Art Of The Day Weekly
#103 - from 2 October 2008 to 8 October 2008
IN THE AIR
Honey, I shrunk the Tuileries
The fire of the Tuileries castle right next to the Louvre, was one of the big events of the French Commune in 1871. A few remains of its foundations are still there, underground, some sculpted elements in depots in some suburb and two pavilions – Flore and Marsan, now integrated in the Louvre. That is not enough to help one imagine we can resuscitate the 100-meter long palace … And yet, that is the avowed ambition of a National Committee, that has just held a seminar at the Sorbonne. After all the church of Dresden was rebuilt and the royal Palace in Berlin will meet the same fate. Some people are against a future modern pastiche. Do they know that the Saint-Jacques tower and Notre-Dame of Paris, periodically restored, are for a great part «false»? Practically all the original materials have been replaced. The details have been specified: no cost for the State thanks to the intervention patrons, a long, 80-year lease, an internal convention centre, additional space for the Louvre and Arts décoratifs museums. There is just one concern, since the reconstruction would block the more-than-famous perspective that goes from the Arc of Triumph to Pei’s pyramid. In the city most visited in the world, the urban landscape is an asset that is worth its weight in gold. The virtual world is in fashion: why not treat ourselves to a new version, cut in the middle?
Artists, sheer genius
BERLIN – Is the cult of the artist something new? Does it date from Duchamp and Picasso? Certainly not. We can well remember Pliny’s anecdotes regarding the sculptor Phidias, who was contemporary to Pericles, and the painter Appelle: they were semi-gods. At the Renaissance, Titian could speak on an equal basis to Emperor Charles V. With a series of monographic exhibitions, the museums of Berlin have decided, from October 2008 to February 2009, to look into the «cult» rendered to more recent authors: Klee, Beuys, Warhol, Giacometti or Koons. In the past the artistic exploit was the first motif of admiration. With the development of the mass media, it is the artist’s capacity to have people talk about him, to shock the dominating morale, to generate mind-blowing royalties (last case that comes to mind, that of Damien Hirst, a true manager of an investment fund) who seems to found the «myth». One of the most original exhibitions is the one that confronts writer Clemens Brentano to the sculptor Karl-Friedrich Schinkel. The two friends had set themselves a challenge, to determine which among writing or the visual arts was the highest form of art. A true research on the roots of glory …
Pomodoro sees big
MILANO – They are two brothers and are often taken one for the other: Giò (1930-2002) and Arnaldo Pomodoro (born in 1926) marked monumental sculpture in the second half of the XXth century with large, metal, geometric compositions. The Arnaldo Pomodoro foundation has brought together in an exhibition 35 years of Arnaldo’s creations, that show, since Cono Tronco in 1972, his progressive extension into space. His golden bronze circles, covered with grooves, his gyroscopes, and his marble obelisks planted upside down have been the object of installations in public spaces. The group called Pietrarubbia (1975-76) ressembles gigantic tablets with wedge-shaped inscriptions. Arnaldo Pomodoro, who like Marino Marini or Mark di Suvero, wished to possess a nucleus of his own works, has gathered them –sometimes buying them –over the last 25 years. First he put them together in Rozzano, in the outskirts of Milano. More recently his foundation settled in the district of Ansaldo, in a spectacular building with ceilings 15 metres tall, the former plant of electric turbines Riva & Calzoni.
Picasso looks back on the past
PARIS – He exploded all art of the XXth century in such a way that it is difficult to imagine that he admired any of the old masters. And yet it is the case: having had a very academic education, in which the copy and drawing from nature occupied a large place, Picasso produced throughout his life «variations» on famous works. He thus sought his inspiration from Greco (Portrait of an artist), Vélasquez (the Meninas) or Cézanne’s nude women. The originals and the interpretations are grouped together at the Grand-Palais to show that the inventor of cubism had also succeeded in his «classic» side. In parallel, the museum of Orsay presents 14 of the 26 paintings Picasso produced, based on Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe and the Louvre is doing as much around Femmes d’Alger by Delacroix.
