Art Of The Day Weekly
#111 - from 27 November 2008 to 3 December 2008
IN THE AIR
In vino veritas
Art and grapes have lived side by side for a long time. Alexander the Great was already fascinated by the bunch of grapes Apelle painted – even pilfering birds mistook them! Velasquez and Cézanne relished doing portraits of wine drinkers. Closer to home, a few great wine producers have decided to renew with this link by working with artists or by housing interesting art collections in their stores. The Mouton-Rothschild labels, signed by Carlu, Marie Laurencin or Baselitz, old glasses from the Pichon-Longueville-comtesse de Lalande castle, the Donald Hess collection in the Napa Valley, are but some examples of aesthetic wine producers. In this field, the New World defeats the Old one: the 2009 trophy of the «Great Wine Capitals» in the cultural field was given last 13 November to the Argentine Killka Salentein. Aside from its remarkable architecture, signed by Bormida-Yanzón, and its outdoor sculpture garden, it holds a museum, a temporary exhibition gallery and a full-time curator. A good number of «classic» museums could envy these conditions! The tendency is not merely trivial: the first monographic museum dedicated to James Turrell will open in 2009 at Colomé, another estate that belongs to Donald Hess, also in Argentina.
FERRARA-To English artists of the XIXth century, the trip to Italy was an indispensable phase in their training. It allowed them close contact with works of the Antiquity and the Renaissance and with the landscapes that inspired them. For Turner, it was immediate love as the exhibition at the Palazzo dei Diamanti proves, with nearly one hundred works on the subject. While travels were less frequent at the time than now, they lasted longer. One left for months, not for a short week. And the consequences were felt long after the traveller’s return. An example is the quantity of impressions Turner gathered during his visits in 1802, 1819 and 1828 that served him later through the memories he kept in his sketches and drawing notebooks. Turner painted the lake of Averna in 1815 or a View of Rome from the Aventino in 1836, years after he laid eyes on them for the first time. Italy’s colours also played a major role in his last, revolutionary manner, where shapes melt in the light, announcing impressionism, as in his Arrival in Venice from 1844.
Hans Erni, bigger than life
MARTIGNY - The centennial or quasi-centennial active individuals in the art world are practically becoming the run of the mill. We all know Claude Lévi-Strauss and Portuguese movie director Manoel de Oliveira, who are reaching their first century in the next few days. While Argentine photographer Horacio Coppola, 103 years old, has slowed down, Louise Bourgeois, 98 years old, and Hans Erni, 99, show no sign of letting go. The Gianadda foundation is celebrating the latter. A native son – he was born in Lucerne and his father was a mechanic on the boats on the lake of the Quatre-Cantons – Erni took on various personalities, as if to better erase any clues. An easel painter, an illustrator of ethnographic missions, a poster artist, be it a typographer (with his alphabet formed by nude couples), Erni fell in the footsteps of the Renaissance artists with big dimensions: in 1939, the fresco he made, Switzerland, the vacation country for people from all over measures 500 square metres.
In praise of poor architecture
PARIS – Their emblematic work for the public at large is the transformation of the Palais de Tokyo: a minimal intervention giving the spaces an aspect of an industrial wasteland, presenting no obstacle to their use and leaving the door open to any future change of use. Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have come quite a way in this approach which is both aesthetic and ethical – to create simple buildings, using at best local materials and the topography, turning without hesitation to recycling. «Double construction», they call it: to build twice with the same budget. With a production they wish to be «useful», «gay», «poetic» and «economic», Lacaton and Vassal were rewarded this year with the Grand National prize for architecture. The retrospective in Paris shows their portfolio has taken on quite some weight since their first creation, a hut in Niamey (1984). The architects themselves set up this presentation of 40 projects, from the Latapie house in Bordeaux (1992) - a building that served as a manifesto - to the School of architecture of Nantes (2008).
Anquetin, a give-away
PARIS – He is nearly forgotten today but he had his hour of glory as the representative of «synthetism» next to Emile Bernard at the end of the XIXth century. Yet Louis Anquetin (1861-1932) was a talented artist, as much at ease when drawing with chalk or charcoal as with ink and wash sketches, and as prolific with oil as with watercolours. The Thierry de Maigret study is putting up for sale all of his workshop. We see pencil drawings for a few hundred euros – parties in the country, dancers, expressive heads, copies of famous works such as Olympia by Manet or male anatomies. These paintings are all very varied – self-portraits, portraits of actresses (Andrée Megard) or of … Buffalo Bill, landscapes, horse and battles, animals and nymphs. The very conservative estimates climb brusquely for the works before 1895 (a Drinker at 8 000 euros and an Actor that could go for more than 20 000 euros). They remain conservative if one realizes Anquetin very recently beat his personal record: 455 000 euros at Sotheby’s last June!
