Art Of The Day Weekly
#80 - from 6 March 2008 to 12 March 2008
IN THE AIR
We recognize with shame we plagiarized The Guardian for the title. The play on words was too easy… and explicit. A major modern and contemporary art dealer with a strong position in London until the beginning of the 2000s, Anthony d’Offay accumulated a giant collection of over 700 works of art. Now 68, he has granted a donation that is making history: these pieces have just been given jointly to the Tate Gallery (London) and to the National Gallery of Scotland (Edimburg). It is not the value they have acquired - near 200 million euros- but the prize d’Offay payed when he purchased these works, that has been remarked. It was barely 20% of the total. A spectacular gesture the president of the Tate, Nicholas Serota, has compared to no one less than the founder fo the institution, Sir Henry Tate. Complete ensembles of Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer will enter the museum, the most remarkable stock made up of some one hundred works by Beuys. We wiIl have to wait until 2009 to access these works that will all be left in residence in London and Edimburg but taken through the country for certain periods of time in regional museums.
TEFAF at all costs
MAASTRICHT – Over 2% of the annual amount of the transactions of works of art take place in 10 days at the Dutch TEFAF fair. Needless to say that to be accepted in this high venue, though it is set up in a soulless convention hall, is the objective of a great number of international antique dealers and gallery owners. This year, the few vacant places, of which the one of New-York gallery owner Salander O’Reilly, busy at home with some legal problems, have quickly been assigned. We note the arrival of Haunch of Venison, now a member of the Pinault group, or Parisian Boulakia. To encourage young hopefuls, a special section has been created, the Showcase, hosts seven of them, among them the photography specialist Serge Plantureux. For visitors, TEFAF remains an unequaled showcase of wonders, presented in 227 stands, from Axel Vervoordt's Yemenite stone figurines to Krugier's expressionist masters. On the condition of paying the entrance rate made to scare away strollers who have no intention of buying : 55 €.
BARCELONA – Who remembers us? In 1907, a mission curiously entitled « archeologic-legal» went through the Catalan back country with a microscope, near the border of the Aragon region. The awareness of the wealth of Romanesque art in the Catalan region dates back to that time. Among the various events organized for the centennial of that event, a comparative exhibition places face to face sculpted productions from that golden age, in the middle of the XIIth century (under the reign of Ramon Berenguer IV, count of Barcelona) with what was created in two other important regions: the Languedoc around Toulouse and Tuscany around Pisa. Some one hundred lower-reliefs, altars, sarcophagus, capitals, from French, Italian, American or English collections, are brought together, and the master piece is the tympan by the master of Cabestany. One passes without a transition from the very ancient to the ultra-modern: the miracles of virtual imagery will help rebuild the gate of the monastery of Ripoll.
An aforetaste of Bacon
MILANO – The centenial of his birth, in 2009, will be the reason for various major exhibitions in New York, London and Madrid. The Palazzo Reale will get ahead of all of them by organising a retrospective dedicated toFrancis Bacon (1909-1992), covering all of his career, from the drawings of the 1930s up to the large triptychs of the 1970s. We will see the Heads from after the war and the portraits of friends Henrietta Moraes, Isabel Rawthorne and his lover George Dyer, who committed suicide in Paris on the eve of another major retrospective. On their territory, the popes of course have all the honors: these are the famous variations on Innocent X by Vélasquez, which Bacon considerd one of the most extraordinary paintings of history. The 80 works presented come from museums all over the world – from Aberdeen to Canberra, from Zurich to Dublin or Denver - a feat in itself : Bacon has become the most expesive artist of the post war period, and insurance represents a very big investment.
