Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #41 - from 5 April 2007 to 11 April 2007

Art Of The Day Weekly

#41 - from 5 April 2007 to 11 April 2007


The Spoil System

In other times (maybe still today?), professors of Political Science informed their students of the existence of a barbaric custom in the United States: every time the administration changed, the key-positions swang around like «musical chairs». Fortunately, the old professors reassured their public, this sort of practice could not occur in France. The quality of the higher administration (an emotional quivering could be felt in their voices) and their devotion to the State made this practice useless, be it unthought of! Things must have changed to some extent, judging from the number of nominations taking place during the last weeks in the Culture administration: Bruno Racine is named to head the Bibliothèque nationale and replace Jean-Noël Jeanneney, Alain Seban to the Centre Pompidou to replace Bruno Racine, Catherine Grenier, from the ministry to the new spaces in the Palais de Tokyo. Without taking position on the capacity of the new arrivals, what shocks us is the method itself. Nominations to key positions at the last minute, by an administration normally in charge of disposing of current matters. France is obviously ready for the spoils system… The good side to this is that the public debate that accompanies these promotions will surely accelerate the reform of this system that has become shaky. One cannot, on the one hand, cry for the private sector to continuously supply financial resources without introducing, on the other hand, the growing transparency such a sytem entails.


Matisse, the son

MALAGA – Art history often mentions one single Matisse, Henri. The public at large is not always aware of the role his son played in opening up the world of modern art. A gallery owner in New York, Pierre Matisse sold a few paintings (5) of his father's to major American collectors. But he did not limit himself to promoting the family: he was an essental go-between for Balthus, Max Ernst, Magritte, Chagall, Giacometti. Born in 1900, Pierre Matisse left to New York in 1924 and opened his gallery during the peak of the financial crisis, in 1931. He never stopped his activity until he died, in 1989. The exhibition presents some fifty works of art – one half of them by the senior Matisse, while the other half is made up of Dubuffet, Miro, Balthus, etc - all of which the greatest museums in the world would have coveted. This was the personal collection of the gallery owner and his wife, then of the Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Foundation, until they were given to the Metropolitan Museum in 2002.

  • The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse collection at the Picasso museum, from 27 March to 24 June 2007

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  • Splendors of Gupta India

    PARIS - Pink sandstone of Mathura or grey sandstone from Sarnath: the most beautiful sculptures of the Gupta civilization were made in either of these two, warm colored stones. That was the Indian golden age that was contemporary of the fall of the Roman Empire and which the Grand Palais will attempt to show us through 110 objects. The coins, stoneware and architecture decorations give a varied light on this kingdom of Northern India. But what the public is most eager to see are of course the statues of deities – with a large variety on Buddha -. Their stylisation, their soft lines bring them close in a way to the canons of Greek sculpture.

  • Gupta, l’âge d’or de l’Inde classique at the Grand Palais, from 4 April to 25 June 2007

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  • Mysteries of New-Ireland

    PARIS - To begin with, not everyone can place it on the map. Where is New Ireland anyway ? This ong and thin island is located to the East of Papua New Guinea, in the archipelago of Bismarck, behind New-Britain. All these exotic names are represented for us in masks, masculine figurines, costumes, headresses made out of shells and elytrons of coleopterous insects. The video installations try to make us better understand the cult of the ancestors, as well as the more or less strange practices (Malagan rituals, Tubuan secret society ) . Set up in the garden gallery, this exhibition is the result of a collaboration with foreingn institutions, the Saint Louis Museum and the ethnographic Museum of Berlin. Out of the 138 objects presented, many come from Germany for one simple reason, Papua New Guinea was one of its colonies from 1870 to 1914.

  • Nouvelle-Irlande, arts du Pacifique sud at the museum of Quai Branly, from 3 April to 8 July 2007

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    Vote for Rogers!

    British architect Richard Rogers, born in Florence in 1933, has received the Pritzker prize, considered as a non-official Nobel prize for architecture. This prize, sponsored by the family that owns the Hyatt hotels, is awarded every two years . In 2005, it rewarded American architect Thom Mayne. Rogers, an apostle together with his compatriot Norman Foster of high tech architecture, is one of the authors of the Centre Pompidou. He is also renowned for the building of the Lloyds insurance company and the Millennium Dome in London or, more recently, for the new terminal at the airport of Barajas in Madrid or the palace of justice in Antwerp. Together with his agency, renamed Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, he is currently working on terminal 5 of Heathrow airport.

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    Dubossarsky and Vinogradov : a Russian cocktail

    PARIS – The commun work of these two forty-year olds from Moscow started like a schoolboy prank . When Vinogradov did not succeed in finishing the paintings he had promised for an exhibition in 1994, he managed to convince, after quite a few glasses of vodka, a colleague from the school of fine arts to help him finish . A decade later, they are a "must" and the duo is considered as one of the most significant representative of the current Russian scene. They took part in the Biennale of Venice in 2003. their hyper-realistic paintings – often young very attractive, lightly clad women – combien various influences – Soviet realism (monumental formats, repetition of identical formulas, tractors from the kolkhoze in the background), consumerism (champagne and other «status symbols»), globalisation (in particular beauty canons with Barbie and Schwartzenegger at every floor). Their style is a reformulation of academicism and pompous, while the necessary distance from the original is given by the irony. expressed The galerie Orel Art presents their last series, named «Dans l’atelier de l’artiste» (In the artist's studio).

  • Dubossarsky et Vinogradov at the galerie Orel Art, 40 rue Quincampoix, 75004, from 5 April to 2 June

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    Fontainebleau, the beautiful

    Compared to Versailles, Fontainebleau plays the part in a way of a sleeping beauty . The castle, probably the favorte of French monarchs, has seen its attendance figure go down over the last decade in favor of the ogre Versailles. The annoincement of a donation from the Emirs of Abu Dhabi to restore its splendid theatre (5 million euros) has put it back on the front page. This superbly illustrated book is coming out at the right moment. The photographs, impeccably taken from the front, according to the principles of the magazine FMR, allow us to go into the details: the frescoes of François Boucher, the paintings in blue monochrome by Carle Van Loo, the stuccos, the sculpted doors by Jean Gobert, the delicate wood work in the Throne Room, the bottom of the doors in plaster by Philippe-Laurent Roland… A true repertoire of decorative arts, French stye, doubled by the brilliant series of frescoes by Rosso and Primatice. The text by Simone Bertière draws up the genesis of this unique monument, that was on the front of the stage in history from François Ist to Napoleon III.

  • Fontainebleau, by Simone Bertière (texte) and Giovanni Ricci Novara (photographs), FMR, Grand Tour collection, 2007, ISBN : 978-88-216-7065-1, 172 p., 170 €.

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    BARLETTA – Italian impressionist Giuseppe de Nittis, a friend of Renoir's, has as of 31 March a museum in his honor in the town where he was born in the Pugglie region. The donation of the collection to the municipality by his widow, Léontine Guvelle, goes back to… 1914.

    PARIS – The Centre Pompidou inaugurated on 2 April the new hanging arrangement of its collections of modern and contemporary art.

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    PARIS – The Réunion des musées nationaux (the French institution that groups together all the national museums), whose mission has been reorientated towards the production of international exhibitions and the development of its photograph agency, has signed a strategic contract with the ministry of Culture for the period from 2007 to 2009.


    This week do not miss...


    BASEL – Led by Guy Debord, the situationists wish to refound society by questioning work, morale and alienation through consumption. This far-reaching program gave way to unforgetable interventions and contributed to the explosion of May 1968. The Tinguely museum draws up a portrait of this unusual movement.

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