Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #82 - from 20 March 2008 to 26 March 2008

Art Of The Day Weekly

#82 - from 20 March 2008 to 26 March 2008


The art of my country

Lately, small countries seem to question the contours of their culture and, consequently the foundations of their identity. We saw it with France when it reacted furiously to the taunting of Time magazine when it spoke of the end of French culture. The event «The strength of art» at the Grand-Palais, held every three years, can also be looked at in this perspective – to prove absolutely that in France we also create, therefore we exist (even if we cost less at the auctions …). In Zurich, the Kunsthaus tries to define what Swiss art is. To show the ambition of the objective, the exhibition, with installations, performances, video overflows to the town center and even to the airport. Further North, a similar procedure leads to an even more burning reality, the one of Wallonia in Belgium, in the midst of separatist ferments. With an amusing and enigmatic title, Ce curieux pays curieux (This curious country curious), it groups together contemporary works, Renaissance altarpieces, tapestries and jewels. Many were created at a time when the concept of Wallonia did not exist or only by artists who happily straddled frontiers. An excellent demonstration of the difficulty to give art a nationality…

  • Shifting Identities at the Kunsthaus Zurich, from 14 March to 8 June 2008
  • Ce curieux pays curieux, trésors anciens et modernes de Wallonie at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, up to 18 May 2008.

    The website of Shifting Identities


    Say it with colors

    LOS ANGELES – Everyone remembers the beautiful title of Le Corbusier's book: Quand les cathédrales étaient blanches (When cathedrals were white). But it can be misleadding and Alain Erlande-Brandebourg and Jean Jenger had fun doing a play with words, with Quand les cathédrales étaient peintes (When cathedrals were painted - Gallimard, 2004). Ancient art was rich in colors, even «kitsch» sometimes, and not sobre as one would like to believe. Time is responsible for our being deprived from these rainbows that covered Gothic churches as well as Greek temples or ancient statues. The Villa Getty, recently reopened to the public, reviews four milleniums of art history to confirm it to us. From the heads of Greek gods with blue beards to the gold and chalcedony cameos, from the reconstructions of Roman busts with flashy colors to the excesses of the Nazarenes, of the Pre-Raphaelites or the Cobra group, man's taste for polychrome has never subsided.

    A slide show of the works exhibited

    Far away cultures from Barbier-Mueller

    PARIS – Some people have leafed through the catalogue published last year, others were able to see the exhibition in Geneva. The presentation of the masterpieces of the Barbier-Mueller collection have finally made it to Paris. There are some one hundred pieces of art from Africa and Oceania, that sum up the fund assembled since 1907 by three generations of collectors: Josef Mueller (who started by buying a painting from Swiss painter Cuno Amiet) then his daughter Monique and his son-in-law Jean-Paul Barbier, now imitated by their children. Four major pieces take over the front stage: a sceptre with a horseman (Nigeria, 12th century), considered by Jean-Paul Barbier-Mueller as the jewel of his collection, a Kwélé mask from Gabon (19th century) that belonged to Tristan Tzara, an anthropomorphous cup, in a very modern style, for libations, a Malagan statue (New-Ireland) showing a person whose liver is being eaten by a fish. From the crests to the ancestral effigies, from the dance sticks to the pulleys of weaving machines; yet each person can make up his list of favorites.

  • Chefs-d’œuvre de la collection Barbier-Mueller at the musée Jacquemart-André, from 19 March to 24 August 2008.

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  • The spirit of Team 10

    PARIS – It is a pleasant surprise to see the name of Team 10 come out of oblivion. The informal group of architects, born from the 9th International Congress of modern architecture at Aix-en-Provence in 1953, around the thought of a «Charter on habitat» lasted until 1981. Its members, Dutch (Jaap Bakema and Aldo van Eyck), British (Allison and Peter Smithson), French (Georges Candilis) or Italian (Giancarlo de Carlo) are more known for their theories than for their constructions. By questioning the modernist and functionalist precepts, they wanted to reintroduce a social dimension into the town, and bring forward the ideas of mobility, of continuous transformation of the urban fabric. The exhibition patiently assembled models, drawings, photographs, come from various European centres – Venice, Stockholm, Rotterdam. It is reinforced by a second presentation, dedicated to the Atelier de Montrouge.

