Exhibition devoted to the partnership between Michelangelo & Sebastiano – London – 15.03.2017-26.06.2017 – 10513

The National Gallery had the honour of welcoming its Royal Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, to a Private View of The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Michelangelo & Sebastiano.

During his visit The Prince of Wales toured the exhibition with the National Gallery Director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi and Chair of Trustees, Hannah Rothschild, before meeting members of staff and other invited guests at a reception.

The Prince of Wales and the National Gallery have enjoyed a long and beneficial association. The Royal Patronage was announced at a Private View of Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art in February 2016. The Prince of Wales was previously a Trustee of the National Gallery from 1986 to 1993.

Commenting on the occasion of the Royal visit, Hannah Rothschild, Chair of the National Gallery Trustees, said “We are delighted that our Royal Patron, The Prince of Wales has chosen to open this important exhibition which is a celebration of the friendship between two great artists, Michelangelo and Sebastiano and a demonstration of what can be achieved through a spirit of collaboration and creative exchange.”

The National Gallery Director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, added: “The Prince of Wales’s friendship with the National Gallery is longstanding and we are very grateful for his ongoing support as we care for the nation’s pictures, exhibiting great works of art which are open to all”.

Michelangelo & Sebastiano explores the complementary talents, yet divergent personalities, of the two artists. It encompasses approximately seventy works – paintings, drawings, sculptures and letters – produced by Michelangelo and Sebastiano before, during and after their association. Examples of their extensive, intimate correspondence offer us a unique insight into their personal and professional lives; their concerns, frustrations and moments of glory.

In 1511, Sebastiano, a young, exceptionally talented Venetian painter, arrived in Rome. He was quickly embroiled in the city’s fiercely competitive art scene. He met Michelangelo, who was working on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and the two quickly became friends and allies against the prodigious Raphael; another recent arrival whose star was rising with the most influential patrons in Rome. As the only oil painter in the city to rival Raphael, Sebastiano was an ideal collaborator for Michelangelo, who did not care for the medium but wanted to marginalise his younger competitor. For his part, Sebastiano profited immensely from Michelangelo’s drawings and conceptual ideas. Together they created several works of great originality and rare beauty.

Their friendship lasted over twenty-five years, far beyond Michelangelo’s long-term relocation to his native Florence (1516) and Raphael’s death (1520). It ended acrimoniously after Michelangelo’s permanent return to Rome to paint the ‘Last Judgement’ in the Sistine Chapel, apparently with an argument over painting technique. Their partnership unfolded during a remarkably dramatic time for Italy – one of revolution, war and theological schism, but also of great intellectual energy and artistic innovation.

A key loan to the exhibition is the ‘Lamentation over the Dead Christ’, also known as the Viterbo ‘Pietà’ (about 1512–16) after the central Italian town where it resides. This painting is Michelangelo and Sebastiano’s first collaboration and eloquently represents their combined vision. Rarely seen outside of Italy, it is also the first large-scale nocturnal landscape in history, iconographically original for its separation of Christ from his mother’s lap.

In its time, the Viterbo ‘Pietà’ was received with widespread praise, and on its merits Sebastiano garnered his next two major commissions, both of which were completed with Michelangelo’s input – the decoration of the Borgherini Chapel in S. Pietro in Montorio, Rome (1516–24) and The Raising of Lazarus (1517–19). The latter was painted in competition with Raphael’s great ‘Transfiguration’ (now Vatican Museums) for the Cathedral of Narbonne, France, from which it was removed in the 18th century. ‘The Raising of Lazarus’ eventually became part of the foundational group of paintings forming the National Gallery Collection in 1824, where it was given the very first inventory number, NG1.

Recent scientific research conducted at the National Gallery has provided new insights into the two artists’ respective work on ‘The Raising of Lazarus’. Infrared reflectography has revealed Sebastiano’s contribution to be more substantial and independent of Michelangelo’s influence than previously assumed. It is now understood that Michelangelo only intervened at a relatively advanced stage in the painting’s development, revising in drawings the figure of the revived Lazarus, which Sebastiano had already painted.

Among other exhibition highlights is ‘The Risen Christ’ by Michelangelo, a larger-than-life-size marble statue carved by Michelangelo in 1514–15, generously lent by the Church of S. Vincenzo Martire, Bassano Romano (Italy). ‘The Risen Christ’ will be shown with a 19th-century plaster cast after Michelangelo’s second version of the same subject (1519–21), which resides in – and never leaves – the S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome. Never attempted before, this juxtaposition presents visitors with the first ever opportunity to see these statues side by side.

Sebastiano’s ‘Visitation’ from the Louvre, Paris, and the ‘Lamentation over the Dead Christ’ from the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, also left their collections for the first time to travel to Trafalgar Square. The latter has been united with Sebastiano’s ‘Christ’s Descent into Limbo’ (1516) from the Museo del Prado, Madrid, and Francisco Ribalta’s 17th-century copy of Sebastiano’s lost ‘Christ Appearing to the Apostles’. The three paintings are being presented in their original triptych format for the first time since they were separated in 1646.

To evoke the experience of seeing the works in situ, groundbreaking technology is being used to present a spectacular three-dimensional reproduction of the Borgherini Chapel in S. Pietro in Montorio, Rome. Using the most advanced digital imaging and reconstruction techniques, the National Gallery brings the chapel to London for an immersive experience of the structure much as it was created.

Website : National Gallery
Source : Artdaily

Major exhibition of Picasso’s portraits opens at Museu Picasso Barcelona – 17.03.2017-25.07.2017 – 10512

Pablo Picasso, Maya in a Sailor Suit 23 January, 1938. Oil on canvas; 1216 x 863 mm. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Jacqueline Picasso in honor of the Museum’s continuous commitment to Pablo Picasso’s art, 1985 © The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence/2015 © Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2017.

Picasso Potraits accents the importance of the portrait in Picasso’s work. It brings together more than 80 pieces from public and private collections, revealing the technical media and variety of styles used by Picasso in working in portraiture, which was to always have an important place in his art.

The exhibition explores how Picasso redefined the establish parameters of the portrait throughout his career, and the place of caricature in his portraits as well. Unlike more professional caricaturists, who tend to focus on public personalities, Picasso’s subjects were almost always his personal friends and those close to his family circle. In this regard we find portraits of Dora Maar, Guillaume Apollinaire, Jean Cocteau, Nusch Éluard, Françoise Gilot, Max Jacob, Lee Miller, Fernande Olivier, Jacqueline Roque, Olga Khokhlova, Jaume Sabartés, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, Miguel Utrillo and Marie-Thérèse Walter, amongst others. Given that hardly any of his portraits were done on commission, Picasso felt free to depict and interpret his subjects as he saw fit.

The show was first presented in London in October, 2016. It will be seen in Barcelona from the 17th March to the 25th July, 2017. Painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking from all Picasso periods feature in a selection with important loans from museums from around the world, accompanied by a generous selection of photographs and documents.

Picasso had an early gift for suggesting a subject’s character in a humorous way, while at the same time faithfully representing those he portrayed. While always original, Picasso was in constant dialogue with the art of the past, using formats and postures with subtle allusions to the work of the great masters. These references are reflected in his personal vision of physical types, the personality in question or the relationship he himself had with those portrayed. The curator of the exhibition is Picasso specialist Elizabeth Cowling, Professor Emeritus in the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh

Website : Museu Picasso Barcelona
Source : Artdaily

Exhibition presents a unique series of insider photographs of Romanov family life – The Hague – 04.02.2017-17.09.2017 – 10511

 

Romanov family 1913

On the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the Hague Museum of Photography presents a unique series of insider photographs of Romanov family life, taken by the Swiss writer and academic Pierre Gilliard (1879-1962). As private tutor to the tsar’s children, he built up a close relationship with them over a period of thirteen years. His intimate, disarming and sometimes surprising pictures of boat trips and games show the still apparently carefree years before Russia’s last tsar met his fateful end.

On 8 March 1917, Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate when his army joined the revolution. Years of war and famine had led to demonstrations and strikes. Once the armed forces joined the uprising, the days of the imperial Romanov family were numbered. After months of house arrest and being moved to a ‘safer place’, Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and their five children – Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei – were executed by Bolshevik troops. Their gruesome death, the rare bleeding disorder suffered by the little heir to the throne, Alexei, and the murky role of faith healer Rasputin give the story of the Romanovs a lasting fascination. For example, a host of books have been written and films made about just one small facet of it: the life of Anastasia and the uncertainty surrounding her death.

Pierre Gilliard began photographing the family in around 1911 and remained with them until shortly before their death. Over that period he recorded both official occasions and domestic scenes, went on holiday with them and snapped the children as they ‘played at war’ and pursued other leisure activities. The exhibition features over seventy modern gelatin silver prints made from his original negatives.

An exhibition produced by the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, presented in The Netherlands in collaboration with The Hague Museum of Photography. This exhibition is curated by Daniel Girardin, Musée de l’Elysée, with Frouke van Dijke, associate curator for the presentation in The Netherlands.

Another exhibition on the Romanovs is on show from 4 February to 17 September at Hermitage Amsterdam

 

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein presents exhibition of works from the Hilti Art Foundation – Vaduz – 16.12.2016-08.10.2017 – 10510

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Exhibition view Hilti Art Foundation, photo: Roland Tännler © Hilti Art Foundation.
The second exhibition of the Hilti Art Foundation has opened in Vaduz. The show focuses on classical modernism and includes works by Gauguin, Picasso, Kirchner, Beckmann and Klee. Contemporary art is prominently featured, with artworks by Imi Knoebel, Gotthard Graubner and Sean Scully amongst others. The exhibition presents 36 selected paintings and sculptures from the internationally renowned private art collection.

