Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #436 - from 23 June 2016 to 29 June 2016

Art Of The Day Weekly

#436 - from 23 June 2016 to 29 June 2016

Cristina de Middel, Sodomo, from the series This is what hatred did, 2015. Courtesy Bozar, Bruxelles.


What about Africa?

BRUSSELS – The ten year anniversary of the musée du quai Branly, and its success in attendance have helped us slightly look elsewhere. Extra-European art forms are more present, especially those from Africa. Photographer Seydou Keita currently enjoys a retrospective at the Grand Palais, Barthélémy Toguo is in Montpellier (Carré Sainte-Anne) and we will see interesting things at Arles this summer with an “Africa Pop” section. Actually, we are still widely ignorant of the vibrant creativity of large metropolises. After Kinshasa, which is more accessible as it is French speaking (“Beauté Kongo” at the fondation Cartier last year), Nigerian Lagos unveils some of its facets for us. In the 8th most populated country in the world with 181 million inhabitants, the capital itself hides her exact dimensions: 11, 17 or 24 million residents? In such a densely urban universe, it is not always easy to find your own place in the sun. The title of the exhibition, Dey Your Lane, - “Mind your own business”- well conveys that feeling. Movies, dance, music, photography, video or fashion: there is a fresh taste in this creation, sometimes slightly delirious, and it deserves that we take a second look at it.
Dey Your Lane, Lagos Variationsat Bozar, from 17 June to 4 September 2016.

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Vigilius Eriksen, Portrait of Catherine II in Front of a Mirror, c. 1763. Oil on canvas © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

Catherine the greatest

AMSTERDAM - She was German, did not speak the language properly and she easily brushed her Tsar husband aside. Not many would have betted on her, a Saxon princess who was not really well-rounded, in a Russia that was rather hard. And yet, Catherine II (1729-1796) would become the greatest Tsarina in history: over the 34 years during which she reigned, she conquered territories (Crimea, Poland), carried out reforms, built and accumulated one of the most beautiful art collections in the continent. She surely deserved the word “Great” which was given to her when she was alive. But the Hermitage chose “Greatest” to pay tribute to her. The exhibition unveils certain memorabilia that belonged to the star, brought in from the parent-museum of the Hermitage in Saint-Petersburg (which she herself founded 250 years ago): dresses, jewels, paintings, cameos, books. She was also a great reader, and bought up Voltaire’s library.
Catherine, the Greatest at the Hermitage Amsterdam, from 18 June 2016 to 15 January 2017.

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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, ‘Italian Woman, or Woman with Yellow Sleeve (L'Italienne)', about 1870 © The National Gallery, London

Painters and collectors

LONDON – Painters paint. They also collect. Rembrandt had a beautiful personal collection and it is well known the Impressionists exchanged their works, just as rivals Picasso and Matisse did. Starting with the beautiful Italian woman by Corot, which Lucian Freud donated to the museum, the National Gallery explores these secret gardens, and travels all the way back to the XVIIth century and Van Dyck, who had an unlimited appetite for works by Titian (it seems he owned 19). The exhibit also examines the great mandarins of the Royal Academy, such as Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Lawrence – who amassed 4300 drawings!-, or Degas who was a relentless buyer of classical masters as well as of works by Cézanne and his friend Manet, notably to piece together the dismembered Execution of Maximilian. The question remains, why did they buy? To hoard, to admire or rather, pushed by a sense of emulation, to surpass their idols?
Painters’ Paintings at the National Gallery, from 23 June to 4 September 2016.

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Theatre mask, Japan, Edo period (18th c). Musée Georges-Labit © Ville de Toulouse.

The Quai Branly museum adopts Chirac

PARIS – Less of a builder than Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac is nevertheless the instigator of the musée du quai Branly. And the institution is celebrating its tenth anniversary by paying a tribute to the former President of the French Republic. Aside from the fact that his name is now immortalised in the institution’s name, Chirac is studied through his passion for non-European cultures, from the Far-East (China and Japan) to Africae (he did his military duty in Algeria), all the way to America (his refusal, in 1992, to be associated to the celebrations of the fifth centennial of the discovery of the continent, synonym of genocide, remains in everyone’s memory).
Jacques Chirac, ou le dialogue des cultures at musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, from 21 June to 9 October 2016.

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The beat generation

PARIS - Sex, drugs, and insanity (Burroughs who killed his wife while playing William Tell), as well as art, politics and a lot of literature. The beatnik movement, embodied by Ginsberg, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti and others, left a lasting trace as a symbol of protest and contributed to model Western society in the Sixties. A retrospective led by Jean-Jacques Lebel, who personally knew most of the icons –now gone- , and who was a pope of happenings himself.
Beat Generation at Centre Pompidou, from 22 June to 3 October 2016.

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Jewish Venice

VENICE - For the 500th anniversary of the ghetto, a Venetian word which sadly spread (the getto, or « jet », as it was located near the foundries), the exhibition studies the long and complicated relationship between the city and the Jewish community from the XVIth century to our times, including the Shakespearian character Shylock, the emancipation in 1797 and the Lido cemetery.
Venezia, gli Ebrei e l’Europa at the Palazzo Ducale, from 19 June to 13 November

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France sells Descartes

AMSTERDAM – Following the famous palace of Clam-Gallas in Vienna (sold in 2015 with a call for bids to Qatar, who will turn it into its embassy), France continues to give away its European patrimony. The French Institute to be the most recent victim of the budget restrictions is the Maison Descartes, set up in a former orphanage at Vijzelgracht, and scheduled to close on 30 June 2016. Some could believe in the “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” principle, following the closing by the Netherlands of the renowned Institut néerlandais (Dutch Institute) in Paris three years ago. But actually it is a contagious disease: after Vienna and Amsterdam, as well as Venice and Porto, it seems to be Milano’s turn to be threatened. Are these budget restrictions worth the price? Compared to the sums of money involved in football, they could almost make us smile –if we didn’t already cry -: €80 million in 2015 for the transfer of Anthony Martial to Manchester United, €20 million for the shortened contract of Laurent Blanc at the PSG. What would Descartes think of this?


Monet the collector

As an answer to the exhibition at the National Gallery, this book describes Monet's private museum. Like Picasso, he too kept some of his own paintings, and it is quite a lesson to see how they were scattered after his death. Of the 57 referenced here, some can be found in Paris, Rouen and Honfleur, as well as London, Rome, Zurich, Cleveland, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tokyo. This is a clear sign of the universal character of the painter. But Monet also kept paintings by his friends. Based on photographs and available testimonies, the work recreates the works hung in his room and his bathroom. We almost feel ashamed to discover that Garçon au gilet rouge bu Cézanne (now at the MoMA) hung to the left of the fireplace, the Rue de Paris, temps de pluie by Caillebotte (at the musée Marmottan today) was over the bed andFemme s’essuyant après le bain by Degas (at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena today) used to brighten up the wall next to the chiffonnier.
Le musée intime de Monet à Giverny, by Sylvie Patin, Gourcuff Gradenigo, 2016, 152 p., €25.

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