All roads lead to Babylonia
PARIS – Sémiramis, the tower of Babel, Nabuchodonosor, the twelve months of the year, the suspended gardens, Gilgamesh's odyssey: it gave birth to all of this. There is not much left today of Babylonia (the site of diggings of Tell Babil, in today's Irak) but the historical importance it has is not equaled. With its 50 centuries of history, it continues to fascinate and the exhibition the Louvre has dedicated to it , with over 400 objects from the greater museums of the world, will undoubtedly have a high rate of attendance. What will we see? In three sections – the historical city, its critical fortune, its rediscovery – stone steles, bas-reliefs in terracotta, copper and gold statuettes, panels in glazed bricks, biblical books, a painting by Bruegel on the tower of Babel or prints by John Martin. To persuade ourselves of the survival of the myth, we will be abe to see in the auditorium Intolerance, the great silent movie by D. H. Griffith.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
A person with various interests, Denis Roche (born in 1937) participated in the magazine Tel Quel in the sixties and then directed different collections at the Seuil publishing house. In 1980 he founded the Cahiers de la photographie and wrote extensivley on this medium: he is an excellent viewer of photographs. But Denis Roche is also a maker of photographs: he took his time to make it known, and only exhibited his works when he neared the age of forty. The exhibition he presents at the Réverbère is simply called «Forty unedited photographs»: images of a chair in a room, a room in the Atlantic hotel in La Rochelle, a naked body under painted
papers, a nap in Merida. Moments that have been stolen or saved in a life, which, lined up, compose a sort of dotted autobiography.
Alechinsky to the letter
This is the catalogue that accompanies the beautiful exhibition at the Musées royaux des beaux-arts, in Brussels. It is also a spiritual testament: the first part of the work is a chronology written up by the artist himself. In this «egochrono», Pierre Alechinsky, who prefers calling himself P. A., details his 80 years of life and creation, since his birth on 19 October 1927 at 9:30 PM. He shows his friends, members from Cobra to Walasse Ting, the trips and the different artistic phases. One is stunned by the continuity of certain practices such as the work on old printed material – cards or school children works from the XVIIIth century – which he started in 1948 and has visibly not finished, or the calligraphic approach. In the second part, Michel Draguet analyzes the constant elements of P. A.'s work: the influence of the Orient, water, the circle, the remarks on the margin (the rims that ressemble the predelles of the Renaissance). We will pause in the middle of our reading for an excellent diversion: the «Test of the title» is represented in its full version. Upon P. A.'s request, at the age of 61 «titlemen» (play on words with marksmen) had accepted to give a name to one of his works. From Karel Appel to Jan Voss, including Italo Calvino and François Truffaut, this is a monumental and daring "cadavre exquis". «
AMSTERDAM – According to information given by Bloomberg, the Rijksmuseum, closed since December 2003 for works that should last seven years, will not open before 2013. The Dutch state will organise a new call for bids for one of the phases of the construction works.
COPENHAGUEN- The Henning Larsen foundation has launched an architecture drawing contest open to all.
DUBAI - The first sale organized in Dubai by Bonhams has more than doubled the initial estimate with 13 million $ of product sold. The painting Love, by Iranian painter Farhat Moshiri, went past the symbolic barrier of one million dollars.
LE MANS – The image festival «Les Photographiques» will celebrate its 30th anniversary in the 2008 edition, from 8 to 30 March, with exhibitions in 8 venues in the city, from the convention hall to the hospital.
LONDON – The sale at Sotheby’s of contemporary art on 27 February reassured observers. Indeed it set a new record in Europe with a product of 95 million £. It broke many records, of which the most spectacular is credited to Lucio Fontana for th Fine di Dio, taken for 10.3 million £ (13.7 million €).
MADRID – The paving of the new rooms in the Prado museum, inaugurated at the end of 2007, has a few defects. The administration has announced they will be progressively replaced.
NEW YORK – Thomas Krens, at the head of the Guggenheim galaxy for the last twenty years and who was the inspirer of the Guggenheim Bilbao, announced he will be leaving his position as director. He wiIl continue to council the institution for another large project, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
PEKIN - Jérôme Sans, former co-director of the Palais de Tokyo, has been named director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, inaugurated a few months ago in the Chinese capital.
TOULOUSE - Les Abattoirs organize a day of tribute to artist Edouard Levé, who passed away on 15 October 2007, with the reading of his Autoportrait, on 7 March, the eve of the day his works of the exhibition "Rugby" will be taken down.
This week, do not miss
FOURTH WORLD FESTIVAL OF NAIVE ART
VERNEUIL-SUR-AVRE - The festival of naïf art will hold its 4th edition in the former church of Saint-Laurent by bringing together 900 works by 120 artists, from nearly 30 countries. Artists in residence will create monumental sculptures while training classes will be open to the public.