In the frame
PARIS – We have somehow fallen out of the habit of giving works of art the frame they deserve. Should we blame minimalism, the fashion of installations, or the rise of video? Is it a will not to upset the pleasure of contemplation by appended elements? In any case, the fact is that frames, formerly an essential part of a painting, have trouble playing that part. Yet it is a remarkable decorative element that can, even when it is classic, accommodate very well to contemporary compositions. The selection presented at Drouot’s on 3 October is very complete. There are all sorts of species: oak of course, as well pine, wood from fruit trees, lime, beech or, for more exotic tastes, amaranth, mahogany and ebony from Macassar. These frames, estimated between 70 € and 11 000 € (for Berain decor from the time of Louis XIV), all have the foreseeable motifs: palmettes, foliage, heads of cherubs, pig tails, olive tree leaves or the Empire style “raies de cœur”. You had better know what you want for they can be tainted, with an inlay, patinated, with silver or gold leaf, very large or minute, such as the XIXth century frame decorated with mouldings, designed for stone samples. It only measures 5.5 x 9.8 cm but is estimated at 600 €. Undoubtedly the most expensive pee square centimetre…
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Ry Rocklen: no waste
His approach is not very revolutionary: rather than sculpt or paint, Rocklen is an «assembler». He utilizes existing objects to give them a new sense by combining them with others. Born in California in 1978, Rocklen is more aware than others of the themes of sustainable development, pollution and recycling. This explains why he gives preference to the waste of our consumer society – pierced balls, capsules of soda bottles, toys, wrappings or old rubber boots – for his installations. The reference to Duchamp or Rauschenberg is unavoidable but takes no merit away from his way of proceeding, be it only because this young American, selected for the Biennale at the Whitney Museum in 2008, uses perfectly contemporary waste …
Sarrabezolles, the poet of concrete
Like Molière, he died while exercising his art: in February 1971 he fell as he was sculpting a bust in his workshop and died from his injuries. He was 82 years old. The name of Carlo Sarrabezolles, a native from Toulouse, means nothing to the public today. And yet he is the inventor of a new method: sculpture directly on concrete while it is setting which he experiments for the first time in the autumn of 1928 in the church of Elisabethville, in the Yvelines outside Paris. In order to carry out big groups in relief Sarrabezelles attacked concrete just taking out of its frame and still tender. He could thus produce various characters in one single day, finish the facade of a church in a few months and apply his objective, that of making sculpture and architecture one single body. This catalogue, which accompanies a traveling exhibition (it will be in Reims at the museum of Beaux-Arts as of 16 October), retraces the various periods in the sculpture's career, from the monuments to the dead in the twenties to the large exhibitions in the period between the two wars (at the Arts décoratifs in 1925, the colonial one in 1937), including the busts of friends and the wide scale programs, be it the Normandie liner or the Palais de Chaillot.
COLOGNE - Art Fair.21, grouping together some sixty contemporary art galleries, among them some ten of Asian origin, will be held from 2 to 5 October 2008.
NEW YORK - The International Art+Design Fair, dedicated to XXth century design, will host some forty galleries at the Park Avenue Armory, from 3 to 8 October 2008.
PARIS - The 7th edition of the sleepless night (Nuit blanche parisienne) begins in the afternoon on 4 October 2008 and will end on the morning of October 5. The artistic program is ensured by Hervé Chandès and Ronald Chammah.
PARIS - The Léon Lévy collection, of furniture and objets d'art of the XVIIIth century, will be auctioned by Sotheby's on 2 October.
POZNAN (Poland) -The Biennale of Contemporary Art Mediations will be held from 3 to 30 October 2008. It will bring together some 200 artists in nearly fifteen exhibitions.
SAN FRANCISCO - The Academy of Sciences of California inaugurated on 27 September its new museum. With its vegetable roof and natural air conditioning, the building designed by Renzo Piano is at the avant-garde of the environmental movement.
SEVILLE - The 3rd International Biennale of contemporary art of Seville, held from 2 October 2008 to 11 January 2009 under the title Oeyouniverse brings together 150 artists.
TORONTO - The Toronto Contemporary art fair will be held from 2 to 6 October 2008.
VERSAILLES - Marie-Antoinette's Petit Trianon, restored thanks to the patronage of Montres Bréguet, will open again to the public on 2 October 2008.