Art Of The Day Weekly
#77 - from 14 February 2008 to 20 February 2008
IN THE AIR
Keep moving, nothing to sell here!
The big debate on deaccessioning has ended without ever having picked up. Pragmatic observer and well-known defender of public collections, Jacques Rigaud (one of the founding fathers of the musée d'Orsay), was asked for a report. His conclusion came as no surprise: it is out of the question that French institutions start selling their works, as is done in the USA. At the most they could do it on the margin. The «museums» law of 2002 had already considered the possibility of getting rid of pieces from public collections, but that concerned in particular getting rid of living beings that seem to proliferate in natural history museums. Jacques Rigaud sees no advantage -whether strategic or financial- to empty the museums' reserves, which are not as rich as some pretend. One single exception: the FRAC (Fonds régionaux d’art contemporain -Regional Funds for Contemporary art), which have bought many works but do not have the means to keep them properly. As to the rest,it would be more simple to air the reserves a little by having them circulate in temporary exhibits or by multiplying the deposits between museums. The conclusions of the Rigaud report are prudent but also very logical. Those who expected a scathing attack, the equivalent of an Attali report on art, will be disappointed…
Mr. Broad offers a museum
LOS ANGELES – The founder of the real estate company Kaufman & Broad, Eli Broad is one of the wealthiest persons in the USA. A philanthropist, he already offered 100 million $ to Harvard and just as much to MIT. It is now his art lover side that steps forward: indeed, he has given 60 million $ to the development plan of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). This contribution has helped in particular to finance a new pavilion designed by Renzo Piano. This marble building, with huge lofts and natural light for temporary exhibitions will naturally be named for its patron: it will be the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM). Its "piece de resistance" will be Band, the immense sculpture by Richard Serra recently purchased. The inauguration on 16 February will be touchy, as it follows the near slap across the wall Eli Broad just gave the LACMA: after more or less explicitly promising his personal collection and that of his foundation (nearly 2000 works in total), he has pulled back as he prefers to build another museum just for himself. The directors of the museum will have a bad taste in their mouths as they admire the 160 pieces exhibited at the opening of the BCAM: the first class Koons, Hirst, Jasper Johns, Rauschenberg or Basquiat will not be staying there for long.
Balla in the center
MILANO – Turin artist Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) is one of the greatest prophets of the Futurist galaxy federated by Marinetti. This retrospective is dedicated to him in Milano, which is not just a detail: it is the land of his main rival in popularity, Boccioni, and the headquarters of Futurism. Nearly 200 works are exhibited, twice as many as the last monographic exhibition, which goes back to 1971. This is really a complete gathering: oil paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, not to mention a substantial collection of sketches for stage costumes for la Scala, manuscripts and even «parolelibere» and postal art. The period considered of course includes the Futurist years – from 1909, the date of the manifesto, up to the decade of 1920 - but it also closely studies the «rise» towards Futurism, which goes through divisionism, starting in 1900. While not all of his most famous works are present, such as the famous Dynamism of a dog on a leash, certain loans are remarkable, such as Agaves on the sea (1905, priv. coll.) or Racing car (1912, MoMA).
The Penck generation
PARIS – Born in Eastern Germany as fellow artist Baselitz, Penck left his native country in 1980, at the age of 41, and settled in London and then in Düsseldorf. A great amateur of symbols, Penck, or rather Ralf Winkler, demonstrated this from the beginning in the choice of his pseudonym, which goes back to the Cold war, one of his recurrent obsessions: Albrecht Penck (1858-1945) was a geologist, specialised in the ice age… In the early sixties he started to elaborate a whole alphabet with pictograms inspired from science and immediately recognizable characters made out of sticks, which he varied with many supports, including artists' books, of which he became a specialist. The exhibition at the musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris brings together over 120 works, covering all of his creative itinerary, up to the most monumental and colored paintings of his current period in Dublin.
