Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #217 - from 19 May 2011 to 25 May 2011

Art Of The Day Weekly

#217 - from 19 May 2011 to 25 May 2011

MAS at Anvers © Filip Dujardin


Antwerp aims high

ANTWERP - Nine floors, 2 000 objects exhibited,180 000 objects in the partially opened reserves, 470 000 objects in total: the MAS did not do things hap-hazzardly. This new Belgian and Flemish museum looks like a stack of containers: almost an obvious choice in the 4th port in the world, for an institution that has set up on the former docks serviced by the Hanse. What do we see? The result of years of purchases and donations, the huge collections of a city that has always shown a special capacity for «living together» (today there are more than 160 nationalities). Inside the giant Lego drawn by Neutelings Riedijk Architecten, the past of this merchant town wishes to be appealing: objects are mixed up to «tell stories» - navigation, faith, power… To attract the undecided, the inauguration will be done with «real, pure art»: a selection of masterpieces from the museum of Fine Arts, of Contemporary art and the Plantin-Moretus. Simone Martini, Rubens and Marlene Dumas will accompany the models of ships, sculptures from Congo and Indonesian weapons. A cosmopolitan cocktail, in the image of the city.
• The MAS (Museum aan de Stroom) opened to the public on 17 May 2011.

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Constantin Brancusi Muse endormie [I], 1910 Polished bronze, 16 x 27.3 x 18.5 cm Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d‘art moderne, Paris, donation from the baroness Renée Irana Frachon © 2011, ProLitteris, Zürich Photo: © Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris, dist. RMN, Paris / © 2011, Adam Rzepka

Serra in search of Brancusi

BASEL – In 1965, a young 26 year old American artist received one of the fundamental influences in his career during a study trip to Paris, by visiting the workshop of an artist of the historic avant-gards. Half a century later, the encounter is played on stage and updated. The neophyte from 1965 is considerd today as one of the greatest active sculptors: it is Richard Serra, present with works that span his whole career (on paper, in rubber, in steel). The revered model is Constantin Brancusi, dead a long time ago but who continues to head towards the pinacle of icon-artists: his works reach prices at auctions which the Rumanian vagabond (he walked from Bucarest to Paris) would never have imagined (26 million € for Madame L.R. at the Bergé Saint Laurent auction in 2009). The confrontation, with some thirty wors of art, shows what the second owes the other and how inspiration can be creative, stimulating, and not plagiarism.
Constantin Brancusi and Richard Serra at the fondation Beyeler from 22 May to 4 September 2011

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Claude Cahun, Selfportrait, circa 1929 Collection Neuflize Vie © Photo André Morin

Cahun faces Cahun

PARIS - A rather enigmatic character, slightly denomic and disquieting, similar to Pierre Molinier, Claude Cahun (1894-1954),the great niece of Marcel Schwob, is on the way to beeing recognized as an important link in photography of the XXth century. The Jeu de paume presents 140 snapshots by this artist, who, through her obsessive introspection, through agressive framing playing on the androgyne aspect, produced a original corpus in which she is practically the only subject of study and which subverts the notion of gender. Razed head, in a bathing suit, or in a theatre costume, playing with superpositions and collages, Claude Cahun repeats herself to infinity in the mirror. She was part of the surrealist movement (she participated in particular in the exhibition in 1936 at the galerie Ratton), she settled in Jersey. Her activities during the resistance led to her death sentence (with her companion Suzanne Malherbe), in 1944, during the German occupation, and the destruction of her workshop, which was the cause for her late recognition.
• Claude Cahun at the Jeu de paume from 24 May to 25 September 2011. The exhibition will be presented at La Virreina Centre de la Imatge in Barcelona (from 27 October 2011 to 29 January 2012) and at the Art Institute of Chicago (from 25 February 2012 to 3June 2012)

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Georg Baselitz, Poet in Stiefeln (Remix), 2008, oil on canvas, 250 x 200 cm. Courtesy Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg.

The artist, that hero

TURIN - What does the word "hero" mean today? Following the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum in Madrid, that has dedicated an exhibition to "Heroines" from art and in art, from Artemisia Gentileschi to Frida Kahlo, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Torino is shining its light on the masculine gender. "Eroi" (Heroes) tries to demonstrate that individual, "classic" heroism, in the form of shattering actions, is no longer in fashion. It has been immediately recovered by television and talk-shows, and has become the vulgar fodder for the media. The real heroism would actually be the patient, solitary search for new forms of living in society, and the resistance to the global communication system, to the formating of thoughts. It is in this sense that creators such as Abramovic, Boltanski, Kieffer, Nitsch, Baselitz, Vezzoli are brought together, with drawings, paintings and even installations set up purposely for this exhibition.
Eroi at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, from 19 May to 9 October 2011

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Art of the day also recommends...