After its exceptionally successful exhibition premiere in its own gallery, which is an extension of Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, the Hilti Art Foundation is proud to present the next instalment, titled “Kirchner, Léger, Scully & more”. Visitors will recognise some of the paintings and sculptures presented on the three levels of the building: 16 of these artworks were featured in the first exhibition. Curator Uwe Wieczorek has picked them again to enable visitors to view them in a new context. Another objective is to keep specific key artworks on display over a longer period of time.“The outstanding works of the pioneers of modernism and of the important representatives of the avantgardes of the first half of the 20th century are a huge benefit for the public. And in regard to art after 1950, there are a lot of links between the collections of the Kunstmuseum and the Hilti Art Foundation”, says Dr. Friedemann Malsch, Director of Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein.

The exhibition starts on the lower ground level of the building with a French touch; this part of the show is devoted to an exploration of the human form, and more specifically the female form. The depictions of women by Lehmbruck, Hodler, Picasso, Léger and Laurens show life in full bloom and at its most beautiful. In contrast, Giacometti’s Quatre femmes sur socle (1950) sculpture conveys a sense of tangible sensuality withdrawing into aloof immateriality.

Paintings, and particularly ones by German artists, define the character of the first floor. This part of the exhibition includes four paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the key representative of the artist group “Brücke”. Another focal point is set with paintings by Max Beckmann, such as Selbstbildnis mit Glaskugel (Self-Portrait with Crystal Ball), which is now surrounded by other Beckmann paintings from the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

The upper floor is devoted to paintings from 1980 to the present day. This section includes works by Imi Knoebel, Gotthard Graubner and Sean Scully, three artists who applied completely different approaches and techniques, but who all represent abstract art in its most mature form.

Michael Hilti, President of the Hilti Art Foundation, is very pleased about the solely positive response to the exhibition. “I have been approached by people who wanted to express their gratitude for the allocation of the artworks and the building itself. It is very satisfying to know that the Hilti Art Foundation is so well received by the public.”

The Museum der Moderne Salzburg presents extensive exhibition of the work of Charlotte Moorman – Salzburg – 04.03.2017-18.06.2017 – 10509

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The Museum der Moderne Salzburg is the only European venue of this extensive exhibition about the work and influence of the US-American musician and performance artist Charlotte Moorman. The first comprehensive tribute to Moorman’s art and her role as ambassador of the avant-garde, it reveals the artist in a fascinating new light.

The Museum der Moderne Salzburg is devoting level at Mönchsberg to the exhibition A Feast of Astonishments. Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s, voted one of the best exhibitions of 2016 by the New York Times. It includes work from a wide variety of fields and media: music, film, performance art, audio and video installations, photography, literature, and materials from the archive of the artist, who died in 1991 in New York City. The exhibition is divided into two main themes: Moorman’s repertoire as an artist and her work as the founder and organizer of the Annual New York Avant Garde Festival. These two areas are linked by a section about her concert tours to Europe and their influence.

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1933, Charlotte Moorman first came to New York to pursue a classical training as a cellist at the famous Juilliard School, but soon turned to experimental music. The composer Edgard Varèse even dubbed her the “Joan of Arc of New Music”. Moorman organized numerous concerts for contemporary musicians, among them Joseph Byrd, La Monte Young, Toshi Ichiyanagi, and Yoko Ono. However, her involvement in radical new forms of art was not confined to music. She furthermore worked with Allan Kaprow, Otto Piene, Carolee Schneemann, Yvonne Rainer, and Joseph Beuys.

Moorman’s fervent exploration of contemporary music, art, literature, dance, and innovative cross-disciplinary art forms fueled her commitment to bring these to the widest possible public. To this end, between 1963 and 1980, she organized the Annual New York Avant Garde Festival on fifteen occasions. From 1966, this legendary festival brought together the world’s avant-garde artists at public spaces in New York, including Central Park (1966), Staten Island Ferry (1967), and Grand Central Terminal (1973). At the same time, Moorman developed her own highly personal repertoire of musical pieces, which she repeatedly performed. These included works by John Cage, Giuseppe Chiari, Philip Corner, Jim McWilliams, Yoko Ono, and Nam June Paik. Her work also took her to Europe: In 1965, she participated in the 24 Hours Happening in Wuppertal; in 1973 she took part in the Bochum Kunstwoche (art week), and in 1982 she contributed to the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. “Moorman not only made an outstanding contribution to the New York avant-garde in the 1960s and 1970s, but she also forged ties between the American and European art scenes. The documentations of her performances in Linz and Wuppertal constitute Austrian and German TV history,” says Sabine Breitwieser, Director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.

In 1967, her partially nude performance of Nam June Paik’s Opera Sextronique in New York led to her arrest and conviction on indecency charges. As a consequence, Charlotte Moorman became publicly known as the “topless cellist,” which dominated her image thereafter—a situation this exhibition now aims to amend. Nam June Paik and Moorman collaborated on further pieces that are closely associated with her name, as they were created exclusively for Charlotte to use and perform: The famous TV Cello (1971/1973) features in this exhibition. Her performances were staged all around the world and have been circulated in iconic images. Examples include Jim McWilliams’ Sky Kiss—Moorman plays the cello while suspended in mid-air from helium-filled balloons—and John Cage’s 26′ 1.1499” for a String Player, in which Moorman among others draws her bow across a cello string on a man’s bare back and adds other “instruments” to her repertoire, ranging from a rubber duck to a “cello bomb”.

Charlotte Moorman was an enthusiastic archivist. The exhibition draws from a wealth of materials offering glimpses of Moorman’s personal life, her connections with other artists, and her tireless efforts to promote the avant- garde. Parts of Moorman’s archive, now housed at the Northwestern University in Chicago, are shown for the first time in this exhibition.

 

Claudia Comte presents a new series of paintings at Kunstmuseum Luzern – 04.03.2017-18.06.2017 – 10508

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10 Rooms, 40 Walls, 1059 m2, Installation view at Kunstmuseum Luzern. Photo: Gunnar Meier.

The title outlines the agenda behind this, Claudia Comte’s first large-scale survey exhibition. The artist used 10 rooms, create 40 wall paintings and fill 1,059 square metres of space. Needless to say, this is not just a painstaking but routine job! The artist’s burgeoning instal- lations, seductively polished sculptures and perfect colour gradients provide a great degree of pleasure.Claudia Comte loves grids, systems and patterns. She makes reference to Abstract Expression- ism, Op Art, Pop Art and Concrete Art. Her models include the English artist Bridget Riley (1931) or Victor Vasarely (1906-1997), one of the founders of Op-Art. As one stands in front of, or in Claudia Comte’s expansive paintings, dizziness or flickering are not rare experiences. At the Kunstmuseum Luzern the artist combines the painted museum walls with a new series of paintings in the forms of circles, semicircles, quadrants and triangles. These ‘shaped canvases’ have their roots in American painting between the 1950s and 60, an era that interests Claudia Comte in particular, not just from an art-historical standpoint, but above all with a view to popular culture, comics and fun fairs. With her Cocktail Paintings, the artist creates a direct link to the gaudy and sparkling colours and colour gradients of long drinks like Blue Monday, Ruby Red Breeze or Orange Grapefruit Twist. Claudia Comte uses elements from art history and everyday life, tranposing them into her art with ease, humour and touch of nonchalance.

Pop culture is also an inspiring source for Claudia Comte’s sculptures. She grinds huge rabbit’s ears out of marble or discovers the shapes of dinosaur bones concealed in industrial design. For the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Luzern she cut larger-than-life cactuses out of huge trees last summer in the Jura Mountains using a chainsaw. Craftsmanship is central to Claudia Comte’s work. This artist saws, grinds, mills and polishes, and her extraordinary verve is al- ways tangible. She devotes herself to her work with great persistence and assiduity, standing for days in the forest with a chainsaw so as to give the large tree trunk the desired shape and then smooth the surface.

For the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Luzern Claudia Comte combines sculpture, painting and wall painting to create expansive installations. With humour and intelligence she is presenting a dizzying range of works, beginning with outsize swings and ending with a smile on our lips.

Claudia Comte: born 1983 in Grancy VD, lives and works in Berlin. She did a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2007 at the École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) and in 2010 a Master of Arts at the Haute École Pédagogique in Lausanne.

Exhibition at Berlinische Galerie displays about 250 works from its collection – Berlin – 01.01.2017-31.12.2017 – 10507

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The Berlinische Galerie presents about 250 works from its collection in a richly faceted chronological tour through the art of Berlin from 1880 to 1980. They range from paintings of the late 19th century, when the Kaiser reigned and tastes were largely determined by the moneyed classes, via Expressionism and the East European avant-garde to post-war modern architecture and the “wild” works of the seventies.

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the Collection, this is a dialogue between major works of painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and architecture. They illustrate the diversity of artistic styles and techniques, and also the tensions, antagonisms and radical shifts which have been such hallmarks of Berlin as a hub of the arts until the present day. As a modern metropolis attracting more young artists from all over the world than ever before, Berlin is still caught up in the constant whirl of new departures.

Significant works, key artists and styles
In the Fine Arts, there are paintings and sculptures by great artists such as Max Liebermann, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Naum Gabo and Wolf Vostell. There is also a chance to discover works by lesser-known protagonists of Impressionism, Expressionism, the East European avantgarde, New Objectivity, Art Informel and the figurative art of the 1960s and 1970s. We make a special effort to recall those artists who had slipped into oblivion as a result of the two World Wars and, in particular, the repression suffered by art and artists during the Nazi regime, such as Felix Nussbaum, Hannah Höch and Werner Heldt.

