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Art Of The Day Weekly

#136 - from 4 June 2009 to 10 June 2009


Sexless Biennale

VENICE – It is the oldest biennale in the world and it continues to break records: this edition of 2009 included 77 national representations, from Argentina to Venezuela, not omitting le Gabon, Iceland and Latvia. Antoher record is that of the «collateral» events: there are 38, of which «Save the Poetry» and «Palestine c/o Venice», or the opening of the very much awaited Pinault Centre of contemporary art of Punta della Dogana, designed by Tadao Ando, and the Vedova Museum, by Renzo Piano. That is not all! Certain events do not correspond to any of these categories. It is the case of «100 sexes of artists», a project Belgian artist Jacques Charlier has been carrying out since 1973, in which he tries to give shape (largely symbolic and ridiculous) to the sexes of Duchamp, Pollock and others. The organizers found the idea – though officially supported (and financed) by the French Community of Belgium and already presented in various European museums - too offensive for the «common sense of modesty». Having been outlawed on land, the one hundred sexes found a floating refuge. They are swinging on the lagoon on board a lewd boat that will anchor nevertheless in front of Saint-Marc. On a well chosen dock, that of the Martyrs…

  • The 53rd Biennale of Venice will open on 7 June and will last until 22 November 2009.

    The program of the Biennale


    Middle-aged Matisse

    MADRID – The organizers’ presupposition is clear: the Matisse of the avant-gardes (prior to WW I) is very often shown, the Matisse of the final years (the cut out papers) is also. But the Matisse of the period between the two is at a loss of images… hence the chronologic period cut out, 1917-41. It is illustrated by nearly 80 works – paintings, drawings as well as sculptures – borrowed from some fifty different institutions. Given the crisis and the departure of his Russian clients, who commissioned huge compositions, Matisse decided to isolate himself in the light of Nice. He went through some «bad periods», at the beginning of the 1930s for example, during which he spent many years without painting on his easel. But he constantly improves his talent, searching for new ways through drawing, through nudes, in the themes of the balcony and the window, in geometric motifs from Islam. In 1941, he almost died following a serious operation. He survived and over the last twelve years he created a totally new chapter …

  • Matisse 1917-1941 at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, from 9 June to 20 September 2009.

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  • Look for the man

    PARIS – Yes, look for the man. You will not find him! But you will fin d Sonia Delaunay, Joan Mitchell, Vieira da Silva, Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle… The new presentation of the collection of the Musée national d’art moderne intends to be revolutionary. As the curators specify, no permanent fund of a major institution had ever presented women artists alone. This is undoubtedly true, even if we have seen similar initiatives. In New York for example, the Brooklyn Museum opened the Sackler Center for Feminist Art two years ago, combining an installation by Judy Chicago and temporary exhibits. Now it is the turn for Paris to take the initiative, and the Guerilla Girls must be smiling happily. Was it really so necessary? We have known for a long time that there are great woman artists. We can easily imagine the revolution that would have been triggered off had a collection «men only» been announced. In this occasion, it is paradoxically the absence of a hostile reaction that demonstrates the road still to be covered towards equality …

  • elles@centrepompidou, Artistes femmes dans les collections du Centre Pompidou, (Women artists in the collections of the Centre Pompidou) since 27 May 2009

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  • Maurice Denis' passions in Brittany

    PONT-AVEN – Born in Granville, Maurice Denis built a strong link to Brittany since 1888, in the context of the school of Pont-Aven, of his admiration for Gauguin and his friendship with Sérusier (with whom he founded the Nabi movement). The link would last a long time, though it changed quarters. Once he converted to classicism, Maurice Denis abandoned somewhat Pont-Aven and spent his family vacations at Perros-Guirec. There he bought villa Silencio in 1908, and welcomed among others Gide and Valéry. This exhibition, which aims at presenting the results of this Briton inspiration, is presented in two parts: at Pont-Aven, the Synthetism works, clearly influenced by Gauguin; at the house in Roche Jagu, the later paintings, of which many lent by his family have never been shown before to the public: beach views, crosses or sacred compositions such as his Magnificat from 1909.

  • Maurice Denis et la Bretagne at the musée des Beaux-Arts of Pont-Aven and at the Domaine départemental de la Roche-Jagu, from 6 June to 5 October 2009.

    The website of the museum of Pont-Aven

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  • Estuaire(Estuary) is a true confrontation of water with Nature. This biennale at the mouth of the Loire, from Nantes to Saint-Nazaire, brings together installations by various artists, from Angela Bulloch to Erwin Wurm, including Gilles Clément and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. From 5 June to 16 August 2009

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  • In Frankfurt, the Schirn Kunsthalle explores in The Making of Art the complex system of the relations between artist, collector, art dealer and critic in contemporary art. Until 30 August 2009

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  • The museum of the Jeu de paume, in Paris, presents one of the greatest photographers of the Spanish civil war, Agustí Centelles, who was only able to get his photographs back forty years after the events. From 9 June to 13 September 2009.