• FLORENCE – Presented at the Palazzo Strozzi, Virtual Identities is a selection of 10 installations by contemporary artists who question the problem of the intrusion of technology in our existence. From 20 May to 17 July 2011

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• MADRID – With Estación Experimental, the Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo shows how certain contemporary artists link themselves to the most advanced scientific research. From 14 May to 9 October 2011.

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• SAINT-ETIENNE – At the musée d’Art et d’Industrie de Saint-Etienne, Manufrance, Bien faire et le faire savoir 1885-1985(Manufrance, doing well and having it known 1885-1985) brings back to life the saga of the famous manufacturer of weapons and cycles. From 14 May 2011 to 27 February 2012.

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Vojtech Preissig (1873-1944), Untitled, unsigned, oil on wooden panel, 56.5 x 61 cm. Estimate: 85 000 €.

Czech revelations

PRAGUE – The venerable Viennese house Dorotheum, that seemed frozen in its glorious past, has forced itself to modernize its habits in a few years. It was privatized in 2001, and today is one of the most dynamic auction houses on the continent, with nearly 600 annual auctions, revenue at 144 million € and a few beautiful results (a Frans Francken at 7 million € in 2010). Certain auctions have been delocalized out of Viennae like the anthology of Czech and mitteleuropean painting presented in Prague. Next to charming but little known interpreters of painting of the first quarter of the XXth century we could also see some «big names» such as Vaclav Brozik (who died in Paris in 1901, and who tripled his rate, at more than 100 000 €, since 2009), Emil Filla (same thing, at more than 600 000 € !) or Vaclav Spala. One of the discoveries of this auction could be Vojtech Preissig, who died in 1944 in Dachau, of which a minimalist landscape (lot 129) could sell for more than 100 000 €, twenty times the painter's current record.
Art and Antiques – Prague at Dorotheum Prague on 21 May 2011

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James Chedburn, poetry in wire

Certain people pretend that Cubism was baptized according to the instant broth cubes, Kub, a motif the artists from the beginning of the XXth century loved, among them Picasso. James Chedburn uses it in one of his latest installations, next to other mythical boxes, such as those of Oxo. By using wire, he attaches himself to another great artist, Alexander Calder, who made some extraordinary portraits (among them the one of Josephine Baker). There is nothing conceptual, as all will have guessed, in James Chedburn's art (born in 1957 at Kuala Lumpur), who is as «manual», as an artisan. He finds objects - boxes are present everywhere (tea, chocolate, music), wheels, gearings – and focuses on creating a universe that is sometimes aerial, sometimes mobile, be it motorized, whose poetry is that of funambulist and jugglers.
• James Chedburn is presented at the galerie Lélia Mordoch (50 rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris) until 4 June 2011.

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France's tranquil museums

The Louvre, Orsay, Versailles, we know them all! Let the museums of Senlis, of Castres, of Langres or of Tours come up to the front line. This guide could be seen as calling for that, as it calls us to go away from the traditional paths. And not necessarily to see second class art: The Virgin's Marriage by Perugino, that was such an inspiration for Raffaelo, can be seen at the museum of Beaux-Arts in Caen while we can admire some beautiful paintings by Caillebotte in Rennes. And who knows that the Fenaille museum in Rodez has some splendid statue-menhirs five thousand years old, that the castle-museum of Boulogne-sur-Mer has Alphonse Pinart's remarkable collection of eskimo masks (collected in 1871-72 in Alaska) or that the most beautiful Antique bronze crater, made by workshops of Magna-Grecia five centuries before our time, is sitting calmly at Châtillon-sur-Seine? There are no long three-day weekends in May this year. Hence our cultural outings in June should be ever more exciting…
Trésors insolites des musées de France by Dominique Williatte and Jean-Jacques Breton, Flammarion, 2011, 35 €

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BUENOS AIRES – The 20th edition of the ArteBA contemporary art fair will be held at La Rural from 19 to 23 May 2011.

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CRACOVIA – The museum of contemporary art of Cracovia, the MOCAK, will open on 19 May 2011, with 5 temporary exhibitions.

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PARIS - The days of archaeology will be held throughout France, on 21 and 22 May 2011, with workshops, animations and conferences in numerous sites.

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PARIS – A copy of the Description de l'Egypte from the Wittock collection was sold for 1.095 million € at Christie’s on 11 May 2011 while the scrapt papers of Robespierre's speeches were sold for 1 millions € at Sotheby's on 18 May (bought by the French State).

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SAN FRANCISCO – The Art Mrkt contemporary art fair will be held from 19 to 22 May 2011.

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This week, do not miss


CHALON-SUR-SAÔNE - Who was the man behind so many metamorphosis of the first director of the Louvre? In the first of a cycle of exhibitions, the musée Denon investigates the relationship of Vivant Denon to the museum and the spreading of art.

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