Art Of The Day Weekly
#123 - from 5 March 2009 to 11 March 2009
IN THE AIR
The call of the void
There is an exhibition at the moment in Paris that has rejoiced more than a few. Visitors smile, some even burst out laughing. And yet, certain works presented have very complicated names. We have Yves Klein’s La Spécialisation de la sensibilité à l’état matière première en sensibilité picturale stabilisée (The specialization of sensitivity at the raw material state into stabilized pictural sensitivity), The Air-Conditioning Show from Art & Language or Experimental Situation by Robert Irwin. What is so humorous? Nothing. All the rooms are empty and that is precisely what amuses the visitor. This «retrospective» sums up all the exhibitions in which the artists have shown their work, for one reason or another, on the void. No painting, no sculpture, no neon, no smoke nor music. In our material and materialistic world, this absence is restful. But, speaking more seriously now, it encourages the visitor to ask himself simple and healthy questions. What is a museum? Why do artists exhibit? How does one exhibit? This is a way of reconciling the public at large with conceptual art… especially since the entrance ticket includes the visit to the other exhibitions.
Sex according to Rodin
MARTIGNY – We know him essentially as a sculptor. Who knows Rodin produced over 10 000 compositions on paper and that he claimed drawing was the «key to his work»? The Gianadda foundation is not interested in all of the artist’s immeasurable work, but rather in a fraction much easier to identify: nudes, in particular feminine nudes, from its academic, sterile version to its more erotic, be it pornographic version. Famous sculptures such as Le Baiser (The Kiss) or Iris messenger of the gods are part of the retrospective but the unexpected comes from these nearly 80 drawings, all kept at the Rodin museum in Paris, which plunge into feminine intimacy with a rare audacity. They suppose an extraordinary complicity between the aging artist (who drew them between the age of 50 and 70) and the models he had pose in the most immodest poses.
PARIS –The Pharaohs always attract a large public: this power of attraction is used here for an exhibition that is more «difficult» to sell than the gold of Tutankhamen or the greatness of Ramses. With its poetic name, it refers to the passage ways between the Earth and the Sky, between the world of the humans and that of the gods. In the proper sense of the word, these «doors of heaven» are the doors of the tabernacles where the statues of the gods were kept. The symbolic passage between this world and the beyond is omnipresent in Egyptian art and great myths such as those of Isis and Osiris feed on it. Funerary papyrus, wooden painted steles, diorite sarcophagus, quartz statues and the book of the dead are part of an ensemble of 300 objects, belonging to the Louvre and other great foreign museums; they allow us to decrypt the sense of mummification as well as to know the budget of an Egyptian funeral during the New Empire.
PARIS – This is one of the great European collections of Italian primitives, built in the XIXth century by the German baron Bernard von Lindenau. It includes works by Guido da Siena, Liberale da Verona and Lippo Memmi among others, and demonstrates the wealthy dialogue between a «hieratic» current of Byzantine origin, and a more naturalist «new manner» one, encouraged by Giotto, in Italy in the XIIIth, XIVth and XVth centuries. The simple fact these masterpieces have been transported from the museum of Altenburg to that of Jacquemart-André would not necessarily justify the visit. But the exhibition is accompanied by an original effort to put together polyptychs that have been dismembered for centuries. Loans from other European museums have helped in particular to recompose a cycle on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi by Fra Angelico.
Good times for comic strips?
PARIS – Not so long ago, old Tintin albums could be found at the flea market and bought for a few coins. Today, a watercolor by Hergé for a project of an album cover can be sold for 500 000 euros. The same goes for more recent creators such as Jacobs or Hugo Pratt. Even Bilal has seen his own rating blown up to levels that would make the heads of most contemporary visual artists spin: one of his works was sold for 176 900 euros. It was at Artcurial, a pioneer in this field, who offered in 2007as he does each year, at the end of the winter, an auction that always fills its promises. An Indian ink by Franquin for Gaston Lagaffe at 50 000 euros, another by Moebius (Arzach) at 35 000 euros, a drawing board with 19 compartments by Winsor Mc Cay for Little Nemo at 25 000 euros. That is the level of the offers expected for some of the 800 lots. Unless the depression has also hit here
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Alfredo Vilchis Roque, ex-voto, photograph by Pierre Schwartz, courtesy galerie Frédéric Moisan, Paris
Alfredo Vilchis Roque brings the ex-voto back to life
Boats sinking, cart accidents, falls from the roof of the windmill… In the past miraculous healings solutions to desperate cases always led to one specific sort of gratitude, the ex-voto. Mexico has always been one of the specialists in this form of expression, and sanctuaries and chapels are flooded with these small images or sculptures. Then the production ceased totally. If we were to want one today, who could we turn to for this thanksgiving? Alfredo Vilchis Roque, a former bricklayer from Mexico City, has renewed the discipline. Traffic accidents, gangland killings between drug dealers, electrocution, aids or unemployment: all these evils are the themes most dealt with. The naivety of the line and the chromatic generosity remain. His solitude places Vilchis Roque in an original position, in which he is a popular artisan in his country and an avant-guarde visual artist who represents a new expressionist current in ours.
Christo over the Arkansas
Meetings with sheriffs and park managers, auditions in the government offices in Washington, public debates in high schools, field recognition missions, tests in belows… Over the river shows the long genesis of the project by Christo and Jeanne-Claude to cover some ten kilometers of the Arkansas river with a silver cloth. This genesis was so long that it had time to see a project manager disappear and the project itself will only be seen, at best, in 2012. Twenty years after the first steps. The photographs and the sketches are intercepted with excerpts of Christo’s very full agenda, while the last interview with Jonathan Fineberg sheds light on the difficulty to find sponsors.
AUSTIN-The Biennial of Texas, with its monumental installations in the open air, will be held from 6 March to 11 April 2009.
BRUSSELS- The Museum Night Fever will be held in the night from 7 March to 8 March 2009. Fourteen museums in the Belgian capital will remain open until 1 AM.
NEW YORK-Three contemporary art fairs will be held simultaneously, from 5 to 8 March 2009: the Armory Show, Pulse and Volta.
ORLEANS-With the title TILT, a contemporary art event will take over eleven museums of the Center region in France for a year (March 2009 to March 2010).
PARIS-Cai Minchao, the Chinese collector, who bought the two bronze animals during the Yves Saint Laurent Pierre Bergé sale, announced he will not pay the two pieces. China had tried to cancel the sale of these pieces brought to Europe following the sacking of the Summer Palace in 1860.
PARIS-The Musée de la Musique that was being restored since 2007, opened its doors again on 3 March 2009.
PARIS-The auction house Nice Riviera will organize on 7 March 2009 at Hotel-Drouot, a sale of paintings by Victor Vasarely, to the benefit of the foundation with the same name.
PARIS-On 11 March 2009 the Guillaume gallery will inaugurate its new space at 32, rue de Penthièvre, with an exhibition focused on critic Pierre Cabanne who died in 2007, and whose archives are at the gallery.
PARIS-The 13th Festival de l'Imaginaire, dedicated to the cultures of the world, will be held from 3 March to 10 April 2009.
SEDAN- Chimeria, the 7th festival of visionary arts, will be held from 7 to 16 March 2009.
This week, do not miss
ROUEN - The Japanese collections of the city of Rouen, inherited from generous donators such as Jules Hédou or Janine Lauri, are remarkable, including the prints of the golden Edo age as well as the ceremonial dolls or miniaturized objects. They are presented at the musée des Beaux-Arts.