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Art Of The Day Weekly

#100 - from 11 September 2008 to 17 September 2008


Paris Biennale: in search of its bearings

PARIS – Its main competitor, the TEFAF in Maastricht, is in great shape, with a constantly increasing income and a very well-defined image. The Parisian Biennale has the benefit of seniority - it was created in 1956, the TEFAF in 1975 – but if undoubtedly suffers from weaker attendance in a market that is constatnly trying to confirm its good health. XVIIIth century furniture, the Parisian specialty by excellence, has hit rock bottom, the reservoir of Art déco has been widely tapped these last few years (proof of this is the special show presented by the Vallois, who presented the most beutiful pieces they have had in their hands over the last twenty five years), other specialties must intervene now to prove Paris is still in the race: tribal art, objets d’art, modern art, drawings or post WW II design. Among the 95 stands with their entrances standardized by decorator Patrick Bazanan – each one standing behind a 7 meter tall arch – we see a few returns, such as Dutch Vanderven & Vanderven (Asia art) and Emmanuel Moatti (antique paintings), now settled in London, or the first participation of bookstore owner Jean-Claude Vrain.

  • XXIVe Biennale des antiquaires at the Grand Palais, from 11 to 21 September.

    The website, complicated to access, incomplete, is not the perfect display window for the Biennale… The gourmet restaurant should fare better, as it is entrusted each day to a famous invited chef, from Jacques Chibois to Hélène Darroze.


    All Bacon minus the workshop

    LONDON – Francis Bacon: that is all everyone is talking about. The British painter who died in 1992 has been collecting all the records in sales for the last two years. On 14 May of this year, at Sotheby’s in New York, he hit the figure of 77 million $ with a Triptych from 1976, surpassing Rothko and Warhol. The bad boy disinherited by his brutal father, an unconventional of the Sixties – drinker, homosexual and figurative painter – is now dubbed post mortem. To open the centennial of his birth (to be celebrated in 2009), the Tate Britain has the ambition of drawing his definite portrait by calling in some sixty works of his, among them his well-known series inspired by the Crucifixion or by pope Innocent X (inspired from a portrait by Velasquez that haunted him) as well as his various large triptychs, among them the one dedicated to the death of his lover George Dyer. This retrospective will of course be nurished by the discoveries made following his death in his workshop. To discover this fascinating space, where the traditional disorder has been reproduced in the most minute detail, the public will have to travel to Dublin: it can be seen at the Hugh Lane Gallery in that city.

  • Francis Bacon at the Tate Britain from 11 September to 4 January 2009

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  • My son Vincent

    MARSEILLE – Everyone knows Van Gogh. Who knows Monticelli? And yet, when Van Gogh arrived in Paris in March 1886, his wish was to continue Monticelli, «as if I were his brother or his son». And when he planned on living together with Gauguin, his «firm intention» was to go «stroll along the Canebière, dressed exactly like Monticelli». The exhibition at the Vieille-Charité, by putting some sixty works by both artists face to face, allows for some light to finally be shed on the artist from Marseille (1824-1886). The latter learned in his later years how to graduate from the scenes of gallantry he was so famous for to a new painting, with powerful impasto, and intense light. This is the period that so influenced Van Gogh. The two men never met: Monticelli died in Marseille on 30 June 1886 while Van Gogh was still living at his brother's, in Paris.

  • Van Gogh Monticelli at the Vieille Charité, from 16 September 2008 to 11 January 2009
  • Also to be visited: the exhibition Monticelli mounted by gallery owner Marc Stammégna, from 18 September to 4 October 2008 (74, rue Breteuil, 13006)

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    The roads of utopia

    VENICE – «Out there. Architecture beyond building». The title is given in English and has already created a bit of a commotion: architecture beyond building, what can that mean? In any case it is the theme chosen by the organizer of the biennale of architecture 2008, 46 year-old Aaron Betsky, the former director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute and current director of the museum of Cincinnati. As a result we have installations, «visions», with a strong utopian charge but that some day could have partial applications. They range from the space vessel anchored over Rome by the Chinese MAD artists (in the Uneternal City section) to the latest model of Mongol yurt, from the blogwalls by Greg Lynn, to the modern version of the Garden of Eden. Those accustomed to experimentation will be there (MVRDV, Cop Himmelb(l)au, Zaha Hadid, Diller & Scofidio, Drooog Studio) as well as Frank Gehry, their tutelary figure. Betsky, who worked with him twenty years ago, had no trouble convincing the board of administration that the famous architect deserved the Gold Lion for his career.