  • Team 10, une utopie du présent (1953-1981) and L’atelier de Montrouge, la modernité à l’œuvre (1958-1981) at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, from 20 March to 11 May 2008

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    The return of Berri

    PARIS – His movies Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources made him famous. More recently, he was in the limelight for producing the movie la Graine et le Mulet, by Abdellatif Kechiche, that was just awarded the César for the best French movie. Movie director and producer, as well as collector, Claude Berri will inaugurate on 20 March a new exhibition space in the Marais. After having owned a gallery (Espace Renn) for more than a decade, Berri is back to his first love. In this venue, redesigned by Jean Nouvel, he wishes to proceed by a monographic approach. The inaugural exhibition, mounted together with the Georges-Philippe et Nathalie Vallois gallery, is dedicated to Gilles Barbier (see further on). In a recent interview in Beaux Arts Magazine, Claude Berri announced exhibitions on contemporary Indian artists and on trees. The greatest French collector of Ryman, who also had strong links with Dubuffet, Bacon and Man Ray, concluded with disarming honesty: « In this new venue, I want to show artists I did not know before »

  • Espace Claude Berri, 4, passage Sainte-Avoye, 75003

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    Gilles Barbier, Sans Titre (Refreshing Filter), 2006, épreuve chromogène, 112 x 105,2 cm, courtesy Galerie GP & N Vallois, Paris

    Gilles Barbier: between banana peels and dictionary

    He has the same family name as Jean-Paul Barbier, mentioned a little further up, and also has a link with the cultures of Oceania (he was born in Vanuatu, in 1965). The resemblances end there: Gilles Barbier created a totally contemporary universe for himself, peopled with recurrent and ill-assorted figures such as the worm, the cheese with holes, the printed circuits, clones and banana peels. The mix can alternatively give a fart producing/wind breaking organ, the "Revolution backwards", with its characters suspended from the ceiling, the "Manifestation", with its demonstrators that are small figurines for children, or a small and consciencious copy of a dictionary. The "Mégamaquette", an evolutive

    installation that brings together various of his works and which we see at regular intervals (at the end of 2006 at the Carré d’art de Nîmes), functions like an updated resume of his «corpus».

  • Gilles Barbier is exhibited at the Sollertis gallery, in Toulouse (12 rue des Régans), until 19 April (together with Katia Bourdarel) and until 10 May 2008, at the Espace Claude Berri in Paris (see previous article) that presents unique works.

    The website of the Sollertis gallery


    Buffet, served cold

    Salvador Dali, who had a mediocre opinion of him, had pronounced this play on words years before his death. Bernard Buffet, born in 1928, was launched like a meteor at the age of 20, adored at the age of 25 (in 1955, a survey carried out by «Connaissance des arts» classified him as the most important French painter of the post war period, far ahead of Mathieu or Soulages), and held in contempt at the age of 40: his itinerary is not very typical… just like the opinions he crystallised. Malraux and Picasso hated him, Dufy and Warhol believed he was a genius. The biography by Jean-Claude Lamy looks at this fiercely figurative painter with a favorable prejudice by insisting on the character more than on the content of his painting. A rich parade of human comedy is then reviewed in which the first scenes are held by Pierre Bergé (Buffet's lover and pygmalion before he abandoned him for Yves Saint Laurent), the critic Pierre Descargues, Jean Giono or Annabel, the oracle of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (in a famous photo, she is in the same bed as Juliette Greco). Behind the money and the glory (that is still strong in Japan and Russia), lies a tragic destiny, that ended with a suicide by suffocation.

  • Bernard Buffet, le samouraï by Jean-Claude Lamy, Albin Michel, 2008, 368 p., 22 €, ISBN : 978-2-226-18080-3

    SPONSORED LINK Are you interested in thist book? You can order it on DessinOriginal.com, the art bookstore over the web where you will find the best novelties, catalogues of current exhibitions and rare titles or difficult to find in bookstores.

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    LONDON – French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foester has been chosen for the next installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, to be unveiled in October 2008. She will follow in the footsteps of artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Anish Kapoor, Oliafur Eliasson and Doris Salcedo.

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    LOS ANGELES – The Getty Museum announces the purchase from a private collector of a painting by Gauguin, Ari Matamoe, painted in 1892, representing the head of a beheaded man.

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    PARIS -Sotheby’s presents at the galerie Charpentier, up to 20 March, the main lots of its Russian art sale that will be held in London on 30 June.

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    PARIS – The exhibition Eros au secret, about erotic books from its collection, has been extended until March 30 at the Bibliothèque nationale.

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    PARIS – A new world record was set during the sale at Piasa on 11 March, for a Boîte-en-valise by Marcel Duchamp at 98 870 €.

    ROME - A common installation by artist Mimmo Paladino and musician Brian Eno, Opera per l’Ara Pacis, was inaugurated on 11 March at the Ara Pacis. It can be seen until 11 May.

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    TOULOUSE – Manifesto – a festival of images is calling all candidatures for its 6th edition, to be held from 18 September to 18 October (photo, video, performance).

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