Art Of The Day Weekly
#114 - from 18 December 2008 to 24 December 2008
This is our last issue for 2008. Our next newsletter will appear next year, on January 8 2009. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
IN THE AIR
To build...or rebuild, that is the question?
« Come prima, più di prima », the unforgettable Domenico Modugno used to sing (« As before, better than before »). This seems to be the slogan much in fashion in certain enlightened circles. Rather than build, let us rebuild! It is just as much fun and it saves us from any expensive fantasies by the architecture stars… The partisans of the re-erection of the Tuileries have sent out a strong message. The idea has received a certain echo: the power of the response, in the form of a petition by the opponents to said idea is proof enough. We all thought this sort of comedy was proper to countries that are less attached to contemporary creation. The thought that a new version of the Taj Mahal would soon be inaugurated in Bangladesh confirmed our opinion. The recent news received from Berlin sends all our certitudes flying: what is going to be put in lieu of the Palace of the Republic, the icon of the communist regime? A real-false baroque palace of William II, impeccably sorted with its mandatory stuccos. We suggest that the persons who make the decisions for the next projects, read books rich in ideas such as the Dictionnaire du Paris disparu (Dictionary of Paris gone) by Alfred Fierro. By the way, maybe we could demolish Notre-Dame in Paris and replace it with the former cathedral of Saint-Etienne? It was so lovely …
LAST DAYS ...UNTIL JANUARY 6 2009... Do not miss REMBRANDT. PAINTER OF STORIES, 40 major works shed light on the genius of narrative painting at the MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO in Madrid. See ArtoftheDay article
Korda, the Cuban
MADRID – What we know is that he is the author of one of the most reproduced photographs of the XXth century. We don’t know much more about Alberto Korda, whom many suspect is a creator of Hungarian origin, just like Brassaï or Kertész. The image is the one of Che Guevara, with a dark look in his eyes and his hair all tousled, taken in March 1960 during the funeral of the sailors of the French advice-boat La Coubre. He has nevertheless produced a great quantity of other photos, describing the reality of revolutionary Cuba, fashion photos as well, sensual nudes, underwater views. We can admire close to two hundred of them at the Casa de América, brought together with the aim of freeing Korda from the crushing weight of one single photograph. This is the opportunity to eliminate all misunderstandings on his name: Korda was no more called Korda than Roger Pic was called Pic… He had changed his legitimate name of Díaz Gutiérrez after he saw a movie by the Hungarian brothers, Zoltan and Alexander Korda. « Korda, it almost sounds like Kodak» he is said to have remarked.
Grand Palais, grand images
PARIS – The first impulse was to celebrate in a dignified manner the tenth anniversary of Fresnoy, the national Studio of contemporary arts, a teaching institution set up in Tourcoing, directed by Alain Fleisher and dedicated to digital creation in all its forms. To do things in a grand manner, the dream became reality: the Grand-Palais hosts a true deluge of videos, from the dome to the basement. The principle is that of a free itinerary, a «self-service» in which each is free to chose one’s artists and one’s point of view (a belvedere has been set up in the centre). From Bob Wilson’s short, comic sketches to thoughts on living in the Brazilian sertão by Laura Erber, the aim of the nearly eighty artists is surprisingly varied.
A passage to India
VALENCIA (Spain) – Over 500 works by some one hundred artists, and spanning two centuries: the retrospective the IVAM dedicates to Indian modern and contemporary art aims at being a reference. Of course it presents the most discussed creators of our day, such as Subodh Gupta, but it also flashes back on a wide past. The aim is to measure colonial heritage, the influence the European and American movements of the sixties, fascinated by Indian spirituality, had locally or the effects of censorship during the state of emergency (1975-77). We will admire side by side, anonymous chromos from Bengale, nude selfportraits of Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-41), a woman whose career was too short, photographs by Raghubir Singh, watercolors by Rabindranath Tagore or paintings by Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002). The Western eye is that of Cartier-Bresson or of the Land Art practiced by Richard Long in the Himalaya.
