Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #154 - from 10 December 2009 to 16 December 2009

Art Of The Day Weekly

#154 - from 10 December 2009 to 16 December 2009


Medellín, art against violence

No one would think spontaneously of going to spend a cultural weekend in the hideout of the drug barons, the former capital of Pablo Escobar… And yet, the Columbian city that made the bloody headlines at the end of the XXth century has undergone a metamorphosis thanks to an audacious municipal policy. A great number of quality public facilities, designed by young architects such as Giancarlo Mazzanti, have been built over the last decade. Rather than set them up in the rich districts the risk was taken of setting up libraries, schools and scientific parks in the most underprivileged districts. The result has been immediate: the social fabric has been «mended» and the fall of the crime rate is mind-boggling. Medellín seems to have developed a taste for culture. The museum of Modern Art just inaugurated on 7 November 2009 a second space in a renovated industrial building that aims to equal the Magasin in Grenoble or the Abattoirs in Toulouse. And it has announced a new construction for 2011, which it could entrust to an international star…

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Catalans of all times

BARCELONA – The National art museum of Catalonia has made the choice of «best of» to celebrate its 75th anniversary. The principle of this census is to have a number of works that corresponds to the number of years to show the most beautiful production s of Catalan art. To do so it fishes in the local and foreign collections. The ones further away are not always the most difficult ones to attain. As an example, the most amazing feat is the presence of the famous Majesty from the Roman church of San Cristòfol de Beget, that of Saint Charlemagne in alabaster, sculpted in the XIVth century by Jaume Cascalls (on loan from the cathedral of Giron) or that of the very sensual Lucretia in marble from Damià Campeny, which stands elegantly at the Chamber of commerce of Barcelona. Works by Picasso, Miró, Mariano Fortuny have arrived from Paris, Berne, and Montreal, as well as others by Hyacinthe Rigaud, Maillol and Torres-Garcia, undoubtedly to avoid the risk of presenting a concept of Catalonia that could be too narrow and patriotic.…
Invitados de honor at the Museu nacional d’art de Catalunya until 11 April 2010

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Giorgione at home

CASTELFRANCO VENETO – Paris currently offers us a beautiful trio of Venetian artists (Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese at the Louvre). Sometimes it can be more exciting to go see them on their own territory. The mysterious Giorgione, Titian’s other rival whom we know little of, aside from the fact that he died in 1510 at a very young age – from the plague? a broken heart? – is commemorated with dignity in his native town. Castelfranco Veneto, proud of its son, restored his birth home a short time back. It has now met the great challenge of reuniting there some one hundred works that are reminiscent directly or indirectly of the youth of a painter who loved Love and music. There is a handful of Giorgione works but nevertheless the famous Tempest from the Accademia of Venice, the Tribute to Saturn from the National Gallery in London and the Virgin and Child from Saint-Petersburg are present. Next to them, works by Bellini, Sebastiano del Piombo, Vincenzo Catena, drawings by Giulio Campagnola and prints by Dürer evoke the profane atmosphere of the learned circles of the beginning of the 16th century.
Giorgione at the Museo Casa Giorgione, from 12 December 2009 to 11 April 2010

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Music's black symphonies

VENICE – Next to Primo Levi, he is one of the major witnesses of the Shoah: Zoran Music (1909-2005), born in Gorizia, in the cosmopolitan culture of the Austro-Hungarian culture, was educated in Zagreb and then travelled to Spain in 1935, where he was greatly impressed by Goya. Black painting must have seemed insignificant for he who would then experience the hell of Dachau, from where he brought back deeply moving drawings. The exhibition does not ignore the first years of Music’s work but lingers a little longer on his final period, during which, living between Paris and Venice, he produced characters that were increasingly anaemic and dissolved in the fog, as well as landscapes that appear as reassuring counterpoints in face of man’s madness. Nearly 80 works, paintings and drawings, of which some had never been shown before, are brought together in the Palazzo Franchetti, built in the 15Xth century and which belonged to archduke of Austria and then to the count of Chambord.
Zoran Music, Estreme figure at Palazzo Franchetti from 3 December 2009 to 7 March 2010.

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• Do not miss: Zoran Music in the public and private Slovene collections at the Modern Art gallery of Ljubljana, until 28 February 2010.

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Artoftheday also recommends these new exhibitions ...

• An eminent representative of the Enlightment era in Germany, painter and scientist Carl Gustav Carus was a friend of Humboldt’s and Goethe’s. The exhibition at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin presents two hundred of his drawings and paintings. Until 10 January 2010.

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• In Dutch from the Prado, the museum of Madrid presents its collection of Dutch paintings which are rarely presented in the permanent rooms and which have just become the subject of a complete catalogue. Until 11 April 2010.

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• How were people judged in Paris after the fall of the Ancien Régime? This is the question the Archives nationales, in Paris, puts forward in The Revolution pursuing crime, based on some one hundred pieces shown for the first time. Until 15 February 2010.