The Berlinische Galerie boasts one of Germany’s major collections of artistic Photography, reflecting the significant role Berlin played in the medium’s history from about 1900 until 1980. On display at the moment are early street photographs from around 1900 (Heinrich Zille), modernist works from the 1920s (Steffi Brandl, Fritz Brill), photojournalism of the same period (Erich Salomon, Felix H. Man), Nazi propaganda images from the magazine “Volk und Welt”, pictures of the aftermath of World War II (Yevgeni Khaldei and Ivan Mikhailovitch Shagin), “subjective photography” from the 1950s (Fritz Kühn) and the young movement of Autorenfotografie in the 1970s (Gabriele and Helmut Nothhelfer).

Highlights in the collection of Prints and Drawings include a considerable volume of output from Dada (Hannah Höch and others), New Objectivity (Jeanne Mammen, Gertrude Sandmann) and the post-war period from 1945 (Hans Uhlmann, Werner Heldt). While a major show on Jeanne Mammen is planned for 2017, others such as Gertrude Sandmann and Hans Uhlmann convey a sense of the difficult years between 1933 and 1945, and the drawings by Werner Heldt are tinged with the melancholy of reconstruction after 1945.

Apart from the model of the Star Church (designed in 1921/1922 by Otto Bartning) and the films and photographs recording projects of the 1930s (Hermann Kaspar, Albert Speer), the Architecture collection offers plans, sketches, photographs and models to illustrate important schemes and buildings in Berlin during the period known as post-war modernism (1950s to early 1970s).

The Artists’ Archives, full of catalogues, magazines, historical photographs and sales records, trace early approaches to publicising modern art. Beginning with the pioneering exhibitions of the Berlin Secession, the pathway leads to the revolutionary ethos of the Weimar Republic. Innovative strategies such as postcards created by artists, published by Herwarth Walden for his gallery Der Sturm, can be explored alongside exhibition guides by the Novembergruppe designed to reach a new audience.

Temporary displays
Individual works in the Presentation from the Collection are replaced at irregular intervals because they also have a role to play as loans. Besides, photographs and prints that are particularly sensitive to light are switched over on grounds of conservation. To find out what is currently on display, consult Collection Online on our website www.berlinischegalerie.de.

To mark the Month of Photography, one room has been devoted to Erich Salomon (01.10.2016–28.02.2017). He was one of the best-known pictorial journalists of the 1920s, not to mention one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century. The second Thomas Friedrich Scholarship has been used to explore “The unknown Erich Salomon” and unearth new aspects of his self-marketing techniques, which are set out here.

The drawings on temporary display include five from Hans Uhlmann’s Tegel sketchbook: they depict wire heads, designs for sculptures he made secretly in the years 1935-1945. He kept the sketchbook in prison in 1933-1935. Uhlmann had been arrested for distributing antifascist leaflets and was sent down for “preparing acts of high treason” (02.06–05.12.2016).

Until May 2017, photographs, drawings and models will change at regular intervals to highlight the work of the following architects and partnerships as examples of post-war modernism in Berlin during the 1960s and early 1970s: Candilis-Josic-Woods and Schiedhelm, Rolf Gutbrod and Frei Otto, Sergius Ruegenberg. The displays will include the plans for the Freie Universität in Berlin, the Centre Pompidou in Paris (competition entry, 2nd Prize, not implemented) and the German Pavilion for EXPO 67 in Montreal (designs and implementation).

Artists (selected): Otto Bartning, Max Beckmann, Rudolf Belling, Steffi Brandl, Fritz Brill, Candilis-Josic-Woods and Schiedhelm, Robert Capa, Otto Dix, Rainer Fetting, Naum Gabo, Rolf Gutbrod and Frei Otto, Werner Heldt, Hannah Höch, Hermann Kaspar, Yevgeny Khaldei, Oskar Kokoschka, Fritz Kühn, Max Liebermann, Walter Leistikow, Jeanne Mammen, Ludwig Meidner, Gabriele and Helmut Nothhelfer, Felix Nussbaum, Iwan Puni, Sergius Ruegenberg, Erich Salomon, Gertrude Sandmann, Iwan Michailowitsch Schagin, Eugen Schönebeck, Fred Thieler, Hans Uhlmann, Wolf Vostell, Julie Wolfthorn, Anton von Werner, Heinrich Zille.

 

British Museum first exhibition focusing on the Pacific Northwest Coast – London – 23.02.2017-27.08.2017 – 10506

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Rattle in shape of a bird by Nuu-chah-nulth artist Patrick Amos, 1980s. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Where the Thunderbird Lives: cultural resilience on the Northwest Coast of North America explores the rich cultural heritage of Northwest Coast Peoples through a collection of evocative and powerful objects spanning thousands of years. It is the British Museum’s first exhibition focusing on the Pacific Northwest Coast and celebrates the cultural resilience of the communities in this region. With over 9,000 years of cultural, linguistic and genetic continuity, these societies have successfully maintained their identity and way of life in a rapidly changing world. The exhibition commemorates the tradition of the Thunderbird, a legendary ancestral being who symbolises great strength in Northwest culture and art. On display will also be striking masks depicting ancestral stories and intricate form-line narrations of histories and lineages, demonstrating how people both today and in the past enshrine their conceptions of the world within objects that create their material heritage.Northwest Coast Peoples have one of the longest continuous cultural traditions in the Americas. Revealing the connections between their dynamic history and lived reality, the exhibition will bring into dialogue the past, present and the future of Northwest Coast Peoples. The displayed objects are arranged chronologically and geographically, taking the visitor on a journey through the artistic expressions that embody their longstanding values and beliefs. One side of the exhibition will display themes of strength showcasing 2,500 year old stone tools and early historic weapons. The other side will feature contemporary art and regalia from the Northwest Coast collections as testament to the innovative practices and economic adaptation of these thriving communities following the arrival of Europeans in the 18th Century.

The vibrant culture of the Pacific Northwest Coast is underpinned by power, environment, kinship and interaction. Displayed in the middle of the exhibition will be treasured objects that immortalise these shared core values, including the precious and honoured Potlatch objects. Copper shield shaped sculptures are gifted during an opulent and elaborate ceremonial feast, which are held by powerful chiefs to reaffirm social status and denote the wealth of the hosting family. Where the Thunderbird Lives reveals the stories and histories behind these works of art that have united generations and provided stability in the face of great change.

The mountainous fjords, lush islands and temperate forests that stretch along the coastline from Alaska, British Columbia and Washington State are home to the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Nisga’a, Kwakwaka’wakw, Coast Salish Peoples, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Makah among many others. These peoples have created some of the most extraordinary carving and weaving traditions in the world and many of these are displayed for the first time in the British Museum’s history.

The survival and continued practice of these powerfully beautiful forms of artistic expression have become iconic of Northwest Coast culture. Where the Thunderbird Lives invites visitors to consider their own identity and cultural resilience during a time of global change. The exhibition also speaks to the wealth of objects displayed at the British Museum, like that of Totem Poles in the Great Court, and will showcase some of the wonderful North American collections.

Exhibition celebrates the great graphic boom of American prints from 1960 to 1990 – Oslo -03.03.2017-28.05.2017 -10505

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Roy Lichtenstein, Crying Girl, 1963. Photo: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.

The National Museum’s new exhibition at the National Gallery, “The Great Graphic Boom. American Prints 1960–1990”, focuses on a largely unknown dimension of this American breakthrough, namely its keen interest in the graphic arts. “The Great Graphic Boom” opened on 3 March and will run until 28 May 2017.With its multicultural society and openness to refugees and immigrants, the United States was in full cultural bloom before, during, and after World War II. This sparked off an innovative creativity that would reverberate throughout the global art scene.

Bold brushstrokes and vibrant fields of colour dominated the abstract expressionism of the New York school. Around 1960, however, many younger artists began gravitating towards other modes of expression and sought out collaborations with various fine-art printers. Pop art found its muse in the era’s popular culture and consumerism, while minimalism reduced everything to a system of repetitive forms.

Works by 23 artists, both well-known and less familiar, are on display. Featured attractions include Barnett Newman’s major Cantos series (1964) and Agnes Martin’s On a Clear Day (1973), as well as Robert Rauschenberg’s use of found objects and Jasper Johns’s reworking of mundane subject matter such as flags and letters. Lithography and silk-screen prints were the media of choice for many artists, while Helen Frankenthaler, Donald Judd, and Brice Marden explored older techniques such as woodcuts and etching. Roy Lichtenstein’s famous Brushstroke is a natural inclusion here, as are Andy Warhol’s portraits of Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy. Other highlights include Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans and Louise Bourgeois’s Ste Sebastienne.

The exhibition has been curated by Øystein Ustvedt.

Exhibition at Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga aims to reconstitute the heart of Lisbon during the Renaissance – Lisboa – 24.02.2017-09.04.2017 – 10504

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Unknown Netherlandish Master, View of the Rua Nova dos Mercadores 1570-1619. Oil on canvas London, Kelmscott Manor Collection, The Society of Antiquaries of London © By kind permission of The Society of Antiquaries of London, Kelmscott Manor.

The history of this exhibition begins in April of 1866, when the pre-Raphaelite painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) left his home in Chelsea, London, to evaluate a painting he had seen in a small antique shop. “A large landscape with about 120 figures of the school of Velasquez, [but] not, [I think], by the great V himself”, wrote the painter. The British art world had awakened to Spanish painting and collectors were on the lookout for works by great masters such as El Greco, Velázquez and Goya. Despite not recognising the city represented in the painting, Rossetti correctly guessed at its Iberian origin.An impetuous and eclectic collector, Rossetti divided the canvas into two, probably because it did not fit on the already overcrowded walls of his London home. It is known that Rossetti took these two canvases with him, along with other works of art, when he went to live at Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire) with the painter William Morris (Rossetti and Morris shared this house for some months in 1871 and between 24th September, 1872 and July 11th, 1874). It is also known that the two paintings remained in Kelmscott Manor when Rossetti was forced to leave the house suddenly after a problematic love affair. They were later included in William Morris’ assets.

