policy of deaccessioning, practiced by certain institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum or the MoMA, is not universally accepted and causes some friction. It is the case of the real "Spring cleaning" the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo is carrying out. In order to focus on its «core target», that is modern and contemporary art, it will sell at Sotheby’s from March to June nearly two hundred pieces, from Greek and Roman Antiquity to ethnic Navajo materials, as well as small masters of the Italian Renaissance. They expect a profit of at least 15 million dollars. A war treasure to be able to compete with new and very wealthy collectors in an art market that has become a little crazy…
In praise of the stain
TORINO – As has happened more than once(just think of the Fauvists), the artistic movement of the «macchiaioli» gets its name from a very contemptuous appreciation. An art critic saw in the works of these amateurs of realism who refused descriptive drawing and tended towards an accumulation of color effects nothing more than a heap of stains, or «macchie». This insult became their emblem… The Macchiaioli are brought together today at the palazzo Bricherasio in Torino but they were essentially Tuscan: the first group used to meet at the caffe Michelangelo in Florence. Their motives were generally rural - peasants at work, the harvest, herds of cows – and in a country just recently unified (in the 1860s), they described with idealism a humanity battling with hard work. Among the nearly one hundred works brought together, many are by the main artists of the movement such as Silvestro Lega, Telemaco Signorini and Giovanni Fattori. Of the latter we will discover a Ave Maria not shown for half a century and from Signorini there is a towing scene worthy of Répine, found in an English collection. The simple pleasures of family life also attracted the Macchiaoli – interior sewing scenes, walks in the forest. They are badly known abroad though they represent an original synthesis between the school of Barbizon and Impressionism.
Fischli & Weiss, pairs everywhere
PARIS – This is the month of lovers, and it seems also that of couples or pairs of artists. Following Gilbert & George at the Tate Modern, it is now the turn of Swiss artists Fischli and Weiss to hold an important retrospective (actually, it also comes from London). It is difficult to make a resume of their work, as it goes in so many different directions. They are known for their serie of photographs on airports, they were also remarkable in the video with repetitive sequences(a white cat lapping up milk)or, on the contrary, in successions of programed catastrophies (in Le cours des choses, objects drag each other mutually in an endless fall). The burlesque is of course an essential component of their work (we have seen them disguised as rat and bear),that also has an encyclopedic pretention of describing the world. Thus, Fischli & Weiss have spent a lot of time reproducing all the objects in their workshop in small sculptures. Their creation reflects their multipolar world: with various entrances.
Pascin, high on women
PARIS – He is pleasantly defined as the man from the three mounts: Parnasse, Martre and Veneris. This allows us to make a correct resume of his Parisian roots and his taste for all that was connected to love and the representation of women. Jules Pascin, born in 1885 inwhat is today Bulgaria, arrived in Paris in Christmas of 1905. He committed suicide thzre, in 1930. What happened in between is the subject of the exhibition at the Maillol museum, where 180 works show the various aspects of an abundant production, from the satirical drawings for the German magazine Simplicissimus to the drawings of shameless prostitutes that embarassed his gallery owners where he exposed his work at the time (see the explicit Caresse from 1925, in pencil and wash drawing on paper). Pascin's life of damned boheme, between women, alcohol and artistic friendships, quickly fascinated the Americans: it symbolised perfectly their vision of Paris during the Roaring twenties. This privileged rapport, favored by Pascin's long stay in the United States during WWI (he actually became an American citizen), had as a consequence that in France he was progressively forgotten. The regained interest in Pascin, illustrated in particular by a recent biography drawn by Johann Sfar, is richly extended through this retrospective.
