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Art Of The Day Weekly

#57 - from 13 September 2007 to 19 September 2007


Fifteen little Chinese

LONDON – It has been announced for so long as the highlight of the new cultural season that many an expectation may be deflated. The First Emperor's terracotta warriors are finally visible in Europe! These human-size characters, discovered in 1974 in the tomb of Qin Shi Huandi, the unifier of China in 221 B.C., represent one of the major archeological discoveries of the XXth century. There warriors are not alone: the exhibition at the British Museum also includes musicians and since the tomb has not been completed dug out, there is reason to hope for further revelations. China is known for doing everything in large numbers (1.3 billion inhabitants, growth rates at 10%, manufacturing production that invades world markets), so we expected a great number of soldiers. Their suggestive power is of course very closely linked to a «crowd effect». Whether for a question of their fragility or due to insurance costs, the fact is that only fifteen statues took the trip. What a shame. For once we were eager to be invaded by China…

  • The Terracotta Warriors at the British Museum, from 13 September 2007 to 6 April 2008

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    A site for architecture

    PARIS – Ten years ago the musée des Monuments français burnt, in the middle of the Summer. The modernization projects all seemed to get so muddled up that we were afraid we would never see it again. And yet, here we have the true essence in this large gallery of castings full of Roman porches, jubes and Gothic tympan, copied throughout the Third Republic, instigated by Viollet-le-Duc. But today it is only an element of a much large complex. The new Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (City of Architecture and Patrimony) covers over 10 000 m2 of the Chaillot palace, rearranged by architect Jean-François Bodin. Aside from this gallery of castings, there is the Ecole du patrimoine, a library, exhibition rooms and the gallery of modern and contemporary architecture. The former modernizes the whole by presenting maps, drawings and models of the Crystal Palace in London from 1851 to our day. Given the name and function of the new City, its inauguration had to coincide with the days of patrimony: to be discovered as of 15 September.

  • Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, at the palais de Chaillot.

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    Rubens and Co.

    BRUSSELS – The Musées royaux have a remarkable fund of Rubens works, among them some huge altar paintings. They have chosen to focus their retrospective around the painter's activity at the time when he was at his glory and led an important workshop in Antwerp(1614-1640). A cycle of four years of studies has allowed us to better understand how this true small enterprise of the XVIIth century functioned, and carried out important restorations, such as those of Portrait of Hélène Fourment or the Crowning of the Virgin. We will even be able to observe the evolution of this last work in the exhibition room. Through foreign loans (among them the Landscape with Atalanta's hunt from the Prado or the sketch for the The Calvary from the university of California at Berkeley), 120 works have been brought together, allowing us to better define the respective roles of the boss, of his alter egos (Van Dyck, Jan Bruegel the Elder) and of his apprentices.

  • Rubens, the genius' workshop at the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts, from 14 September 2007 to 27 January 2008

    The website of the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts

  • Arcimboldo's pot-pourris

    PARIS – Arcimboldo was adored by the Surrealists, after a long period of neglect. And today he is the big fashion. His paintings-puzzles of faces made up of fruit, vegetables or books are a sure value for poster manufacturers and inspired a retrospective in 1987 at the Palazzo Grassi. In collaboration with the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna (which keeps a large number of his works since the painter spent twenty five years at the Court of the Habsburgs), the Luxembourg museum now exhibits some of them, of which the «reversibles» which can be read in two ways, a little like the images of Epinal. Visitors will also discover another aspect of the aristocratic and mysterious Lombard(1526-1593): classic portraits, projects of costumes and theater settings, and beautiful studies in ink. We will also admire a notebook from the museum of Boston, with drawings on the silk industry, while awaiting new discoveries. Indeed, it appears Arcimboldo was a drawer of natural history for the scientist from Bologna, Ulisse Aldrovandi.

  • Arcimboldo at the musée du Luxembourg, from 15 September 2007 to 13 January 2008

    The website of the musée du Luxembourg


    Much ado about nothing?

    LYON – One hundred and ten biennales! There is definitely an explosion in the number of these events that have multiplied ten-fold in just a few years. And the director of the Biennale d’art contemporain in Lyons, Thierry Raspail, does not wish to be left behind. So he is presenting the 9th edition. In order to distinguish simple current events from the present that will become «history», the rules of the game have been changed. Directed by Stéphanie Moisdon and Hans Ulrich Obrist, the «players» are commissioners from around the world who have each selected their significant artist. If one has trouble finding some unity in these delegated choices, that was the aim of it! The mood is no longer movements and regroupings, according to Moisdon and Obrist, but rather heterogeneousness, a blown-up scene. We will not be disappointed with participants such as Michel Houellebecq, the photographer of David Hamilton's nudes, the «emerging» Indians or Slovenes, «confirmed» artists such as Saâdane Afif or James Coleman. A true cocktail worth discovering in sites that are also memorable, such as the former warehouse of the Sucrière or the Institute of Contemporary art of Villeurbanne.

  • Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon from 19 September 2006 to 6 January 2007. The event is accompanied by a rich program in parallel in the galleries and museums, intitled «Résonance».

    The website of the Biennale of Lyons


    In praise of collections

    PARIS – Guizot used to say : Become wealthy! Here they say: Collect! In the footsteps of the FIAC, the young Salon du Collectionneur, organized by the National Union of Antique dealers, has migrated: it is moving from the Carrousel du Louvre across the river to the Grand Palais. Alternating with the Biennale des antiquaires, this event launched in 2003 demonstrates a truly pedagogic vocation. It is organized by specialties – archeology and primitive arts, ceramics, paintings and sculptures, furniture and textiles, jewellry and work on gold and silver – and is accompanied by conferences (which analyze natural pearls, lacquer screens from Coromandel or Versailles style furniture from the revolutionnary period), with the aim of helping the public at large to get initiated. As a consequence of this more «accessible» approach, the Salon du Collectionneur has less of an international dimension, with French galleries representing two thirds of its 124 participants. But it manifest destiny is not to create a clone of the Biennale bis…

  • 3e Salon du Collectionneur au Grand Palais, du 15 au 23 septembre 2007

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    The Maurizio affair

    If asked - is t still possible to provoke in contemporary art? -, one valid answer could be: Maurizio Cattelan. The Italian artist, in some fifteen years of activity (he was born in Padova in 1960), succeeded in shocking a rather large array of observers, from the Church to the police, from animal defenders to exhibition organisers. This little monographic work, in a new collection directed by Francesco Bonami, who was the commissioner to the Biennale of Venice in 2005, lists his main feat of arms. The most known are undoubtedly La nona ora (the Ninth Hour), where pope John-Paul II is killed by a meteorite, or Him, where Hitler, not named, prays on his knees. These are all ax models that greatly resemble the characters. Closer to the world of performance is Another Fucking Ready-Made (1996): the artist exposed in a foundation in Amsterdam the objects he had just robbed from another gallery. Peace had to be reached with the police… In making fun of the media mechanisms that lead to fame, Cattelan also sold his space at the Biennale of Venice (1993) to an advertiser and created the Oblomov foundation. His aim was to give money to artists who commit to create nothing…

  • Maurizio Cattelan, by Francesco Manacorda, Hypercontemporain collection, Hazan publishing house, 2007, ISBN : 978-2-7541-0212-4, 108 p., 1

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    BORDEAUX -Imagiques, the 8th Photographic Encounters of the Southern Gironde region, are organized on the theme «Cartographic fictions», from 15 September to 14 October 2007.

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    ISSY-LES-MOULINEAUX -The 7th Biennale of contemporary art in Issy will be held at the Musée français de la Carte à jouer from 15 September to 21 October 2007.

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    LIVERPOOL- The English city, which is readying itself to be the European culture capital in 2008, has just opened an International Museum on Slavery

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    NEW YORK-From 17 to 23 September, the city will live to the rhythm of the Asia Week with a program nurished with specialized fairs, exibitions and auctions.

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    PARIS-The Patrimony days will be held throughout France on the week-end of 15 and 16 September.

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    PARIS- A cultural agreement was signed on September 4 between France and Rumania regarding coopeartion in the field of museums, research, protection and revaluation of the museum patrimony.

    PARIS- The first fair of the cultural season, "Spectaculaire", will be held from 14 to 16 September in the Parc Floral de Vincennes (Bois de Vincennes).

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    PARIS-During the event "Le Génie des jardins" (The genius in the garden), 43 visual artists will "plant art" in 8 gardens throughout the XIth arrondiseement from 16 to 23 September.

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    PHILADELPHIA-The Barnes Foundation has made public the name of the firm it has chosen for its new building, architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, already the authors of the extension of the Phoenix museum in Arizona.

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    ROME-A retrospective of Scipion (1904-1933), one of the masters of the Roman school, will open at Villa Torlonia on 7 September. This is the first major exhibition dedicated to him in the last 50 years.

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    ROUEN-The museum of Beaux-Arts of Rouen and the BNP Paribas foundation have signed a patronizing agreement for the restoration of the paintingLe Martyre de sainte Agnès by Joseph-Désiré Court.


    This week do not miss...


    BASEL - This gigantic mural by Max Ernst - nearly 20 m2 - used to decorate the walls of a dance hall in Zurich. Done in 1934, it has finally been completely restored, as the public can observe at the musée Tinguely where it has ben deposited by the Kunsthaus Zurich.

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