PARIS – Fragments of XVIIth century cross-stitch tapestries from Hungary, bases for wall paper from Réveillon (where the French Revolution started!), 52 samples of «mouchoirs de cou» scarves made during the Second Empire for the Indo-Chinese market, the issue of the newspaper Libération printed on cotton in 1986… These are some of the lots – none of them should go for more than 1000 euros -, we will see at the auction of «Textiles» on 20 December. This is a unique opportunity to buy rolls of wallpaper 300 years old or rising frames with an «Etruscan» decor. Impeccable colours, bright flowers, shining exotic birds: all made before synthetic materials took over, these motives have remained fresh. For small amounts, one will be able to walk away with awnings, embroidered hoods, woven brocades, table runs, Manila shawls, or vests from the time of Louis XVI.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Candida Romero, Coney Island, 2008, boîtier vitré, technique mixte, 138,9 x 90 cm, Courtesy galerie Azzedine Alaïa, Paris
Candida Romero: the artist and the novelist
Candida Romero likes to take her time. For her previous series dedicated to Proust, it took her a decade. For the one she started exhibiting a few days ago at Azzedine Alaïa’s, «Little Girls», she was quicker: only five years. She was born in the famous Ruche, from parents who had their workshops there (her father was a Portorican artist and her mother, Simone Dat, who faught to save the place from the voracious real estate agents), she still works there, in Chagall’s former workshop. But she also lived in Germany, Japan and the United States, was into lyrical art, restored a convent in Corsica, etc. Her art resembles her, a sort of patchwork of various influences. The one hundred little girls she has just finished are a voluntarily nostalgic group of pots-pourris. In the centre, an old enlarged photograph (a portrait). Around these different objects, insects, dried flowers, lace, marbles, clumps of hair, paint, the whole thing covered by glass. In the title we mentioned a novelist: that is because all the photos that were the reason for these strange reliquaries came from the private collection of Pierre-Jean Rémy, the novelist and member of the respected Académie Française.
(Almost) all Picasso
If this is not the typical Christmas present then we do not know what is: an amount of information on the emblematic artist of the XXth century, with all the details on his many «periods» and the way they were articulated, in large format, very richly illustrated. Five hundred images tell an exceptionally creative life, from a Picador painted in Malaga towards 1888 (he was 7 years old) up to Nu dans un fauteuil from 1972 (he was then 91 years old), that iso ver eight decades without any interruption. The text replaces Picasso in his context – his father’s influence, the relations with Braque, Breton, Bataille or Lee Miller, the Franco era, life in the workshop in rue des Grands-Augustins during the war, his membership to the communist party, etc. But that public Picasso is hardly shown, aside from a handful of lack and white photographs by Brassaï, Villers and Duncan. A choice that can be defended: one is essentially interested here in the artist. And the artist’s work is so abundant and polymorphic – in terms of subjects, techniques, formats – that it has a tendency to «overflow» from the frame…
BARCELONA-The National Museum of art of Catalonia opened on 11 December new rooms dedicated to the Catalan avant-gard of the thirties.
CAIRO-The 11th International Biennal on Contemporary art of Cairo will be held from 20 December 2008 to 20 February 2009.
GENEVA - The sesterce of Emperor Hadrian, from the Nelson Bunker Hunt collection, has become the most expensive antique coin of all times: it was sold for 2 million Swiss francs(1.28 million euros) at Numismatica Genevensis on 15 December 2008.
LIANZHOU (China)- The International festival of photography will be held until 30 December 2008.
MARRAKECH-The Winter Fair (Salon d'hiver), the first Biennale of contemporary art of Marrakech, will be held from 18 to 21 December 2008.
NEW YORK- Francesco Bonami, the curator of the current, controversial exhibiton "Italics" at the palazzo Grassi, will direct the next Whitney Biennial of contemporary art in 2010.
PARIS-The Senate cancelled on 8 December 2008 the ceiling of the tax scheme in favor of historical monuments not open to the public, which had been set by the National Assembly.
PARIS- The highest price for a piece of furniture in 2008 was paid at Christie's for a Louis XIV dresser, attributed to BRVB I, at 4 million euros on 16 December.
QUIMPER- The restoration campaign of the Saint-Corentin cathedral, begun 20 years ago and for a total cost of 15 million €, was finished on 12 December with an unveiling of the Western gate.