Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #116 - from 15 January 2009 to 21 January 2009

Art Of The Day Weekly

#116 - from 15 January 2009 to 21 January 2009


Long live the crisis!

And what if The Times was right? Recently the English newspaper gave one of its editorials a provocative title: «The crisis the art world was desperately in need of ». No, not all is fine and dandy when we see that a major museum as the LACMA in Los Angeles, bled by its sad financial state, was forced to get rid of its master pieces: its Bearded Man by Cranach the Elder or a beautiful Reynolds were discreetly sent to Sotheby’s in New York on 29 January. We are not as affected when we learn that Richard Fuld, former head at Lehman Brothers, must get rid of its works by de Kooning and Barnett Newman, or when finance baron Ezra Merkin declares he had to sell his 12 Pollocks. Merkin is undoubtedly a victim of Madoff’s fraud but he also benefited from the unreasonable rise of the financial markets… Needless to say we are awaiting with unconcealed glee for the chief crook’s collection to be put up for sale. Like an old refrain we used to complain that the market was dried up, that no piece of value could be found, as they were solidly attached to collections. The redistribution may now begin...

The Cranach and the Reynolds of the LACMA on Modern Art Notes


America, as seen by Frank

PARIS – Robert Frank is one of those artists who changed the course of photography with one single series of images, in his case The Americans. The exhibition presents the whole series, next to his snapshots of Paris. The young Swiss artist was attracted by the mirage of New York and settled there in 1949, at the age of 25. With a Guggenheim grant, he travelled throughout the country for over a year, from 1954 to 1955, with his wife and their two children. Thousands of kilometres and 700 rolls later he delivered an astonishing ensemble in which hostile atmospheres, absent and solitary characters, taken up close and often fuzzy resume the USA. The publishing of the book by Robert Delpire in 1958 created a real revolution. By shattering the American dream, the book soon considered fundamental caused bewilderment and misunderstanding, except from people like Kerouac and the beatnik poets.

  • Robert Frank, un regard étranger at the Jeu de paume, from 20 January to 22 March 2009

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  • Futurism is 100 years old

    ROVERETO (Italy) – On 20 February 1909, in the French newspaper Le Figaro, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti lambasted Venice, the moon, professors and archaeologists. He spoke in favor of the cult of «ever-present speed», of « incendiary violence». This Futurist Manifesto marks the birth of the main avant-garde artistic movement of the XXth century in Italy. Among the three exhibitions planed by the celebration committee (the following ones will be held in Venice and Milano), the one in Rovereto explores the relations with the parallel movements in Russia and in Germany. Larionov or Exter, Macke and Kandinsky tried indeed to render through similar means the agitation of the modern world, the thirst for technical progress. An event that has been greatly studied– Marinetti’s trip to Russia in 1914 - is presented based on new documents. The same day of the inauguration, the house of Fortunato Depero, one of the major Italian Futurists, will finally open to the public following a complete restoration and the public will be allowed to admire his unique collection of textile compositions.

  • Futurismo 100, Illuminazioni – Avanguardie a confronto. Italia, Germania, Russia at the MART, from 17 January to 7 June 2009.color.

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  • Pollock, the other one

    SAINT-LOUIS (Vosges) – There is Jackson Pollock, the inventor of abstract expressionism, the icon of the fifties, who died like James Dean and whose paintings are worth more than 100 million dollars. And then there is Charles (1902-1988), who worked in the «regionalist» vein with Thomas Hart Benton, who drew movie posters who had a family and died at a ripe age in Paris, in 1988. They were brothers, one famous, the other hardly known. The exhibition has chosen the latter to pull him out of anonymity by showing he shares more than a simple name with his younger sibling. When Charles Pollock progressively abandoned figurative art to espouse «color-field painting», right after WW II, he followed a path parallel to that of Barnett Newman or Clyfford Still (who also became famous when he was older). He was influenced by calligraphy, worked in large black and grey series, and then, following his stay in Rome in 1962-63, plunged into color.

  • Charles Pollock at the Espace Fernet-Branca, from 16 January to 24 May 2009

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    A true goddess from Egypt

    PARIS - In archaeology more than in other disciplines, the provenance of things is of major importance. How can we be sure that this cup decorated with geometric motifs was really modeled in the valley of the Indus three thousand years ago? We will feel better if we can trace its itinerary from the day it was discovered rather than to see it pop up from nowhere. The saga of the false Sésostris III bought by the Pinault couple in 1998 continues to haunt the market. Things should be different for this bust of a goddess in black diorite, dating from the end of the Ptolemy period (1st century B.C.). We know that before the 40s, when it changed owners, it was part of the prestigious collection of count Dumitru Burileanu, Eugène Ionesco’s father-in-law and governor of the central bank of Rumania. This certainty obviously influenced the amount of the estimate, that is beyond 300 000 euros. In the same sale, two antique statues, copies made in the Ist and IInd century of works by Callimaque – a student of Phidias- who disappeared, should each go beyond 200 000 euros: a Venus génitrix made in marble from Paros and an Aphrodite génitrix.

