Art Of The Day Weekly
#70 - from 13 December 2007 to 19 December 2007
IN THE AIR
McCarthy, chocolate flavored ketchup
He was one of the most contravening artists of his generation, joyously dishing out obscene installations from which various bodily fluids gushed out, among them blood materialised by ketchup. Now that he is established, respected (and honoured in a retrospective currently at the SMAK in Ghent), Paul McCarthy seems to focus on no longer being obscene but rather on denouncing0 obscenity. In this case, the one that consists in pouring masses of dollars on contemporary art so that the creators one bets on – as young and unknown as they may be - may quickly become marketable. McCarthy has therefore decided to play the part of the demiurge artist all the way, turning all he touches into gold. He has created in New York at the Maccarone gallery, a temporary chocolate Santa Claus factory. His – 1000 will be produced every day - have nothing special except for the fact that they cost 100 $ each. They are undoubtedly perfeclty sweetened. But our mouth waters after the tasty demonstration that art has never been such a perishable merchandise.
Paris-Bordeaux in 1900
BORDEAUX – Three hundred works divided into two lots: on one side Parisian Alfred Roll (1846-1919) at the Galerie des beaux-arts, on the other Bordeaux artist Alfred Smith (1854-1936) at the Musée des beaux-arts. Paintings that are mostly unknown, that merit being discovered, sitting side by side with works by Sisley, Bérault, Boudin and a demonic masterpiece, the famous Rolla (without any family link to Roll…) by their contemporary Henri Gervex, a nude, sleeping courtesan on her bed. Roll, the son of a furniture manufacturer, and Smith, a former office clerk for a stokebroker, weaved a solid friendship while evolving quite differently, the former prefering naturalist painting with social themes, the second opening shyly to Impressionism in his numerous landscapes. While retracing the itineraries of these two minor painters, the exhibition studies how the capital's innovations were toned down by the time they reached the province and how, in the other sense, the local networks and fairs helped the painters in Bordeaux have an honorable, national career.
The virgin forest in the Pas-de-Calais region
LILLE – This is the first time an exhibition at the Museum of Natural History is labelled of national interest. We refer to the one entitled «Pays’âges» (Landsc-ages), with a not-too-convincing play on words, which reconstitutes in real-life size the evolution of the landscapes that gave birth to the coal pool. The first section is surely the most striking since one is plunged in a luxuriant tropical forest with a multitude of giant insects: this is what the region of Lille looked like 300 million years ago… The organic debris gave birth to coal, and the mining of this raw material gave the Nord-Pas-de-Calais its current landscape: that is the focus of the second part of the exhibition. The last section has a will to forecast and of course fits in perfectly with the warnings on the heating of the planet: what will happen tomorrow? The landscape has never until now being considered such a part of our national heritage. Certain countries, such as Montenegro, have even made its protection sacred by writing it into their Constitution. An example to be followed…
TRIESTE - He is one of the sacred monsters of design. For his 90th birthday, Ettore Sottsass (born in 1917 in Innsbruck) accepted that a retrospective be dedicated to his work, on the condition that it remain small and that it be moving – «that one come out crying». The event has been organized in Trieste, a city that straddles Italy and the Mittel-European world where the artist who initiated him to painting (Spazzapan)was from. The 130 objects are presented not in chronologic order but rather by themes. Design of course represents the first of the seven sections. It is followed by architecture, photography, jewellery, drawing, ceramics, glass. Next to Sottsass' icons - the Olivetti typewriters, that played a dominating role in making him famous, or the furniture manufactured with the Memphis group, the public will discover pieces that have never been shown before.
Something new at the Villa Papyrus
POMPEII – The world of archeology is moving in Italy. Following the supposed discovery of the Lupercal, the Roman grotto where the female wolf is said to have nursed Romulus and Remus, the archeologic superintendency of Pompeii has just announced another important discovery: that of a wood and ivory throne, unearthed in the Villa of the Papyrus in Herculanum. It is the first of its type to have survived up to our time. Until now this type of furniture was only known through reproductions on frescoes, among them the one in villa de la Farnesina in Rome. The decorative motif in the low-relief represents the god Attis gathering pine cones. The cult of the Phrygian shepherd developped in Rome in parallel to that of Cybele, his adoptive mother. The villa of the Papyrus, discovered in 1752, has produced an extraordinary harvest of papyrus rolls – nearly 2000, mostly in Greek, of which some revealed classic texts such as Of nature by Epicurus, still currently being deciphered.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Eric Rondepierre, cinema first and always
Eric Rondepierre (born in 1950) is one of those artists who prefer constantly moving about the same subject rather than spread out in one thousand different directions. His obsession is cinema. From an animated image he draws a fixed plan, which is never the fruit of fate. Eric Rondepierre chooses his photograms after long research in the archives. He looks for the fault, the unexpected, the invisible (which leaves a large latitude of choice since 24 photograms fly by every second in front of the movie lover's eyes…).
Whether degraded images (« Précis de décomposition ») or black plates that have been inserted in the restoration of films to ensure the synchronisation («Excédents»), Rondepierre works by series. And he takes, in the limits he has set for himself, an ever growing liberty: he uses as pixels the letters from one of his texts («Loupe/Dormeurs») or mixes, like in a current exhibition at the galerie Léo Scheer, images from films and images of his daily life.
While the Bibliothèque nationale de France is exhibiting its Enfer (Hell), here is a book in the same vein. A red velveteen binding covers erotic objects from the XIXth and XXth centuries. and not the least interesting as there are objects of transformation, that is that only let the libertine image show once the false bottom is opened, the movement of a knob, the play of a spring. Groups of persons in bronze, susceptible of turning around, snuff boxes, canes in particular (one of which belonged to André Breton), fob watches, hand fans and cards to be seen against the light show the extreme inventiveness of certain crafstmen (or of those who commissioned them) in this type of pieces. The ensemble of 150 objects presented belongs to one single collector. The manner in which the author met him at the airport of Larnaca, then on a yacht in the Mediterranean sea, resembles more a novel by Gérard de Villiers than the preface of a curator but has its own touch of spice.
CHICAGO - According to the blog Modern Art Notes dated 12 December, the statue Faune at the Art Institute, until now attributed to Rodin, may be a fake.
LONDON- The British government has just announced it will grant 50 million £ to the extension project of the Tate Modern, signed by architects Herzog and Meuron, which could open for the Olympic Games in 2012.
MIAMI-Art Basel Miami Beach received 43 000 visitors for its 6th edition, from 6 to 9 December.
NEW YORK- The public sale of a statue of the Antiquity shattered all records on 5 December at Sotheby’s. The Lionness of Guennol, a minute masterpiece of Elamite art, was sold for 57 million $, that is four times its original estimate.
VATICAN- Art historian Antonio Paolucci, who was briefly Minister of Culture then director of the museums of Florence, has just been named director of the Vatican museums.
VERSAILLES - Jean-Jacques Aillagon, le président de l'établissement public du parc et du château de Versailles, a annoncé une rétrospective des sculptures monumentales de Keff Koons en septembre
This week, do not miss
ROBERT G. SCHMIDT, RECENT WORKS
PARIS – A student at the Julian academy, a friend of Messiaen's, of Paulhan's and of Gen Paul's, Robert G. Schmidt is a colorist who likes to paint the villages of France, the small ports, the Paris of Marcel Aymé or the luminous landscapes where life is sweet. This retrospective deidicated to the artist by the galerie Saint Roch is the first since 2001.