Art Of The Day Weekly
#73 - from 17 January 2008 to 23 January 2008
IN THE AIR
The artist, the car dealer and the drill
PARIS – We witnessed a rather rare performance on Tuesday 15 January, at boulevard Gouvion Saint-Cyr, in a Peugeot car dealer's shop. In the presence of a bailiff, workers armed with drills demolished a work of art, a ceramic niche by Jean-Pierre Raynaud. For Eric Neubauer, the boss of the company that had commissioned the work in 1986, this no Taliban-style vandalism. In his declarations to the press, he explained he needed the artist's approval to displace his art piece work during the construction works. As it was no given, the only recourse he had was to destroy it in the presence of a ministerial official. Jean-Pierre Raynaud would have accepted that it be displaced but under his conditions and with his workers. An overcost the businessman would not have accepted. Following Montaigne's logic, Truth on this side of the Seine, Error on the other side (Neubauer is the right bank, Raynaud the left)? Each person will take sides. The real loser will undoubtedly be someone else: corporate sponsorship, which risks having its enthusiasm quelled in face of these strong willed contemporary artists…
Guido Cagnacci, a rediscovery
FORLI (Italy) - His glory was dimmed by that of his contemporaries, Guercino and Guido Reni, whom he accompanied for a time in their pilgrimages. It is a shame, for this Emilian painter(1601-1663) combines in an original manner carnal tension (in his portraits of godesses or his historical characters such as Cleopatra or Lucretius) and spiritual elevation (in his altar paintings for the churches in Rimini) that his Baroque contemporaries sometimes lack. In the second part of his career, which ended in Vienna, he was sought after for his nude paintings, and was often seen accompanied by young women dressed up as men. Guido Cagnacci has finally been given the retrospective he deserved, in his home town, in the convent of San Domenico, recently restored and which hosts the municipal museums. To authorize comparisons, half of the 90 works grouped together are by his contemporaries, such as Simon Vouet, Ludovico Carracci or Caravaggio.
Attila has come through here
PARIS – She dissects without any false prudishness the complex web of social relations, inside a family, between friends, between lovers, between master and slave. While using video but respecting certain staging conventions inherited from the movie or television world, Eija-Liisa Ahtila (born in 1959 in Finland) built her work as «human dramas». They can be in closed settings of the Scandinavian night as well as desperate situations on an African coast. Color photographs, installations with various screens, even sculptures: the artist does not hesitate in varying supports. In her retrospective at the Jeu de paume, her first in France, she also produced an original installation with 6 screens, Who is where ? on a violent episode in the decolonization in Algeria.
PARIS - In the genesis of abstract art, we know constructivism, minimalism, even Circle and Square. But who remembers MADI ? The Maison de l’Amérique latine has dug out the acronym, that stands for Dialectic Materialism (in French), and refers to a movement launched right after WW II in Argentina, by Carmelo Arden Quin and Gyula Kosice. In a land barely made aware of geometric art by Joaquín Torres-Garcia (Uruguayan artist at the origin of the Circle and Square), MADI brought together young creators around an abstraction that was as «demanding» as the ones in vogue in Europe at the time. The exhibition presents the colored sculpture-paintings by artists who loved to incorporate other forms of expression (dance, poetry) to their activity. MADI animated the cultural life of Buenos Aires until the middle of the fifties. But it fell to internal dissensions, and had a second wind in France, through the Réalités nouvelles fair.
Trafalgar, the club of six
LONDON – The English capital has some of the most enticing exhibition spaces for contemporary artists. The turbine room at the Tate Modern is one of them: to have an installation set up there is a powerful factor to be known, as we recently saw for Olafur Eliasson. The fourth pedestal of Trafalgar Square is just as coveted, as we wrote in a note in teh letter dated 8 November. The names of the six «nominees» to succeed Thomas Schütte in 2009 have just been given. Jeremy Deller wishes to put an old car destroyed during the war in Iraq, Anish Kapoor choses mirrors reflecting the sky, Tracey Emin a sculpted group of small rodents from the Kalahari, Yinka Shonibare a model of Nelson's ship, in a bottle. The most conceptual is Anthony Gormley: he would liek for the pedestal to be occupied all year long by the public, one person relaying another every hour. On thsi side of th eChannel, there is a preference for artist Bob & Roberta Smith, who would like ot write the message «Make art, not war» - in French to show that the French language still has a role to play on the international scene. The choice of the jury will be given in May 2008.
The Symbolist melting pot
In the decade of the 1880s, the dominating currents in art, Impressionism and Naturalism, are losing speed. Symbolism grew strong on their decadence and brought together creators who formed throughout Europe a multitude of national schools with different colorings. In this book, rich in matter but sometimes cut out in a complex way, the main representatives of Symbolism are scrutinized: in France, Gustave Moreau, Puvis de Chavannes and Redon, in Belgium Khnopff and Spilliaert, in England the preraphaelites, in Italy Segantini and Wildt, in Switzerland Hodler, etc. We also find pleasure in rediscovering less-known creators such as Anquetin, Léon Frédéric or Gallen-Kallela. Art that gives preference to ideas rather than to reality, that sticks to a subjective vision of the world and which wants to bring out again the great myths of the past, Symbolism had beautiful descendants, directly and indirectly: would Surealism and conceptual art have emerged without its intervention?
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ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Enzo Cucchi: surviving in the Transavanguardia
MILANO - He is one of the paladins of the Transavanguardia movement, launched with much to do at the very beginning of the 1980s by art critic Achille Bonito Oliva. Its members, among them the 3 "C" (Cucchi, Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente) were the major axis, rebelled against the existing conceptualism and hoped to bring back to life a type of painting that was figurative, colored, neo-expressionist, combining history,metaphysical fears, sense of humor.It was a current with very large contours in which Enzo Cucchi, born in 1949, learned how to trace his own way, marked by strong chromatism and a mysterious atmosphere, full of strange beings. In his last delivery - some thirty small paintings -
Cucchi explored the figure of the artist under a strange title: "Only the Italian artist is melancolic". One could bet he wished to speak about himself …
BRUSSELS- The Belgian Antique Fair will hold its 53rd edition from 18 to 27 January 2008, at Tour & Taxis. It will host 130 international exhibitors as well as an exhibition of Renaissance tapestries owned by the Doria Pamphilj family.
HEIDELBERG-The model for the Gioconda was definitely Lisa del Giocondo and not Leonardo himself nor hismother. A manuscript kept at the Heidelberg library puts an end to this mystery once and for all: one can see on a copy of Ciceron from 1503 the notes of a Florentine councillor mentioning the model's posing sessions.
LONDON-The London Art Fair, dedicated to British modern and contemporary art, will be held at the Business Design Center of Islington, from 16 to 20 January 2008.
EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – Architect Zaha Hadid has been chosen to build the future museum of the university of Michigan, financed by business man Eli Broad. The latter is also behind the pavilion of contemporary art to soon be inaugurated(16 February) in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
NEW YORK – The city of New York and the Public Art Fund have announced they will commission a work of art from artist Olafur Eliasson: it will consist in 4 waterfalls nearly 30 meters tall, that will be set up on the East River next summer.
PARIS- The Louvre museum confirmed in 2007 its status as the most visited museum in the world, with 8.3 million admissions.
PARIS- This week, through the patronage of HSBC, the Orsay museum officially received a photo album of la Castiglione, Napoleon III's favorite mistress.