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Razor blades, revolvers, brass knuckles, knives, scalpels, missiles… in very large dimensions – various meters long – in stainless steel, in cast aluminium, planted in the sand or cast in resin. This is Philippe Perrin’s most known production. He is a character like no other and like Arthur Cravan, one of his idols, he seems to associate his visual artist’s activity to that of a boxer and a traveller. This exhibition in Toulouse continues to explore the theme of violence with collages: under the photograph of a man bathing in his own blood there is a huge section of barbed wire, the type strong enough to pen in a Cyclop. A similar installation had been remarked during the Parisian Nuit blanche in 2006.
Christmas is on its way and the Pharaohs will make a fortune again: in the fine-arts editions they are, like large exhibitions, one of the rare sure values. We know that a huge Egyptian museum is in the making near the pyramids, and it is no secret the alley of the Sphinx is undergoing a real cosmetic face lifting in Luxor (the residents have been moved away in order not to interrupt the pleasure of the tourists). But we also know that now one of the main reasons for travelling to Egypt are the beaches of the Red Sea aside from the pyramids… In short, Egyptology is increasingly enjoyed at a distance and the vademecums are rather numerous. The one by Larousse has the qualities one expects from the well-known publishing house: serious, complete, with wonderful maps and drawn reconstructions. There is always a bias towards stones, towards the monumental aspect and the statues – we would like to see more of Toutankhamon’s sandals! – but we do get a glimpse of the love life, funerals, satirical songs and corruption at the time of Ramses V. This needs to be completed with the re-reading of Herodotus…
BARCELONA-The Francisco Godia Foundation, owner of a rich collection that spans from the primitive Catalan artists to Miquel Barcelo, opened its new headquarters on 21 November 2008 in a modernist building on the Garriga Nogués street.
BUENOS AIRES-The Proa Foundation of contemporary art has inaugurated on 21 November 2008 its headquarters in the La Boca district, remodeled by the Caruso-Torrecilla cabiet. The first exhibition will be dedicated to Marcel Duchamp.
CATANIA- After four years of restoration, the Valle palace, a baroque building from the XVIIIth century, will be presented to the public on 1 December for one week. It will open as a contemporary art center in the Spring of 2009.
PARIS-On 2 November 2008, Christine Albanel the French Minister of Culturre returned to its legitimate owners, the heirs of Harry Fuld Jr., a painting by Matisse, The pink wall that was robbed in Germany during WW II.
PARIS – The 17th International Paris-Berlin-Madrid Encounters, at the crossroads of movies and contemporary art, will be held from 8 November to 7 December 2008.
PARIS – Gérard Larcher, the new president of the Senate, has announced new economic measures. Cultural events - in particular Artsénat, the Summer sculpture exhibition in the gardens – could be concerned.
PARIS-From 28 to 30 September 2008, the Lights fair will bring together European"micro-publishers" of art editions, at Point Ephémère (220 quai Valmy, 75010°.
PARIS-Jeanne Lanvin's art collection, made in the 1920s and which includes many Impressionist works, will be up for sale at Christie's on 1st December 2008.
STRASBURG-The 13th edition of the contemporary art fair St-Art which was held from 21 to 24 November 2008, with 94 galleries, hosted 28 000 visitors.
STRASBURG-During the "Arp is Art", the famous Aubette rooms designed by Theo Van Doesburg and the Art couple, will be open three hours a day, from wednesday to saturday (until 15 February 2009).
VENICE- The 11th architecture Biennale, that closed its doors on 23 November 2008, set a record of attendance with over 129 000 visitors.
This week, do not miss
ROUEN - The museum of Fine Arts presents the original itinerary of Georges Koskas. Born in La Marsa in Tunisia in 1926, active in Paris as of 1946, the artist followed the teaching of Lhote and Léger. His only rule is his sens of freedom; he was first known for his abstract paintings with dots before he went on to figuration or to make settings for movies.
SÈVRES, SECOND EMPIRE & IIIrd REPUBLIC - FROM AUDACITY TO JUBILATION
SÈVRES -Following the presentation of the works of the 1950s (in 2006) and the 1920/1930s (in 2007), the Manufacture nationale de of Sévres unveils an unknown period of its porcelain production, marked by important technical innovations and a complete renewal of the decorations.