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Art Of The Day Weekly

#65 - from 8 November 2007 to 14 August 2007


The case of the Fourth Plinth

LONDON – We know Trafalgar Square has Nelson's column, the Christmas tree offered by the Norwegians, eventually Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields and the National Gallery. But for Londoners, it has also become a major lieu for contemporary art. For 2 years they had a sculpture by Marc Quinn, Alison Lapper pregnant, showing a young woman without any members (as she was the victim of the thalidomide her mother had taken while pregnant). She was set up in one of the four angles of the square, while the other three hosted statues of George IV and generals Charles Napier and Henry Havelock. While this fourth pedestal had remained empty since 1841 – the equestrian statue planed for the site was never finished for lack of funds – it had become the ideal place for the public commission. Following Quinn, a German sculptor, Thomas Schütte, will have the honor of one of the most famous squares in the world. His Model for a hotel 2007, a translucid and colored sculpture 5 meters tall, was set up there on 7 November. The Commission of the 4th plinth, chaired by Sandy Nairne, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, has warned the public, with the typical British sense of humor, that no one knew yet what the pigeons had in store for the materials.

The website of the Fourth Plinth project


Hodler, landscapes and death

PARIS - Between Liotard, Füssli and the extremes of the cabaret Dada at Zurich, Switzerland has given us another great creator: Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918). Nearly a century after his death, and 25 years after the retrospective at the Petit-Palais, the musée d’Orsay will pay homage, with 80 paintings, to the artist who was once considered as the national Swiss painter for landscapes of pink mountains and calm lakes. Which did not prevent him from also being badly looked upon in the good city of Geneva for a Nuit considered too explicit. Yet, Holder's most grasping cycle is elsewhere: the systematic follow-up of the tuberculosis that affected his companion Gertrud Dubi-Müller. Hodler drew her dozens, hundreds of times until she passed away, giving details of the unavoidable transformation of a beautiful and lively woman into an unrecognizable corpse.

  • Ferdinand Hodler at the musée d’Orsay, from 13 November 2007 to 3 February 2008

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  • The road to Carthage

    PARIS - They invented the alphabet, were masters in the art of glasswork, of purpure, aside from being first class merchants. More than a decade after the key exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, the Phenicians are back on front stage at the Institut du monde arabe, in a presentation that includes over 600 pieces. Their travels across the Mediterranean, from Tyr to Carthage, are largely documented with funerary ensembles, glass objects, metal cups, statuettes in terracotta (of which the Dea gravida, or pregnant goddess), models reproduced by other peoples. But the retrospective also puts the accent on the beginnings of their civilization, with limestone steles, anthropoid sarcophagus, Egyptian ivory plaques, the result of an art form that is prior to the Vth century B.C. and goes back as far as the iron Age.

  • Les Phéniciens et la Méditerranée at the Institut du monde arabe, from 6 November 2007 to 20 April 2008

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    To the conquest of China

    PEKIN – As Chinese artists ae becoming the pets of the market and the local capitalists are among the wealthiest in the world, foreign initiatives are increasingly numerous in the Empire of the Middle, such as the Shanghai Jewellery and Art Fair that took place in October. Among the most recent initiatives, the one picked up by Guy Ullens is particularly ambitious. The Belgian collector, whose uncle was ambassador in China, has just opened in the Dashanzi Art District in Beijing a contemporary art center named after him. The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is set up in a former plant renovated by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and spreads over three naves of nearly 8000 m2. It includes a restaurant, a café, a boutique and a documentation center. The UCCA intends to import into China a model of a Western cultural center. The opening exhibition, called 85 New Wave is dedicated to the movement of the same name of the 80s, which gave birth to Chinese contemporary art. From Chen Zhen to Zhang Peili, some thirty pioneer artists are grouped together for this event.

  • L’UCCA opened on 5 November, at 798 Art District n°4, Jiuxianqiao n°4.

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    Where is our environment going?

    PARIS- This year the cultural heritage fair, that is holding its 13th edition at the Carrousel du Louvre, chose "Heritage & Environment" as its theme. A great number of round tables will maintain the dynamics: what aret he soruces of pollution of the landscape? Should small local quarries be opened up again in order to cohernt in construction? How can we use renewable and money saving materials in renovation? How to protect the surroundings of historic monuments? The 250 exhibitors will be able to bring a number of practical answers, as there will be an arrary of materila suppliers, construction maangers and owner represnetatives, research centers, art and architectur eschools and restorers of all types, from stone to stained glass, from leather to marquetry. This fair wil lalso be an opportuity to see famous professionals such as Anna di Colloredo, the last mosaic artist to follow the Roman tradition; or Alexandre Krilov, in charge of the restoration of the famous amber chamber in Saint Petesburg.