An article by Julia Dudkiewicz (“Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s collection of Old Masters at Kelmscott Manor” in The British Art Journal, vol. XVI, No. 2, 2015) confirms that these two paintings belonged to Rossetti’s collection. The historian reports that in May Morris’ (18621938) will – daughter of William Morris and heiress of Kelmscott Manor – a list of 220 objects is attached, with descriptions that encompass their provenance. The list includes the two paintings: “two pictures of scenes in a city, part of D. G. R.’s things”.

The paintings (currently owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London) have remained at Kelmscott Manor since the 19th century but the represented city was only identified in 2009, by Annemarie Jordan Gschwend and Kate Lowe. The first clue that led to its identification was the number of black people portrayed; in 16th century Europe, only Lisbon and a couple of Spanish cities had such a large percentage of Africans. The architectural details such as the tall narrow houses, the covered gallery with marble columns – 149 in total – and the iron railings led Lowe and Jordan to conclude that it was Lisbon. And, more specifically, Rua Nova dos Mercadores, Lisbon’s main trade street in the 16th century, full of merchants, acrobats, musicians, travelling salesmen, knights, jewels, silks, spices, exotic animals and other wonders imported from Africa, Brazil and Asia.

This exhibition aims to reconstitute the heart of Lisbon during the Renaissance with 249 pieces belonging to 77 lenders: 64 national (institutions and private collections) and 13 international (two private collections and 11 institutions, among them the British Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum, Museo Nacional del Prado, Leiden University Libraries and Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico “Luigi Pigorini”).

On display for the first time in Portugal, the two paintings representing Rua Nova dos Mercadores open the first of the exhibition’s six sections: “Lisbon City Views: historical background”, “Novelties”, “From Africa”, “Shopping in Rua Nova”, “Animals from other worlds” and “Simão de Melo’s house”.

Of note within this surprising set of never before assembled pieces are the extraordinary and meticulous Panoramic View of Lisbon, c. 1570- -1580 (Leiden University Library), the Reliquary Casket containing the relics of Saint Vincent (Patriarchal Cathedral – Treasure, Lisbon), the View of Lisbon waterfront with the royal palace, the Paço da Ribeira, 1505 (Câmara Municipal de Cascais/ Condes de Castro de Guimarães Museum), the Euclidis Megarensis Philosophi atque Mathematici […], mathematical works by Francisco de Melo, 1521 (Stadtarchiv der Hansestadt Stralsund), Terrestrial Paradise by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (Museo del Prado), Processional Cross belonging to Catherine of Bragança containing the relics of Saint Thomas Becket (Vila Viçosa Ducal Palace) and the 1579 cameo, by Jacopo da Trezzo, representing King Manuel I’s rhinoceros (Guy Ladrière Collection).

Exhibition at MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst presents masterworks of minimal art – Frankfurt – 22.02.2017-13.08.2017 – 10503

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Foreground: Santiago Sierra: 20 Pieces of Road Measuring 100 x 100 cm. Pulled up from the Ground, 1992. Exhibition view MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, Photo: Axel Schneider.

Among the holdings of the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main is an important collection of outstanding works of minimal art of the 1960s and ’70s. In a major survey featuring nearly fifty artists, the MMK is now presenting the masterworks of this collection comprehensively for the first time.The unique group of works by American minimalists of the early 1960s made its way into the museum when the city of Frankfurt purchased the former Karl Ströher collection in 1981. An acquisition of 2006, now of the works amassed by the former gallery owner and collector Rolf Ricke, further enhanced the MMK holdings with outstanding examples of post-minimalism.

“It has long been our wish to present the highlights of this important MMK focus on a comprehensive scale. The exhibition will once again testify to the tremendous quality of the MMK collection and the treasures that lie concealed here, but also to the influence of the early minimalists on artists of subsequent generations and up to the present”, remarks MMK director Prof Susanne Gaensheimer.

Seriality, conceptuality and industrial production were the new principles pursued by the minimalists Carl Andre, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd and Fred Sandback, who revolutionized art in the 1960s with their radical works. For the first time in the history of art, they used industrially manufactured or processed materials and reduced their works to basic geometric structures they termed “primary structures”. With this title, the presentation at the MMK 2 also makes direct reference to the very first exhibition of minimal art – the trailblazing show of the same name staged at the Jewish Museum in New York in 1966. Walter de Maria’s key work Cage of 1965 – today in the MMK collection – was on view in that exhibition.

The MMK show will get off to a start with the reconstruction of two historical installations that – originally presented at the legendary Heiner Friedrich gallery in Munich in 1968 – mark the beginning of the reception of minimal art in Germany: Carl Andre’s floor sculpture 22 Steel Row and Dan Flavin’s light installation Two Primary Series and One Secondary. The two artists designed the works especially for the tripartite space offered by the Munich gallery. From 1968 onward, Heiner Friedrich consistently devoted his gallery work to the new artistic current, and he was the first to introduce such artists as Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Walter De Maria, Fred Sandback or Robert Ryman in solo exhibitions in Germany. “In retrospect, it can safely be said that 1968 was an epochal exhibition year at the Galerie Heiner Friedrich, a year that would make art history. And thanks to Karl Ströher’s numerous purchases of art by these artists at that early point in time, many of the works also went into the making of the MMK’s collection history”, points out Dr Mario Kramer, head of the MMK collection and curator of the exhibition. The dimensions and proportions of the works in the Galerie Friedrich only make sense in view of the historical spatial conditions there, which have been replicated at the MMK 2. Originally serving as a residential flat, the gallery rooms had the classical proportions of 3 x 6, 6 x 6 and 3 x 6 metres, with 3.2-metre-high ceilings. During the first half of the exhibition (22 Feb. to 14 May 2017) the MMK 2 will feature the reconstruction of Carl Andre’s floor sculpture, and in the second half (starting on 16 May 2017), that of the work by Dan Flavin.

Carl Andre’s 35 Timber Line (1968) will be on view in an MMK exhibition for the very first time. The work has belonged to the holdings since the museum’s opening in 1991, but for reasons of space has never been placed on display. After so many years in storage, the 35-metre work will now finally celebrate its MMK premiere in the spacious facilities of the MMK 2 within the context of the exhibition “Primary Structures”. The heavy wooden beams have the quality of a barrier cutting the exhibition space in two and challenging visitors to cross it. When visitors walk the length of the work, the clear subdivision into one-metre segments raise their awareness of the spatial proportions. In radically reductive manner, 35 Timber Line manifests Carl Andre’s artistic creed – to create a tension-charged relationship between a sculpture and its immediate surroundings. For the visitors, the perception of space is a very immediate experience when, by walking the length of the Line, they participate in the relationship between space and body intended by the artist.

In addition to masterworks by the most important exponents of minimalism in 1960s U.S.A. and Germany, the MMK 2 will also present examples by members of younger generations, whose installations – many quite large in scale – bear a strong relationship to the minimalist current. Among these artists are Jo Baer, Bruce Nauman, Robert Barry, Robert Mangold, Charlotte Posenenske, Peter Roehr, Lewis Stein and William Forsythe, but also and above all their successors, for example Michael Beutler, Benedikte Bjerre, Ceal Floyer, Teresa Margolles, Sarah Morris, Santiago Sierra or Jonas Weichsel.

The most recent new acquisition to be included in the show is 20 Pieces of Road Measuring 100 x 100 cm Pulled up from the Ground (1992), a key work by the Latin American concept and action artist Santiago Sierra. For its presentation here, construction workers cut 20 one-square-metre slabs of asphalt out of a Frankfurt street. The squares have been laid out in the exhibition space in grid form. Santiago Sierra conceives of the human being and the body as worker and workforce operating in social space. He demonstrates a fact-bound mode of thought that – entirely in keeping with minimalist concepts – stresses the industrial production of his installations. At the same time, however, he charges his works with sociopolitical meaning.

A further room in the exhibition makes use of the Petersburg presentation mode to explore the function of the drawing. Drawings on paper have always been the foundation of the original artistic process. They often served the minimalists as the point of departure – but also the destination – of their new strategies, which they articulated in concepts, diagrams, sketches or accompanying preliminary drawings. With only few exceptions, the drawings on display bear a direct relation to sculptural or space-specific works in the MMK collection. Their functions can be very different: the drawing as definition, as elucidation, as ritual, as investigation, even as certificate. In each case, they bear the individual thumbprint of the respective artist. The artistic media they employ are equally diverse, ranging from the classical pencil or ink on paper to such techniques as screen print, stencil, stamp or typewriting, and also encompassing digital forms of expression.

Michael Beutler’s work Outdoor-yellow 13 (2004) will conclude the show in the main lobby of the TaunusTurm. There visitors will encounter huge, bright yellow sculptures made of “Pecafil”, a material typically used in the building industry. Beutler releases it from its serviceability as a building material, however, assigning it a sculptural value of its own instead. And he has changed and expanded his work in response to the unusually high exhibition space. In view of its industrially predetermined primary colour and its materiality, Beutler’s installation likewise draws on the concepts of minimal art.

Artists featured in the exhibition: Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Jo Baer, Bernd und Hilla Becher, Michael Beutler, Benedikte Bjerre, Alighiero Boetti, Bill Bollinger, George Brecht, Marcel Broodthaers, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Ceal Floyer, William Forsythe, Günther Förg, Isa Genzken, Hermann Goepfert, Bethan Huws, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Ellsworth Kelly, Joseph Kosuth, Gary Kuehn, Barry La Va, Robert Mangold, Teresa Margolles, Sarah Morris, Bruce Nauman, Kenneth C. Noland, Blinky Palermo, Steven Parrino, Angelika Platen, Charlotte Posenenske, Timm Rautert, Peter Roehr, Reiner Ruthenbeck, Ulrich Rückriem, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Paul Sharits, Santiago Sierra, Andreas Slominski, Lewis Stein, Heide Stolz, Franz Erhard Walther, Jonas Weichsel and Lawrence Weiner

The Burrell Collection brings rare works by Joseph Crawhall to Kelvingrove – Glasgow – 24.10.2016-01.07.2017 – 10502

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The 
Flower
 Shop,
 c.1894‐1900

. Gouache 
on 
linen,
 58.7
 x
 75.7 cm.

