Art Of The Day Weekly
#81 - from 13 March 2008 to 19 March 2008
IN THE AIR
A metro named archeology
ROME – No one can forget the emblematic image of Fellini's movie Roma, when the workers on the construction site of the "metropolitana" discovered an Ancient fresco. They had hardly expressed their wonder at their discovery, when the effect of the air erased it inexorably right before their very eyes. Roman archeologists are concerned this type of imaginary -or other more realistic - scenes could happen and are very careful. The third metro line, meant to open by 2015, is already the object of preventive diggings. Superintendent Angelo Bottini recently listed the remnants unveiled, ancient taverns and the stall of a medieval glass worker. The futur results should be remarkable: some even believe Agrippa's cenotaphe may be exhumed. Large scale diggings are planned on Piazza Venezia. The work will be imposing -a trench 30 metres in diameter – and delicate. Indeed, the stability of the monument to Victor-Emmanuel II should not be affected: what would Rome be without its giant «typewriter»? The metro can pretty well wait.
China: proof by three
LONDON – Beyond the plastic toys, the heaps of acrylic sweaters and the toothpaste made with antifreeze, China is also state-of-the art international creation. We have seen it in contemporary art with the surprising prices reached by Chinese visual artists. The Victoria & Albert Museum explores other fields by segmenting the country into three symbolic regions. To the South, we have Shenzen, the former special economic zone, with a boom (fishing towns in 1975, a metropolis with 10 million residents today) that is emblematic of Chinese growth: that is where the textile motifs of the future are made. Then we have Shanghai, the capital of design, movies and fashion, and Bejing, which has been turned into the world architectural showcase by the coming Olympic games with the stadium designed by Herzog and de Meuron, the television center by Rem Koolhaas, the airport by Norman Foster. Fortunately we can look beyond this gigantic European register, and also see what the young, local generation is producing: pebble houses by Ma Qingyun or transparent hotels by Zhu Pei and Wu Tong
A bronze Egypt
MARTIGNY – We immediately associate the civilization of the Pharaoes to pyramids, temples and colossal, stone statues, mural frescoes, even to the oushebtis, the tiny vademecum for the beyond. But we rarely think of its metallic sculptures. In collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum, the fondation Gianadda is now shedding new light on this little-known aspect of Egyptian art, through some 70 pieces. The oldest go back to the Middle Empire (v. 2575-2100 B.C.), a series of kneeling kings or divinities kept in the temples, and which the priests took out for processions. The exhibition focuses on copper and in particular bronze alloys, of which the most spectacular creations go back to the Third Intermediary Period (v. 1070-664 B.C.): large ladies, kings, chorists, inlaid and decorated with precious metals. Up to the period of Ptolemy, countless statues were thus produced and «taken care of»: they were dressed and nourished, and protected during the night.
Marie-Antoinette, you saw the movie, now run to the exhibit
PARIS – She was the heroine of a recent feature film by Sofia Coppola. Here she is now at the Grand Palais. The wife of Louis XVI (1755-1793) is presented in her clothing of chief patron of the declining monarchy. Obviously we see her represented in all sorts of manners (in formal wear, «with a rose», as a musician, with her children), by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Louis Ducreux, or in sculpture, by Louis-Simon Boizot. Republican artist David even sketched her on the way to the guillotine. But her influence goes well beyond the iconography: Marie-Thérèse's daughter «set the tone» at the court of Versailles in many ways, from fashion to the stage, from the furniture to the objets d’art. To prove it there are hundreds objects that represent this «Marie-Antoinette» style: her harp, the chairs from the Petit-Trianon, a writing table by Adam Weisweler, Japanese laquered boxes in the form of roosters or fans, including the famous bowl in the shape of a breast from the Laiterie de Rambouillet.
Every one hundred years, M. Gillot is back...