  • Sale Archéologie by Pierre Bergé et Associés (together with Piasa for the Egyptian bust), at Drouot-Richelieu on 17 January 2008 at 11 AM and 2 PM.

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    Illustration : Gilberto Zorio, Rossa è la stella, courtesy galerie Baronian Francey, Brussels

    Gilberto Zorio, after Arte povera

    BRUSSELS - Gilberto Zorio (born in 1944) was one of the youngest members of the Arte povera group, when he was federated by the critic Germano Celant in 1967-69. At the time he worked on the reactions of metals to acids, on the transformations of various materials when in contact with air, water, electricity, fire. He submitted his installation to a disappearance by fire at the famous exhibition «When attitudes become form», set up by Harald Szeemann in 1969 at Bern. The spectrum of his interests then widened, including objects or forms – the tube, the star with five branches, the canoe, the javelin – that appeared in a recurrent manner in his work. Some can be found in the exhibition the Baronian Francey gallery dedicates to him while we can testify of his passion for language: words as well as things must be submitted to initiating rites in order to free their true sense.

  • Gilberto Zorio is shown at the galerie Baronian Francey from 16 January to 7 March 2009 (2, rue Isidore Verheyden, 1050 Brussels, tel: +32 2 512 92 95).

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    Climbing the Vesuvius

    In love with Naples where he lives, Jean-Noël Schifano organized a great number of exhibitions there when he was the director of the French Cultural Institute. The one the municipality of Herculanum asked him for a few years ago was among the most original: to create a path, an itinerary of ten sculptures on the slopes of the Vesuvius. The book traces the creation of these works, whether figurative or not, commissioned to Mark Brusse, to Berrocal (it was his creation before his death), to Lello Esposito or Icelandic artist Ruri. His originality is the material he used - lava (a word of Neapolitan origin)is so hard that in comparison marble seems "like butter" - as well as from the amazing bureaucratic feat he accomplished: the slopes of the Vesuvius were protected and it is a priori impossible to displace a pebble or cut a single blade of grass. Alain Volut's photographs in black and white show the epic combat led by the workers to cut the stone according to the wish of the artists, who sometimes pick up the scissors, like Denis Monfleur. The curator baptized this itinerary, inaugurated in 2005, Creator Vesevo, inspired from Leopardi's famous verse Exterminator Vesevo.

  • Creator Vesevo by Jean-Noël Schifano, photographs by Alain Volut, Gallimard, 2008, 128 p., 29 €, ISBN : 9-782070-122929

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    AIX-EN-PROVENCE - The construction of the future Memorial of the camp des Milles, a place of internment during WW II, will begin on 18 January 2009.

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    LIVERPOOL - As the cultural capital of Europe in 2008 Liverpool attracted an additional 3.5 million visitors, according to the city's chamber of commerce.

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    LONDON - The fund raising campaign to keep Tiziano's Diana and Acteon in Great Britain was very positive, since the 50 million sterling pounds received will be paid to duke Sutherland. The National Gallery in London and the National galleries of Scotland will share the ownership of the painting.

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    NIMES - French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced on 13 January the creation of a major museum of the History of France, on a site yet to be determined.

    LOS ANGELES - Researchers at the Getty Conservation Institute announced they have developped a new method to date old photographs, based on the concentration of radium and strontium.

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    PALM BEACH - The palmbeach3 contemporary art fair will be held from 15 to 18 January 2009.

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    PARIS - The Louvre museum beat its own record in 2008 with 8.5 million visitors, compared to 8.3 million last year. Visitors under the age of 26 represent 40% of the total.

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    PARIS – «Dans la nuit, les images», the exhibition that closed the cultural side of the French European Union presidency, attracted 145 000 visitors in 14 nights at the Grand Palais.

    PARIS- The Boigirard study will put the Soumille collection, with its 35 000 photographs of planes from 1900 to our day, up for sale on 22 January 2009.

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    This week, do not miss


    TOULOUSE - One of the most florishing periods in Norman art, the three centuries that saw Gothic art at its highest (XIIIth to XVIth century) are presented at the Ensemble des Jacobins of Toulouse, and are put in perspective with art from the Languedoc region at the same time.

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