 The
 Burrell
 Collection

 ©
 CSG
 CIC 
Glasgow 
Museums
 Collection.

A new exhibition Burrell at Kelvingrove: Joseph Crawhall offers visitors a rare opportunity to see 23 of the finest works by one of the country’s most accomplished yet lesser known artists, Joseph Crawhall (1861–1913). The exhibition from 24 October 2016 – July 2017, is the first time in more than twenty-five years that many of the works on display have been seen together in Scotland, and offers visitors a unique opportunity to trace Crawhall’s development and range as an artist.Known as a leader of the radical group of young Scottish painters, the Glasgow Boys, Crawhall won national and international acclaim with his watercolours and gouaches on linen of animals and birds. Although his work was executed with all the accomplishment of his contemporaries such as Sargent, Whistler and Lavery, Crawhall is sparsely represented in the UK’s large national collections, and is little known outside of Scotland. However the artist’s technical brilliance was so admired by shipping magnate and collector Sir William Burrell, that Sir William acquired more works by Crawhall than by any other painter, with 140 works by the artist in the collection.

Throughout the Burrell’s refurbishment, Burrell at Kelvingrove showcases a series of changing displays, giving visitors continued access to treasures from the Burrell’s collection. The display space has also been used to prototype designs and display methods for the refurbished museum – from story displays for artworks, and prototyping of digital user experiences, to the design of visitor facilities – giving audiences the opportunity to help shape the visitor experience and redisplay of the collection.

Sir Angus Grossart, Chair of Burrell Renaissance comments, “Crawhall was known to have destroyed many of his works. The Burrell Collection to have 140 works by the artist, which demonstrates the strength of the collection. It is an example of Sir William’s passion and acumen as a truly important collector. It is this legacy which underpins our aspirations to raise the Burrell’s international profile and share significant works from the collection with audiences worldwide.”

Councillor Archie Graham OBE, the Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, says: “Joseph Crawhall is one of the most distinguished of the Glasgow Boys and we’re delighted to be able to share rarely seen works by Crawhall with audiences and visitors Kelvingrove. As we embark on the refurbishment and redisplay of the museum in Pollok Park, Burrell at Kelvingrove will give visitors the opportunity to understand and engage with our plans for what will be a world-class home for Sir William’s great legacy.”

James Robinson, Director of Burrell Renaissance says, “This display reflects our ambition to highlight the rare and unique works held within our collection, and to share these with wider audiences in Glasgow and internationally. During the Burrell’s Renaissance project, Burrell at Kelvingrove also gives us the opportunity to prototype cutting-edge design, interpretation and display methods, ensuring we deliver a Burrell Collection redisplay that defines everything a 21st century museum should be.”

Exhibition provides extensive insights into the photographic oeuvre of Claudia Andujar – Frankfurt – 18.02.2017-25.06.2017 – 10501

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Exhibition view MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main 2017, Courtesy Claudia Andujar and Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo, Brazil.

The exhibition “Claudia Andujar. Tomorrow must not be like yesterday” is the first in Europe to provide extensive insights into the photographic œuvre of Claudia Andujar (b. in Neuchâtel, Switzerland in 1931). The artist and activist has lived in São Paulo since 1955. When she arrived there, she hadn’t learned Portuguese yet, but the camera offered her a means of communicating – through images instead of language. Since that time, Andujar’s photographic praxis has been closely linked with recent Brazilian history and the country’s contrasts and conflicts.Andujar initially worked as a photographer for various Brazilian and American magazines. In 1971, her travels took her to the Yanomami, the largest indigenous ethnic group in the Amazon region. From then on she dedicated herself to the protection of the Yanomami, who are threatened by the invasion of their living environment. In the early 1980s, she produced the series that is still her most important today – “Marcados” (Marked) –, likewise in the context of her activist engagement. “Andujar’s photographic series are the result of her journeys between the metropolis of São Paulo in the south and the Amazon region in the north. They create a panorama of Brazil between city and nature. Artistic praxis and activist involvement are inseparably linked in these images”, comments Peter Gorschlüter, deputy director of the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, about the show.

Andujar lived with the Yanomami herself for several years, and in 1978 joined Bruce Albert and Carlo Zacquini in founding the “Comissão pela Criação do Parque Yanomami” (meanwhile called “Comissão Pró-Yanomami”) in defence of the Yanomami and their living environment. In the early 1980s, the commission initiated a vaccination campaign for which Andujar took photographic portraits of the Yanomami in various villages in the Amazon region. As the Yanomami traditionally don’t use names – they address one another by way of family relations – they were given necklaces with numbers as a means of identification on their vaccination records. It was only twenty years later, in 2006, that Andujar first showed the photographs at the São Paulo Biennale, and entitled them “Marcados”. These portraits of people marked with numbers trigger historical memories intimately linked with the photographer’s own biography. Whereas she and her mother could escape the Holocaust, all of her Jewish relatives on her father’s side were murdered in the Nazi concentration camp. As Claudia Andujar herself explained: “These were the marcados para morrer [marked to die]. What I was trying to do with the Yanomami was to mark them to live, to survive.

Since that time, Andujar’s œuvre has attracted a great deal of attention in the South American context. To this day, it is distinguished by its topicality and explosive force, not least of all in view of the ongoing invasion of the Yanomami territory by illegal goldminers “garimpeiros”, protests in Brazil and the climate objectives its government recently announced. In view of recurring political events and societal developments in the country, the exhibition title “Tomorrow must not be like yesterday” mirrors Claudia Andujar’s message to the present.

In various works, the photographer conveys an image of Brazil as a country rich in contrasts. “Again and again, the various living environments virtually converse with one another in Andujar’s photographic series. Taken from a helicopter, “Metrópole” shows São Paulo’s modernist street network, “Urihi-a” a shapono, the round structure that serves the Yanomami as housing, surrounded by nature, and the “Cemitério da Consolação” a cemetery founded in São Paulo at the end of the nineteenth century with a network of paths laid out around a mausoleum at the centre. The city streets, the nature and the cemetery paths all share a quality of endlessness”, observes Carolin Köchling, the exhibition’s curator.

Not only the photographic subject – whether person or object – inscribe themselves in Andujar’s works, but also always the position of the photographer herself as the subject’s vis-à-vis. To shoot the “Rua Direita” series (1970), for example, Andujar sat down on the crowded street of the same name in São Paulo and photographed the passers-by at an extreme angle from below. Though they look almost posed in the photographs, the people’s startled, aloof or curious expressions actually mirror their spontaneous reactions to the unexpected encounter with the photographer. In the “Através do Fusca” series, on the other hand, the windows of a VW beetle embody this inscription of Andujar’s position so characteristic of her œuvre: in 1976, she photographed a journey from São Paulo to the Amazon region through the car windows.

UK’s first exhibition devoted to the Bruegel dynasty includes newly discovered paintings – Bath – 11.02.2017-04.06.2017 – 10500

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Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Wedding Dance in the Open Air, 1607-1614, oil on oak panel. © The Holburne Museum.
The Holburne Museum announces the UK’s first exhibition devoted to the Bruegel dynasty, including recent attributions for two paintings from the Museum’s own collection. Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty will unravel the complex Bruegel family tree, revealing the originality and diversity of Antwerp’s famous artistic dynasty across four generations through 35 works, including masterpieces from the National Gallery, Royal Collection Trust, the National Trust, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Jennifer Scott, the Holburne’s Director and co-curator of the exhibition notes, ‘This exciting new exhibition not only shines a light on the quality of the Holburne Museum’s Flemish paintings, but also on the wealth of paintings by the Bruegel dynasty in the UK.’A key work in the exhibition will be Wedding Dance in the Open Air, an oil painting from the Holburne’s own collection which, following conservation work and technical examination, can be attributed firmly to the hand of Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Previously thought to be the work of a copyist or follower of Brueghel, it now takes its place as the only version of this popular scene in a UK public museum. Together with Robbing the Bird’s Nest and the Visit to a Farmhouse, also featured in the exhibition, this new discovery makes the Holburne Museum the primary collection of Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s work in the UK.

The exhibition will also show the David Teniers the Younger’s Boy Blowing Bubbles from the Holburne’s own collection. Previously ascribed to ‘Imitator of David Teniers the Younger’, recent research undertaken by the Holburne Museum has revealed a new attribution to Teniers himself.

Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty is curated by the Holburne’s Director, Jennifer Scott, and Dr Amy Orrock, independent art historian and Bruegel specialist, and will provide the opportunity to understand and reimagine the Bruegel familial relationships, investigating the developments of the artists’ individual styles and the way in which they asserted both their artistic heritage and their independence. Visitors can compare the development of ‘Bruegelian’ iconography over 150 years, through works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, his sons Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder, their direct descendants (Jan van Kessel the Elder) and artists that married into the family (David Teniers the Younger). In particular, the exhibition will highlight Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s artistic talents, reinstating him as an important artist in his own right.

A book to accompany the exhibition Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty is written by Amy Orrock and published by Philip Wilson and will be on sale in the Holburne’s Gift Shop for £16.95.

Amy Orrock said, ‘Undertaking research for the exhibition and accompanying book has provided a wonderful opportunity to explore and celebrate the Bruegel dynasty in addition to making new discoveries.’

