Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #349 - from 5 June 2014 to 11 June 2014

Art Of The Day Weekly

#349 - from 5 June 2014 to 11 June 2014


Pop art, a product that sells

MADRID – Following Impressionism, Surrealism and Pollock’s abstract Expressionism, the movement that had the most lasting influence after World War II was none other than Pop Art! The heroes of this movement, Tom Wesselmann, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol skilfully recycled all the codes and all the icons of the consumer society; they played with the media, on reproduction in series, and produced images that were broadcast throughout the world. One could also define them as members of the Dada movement, since these images, in the beginning, were generally not theirs but the re-exploitation of the Coca-Cola bottle, of the Campbell soup, of the portraits of planetary stars such as Mao or Kennedy. The exhibition groups together the American pioneers as well as their European epigones, often less-known but just as respectable (Arroyo, Hamilton, Equipo Crónica). It plays on the ever present nostalgia of the Sixties, as most things that are pre-crisis.
Mitos del Pop at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, from 10 June to 14 September 2014.

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Kati Horna, No title, « Muñecas del miedo » [Poupées de la peur] series, Paris, 1939. Silver gelatine print, 15.3 x 22.8 cm. Archivo Privado de Fotografía y Gráfica Kati y José Horna. © 2005 Ana María Norah Horna y Fernández.

Kati Horna, the Hungarian connection

PARIS – Just like Capa, Kertész, and even Brassaï, she is Hungarian, cosmopolitan, and a photographer. She is less known but like them was carried by the winds of History through a planet in fury. Kati Horna was born in 1912 in Budapest, went through Berlin, settled in Paris in 1933 and covered the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939. Her itinerary is very similar to that of Gerda Taro, but contrary to her she did not die but met her husband, an Andalusian anarchist, José Horna. Together they decided to settle in Mexico in 1941. They started a new life, mingled with the society of intellectuals who had fled the war in Europe– Benjamin Péret, Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo – while continuing her work as a photographer. Above all, she became the official portrait photographer of the Mexican intelligentsia. When she died in 2000 she left close to 20,000 negatives which are slowly being given value, revealing her multi-faceted talent, capable of shifting from Surrealist still lives to society reports.
Kati Horna at the Jeu de Paume, from 3 June to 21 September 2014.

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Folk art

LONDON - Outsider art, now admired by the institutions, is actually a descendant of popular art. Museums still look at the latter with suspicion, except for those specialised in this field, such as the former musée des Arts et Traditions populaires in Paris. The Tate takes a big step forward by dedicating an ambitious retrospective to these strange creations– sculptures made of bone, straw paintings of other under glass domes.
British Folk Art at the Tate Britain, from 10 June to 31 August 2014.

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A coat of arms for the female sex

ORNANS (France) – A few days after a young artist presented an original and clandestine performance at the musée d’Orsay by unveiling her intimate anatomy in front of Courbet’s ‘Origine du monde’, the master’s famous painting is the focus of an audacious exhibition. This one shows how woman’s genitalia have been the object of representation in painting for centuries, either hidden and symbolic, or crude, from Carracci to Louise Bourgeois, including Dürer and Rodin.
Cet obscur objet de désirs, autour de l’Origine du monde at the musée Courbet from 7 June to 1 September

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Swedish Ballets, a Stakhanovist avant-garde

PARIS - Everyone adores Diaghilev’s Ballets russes and forgets that many other ballet troops in their time were just as influential, radical and modern. The Swedish Ballets created by Rolf de Maré in Paris in 1920 were just that. In five years they gave as many as 2700 representations and invited such great and varied talents as Cocteau, the Martel brothers, Picabia or even movie director René Clair to work with them.
Les Ballets suédois, une compagnie d’avant-garde, 1920-1925 at the Bibliothèque-musée de l’Opéra, from 11 June to 28 September 2014.

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Stair models at the Friedrich Mielke Institute of Scalology. Courtesy Biennale di Venezia

World architecture

VENICE – The personality of the curator incites everyone to expect a stimulating architecture biennale. Rem Koolhaas, Pritzker Prize in 2000, a former stage director and journalist, does not like preformatted categories. While he conceives buildings with his agency OMA, he also founded AMO to extend his research beyond the realm of architecture. Hybridization and contamination are virtues for him. The section Elements of Architecture shows the evolution of base modules– window, door or staircase. This is a theoretical appetizer prior to more serious questions: Monditalia presents some forty thoughts on the state of architecture in Italy. There are questions on the landscapes of L'Aquila after the earthquake as well as on the evolution of discothèques since 1960 or the typology of the Mafia’s residences. The third section, Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, has a clear objective but the demonstration is more complicated: how has modernity penetrated the different national architectures? In order to carry out this Herculean task the curator has asked –a great first-time initiative – the national pavilions to fully cooperate. From Albania with its ‘potential future monuments not carried out’ to Uruguay with its ‘episodes of modernization', we will be able to celebrate another centennial in 2014 than that of the war.
Fundamentals, 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture, from 7 June to 23 November 2014.

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Our desires feed our appetites

A collective exhibition at the former musée du Montparnasse (converted into the musée de la Poste) looks into the relationship between art and food, with an amusing title « L’art fait ventre » - a play on words on Art sells/art eats-. Next to veteran Daniel Spoerri and his glass-domed banquets, we can see some more recent visual artists such as Laurent Duthion who has a scubadiver eat under water or Stéphane Soulié who films the rotting of a whole meal which in the beginning is as beautiful as a Flemish still life. The great feat lies in the fact of having taken 3765 photographs in 119 days and of skilfully melting them. Food nourishes our dreams but not always in the same way as photographer visual artist Olga Kisseleva shows us. She exhibits on a beautiful red tablecloth spoils that are true hidden psychological portraits. One loves refined butter and Francine flour, another likes camembert cheese from d’Isigny, biological milk and butterfly-shaped pasta; another likes white garlic, scallops and white bourgogne aligoté wine. All were caught in a hyper-market in the Paris region and forced to return their loot, thus becoming a poor version of the Journal of a Robber
L’art fait ventre at the Chemin du Montparnasse, from 2 June to 20 September 2014. An erotic, paleolithic dinner is open upon subscription (€100). It is organized by a quintet led by visual artist Brigitte de Malau and the chef Alexandre Gauthier, and will be held on 15 September in a secret venue.

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Exceptional artisans

How can we protect ancestral know-how from the tiddlewave of globalization? The author was in charge at the ministry of Culture, for years, of overlooking art masters. She states in this book that the extremely specialised jobs protect a lot more than the enforced lowering of prouction prices. In the fashion world for example, rare professions seem to bloom. Ms. Farnault shows emphatically the success of recent French manufacturers of embroidery, leather, or soft furnishings. Indeed this this survival flollows a huge hemorrage. In France in 1900 there were some 800 artisans who worked with feathers in France in 1900, some fifty half a century ago,. Today four are left. othe trades also seem like survivors of another era, such as the floral decorator or, even better, the pleat specialist. The Gérard Lognon workshop had some 60 crafts women in the middle of the 20th century. They have kept thousands of cardboard molds that help make "peacock", or "accordeon" or "Watteau" pleats in the shape of flowers, of herrring bone patterns or of scales. A unique patrimony, a true historical monument.
Métiers d’art de la mode by Hélène Farnault, Le Chêne, 2014, 282 p., €45.

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