In search of the Dutch primitives
ROTTERDAM - While the Flemish primitives have a well-deserved fame, the same does not apply to their Dutch counterparts. This situation can be partly blamed on religion: these painters of the XVth and XVIth centuries were Catholics, under the authority of the duc of Bourgogne. When the Reformation took a hold of the Netherlands, it brought with it a total change of style – the churches became more austere and the golden altarpieces disappeared. It was also accompanied by iconoclastic excesses: those in 1566 and 1572 made many thousands of works disappear. The Bojmans van Beuningen museum and Rijksmuseum (currently being restored) carried out a truly demanding detective work to bring together some sixty panels produced around 1500 at Delft or Haarlem, portraits, religious scenes or interior scenes. Their authors often had poetic names such as the Master of the Virgin amongst all Virgins or the Master of the Brunswick diptych. This absence of a precise Registry underlines the disfavor and the lack of identity the religious change brought about for these formerly famous artists.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Françoise Pétrovitvh, Courtesy galerie RX
A few years ago Françoise Pétrovitch was remarked thanks to an unusual project, «Radio-Pétrovitch»: each morning, she would listen to France-Inter and retranscribe the first item of news heard as a drawing. What others would have done for a few days she continued to do for over a year. One easily concludes that one of her main characteristics is serial work, all the contrary of the dominating Zapping culture. She works with wash-drawing, one of her favorite tools, as well as with ceramic or in glass, and has thus multiplied the characters of our time, «Twins», «Supporters», «Dolls» or «Standing up» (woman's legs on a white background). The artist, born in 1964 in Chambéry, is doubly honored: she presents glass sculptures at the RX gallery and has taken over the Cabinet of graphics at the museum of Modern Art of Saint-Etienne with a mural painting and «Equidae fragments» in black sandstone.
What do writers do when their their soul wanders and the page in front of them is white? They undoubtedly draw. And many of them have done it seriously, without having the sketch replace a moment of inspiration. Pierre MacOrlan and Gunther Grass were artists before writing. Cocteau's father was a painter who had fun combining all genres. Hugo left behind thousands of wash drawings, Apollinaire made color filled water colors (combined with some saucy expressions). The book, that accompanies an exhibition at the abbey of Ardenne, shows what is rarely shown, as it is considered the fruit of a secondary activity: who has already seen the pages of Louis Althusser's diary with those little, beautifully drawn heads, or Henry Miller's drawings on the pages of the Tucson Daily? A writer who draws or a painter who writes? The question has been put forward regarding Topor, but it could concern others. Hans Arp considered himself as a writer and said with an amusing note: «I only do sculpture to make a living».
BOURGES – La Box, the national superior school of art of Bourges, launches an appeal for candidates for its residences in 2008-2009.
LONDON – A good week of sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, with revenue respectively at 224 million and 144.5 million £, from 4 to 6 February. At Christie’s, a Triptych by Francis Bacon was sold for 26.3 million £. At Sotheby’s, Franz Marc beat his record with Chevaux paissant III, sold for 12.3 million £.
LOS ANGELES – The Getty Museum has announced the purchase of a complete ensemble of photographs by Irving Penn: the series «The Small Trades», started in Paris in 1950 grouping together 252 images of small trades.
PADOVA – The chapel of Saint Antoine, one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Europe (4 million visits per year), will be completely restored. It contains various works of art, among them the bas-reliefs of Sansovino.
PARIS – Artcurial presents a sales session dedicated to graffiti, on 18 February, with a few American stars such as Dondi White or Sonic and French graffers and stencil artists such as Darco and Miss Tic.
PARIS – A simple coincidence in the calendar, another Jacques Rigaud (see article In the Air) is being honored: it is a painter of the XVIIIth century of which the galerie Coatalem presents twelve views of Versailles and its park, done around 1730 (starting on 14 February).
SHEFFIELD - Sheffield 08, an artistic manifestation that aims at demonstrating an industrial town's capacity to reconvert, will be held from 15 February to 30 March, with various exhibitions and public commissions presented in galleries or in the street.
UTAH – Spiral Jetty, one of the most famous works of Land Art, done by Robert Smithson in 1970, is a spiral path that emerges at irregular intervals from the water of the Great Salt Lake. It is threatened by campaign of oil exploration. A petition has been handed to the governor of the State.
ZURICH - Armed robbers entered the Bürhle foundation in the night of Sunday 10 February, and left with four very valuable paintings by Cézanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. The Swiss police estimate the value of the paintings at over 100 million €.