PARIS – Charles Gillot is back. The sale of his collection, on 6 March, at Christie’s, set a new set of records. With 17.9 million €, it is the best result for an auction of Islamic art in France (11 million € for the 107 lots concerned). It also reached the second highest prize ever paid for a metal, art object from Islam (3 million € for a XIVth century, Fars candelabra from southern Iran) and the record for an Islamic wooden object (2.1 million € for an ebony and ivory panel from the minbar of the Qawsum emir in Cairo, also from the XIVth century). Born in 1853, Charles Gillot, a printer, was also an enlightened collector of Oriental antiques. Following his death in 1904, an exceptional sale had already taken place in two parts, at Durand-Ruel and at Hôtel-Drouot, awaking the enthusiasm of Edmond de Goncourt due to the quality of his Japanese pieces.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Form, 2008 photographie numérique tirage Fine Art sur papier électrique 100 x 105 cm - édition 1/5 Courtesy galerie Patricia Dorfmann
Marcus Tomlinson: colored body
He succeeded in fashion photography for magazines such as Arena, The Face or Vogue. Then his collaboration with designers such as Issey Miyake or Hussein Chalayan led him to more personal reserach, which he got used to see presented in galleries or in museums. One can detect in Marcus Tomlinson inspirations that go back to Man Ray or Edward Steichen, two great pioneers of fashion images. He gives preference to a portion of the body rather than to its totality and uses it as a screen on which he projects other motifs, other colors, turning a breast or an arm a semi-abstract piece. Equally active in movies and installations-, Marcus Tomlinson is getting ready for a good year in 2008: we should see him again at the Mudam in Luxemburg and at the Rencontres photographiques d’Arles, where Christian Lacroix will be the commissioner this year.
Bangladesh, as if you were there
It was one of the big let downs at the end of 2007: the maor exhibition at the musée Guimet on the treasures of Bangladesh, that had been postponed more than once, was finally canceled following a theft committed during transit at the airport of Dacca. The catalogue that was fortunately published is the best opportunity to get near this art we hardly know. Divinities sculpted in the Xth century on black stone steles (Bouda, Siva or Durga, the «murderer of the buffalo demon») are close to manuscripts on palm leaves. Decorative plates in terracotta, with a scene of an elephant hunt, follow bronzes and sculpted pillars from the Vth century. A palette with blush, a jewel case, coins, a millstone and its pestle, all allow us to enter two centuries of daily life. Avec ses essais sur la langue, l’histoire, la religion, l’architecture (from the temple of Paharpur until the Parliament designed by Louis Kahn), the catalogue intends to be a general introduction to the art of Eastern Bengal. It can help us await patiently until the next opportunity to admire it for real…
BALE – The Swiss city has rejected the request from by the descendants of Berlin collector Curt Glaser to return to them works of art that were taken from them by the Nazis, among them works by Beckmann and Matisse. The Kunsmuseum feels it acquired them in a legal manner in an auction in May 1933.
BALTIMORE -The National Gallery of Art of Washington D.C. and collector Robert E. Meyerhoff have reached an agreement regarding his donation to the institution. At his death his collection of various hundreds of works of the post-war period will remain exhibited in his home in Maryland while becoming the property of the museum.
CARDIFF- The 3rd Artes Mundi prize, one of the most doted in the field of contemporary art, presents 9 pre-selected artists at the National Museum, starting on 15 March 2008. The winner will be named on 24 April.
LONDON-The Affordable Art Fair that only presents works at low costs (between 50 and 3 000£), will hold its 2008 edition at Battersea Park with the participation of 120 galleries, from 13 to 16 March.
NEW YORK-The Whitney Biennial, dedicated to contemporary American art, opened on 6 March. It presents some 80 artists at the Whitney Museum and at the Park Avenue Armory, and will go on until 1 June.
NEW YORK- The Asian Contemporary Art Week will be held from 15 to 24 March.
STOCKHOLM – The Swedish Royal Academy of fine arts has announced it will put up for sale its most famous painting in order to face its debts. It is ready to cede Rembrandt's The Batavian conspiracy for 49 million $ - a price that is largely inferior to its value - on the condition the buyer leaves it in deposit at the Nationalmuseum.
STOCKOLM- The Abba museum is a very particular one as it is entirely dedicated to the glory of the Abba pop group.It will only open in May 2009, but they are already taking reservations.
This week, do not miss
THE ARTS OF ANCIEN VIETNAM
GENEVA -Vietnamese art is less exposed than its Chinese or Japanese counterparts. The exhibition presented at the Collections Baur invites us to travel through fifteen centuries of artistic production, around the exceptional collection of bronzes and ceramics gathered by Swedis archeologist Olov Janse.
ROUEN - The retrospective at the musée de la Céramique pays tribute to one of the most inventive personalities of the XXth century in this field. Guidette Carbonell (born in 1910) has created a world inhabited by fantastic animals and mythological references, where small glazed objects sit side by side with large mural compositions.