  • 13e Salon du patrimoine culturel at the Carrousel du Louvre, from 8 to 13 November.

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    © Jacques Faujour ADAGP 2007

    Jean Le Gac has found his treasure

    Here is an artist who has long been remarked for being absent. His beginnings were noted for working without a gallery and by a disconcerting production, combining texts and images disconnected one from the other, and sent by mail to uncertain correspondants. With time, the creator born in Alès in 1936 nurished his imagination with great voyages and adventures of the past. He associates

    photography, texts and drawing, on cardboard or sketch books, the whole resulting in littlefictions. As Jean Clair wrote, he tries avidly to «ting reality with romance». In the commission the ministry of Culture gave him and which has just been inaugurated in the chapel of the Musée d’archéologie nationale in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, he follows the footsteps of Stevenson in a treasure-hunt that is a parable of the profession of the archeologist. It is read on the ground like a novel in images, sewn on military blankets.

  • La Chasse au trésor is visible at the Musée d’archologie nationale until 5 May 2008.

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    Afghan monochrome

    The new photography biennale,Photoquai, that has just opened in Paris, puts the accent on far away realities. This book could have been included in the program: the author is a photographer who straddles two worlds (he has Vietnam origins and left his country with the boat people) and his object is Afghanistan, one of the most beautiful and least accessible countries in the world. Following in the footsteps of Kessel and his novel Les Cavaliers, Alain Buu shows us epic stampedes in the steppe, snow capped summits as pointed as Hodler's and the famous blue lakes (which the black and white grain of the photos turns almost palpable). There is also a striking image for the defenders of heritage: an improvised volley-ball game in the midst of jeeps and canon carcasses, in front of the empty niches of the Bamian buddhas…

  • Sur les pas des cavaliers, photographs by Alain Buu, texts by Joseph Kessel and Alain Velter, Gallimard, 2007, ISBN : 978-2-7424-2186-2, 124 p., 36 €.

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    BRY-SUR-MARNE – The Salon national des artistes animaliers, that brings together emulators of Barye and Pompon, is organized from 10 November to 16 December at the Malestroit hotel (Tel: 06 73 30 46 88).

    BUENOS AIRES – The main photographic fair of the southern hemisphere, Buenos Aires Photo, will be held at the Glass Palace until 11 November.

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    LISBON – The contemporary art fair Arte Lisboa, that attracted 20 000 visitors last year, wil be holding its 7th edition from 7 to 11 November at the pavilion 4 of the Park of the Nations.

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    NEW YORK - Hanging Heart, a monumental work by Jeff Koons representing a heart, is up for sale at Sotheby’s. It is estimated between 15 and 20 million $. At the same time, Christie’s will proceed with the sale of the Allan Stone collection, that includes works by John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning and Wayne Thiebaud.

    The website of Sotheby's

    PARIS – Christopher Berdaguer and Marie Péjus have been awarded the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard 2007 prize, for their work Dreamland (the name of the place kept secret in Nevada, where the stealth bombers are manufactured). The work will be given to the Centre Pompidou.

    SAO PAULO – The Biennale of architecture will be held from 10 November to 16 December on the theme «Private space /public space». The French exhibit, coordinated by Rafael Magrou, presents recent projects of show locations by Rudy Ricciotti, Patrick Bouchain, Antoinette Robain and Claire Guieysse.

    TORINO – The contemporary art fair Artissima will be held, like every year, in the space of the former Fiat plant in Lingotto. From 9 to 11 November, it will host nearly 130 international galleries.

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    This week, do not miss


    PARIS - Are lamps utilitarian objects? Yes, but they are also art objects that have stimulated the imagination of creators. In the second part of an exhibition on light, the De Vos gallery shows how Jean-Michel Frank, Chareau, Giacometti, Legrain or Matégot metamorphosed it, with iron, leather, shagreen or lacquer.

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    LAVAL - Géo Ham (1900-1972) was one of the pioneers of the representation of race cars and all sorts of speed vehicles of the XXth century. His native city pays a tribute to him, enhancing as well his role as an explorer and his friendship with Mermoz, Saint-Exupéry and Guillaumet, whom he accompanied in his crossing of the Andes.

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