Art Of The Day Weekly
#39 - from 22 March 2007 to 28 March 2007
IN THE AIR
The millions of Tutankhamen
PARIS-LONDON – The exhibition at the Grand Palais on the treasures found in Alexandria has just closed with an impressive result: over 700 000 visitors were once again taken in by the magic of the Pharaohs. Ever larger, ever stronger: this seems to be the golden rule for the new managers of the Millennium Dome in London, the supertructure designed by Richard Rogers in Greenwich, which has not really found its function following the large exhibition in the year 2000. Indeed, a «remake» of Tutankhamen's world tour that hit Europe in the 70s (1.7 million visitors at the British Museum en 1972 according to The Guardian) is being prepared for next September. The famous gold mask will not be travelling as it is too fragile. But the organizers are nevertheless counting on an unprecedented number of admissions, with 2 million visitors. If each one of them pays the full rate (approximately 22 €), this will represent a revenue of over 40 millions €. The Louvre in Abu Dhabi better behave! It seems this high admission price is justified by very noble considerations: 60% of the profit will be used to protect the Egyptian patrimony. We still must wait to see how this godsend will be used…
Pop art, French style
PARIS - They are the French cousins of Pop Art but they were not as well treated in history of art. They must therefore still be discovered (such asDufrêne, Deschamps) or rediscovered (the most famous of them such as César, Christo, Arman or Yves Klein). These are the New Realists, as they were baptised by the flamboyant art critic - Pierre Restany - who formulated their basic principles at the beginning of the 60s: to get inspired and use the mass produced objects of the modern world. The Grand Palais has brought together the thirteen companions of this short adventure (it symbolically came to an end with a fire by Tinguely on the square in Milano in 1970). From the posters slashed by Villeglé, Hains or Rotella (with his famous Marilyn) to the accumulations of Arman, from the compressions by César to the 'Nanas' by Niki de Saint-Phalle, this is in a way the hulled out portrait of the consumer society that is drawn here.
They have brought Praxitele back to life
PARIS – Here is a mythic artist from the IVth century BC, who helped define the ideal of Greek beauty. We have no certain work of his. How can a retrospective be dedicated to him? Through a simple game of reflection: while the original works no longer exist, they were used for a long time as models for various artists who were thrilled to reproduce the master. They did so as is, without cutting out or changing anything (it was not so much in fashion then…). Hermès, Aphrodites, Apollos cut out of marble and that come from Olympia, London, Berlin, supply the perfect figures in this exhibition. Does the world seem empty to you if one single statue is missing? Maybe not but we will miss one major figure: at the last minute, the Greek ministry of Culture did not authorize the Ephebe from Marathon to leave the national territory.
Atget, the top of the top in Paris
PARIS – The public sometimes confuses photographers with a part of their work. Roger Fenton is identified to the war in Crimea, Felice Beato to the Meiji eperiod in Japan. As for Eugène Atget (1857-1927), it is without a doubt Paris, and for a very simple reason. For nearly four decades he walked up and down the old neighborhoods to take topographic or picturesque views (courtyards, boutiques, coverd passages, etc) which the contemporary artists, among them Utrillo or Dunoyer de Segonzac, used as documentation. The exhibition, with the help of the very rich funds of the Bibliothèque nationale (5 000 images bought from Atget between 1899 and the year of his death) obviously demonstrates this aspect of his work. As well as what is less known such as his views of French style parks (Saint-Cloud) or his more social images in the 1910s and 1920: the residents of the suburbs, the prostitutes, the fairs. As strange as it may seem, this is the first French retrospective on Atget. This is an opportunity to recall that the rediscovery of this very «French» artist is due in great part to the Americans. Man Ray pushed him to the front of the stage by publishing him in «La Révolution surréaliste», Berenice Abbott bought his funds when he died (10 000 shots) and the MoMA, which she then sold it to, dedicated the first important exhibitions to him.
Drawing is holding its own
PARIS – Similar to the large fairs such as Art Basel, Frieze or the Fiac, that attract satelite events, the respectable Salon du dessin will have a competitor -partner this year. This first contemporary drawing fair will be hosted over the six floors of a 2000 m2 building, avenue d’Iéna. Forty galleries, among them Lelong, Zürcher and Chantal Crousel, will present a post-1950 production and Antoine de Galbert, the creator of the Maison rouge, will exhibit a part of his collections. Le Salon du dessin, is a bit rushed as it has set its own theoretical border at the 1970s, and continues to be held at the Bourse with some thirty exhibitors. Its strength comes from its international character. Half of the galleries are foreign and the ones elected are «heavy weights» such as Colnaghi, Jean-Luc Baroni or Agnew’s. A week of drawings, with events in various Parisian museums, extends the current character of this discipline but we will have to wait until Art Paris next week, to know the name of the winner of the brand new drawing prize of the Daniel and Florence Guerlain foundation.
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ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Icon Tada:the invisible man
PARIS – There is something of Thomas Pynchon in this man. Though he is much younger ( he was born in 1971 in Kobé), the Japanese artist defends his privacy with as much zeal as the American writer, the author of V. Icon Tada paints, but without a brush. He builds his colored constellations that ressemble shocks of electrons, or circular waves sur on a water surface, starting with his computer screen, by using mathematical formulas. He also likes the pseudo-colors of paint, closer to the bar code than of informal art. We saw him at the biennal event of contemporary art in Sélestat, at the Scope fair in Miami and Artissima in Torino and he likes to come back to France to Magda Danysz gallery. He presents new digital shots, in vivid colours, between candy pink and electric blue.
The variations of a writer around the work of an artist can give very disimilar results. The exercice Tahar Ben Jelloun set for himself is not entirely convincing when he places Giacometti's famous twig size men in the medina of Fes or when he tries to give them faces in the anonymous Parisian metro. His very recent visit to the sculptor's workshop, in the small street of Hippolyte-Maindron in the XIVth arrondissement, is more moving. Time seems suspended between the charcoal sketches on the walls and the old table with drawers, Giacometti seems to have walked out yesterday. Undoubtedly marked by the spirit of the location, the tenants don't dare make any changes. And we would not be surprised to see Beckett's ghost appear nor Genet's who knew how to find sculptures the artist used to forget in corners.
BRUSSELS – The Eurantica fair, which gathers 140 fine art and antique dealers, opens 23 March until 1 April.
FLORENCE – The director of the museum of the Uffizzi, Antonio Natali, and various important persons from the cultural world have demonstrated their opposition, some by chaining themselves to the museum's gates, to the loan of a very famous and fragile painting - theAnnounciation by Léonard de Vinci – for an exhibition at the national museum of Tokyo. The painting will remain in Japan from 13 March to 15 June.
NEW YORK – The Museum of Brooklyn inaugurates on 23 March its Elizabeth A. Sackler Center, dedicated to feminist art.
PARIS – The Cité de l’Architecture, which is due to open to the public this fall, gives a taste of things to be with three exhibitions (from 21 March), one of which is dedicated to Christian de Portzamparc.
RIGA – A «French Spring» is organized by CulturesFrance (ex-AFAA) in Lettonia starting 21 March with over 200 events, including exhibitions in the major museums and private galleries.
VALLADOLID – The works selected for the Valladolid Sculpture Biennial are presented from 23 March in the patio of the San Benito monastery.
VERSAILLES – The 6th Biennial of Engraving opens on 24 March at the Orangerie de Madame Elizabeth and remains open until 24 June. It focuses on African art.