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    Pious images

    PARIS - A Virgin of the Assumption embroidered on silk (XIXth century), typical Spanish polychrome angels typical of Spanish colonial art, an ivory Christ in his arched frame, a Holy Woman with a book sculpted in tender wood (XVIIIth century). These lots do not necessarily fit into the contemporary art classification but which have been one of the major expressions of popular art for centuries. The sale of the Collin du Bocage study brings together works done over five hundred years, starting at a few hundred euros (patinated bronze candelabra from the XVIIIth century, a collection dish, stone font), a little more for pious paintings of the XIXth century or the worked furniture (such as this XVII century tabernacle door in sculpted walnut, estimated at 400 euros) and can even go much higher: 6 000 euros for a Virgin in profile on an enamel plate from the Limousin region, 15 000 euros for a statue in limestone of Catherine of Alexandria stepping on emperor Maximien, 20 000 euros for a Christ carrying his cross by Leandro Bassano, up to 45 000 euros for this Vertu dénudée par l’amour (Virtue unveiled by love) in boxwood, sculpted in Germany towards 1600.

  • Art religieux et Haute Epoque (Religious and Early Period art) at Richelieu-Drouot on 5 June 2009 (SVV Collin du Bocage).

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    Joël Brisse, Séquence, 2007, oil on canvas, 20 x 120 cm, courtesy galerie Claire Gastaud, Clermont-Ferrand

    Joël Brisse

    CLERMONT-FERRAND – He certainly is a painter, (graduated from the Ecole d’arts from Clermont-Ferrand) but his most beautiful successes have been in movies (in particular a first prize at the festival of Uppsala in 2001 for his short film La pomme, la figue et l’amande) (The apple, the fig and the almond). This influence is quite clear in his works presented at the Claire Gastaud gallery. They are presented as «sequences», like fragments of a story-board describing ternary scenes. And they are always figurative, colored, with characters taken as they carry out simple actions– walking, looking, waiting. Actions that are simple and somehow hesitant, slightly stiff, except for a determined man who takes hold of a fire hose … An oil painting that is half way between narration and existentialism, is open to interpretations.

  • Joël Brisse is presented at the galerie Claire Gastaud (7 rue du Terrail, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand) until 13 June 2009.

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    Saura by Saura

    The brother of movie director Carlos Saura, Antonio Saura produced throughout his life (1930-1998) an abundant work, combining painting, drawing, photography and writing, marked by resounding controversies (such as that of the pamphlet Contre Guernica, published when Picasso’s painting arrived in Spain). In order to decipher the way he operates (scratching, superimpositions, accumulations), his use of a very large array of images (reproductions of past masters, images of concentration camps, photos of pin-ups) and the succession of his favorite themes (ladies, crucifixions, crowds, shrouds, etc…), he is surely the best guide. This work gathers together the «glosses» written by Saura throughout his career, which are a true literary work in themselves, both documentary and poetic. The whole is very widely illustrated.

  • Antonio Saura par lui-même, archives Antonio Saura / éditions 5 Continents, 2009, 432 p., 50 €, ISBN : 978-88-7439-510-1

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    BERLIN – The International Design Festival will be held from 3 to 7 June 2009. It includes, aside from varied events in the showrooms, an exhibition at the Arena Berlin, dedicated to young designers.

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    BERLIN – The 7th international festival of sculpture on sand will be held as of 7 June 2009 at Humboldthafen, near the Hauptbahnhof station.

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    BRUSSELS – The BRUNEAF (Brussels non European Fair) will be held from 3 to 7 June 2009 at Grand-Sablon, at the same time as two other events, the BAAF (Brussels Ancient Art Fair) and the BOF(Brussels Oriental Fair).

    The website of the BRUNEAF

    PARIS – The Affordable Art Fair, that groups together 80 galleries and works of art at less than 5000 euros, will be held from 4 to 7 June 2009 at the Espace Champerret.

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    ROME – The outer wall of the Ara Pacis, a project developed by architect Richard Meier, was vandalized with painting (with the colors of Italy) on 1st June 2009.


    This week, do not miss


    PARIS - The first French artist of Chinese origin to be elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Chu Teh-Chun combines his talent to that of the Manufacture de Sèvres. The result: 56 hand-painted vases, presented in the collections of the musée Guimet.

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