A Museum dear to Flaubert
ROUEN – Its decadence was somewhat very moving: its anatomic waxes, its stuffed animals, its skeletons were no longer open, for almost a decade, except to specialists. The Museum of natural history of the Normand capital, the wealthiest in France following the one in Paris, impressed and inspired through its weirdness authors such as Flaubert or, more recently, Philippe Delerm. It will finally reopen on 23 February, 179 years following its creation. Among the 800 000 objects grouped together in the former convent of the Visitandines, the east bird gallery is truly one of the most attractive. But we also see, over 2500 m2, mammals, an abundance of anatomy, of botanics and mineralogy and an approach to regional ecology . The«cabinet de curiosités» aspect that comes from the accumulation of haphazard collections would be incomplete without a section dedicated to monsters…
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Chuck Close, definitely not a cliché
PARIS-MADRID – He is one of the major names in American hyperrealism of the 1970s: Chuck Close, born in 1940 in Monroe (Washington), is in the limelight in two different venues in Europe. In France, the gallery Xippas has grouped together some of his best known portraits, among them Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns or Philip Glass. In Spain, the Reina Sofía museum is dedicating a retrospective to him, covering the period from 1968 to our day. Close's technique consists in using photographs as a point of departure which he then recopies -much larger- in acrylic paints on a canvas. Since 1968 he privileged the 270 x 210 cm format. To do this he uses an age-old technique that consists in dividing the model in a large number of squares, and each one is transposed on the copy: Tintoretto proceeded in the exact same way, as can be seen in another exhibition in Madrid, at the Prado. Close's meticulousness is expressed in different techniques, traditional or not: with a brush, a knife or even by using the tip of his fingers… After an aneurysmal rupture partially paralysed him in 1988, he perfected new methods to overcome his handicap and continue to paint, in particular by using chop sticks.
The keys to sponsorship
The title gives away the function: this is definitely a repertoire that lists hundreds of sponsoring corporations in France. Each card gives the leaders, the amounts invested, the guiding principles in the company's sponsorship policy, the involvement of the employees as well as – the objective is less theoretical and is aimed at persons seeking subsidies – the conditions for selecting the files. But the work goes beyond this simple "adress book" function, since it offers in its first part an assessment of sponsorship and the legal measures in France. Comments are given as well on the key figures, on the tendencies in each compartment (solidarity, sports, culture, etc), and are compared to the international situation. The conclusion? Sponsorhip is in progress in France, though it remains cautious: 1 billion euros per year (a little less than in Italy and Great Britain, ten times less than in the United States, and applies in particular to the solidarity sector (ahead of culture). The Law on incitation from 1st August 2003, with its tax exemptions, is only used by 50% of sponsoring corporations. All that is left to do now is to convince the others…
AMSTERDAM – American photographer Spencer Platt was awarded the World Press Photo Award for his images of the bombing in Lebanon.
FLORENCE– A painting of Cezanne's which could not be traced for some time – Le Repas chez Simon, a copy of Veronese, was found in a private italian collection. It will be presented at the exhibition that opens at palazzo Strozzi on 2 March.
NEW YORK – The Armory Show will be held from 22 to 25 February with 150 contemporary art galleries from all over the world.
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NEW YORK – A Getty effect at the MoMA? The highly powerful director of the institution, Glen Lowry, is being investigated for doubtful financial practices, in particular regarding hidden payments he could have received from members of the board of administration .
PARIS – Pierre Pinoncelli, the man who damaged a urinal by Duchamp during an exhibition at the centre Pompidou in January 2006, has been condemned in appeal to pay 14 352 € in repairs. The centre Pompidou had requested 200 000 € in damages and interests.
TORINO – Andrea Bellini, the editor in chief of the American version of Flash Art, has been named director of the modern and contemporary art fair Artissima, to replace Roberto Casiraghi who resigned.
ON ARTOFTHEDAY info
This week do not miss
THE FORBIDDEN EMPIRE Visions of the world by the Chinese and Flemish Masters
BRUSSELS - 143 works over 1200 sq metres for two visions of the world: the one from the West through Flemish art, and the one of the Orient, that expresses itself through Chinese art. This original exhibition prepared by Yu Hui and the artist Luc Tuymans confronts drawings, paintings, calligraphy and maps, and seems to demonstrate that while the world has shrunk, "mental" distances have nevertheless not moved…