Kunsthalle Basel presents Maria Loboda’s first institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland – Basel – 24.02.2017-14.05.2017 – 10499

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Maria Loboda, Young Warrior in the Landscape Watching the Birds Go By (Pastoral), 2017, in Havoc in the Heavenly Kingdom, Kunsthalle Basel, 2017.
Pay attention to her titles. There is subterfuge in Maria Loboda’s use of language and in her deployment of stories at once obscure, magical, or strange in the making of her art. Their historical exactitude is largely ir- relevant; what matters is that they circulate and in so doing tell us something about our desires, fears, pasts, and potential futures. As a student, the artist’s first public presentation was an assembly of rather ordinary items, including white wood, verbena, fine steel, goatskin, and green ribbons. But its title, The Evocation of Lucifuge Rofocale (2004), meant that visitors who read it inadvertently found themselves calling forth the dark lord in a room full of all the items from the classic demonological recipe to summon him. The project revealed the artist’s persistent fascination with how mere things can be bestowed with a mysterious and auratic force.

What better way, after all, to describe that numinous thing we call “art” than to realize that besides kings and priests and bankers, artists are perhaps the only beings with the power to give value to things that ostensibly have none? Loboda does just that, rendering strange and unforgettable her combinations of willfully austere or simple-looking objects by layering them with encrypted backstories culled from the likes of obscure military treatises, alchemy, mythology, the occult, and museological research. Her tactics are neither nostalgic nor merely referential; rather, she transforms her findings into sculptural and photographic works whose force lies beyond any surface aesthetic appeal.At Kunsthalle Basel, Loboda’s first institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland, the artist presents an ensemble of newly commissioned works that continue her particular brand of contemporary archaeology.

STAIRS AND LANDING
Loboda has lined the entrance stairs with a sisal runner that leads to Young Satyr Turning to Look at His Tail, a plaster pillar fitted with a satyr’s tail. Its title references a Roman imperial copy of an ancient Greek sculpture, which in Loboda’s hands becomes a cipher for vanity, decadence, and fallen civilizations. The runner that gives prominence to the piece is entitled (loosely borrowing from the 1909 Futurist Manifesto) Trample Your Atavistic Ennui into This Sisal Rug, and is held in place by metal stair rods that conceal any number of items slipped between them that were thought in ancient times to ward off evil. It is the first clue in Loboda’s exhibition that one thing can hide another, and a sly announcement that each element in her installation hovers between mystery and evidence, occultation and evocation.

ROOM 1
In the central space of the exhibition, three monumental gates, Hypothetical Reconstruction of a Gateway (V, VI, VII), in various geometric formations, are inspired by the ancient gates of the temple complex of Karnak. Here they signify hypothetical splendor, creating a space of sacred presence, hinting at the long-gone inhabitants who left behind clues to their eccentric existence. Each is painted with a different approximation of the color celadon, typically used as a ceramic glaze for the service of royalty and once thought to calm troubled souls when gazed at long enough. This color that ancient Chinese artisans regarded as “beyond description” is almost impossible to precisely replicate. Inscribed on one gate is a note that points our attention to the third gate’s ledge, where a glass vessel contains a flammable substance and cloth wick, a common do-it-yourself weapon used by rioters, anarchists, and gangsters. This incendiary weapon perhaps reminds us that at the threshold of any great civilization is the power of revolt.

The walls around the gates feature a series of closely cropped, large-scale photographs showing the pants cuffs and shoes of a well-dressed man, perhaps an investment banker or politician, carelessly dirtying his finery in filth and mud. It may be a metaphor for the ways in which those in power reach it through any means. The series is entitled The Evolution of Kings, after an ethnological study of magic and religion that traces the evolution of not only kings and gods, but also sacred and taboo objects—a study that inspired the artist throughout the show.

Appearing as if by divine intervention high above the exhibition’s central gallery is Raw Material Coming from Heaven, a copy of a 1578 fresco whose origins are unknown, discovered in the 1980s in the Bernardine Church in Vilnius. Seemingly haphazardly drawn onto the arcs of the church’s pillar, the awkwardly formed and almost pagan-looking symbol acts as the blackest eye looking down at churchgoers. Here it emanates from a corner of the exhibition, looking down upon Kunsthalle Basel visitors and brandishing magical, pagan properties.

ROOM 2
A back room contains a large-scale work entitled Two Idiots Engaged in a Game of Chess, representing an image found on an Egypt Papyrus dating from 1186 to 1069 BC. The image satirizes society and human activity, showing animals in reversals of the natural order: a lion and a strange hoofed creature playing a board game. In Loboda’s version, the image is spread across multiple broken plaster relief fragments that look like excavated archaeological artifacts from an ancient civilization—or perhaps our own.

ROOM 3
In the smallest gallery is a high pillar, titled Young Warrior in the Landscape Watching the Birds Go By (Pastoral), anointed with an element of a metal armor and a delicate silk scarf—a reminder that a reflection on war and power underlies Loboda’s cryptic unraveling of our present.

What does it all mean and how does it add up? Extending an exploration of the archaic, the mystical, and the transcendent that has preoccupied her throughout her career, Loboda instills each object in her exhibition with a witchy presence, but rarely leaves us with unequivocal answers about their meaning. And despite the magnitude of the subjects she might address, she maintains a light touch, finding humor in how the arcane can speak to us today. For there is “havoc in the heavenly kingdom,” as her title announces from the start, taking its name from an ancient Chinese myth of Sun Wukong, known as the Monkey King, who is allowed into heaven to better be controlled, but in turn creates mayhem—a veritable metaphor for our present moment. But it also suggests that art and politics are never far apart. If the exhibition is heaven, artists are the divinities that we invite in and who channel chaos, all the better to reveal the power structures that actually order the universe.

Maria Loboda was born in 1979 in Kraków, PL; she lives and works in Berlin.

First mid-career retrospective of Italian artist Roberto Cuoghi in Geneva – 22.02.2017-30.04.2017 – 10498

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Roberto Cuoghi, Untitled, 2003. 35 x 50 cm ( 13.77 x 19.68 in). Photo by Studio Blu.

The Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève presents Perla Pollina the first mid-career retrospective of Italian artist Roberto Cuoghi from February 22 to April 30, 2017.Perla Pollina comprises over 70 works, spanning 1996 to 2016 and covering the different aspects of his rich and intricate production. Through an array of unconventional techniques, Cuoghi’s paintings, drawings, sculptures and animations bear the imperative to always contest the known, the familiar, the accepted, and the understood.

Known for his legendary transformation into an old man for seven years when in his twenties, Roberto Cuoghi is one of today’s most mysterious artists. Concepts of perpetual experimentation, rule breaking, continuous and processual learning are central to his work. As Anthony Huberman, contributor to the catalogue states, “A radical thinker, Roberto Cuoghi constantly chooses the uphill battles. In the face of Western culture’s preference for the beautiful and the flawless, he chooses the mutilated and the deformed; in the face of the art industry’s fascination with the new, he chooses the out-of-date; in the face of our respect for those who have survived, he chooses to celebrate those who have gone extinct.”

This retrospective is part of a wide curatorial project initiated by the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Genève. It will bring together other exhibitions, organized in collaboration with the Madre Museum, Naples, Italy (May 15–September 11, 2017, curated by Andrea Bellini and Andrea Viliani) and the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany (October 14–December 17, 2017, curated by Andrea Bellini and Moritz Wesseler).

The artist’s first comprehensive monograph will accompany the exhibition. This richly illustrated 500 page catalogue, published by Hatje Cantz, will include new essays by Andrea Bellini, curator of the exhibition, as well as Andrea Cortellessa, Anthony Huberman, Charlotte Laubard and Yorgos Tzirtzilakis in addition to a compilation of previous interviews and texts by the artist, a complete chronology and bibliography by Sara De Chiara.

Roberto Cuoghi (b. 1973, Modena, Italy) lives and works in Milan. He has had solo exhibitions at DESTE Foundation, Athens; Le Consortium, Dijon; Aspen Art Museum; New Museum, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Institute of Contemporary Art, London among others. Cuoghi will also represent Italy at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

The Royal Academy of Arts commemorates the centenary of the Russian Revolution with exhibition – London – 11.02.2017-17.04.2017 – 10497

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Isaak Brodsky, V.I.Lenin and Manifestation, 1919. Oil on canvas, 90 x 135 cm. The State Historical Museum. Photo © Provided with assistance from the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSIZO.

In February 2017, to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, the Royal Academy of Arts presents Revolution: Russian Art 1917 – 1932. This landmark exhibition focuses on a momentous period in Russian history between 1917, the year of the October Revolution, and 1932 when Stalin began his violent suppression of the Avant-Garde. The exhibition features Avant-Garde artists such as Chagall, Kandinsky, Malevich and Tatlin alongside the Socialist Realism of Brodsky, Deineka, Mukhina and Samokhvalov, amongst others. Photography, sculpture, film, posters and porcelain are being featured alongside paintings. It presents this unique period in the history of Russian art, when for fifteen years, barriers were opened and the possibilities for building a new proletarian art for the new Soviet State were extensive.With over 200 works, the exhibition includes loans from the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow as well as some of the most significant international private collections. Many of the works have never been seen in the UK before.

A century after the 1917 October Revolution, this turning point in Russian history remains a major event in modern consciousness. Although there have been a number of exhibitions of 20th century Russian art, these have focused on either the Avant-Garde or Socialist Realism as separate entities. Revolution: Russian Art 1917 – 1932 takes as its starting point the major exhibition of 1932, which was presented in 33 rooms at the State Russian Museum in Leningrad and orchestrated by prominent art critic and curator Nikolai Punin. The 1932 exhibition presented a wide spectrum of Russian art from those first fifteen years after the revolution. The Royal Academy’s exhibition follows that example with a wide sweep of works that, for the first time in the UK, combine and contrast the diverse array of art that flourished during this complex post-Revolutionary period.