  • 11th Biennale of architecture of Venice from 14 September to 23 November 2008 at the Arsenal and in the Giardini.

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    The Hirst Parade

    LONDON – With his compatriot Lucian Freud and with Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst is one of the three most expensive living artists in the world. With the help of a hoard of assistants, the artist (born in 1965), produces either canvases covered with coloured polka-dots, medicine cabinets, accumulations of dead dried-up flies, of animals placed in buckets of formalin (sometimes cut up in pieces) or a human skull studded with 8 601 diamonds. In his search for efficient management, Hirst decided not to wait for his works to be slowly chosen in galleries by wealthy amateurs. In order to have a perfect allocation of his recent works, the artiste will offer his production in one bloc, at an auction. It is very unusual to use sales in this manner, that we are more used to when dispersing the funds of deceased artists or those who wish to turn the page (recently, Jean-Pierre Raynaud or Hirst himself, in 2004, for the decoration of his restaurant Pharmacy). The risk exists that he «suffocate» the market. From his Golden Calf estimated at more than 10 million euros to the collages of butterfly wings (around 100 000 euros), the 223 lots offered in two days represent a global estimate of 80 million euros. Jackpot in view…

  • Beautiful inside my head forever, recent works by Damien Hirst, 15 September 2008 at Sothebys.

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    Recovering art, an endless story

    On the cover we see an accumulation of paintings against a wall: works that are maybe by Van Gogh, Corot, Manet? Taken from the Rothschilds, from Jacques Seligmann or from Paul Rosenberg, Picasso’s dealer? This bilingual book – obviously the interest it represents goes beyond the French boundaries– tries to synthesize the French policy regarding the return of works of art robbed during WW II. From the action carried out by the sinister ERR (Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg), in charge of organizing the seizures in the countries dominated by the Reich – between April 1941 and July 1944, it sent from France to Germany 138 train wagons containing over 22 000 lots – to the long identification process of the legitimate owners (that became dormant between 1960 and the middle of the 1990s), the matter is indeed not over. Not all the paintings have found their owners. Following a rather dense historic introduction, a second part of the book presents the itinerary of some of those works of art called the MNR (Musées nationaux Récupération –National museums of recovered works of art), from the Portrait of Antonin Proust by Edouard Manet to the Baigneuses by Courbet. Until 28 September, they can be seen at the Jewish museum of art and history –Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme.

  • A qui appartenaient ces tableaux ? (Who did these paintings belong to?) by Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont and Laurence Sigal-Klagsbald, RMN, 2008, ISBN : 978-2-7118-5543-8, 226 p., 39 €

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    ANGERS-The street arts festival "Les Accroche-Coeurs", to be held from 11 to 14 September 2008, will be accompanied by the intervention of visual artists from Angers, who "shorthanded" their town.

    CHELLES-The public commission made to architect Marc Barani and designer Martin Szekely-the arrangement of the twin churches of this town in the Seine-et-Marne into a space of visual art- will be inaugurated on 13 Septembre.

    MOSCOW – The Garage, the centre of contemporary art financed by Dacha Joukova, the fiancée of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovitch, will open on 17 September 2008 in a bus station designed in the middle of the 1920s by constructivist artist Constantin Melnikov. The first exhibition is dedicated to Ilya and Emilia Kabakov.

    NAPLES – Set up in a former electric plant, the Museo Nitsch will be inaugurated on 13 September 2008. It is completely dedicated to the work of German artist Hermann Nitsch, famous for his performances, and who just celebrated his 70th birthday.

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    NEW YORK – Thomas P. Campbell has been elected Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum where he will succeed Philippe de Montebello, who quits on January 1 2009 after a record 31 years at the helm. Educated in Cambridge, Campbell has been working since 1995 at the Met, where he is currently director of the department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts.

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    PANAMA – The 8th Biennale of Panama, with, among other artists Francis Alys, Sam Durant, Jonathan Monk, opened on 9 September and will be held until 21 October 2008.

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    SEOUL – The 5th International Biennale of media art will be held from 11 September to 5 November 2008. Among the 70 artists present, we shall see Mexican Carlos Amorales, Belgian Ann Veronica Janssens and South-African William Kentridge.

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    VERSAILLES - From 11 September to 14 December, Jeff Koons will occupy with his monumental works, different spaces of the castle of Versailles.

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    YOKOHAMA – The Triennale of Yokohama will be held from 13 September to 30 November 2008. The inauguration is marked by various artistic performances.

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    ZURICH – The Koller auction house, previously a gallery of equestrian prints, will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary with a series of «jubilee» sales, of which the first will be held from 15 to 22 September 2008.

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