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The charge of the Orientalists

PARIS – In mid-December and mid-June, two important moments for Orientalist art, the Gros and Delettrez auction house has developed the habit of setting world records. We have seen it in the past with Etienne Dinet (1.5 million € for the Palm grove at Bou-Saada in June 2007) or Jacques Majorelle (650 000 € for The Aouache in December 2006, a score that was then beaten at Christie’s). This year, the emirates are going through a financial crisis that is worse than elsewhere, and therefore the mood may be a lot less conquering. Estimates are more conservative but the same names reappear: a Souk El-Khemis by Majorelle and a Reading of the Koran by Dinet are estimated around 500 000 € each. We should go one step higher with a beautiful Stallion frightened by two lionesses by Géricault (800 000 €). Pontoy, Bridgman, Rochegrosse complete the troop of the «classics». Among the contemporaries, Brenet, Busson, Ben-Salem, Laurioz may be accessible with a few hundred euros.
Orientalisme at Richelieu-Drouot on 14 and 15 December 2009 (SVV Gros-Delettrez)

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Bernard Moninot, La mémoire du vent, Éolethèque mondiale, 1999-2009. Projections lumineuses, vue d’ensemble, MAC/VAL, 2009. Avec l’aimable autorisation de la galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Photo Jacques Faujour © Adagp, Paris 2009

Bernard Moninot, an artist with wind in his heels

Bernard Moninot’s project, drawings made by the wind, is the one that captivates the spectator the easiest. To carry it out the artist designed a simple system. He attaches a stem to the branches that move in the wind, whether it is the mistral, or the foehn or the sirocco or an ever more exotic wind, according to where he is in the world, and he lets them express themselves on glass blackened by smoke. The stem marks the black background with zebra curves that seem uncertain to us but actually they obey a repetitive logic. The drawings, scanned and then projected on walls, are an attractive form of automatic writing. The artist, born in 1949 and guided by poets such as Michel Butor, has been carrying out work for years on reflections, transferred shadows, the game of mirrors and magnifying glasses, using the sun, lightning and the unknown (as with his drawings «done with a hammer», that catapult iron filings).
Bernard Moninot is exhibited at the Macval in Vitry-sur-Seine until 27 December 2009.


Max and rural France

He is one of the most cosmopolitan artists of the XXth century: born in Germany, in love with a Spanish girl (who would become Dali’s famous Gala), with an English one (Leonora Carrington) and an American one (Peggy Guggenheim), Dadaist and Surrealist in Paris, naturalized American in 1948, Max Ernst returned to France in 1953. With his new companion, Dorothea Tanning, he settled in Huismes, in the Touraine region, the «garden of France». The catalogue that accompanies an exhibition at the museum of Beaux-Arts in Tours shows the creative vitality of the artist’s last years: the large sculptures in very white tufa, the rubbings, the embossed collages and the close links built with his colleagues – Matta or Calder, who lived at Saché – as well as the town councilors of the region, among them Michel Debré who commissioned a fountain for Amboise.
Max Ernst, le Jardin de la France, collective work, Silvana Editoriale, 2009, 212 p., 28 €, ISBN : 978-2-90333-118-4


FLORENCE – The 7th edition of the contemporary art Biennale of Florence is held until 13 December 2009 at the Fortezza da Basso. Guests of honor are Marina Abramovic and Shu Yong.

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KIEV – Ukrainian businessman and collector Victor Pinchuk has announced the creation of a new prize, the «Future Generation Art Prize», created to reward an artist under the age of 35, with $100,000. It will be given for the first time in December 2010.

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LE CANNET – A Bonnard museum will be created in 2011 in this village of the Alpes-Maritimes region where the artist settled in 1922. The municipal collection, with 80 works, will be enlarged with deposits, loans and donations, and will be set up in a villa of the Belle Epoque, the Hotel Saint Vianney.

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LENS –Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand lay the first stone of the Louvre Lens on 4 December 2009. Designed by the Sanaa agency, it should open in 2012.

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LONDON – The Turner Prize, the contemporary art prize most covered by the media in Great-Britain, was awarded on 7 December to Richard Wright.

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LONDON - Head of a muse, a drawing by Raffaello Sanzio, fetched £29.1 million (€32.1 million) at Christie's on December 8, setting a world record for any work on paper sold at auction.

PADOVA – The chapel of Saint Anthony’s Arch re-opened on 3 December in the basilica, after 20 months of restoration works, carried out in particular on the bas-reliefs of the XVIth century.

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This week, do not miss

POST MORTEM. Funerary rites in Lugdunum

LYON - The exhibition intends to share with the public the recent progress made in funerary archaeology through various preventive excavations carried out in the territory of Lugdunum, that have shed light on ceremonies and objets found in tombs. The exhibit gives a large place to reconstitutions to help understand the perception of death in Roman antiquity.

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