The exhibition is arranged around broad thematic sections, each of which explore the complex interaction between art and politics in the turbulent yet dynamic period of modern Russian history. Salute the Leader examines Lenin’s rise to power; his cult status after his death followed by the advent of Stalin. Man and Machine focuses on proletarian worker heroes – both women and men whose physical effort promoted the success of industry and technology, powerfully recorded in painting, photography and film. Brave New World sets the scene for the new cultural world and Fate of the Peasants looks at the impact of collective farming on traditional rural life. Eternal Russia shows how images of old Russia persisted as signs of national identity even in revolutionary times. New City, New Society concentrates on the new city life-styles, the diversity of social types, some wealthy and some poor, under Lenin’s New Economic Policy in the 1920s and Stalin’s Utopia features Stalin’s grandiose public projects and the dark reality of his utopian vision of progress.

Highlights include a gallery dedicated to over 30 paintings and architectons by Malevich. These works are being seen together for the first time since 1932 in an exact reconstruction of the original hang designed by the artist for the Leningrad exhibition. A room also is dedicated to the work of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. Woven throughout the galleries are original films, photographs and documents, many of which have never been exhibited before.

Among the outstanding paintings are Marc Chagall’s Promenade, 1917 – 18 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg), Wassily Kandinsky’s Blue Crest, 1917 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg), Boris Mikailovich Kustodiev’s Bolshevik, 1920 (State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow), Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s Fantasy, 1925 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg), Alexander Deineka’s Textile Workers, 1927 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg) and Kazimir Malevich’s Peasants, c.1930 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg).

Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde presents the exhibition “Joan Miró: The Poetry of Everyday Life” – Sockholm – 11.02.2017-04.06.2017 – 10496

 

 Joan Miró, Dona i ocell davant el sol, Joan Miró, 1976 © Successió Miró.
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“Popular art always moves me. There is nothing tricky or phoney about this art. It goes straight to the point. It surprises, and it is so rich in possibilities,” Joan Miró told Yvon Taillandier in the 1950s. The artist’s interest in popular culture, but also in elements of the natural, rural environment led him to become an avid collector of objects.Joan Miró. The Poetry of Everyday Life highlights a new way to perceive art based on Miró’s capacity to discover poetic possibilities in the simplest of objects. With 14 paintings, 16 sculptures, 4 drawings, 19 objects, 2 sobreteixims and a film, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s work in the 1960s and 1970s, a period in which, in seeking to revise his work, he adamantly challenged painting, while he also worked prolifically with bronze sculpture.The exhibition reveals the great importance of everyday objects in Miró’s output of sculptures, paintings, drawings and textile art, while it also testifies to his social commitment and work inspired by the idea of freedom in times of oppression through the medium of lithographic printing. The posters on show belong to the Nils Tryding collection, one of the most comprehensive in the world. These were donated by the owner to the town of Kristianstad.The exhibition is divided into five sections based around the artist’s relationship with what he perceived as everyday. In the first section, there are a number of objects in their original condition, which Miró found and kept in his studio. He used these as the starting point for his sculptures and paintings. In his quest to go beyond painting, objects served as a stimulus to Miró’s creativity as an artist. A towel, a hatbox, a detergent bottle, a stone and a pumpkin are just some of the elements observed by the artist which inspired a poetic interpretation.

The second section presents a selection of paintings and bronze sculptures. Miró explored new processes and materials alien to art, as he continued to challenge traditional painting and reject its illusionistic role. Meanwhile, his conception of sculpture – formed by objects of diverse origin fitted together – was that it should be integrated into nature. On many occasions, sculptures could even become monuments and take their place in the public space, forging a close relationship with society.

Joan Miró also made use of craftsmanship techniques in his bid to transcend painting. In the third section of the exhibition, visitors will find two sobreteixims, works made with a base of jute and hemp weave, to which all kinds of objects are attached, making the pieces three-dimensional, in combination with pictorial gesture and, on occasions, the controlled action of fire. With these pieces, the artist set out to highlight the material purity of the work, showing it as an integral part of the reality he sought to represent.

The fourth section of the exhibition Joan Miró. The Poetry of Everyday Life turns to the medium of the poster in order to focus on Miró’s participation in aspects of everyday life, in particular, his support of social, cultural and humanitarian causes. The artist confirmed this commitment in the speech he made when he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Barcelona in 1979: “I understand the artist to be someone who, amidst the silence of others, uses his voice to say something, and it is required that this thing should not be useless, but something that offers a service to man.”

The exhibition concludes with an area devoted to Miró’s intervention in Barcelona’s public space in collaboration with the young architects of Studio PER in 1969. This painting, done in graffiti style above the large windows of the building belonging to the Association of Architects of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, served to draw attention to the exhibition Miró otro, which demonstrated the artist’s political commitment and the transgressive nature of his work. This exhibition ended up becoming a counter exhibition to the major retrospective on the artist that had opened at the Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu at the end of 1968. When the exhibition ended, this painting was destroyed, but not before sparking considerable debate over its preservation and the commercialisation of art.

Joan Miró gave the Studio PER architects who had participated in the action the signed, dedicated sketch of the mural. To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Fundació Joan Miró, they formalised the donation of this drawing. In the final section of Joan Miró. The Poetry of Everyday Life, we find the projection of the film Miró, l’altre, by Pere Portabella, with original music by Carles Santos. The film documents this artistic action, showing part of the creative process and the subsequent destruction of the work.

Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde is one of the most popular art museums in Sweden with varied and extensive exhibitions and events. It is located in Stockholm in what used to be the residence of Prince Eugens (1865-1947), an artist and an important art collector. The original furniture and paintings can be viewed on the ground floor in the mansion while the upper floors and an adjacent gallery are home to the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. In 1947, Prince Eugens gave Waldermarsudde and his collection to the Swedish state.

Website : Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde

Source : Artdaily

 

Marina Abramović’s first major retrospective in Europe at Moderna Museet – Stockholm – 18.02.2017-21.05.2017 – 10495

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Marina Abramović, Stromboli III Volcano, 2002 Courtesy of Marina Abramović Archives and Lia Rumma Gallery, Milan. Photo: Paolo Canevari © Marina Abramović / Bildupphovsrätt 2016

For more than four decades, Marina Abramović has worked with presence and her own body as her primary artistic media. This has made her one of the most widely acknowledged artists of our time. Her uncompromising self-exposure has evoked criticism and praise in equal measure. Now, Moderna Museet presents the exhibition The Cleaner – the artist’s first major retrospective in Europe.

The Cleaner was produced in close collaboration with Marina Abramović and features more than 120 works. It presents several of her best-known performances, including the Relation Works with German artist Ulay, her collaborator and partner from 1976-1988. These works take the form of live reperformances, films, installations and photographs from the 1970s to today. Moderna Museet is also delighted to show early paintings and works on paper from the 1960s and onwards, some of which are being exhibited for the first time. Also included are her relatively unknown audio works from the 1970s.

“Even in her earliest works, Marina Abramović expands the given boundaries, in terms of scale, medium, and the relationship to the audience. The responsibility shared by the artist and the participants for what the work can evolve into permeates her entire oeuvre”, says Lena Essling, curator of the exhibition.

Marina Abramović was born in Belgrade, Ex-Yugoslavia in 1946, to partisan parents, who met during WWII and were national heroes under Marshal Tito’s regime. Raised in her childhood primarily by her orthodox grandmother, religion and revolution impacted profoundly on her early life and continue to permeate her artistic practice. In Rhythm 5 (1974/2011) she sets fire to a communist star that can also be read as a pentagram when inverted. The video installation The Hero (2001) is a ritualistic elegy for her father.

Abramović’s works seek the core of concepts such as loss, memory, being, pain, endurance and trust. Her work is a matter of life and death – questions about existence and art are brought to a head in ways that may both provoke and move us. Rarely has anyone explored the physical and mental pain thresholds as she does. In The Lovers (1988) Abramović and Ulay undertook a 90-day walk from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China. Their halfway meeting marked the end of their love affair and more than ten-year partnership.

“27 years ago, before her international breakthrough at the Venice Biennale, we had the honour of featuring Marina Abramović in an exhibition at Moderna Museet. We now take great pride in being the first museum in Europe to produce a retrospective exhibition of her work”, says Daniel Birnbaum, director of Moderna Museet.

Reperformances in the exhibition
A selection of Abramović’s performance works will be reperformed in the exhibition by specially-trained performance artists. The featured works are Cleaning the Mirror (1995), where one person carefully scrubs a human skeleton in a confrontation with mortality, Freeing Series (1975), where the voice, memory and body are liberated, and Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful (1975), where the same phrase and action are repeated obsessively, like an incantation.

New performance by Abramović
Just over a week after the opening, a new work by Marina Abramović, in collaboration with Lynsey Peisinger, will be performed at the Eric Ericson Hall (the Skeppsholmen church) for seven days, 27 Feb–5 March.

“Together with the Eric Ericson International Choral Centre, Marina Abramović, 30 performers, 15 singers and a large number of choirs, we are creating an entirely new performance work. This is a work where a common vulnerability arises, and everyone collaborates in a simple, direct and humane way”, says Catrin Lundqvist, curator of programmes.

The exhibition is organised by Moderna Museet in collaboration with Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, and Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn. Curators: Lena Essling, Moderna Museet, Tine Colstrup, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and Susanne Kleine, Bundeskunsthalle.

The exhibition catalogue Marina Abramović – The Cleaner includes contributions by Lena Essling, Tine Colstrup, Adrian Heathfield, Bojana Pejić och Devin Zuber. The catalogue is published by Moderna Museet in collaboration with Hatje Cantz Verlag.

Museum Ludwig celebrates Gerhard Richter’s eighty-fifth birthday – Cologne – 09.02.2017-01.05.2017 – 10494

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Instaallation view, Gerhard Richter. Neue Bilder Museum Ludwig Köln, 2017. Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln/ Britta Schlier.

On the occasion of Gerhard Richter’s eighty-fifth birthday on February 9, the Museum Ludwig is presenting twenty-six abstract paintings for the first time, all of which were created last year. These new works, most of which were painted on canvases of very different sizes, feature bright colors and detailed, multilayered compositions. The artist used a paintbrush, a palette knife, a squeegee, and a knife to shape these paintings built up in several layers of oil paint; his many years of experience—during which he has often made use of chance in the creation of his works—result in detailed and extremely complex compositions. Richter’s work is based on doubts about the representability of reality and the question of the meaning of the painted picture.Gerhard Richter has worked on a dazzling renewal of painting for over fifty years. The wide- ranging oeuvre of perhaps the most famous artist of our time presents a fascinating tension between figuration and abstraction, significance and banality. Since the late 1970s, abstract pictures have predominated in the work of the artist, who was born on February 9, 1932, in Dresden and has lived in Cologne since 1983.

Alongside the exhibition, pioneering works by Gerhard Richter from the collection of the Museum Ludwig are being presented, including icons such as Ema (Nude on a Staircase) from 1966, 48 Portraits of German intellectual figures from 1971/72, the abstract painting War from 1981, and the glass work 11 Panes from 2003, among others. This presentation, which was also designed by Richter, also features many editions in which the painter further expands his means and his questions about the picture and the likeness. Some of these editions have long been part of the Museum Ludwig collection, while others are gifts that collectors from the Rhineland and the artist himself presented to the museum on the occasion of his eighty-fifth birthday.

Mayor Henriette Reker offers her congratulations to the artist and honorary citizen of Cologne: “Gerhard Richter’s close connection with the Museum Ludwig and the city of Cologne is extremely fortunate. His internationally significant work is created here in our city. I am all the more delighted that his new paintings are also being shown for the first time here in Cologne.”

Cologne’s City Councilor for Cultural Affairs Susanne Laugwitz-Aulbach adds: “On his birthday, we are ultimately the recipients of this gift, and for this we owe him our gratitude.”

For Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig, Gerhard Richter’s decision to premiere his new paintings at the Museum Ludwig is a sign of recognition as well as an impetus for the future: “The fact that Gerhard Richter has chosen the Museum Ludwig as the location for the first showing of his new paintings once again demonstrates the artist’s enduring and intensive relationship to our institution and encourages us to continue to deepen it.”

Curator: Rita Kersting

Exhibition focuses on the work of the two top painters of the Dutch De Stijl movement – The Hague – 12.02.2017-21.05.2017 – 10493

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In 2017 it will be exactly 100 years since the launch of the Dutch art and design movement known as ‘De Stijl’. The Netherlands is set to mark the centenary with a year-long programme of events under the title Mondrian to Dutch Design. 100 years of De Stijl. As home both of the world’s greatest Mondrian collection and of one of its major De Stijl collections, the Gemeentemuseum will be at the heart of the celebrations in 2017. No fewer than three separate exhibitions will be held at the museum to pay appropriate tribute to the group’s revolutionary achievements. The event kicked off on 11 February with an exhibition about the genesis of a new kind of art that has forever changed the world we live in.

De Stijl’s iconic red, yellow and blue palette is still in vogue. You see it in today’s fashion and magazine design, on packaging, in advertisement and in video clips. But who actually invented the movement’s distinctive signature style? This spring, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag unravels the history of De Stijl’s radical new art. Key to it was the friendship and reciprocal influence between the movement’s two foremost painters: Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck.

Meeting and collaboration
The two artists met during the First World War in the Dutch village of Laren (then an artists’ colony). The resulting friendship was to produce the fundamental philosophy of De Stijl. Van der Leck’s use of primary colours enchanted Mondrian, while Mondrian himself was the great pioneer of radical abstraction.

The two men had very different backgrounds. Van der Leck had worked since the age of 15 in various stained glass workshops in and around Utrecht before enrolling at the State School of Decorative Arts in Amsterdam at the age of 23. Mondrian had started by studying at home for his qualifications to teach drawing and then gone to Amsterdam to attend the State Academy of Fine Arts from the age of 20. He became a landscape painter, but in 1912, while working in Paris, changes direction radically by adopting abstractionism. In the summer of 1914, Mondrian went to the Netherlands to visit his family. A week later, the First World War broke out. After a couple of months in Domburg, he settled in Laren. In April 1916, Van der Leck and his family also moved to Laren and from then on the two artists saw each other regularly. They recognized a common interest in exploring new avenues in art. Both were using geometrical shapes, flat planes of colour and a simplified colour palette. And both saw this new visual idiom as representing an inextinguishable belief in progress.

New kind of art
Van der Leck and Mondrian shared a strong conviction that the modern world needed a new kind of art. Van der Leck’s ideas were based on his experience as a stained glass artist and his admiration of the formal simplification found in Egyptian art. Mondrian had quickly distinguished himself with his landscapes, always looking for an underlying essence that led him ever further in the direction of abstraction.

Mondrian was immediately excited by Van der Leck’s use of colour, while Van der Leck found inspiration in Mondrian’s quest for abstraction. Following Mondrian’s example, Van der Leck began calling his paintings ‘compositions’ and found the courage to abandon his figurative approach.

Abstraction and ‘doorbeelding’
Mondrian discovered the key to abstraction in the Cubism he encountered in Paris. During his first two years there, he concentrated mainly on reworking earlier figurative paintings in a Cubist style. Van der Leck employed a different approach: a method he called ‘doorbeelding’ (an untranslatable term approximating to ‘decomposition’). Starting with a figurative sketch – for example, of a person or an animal – he gradually reduced it to geometrical shapes. But, working independently of each other, both arrived at a method of producing abstract art.

Mondrian and Van der Leck agreed on some things but argued about others. They soon proved to have conflicting ideas about the use of their geometrical idiom. Whereas Van der Leck wanted to keep his geometrical compositions as open as possible, Mondrian quickly began to use lines to link the various shapes together. In the summer of 1919, when Mondrian returned to Paris, communication ceased.

Despite its brevity, the collaboration between Mondrian and Van der Leck was to be of inestimable value to the new art movement launched with Theo van Doesburg’s publication of his new De Stijl magazine in 1917. Their experiments with abstraction and colour prepared the way for De Stijl and the invention of the now world-famous red, yellow and blue colour combination.

2017: 100 years of De Stijl
This will be the first exhibition ever to examine the exact nature and lasting influence of the relationship between Mondrian and Van der Leck. Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck. Inventing a new art will include items on loan from institutions like MoMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and will be the first of three major exhibitions to be held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in the course of the Mondrian to Dutch Design event. The De Stijl centenary will be celebrated throughout 2017 all over the Netherlands.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue and a new children’s picture book by Joost Swarte

In 2017, we celebrate 100 years of designing the future. That vision began with the foundation of De Stijl in 1917, featuring characteristics that are still visible in contemporary Dutch Design. To celebrate this milestone, NBTC Holland Marketing and their partners declared 2017 the Year of Mondrian to Dutch Design. This is marked by the introduction of the storyline, Mondrian to Dutch Design, which guides visitors to interesting locations throughout the Netherlands. All these locations are connected to works of art from the era of De Stijl and modern design. Dutch museums, cultural heritage sites, and events focus on the work of leading designers, opening the doors of their studios, and honouring artists such as Mondrian, Rietveld, Van der Leck and Van Doesburg

 

Exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary focuses on a pivotal decade for British culture and politics – Nottingham – 04.02.2017-30.04.2017 – 10492

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Lubaina Himid, A Fashionable Marriage, 1986. Exhibition view, The Place Is Here, Nottingham Contemporary, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens. Photo Andy Keate.

The starting-point for this exhibition is a pivotal decade for British culture and politics: the 1980s. Spanning painting, sculpture, photography, film and archives, The Place Is Here brings together a wide range of works by more than 30 artists and collectives. The questions they ask – about identity, representation and what culture is for – remain vital today.In 1982, a group of artists and thinkers met in Wolverhampton at the First National Black Art Convention, to discuss the ‘form, future and function of Black Art’. Two years later, the second ‘working convention’ took place here in Nottingham. What constitutes ‘black art’, or the ‘Black Arts Movement’ was, and continues to be, heavily contested.

This exhibition traces some of the urgent conversations that were taking place between black artists, writers and thinkers during the 80s. Against a backdrop of civil unrest and divisive national politics, they were exploring their relationship to Britain’s colonial past as well as to art history. Many artists were looking to the Civil Rights movement in America, Black feminism, Pan-Africanism, the struggle over apartheid, and the emergent fields of postcolonial and cultural studies.

The Place Is Here does not present a chronological survey. Instead, it is conceived as a kind of montage. For many of these artists, montage allowed for identities, histories and narratives to be dismantled and reconfigured according to new terms. The exhibition assembles different positions, voices and media to present a shifting portrait of a decade while refusing to pin it down. The presentation is structured around four overlapping groupings, each of which is titled after a work on display: Signs of Empire; We Will Be; The People’s Account; and Convenience Not Love.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Abstract Expressionist exhibition – Bilbao – 03.02.2017-04.06.2017 – 10491

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Willem De Kooning, Untitled (Woman in Forest), ca. 1963–64. Oil on paper, mounted on Masonite, 73.7 x 86.4 cm. Private collection © The Willem de Kooning Foundation, New York /VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Abstract Expressionism , an ambitious selection of works by the artists who spearheaded a major shift and new apogee in painting in New York which began in the 1940’s. Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, David Smith, and Clyfford Still are just some of the artists in the show, which brings together more than 130 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs from public and private collections all over the world. This exhibition sheds new light on Abstract Expressionism, a diverse, complex, and multifaceted phenomenon which is often erroneously viewed as a unified whole.Back in the years of free jazz and the poetry of the Beat generation, with the Second World War as the backdrop, a group of artists broke with the established conventions and ushered in a movement which was born of a shared artistic and life experience, even though they each had their own style. Unlike the Cubism and Surrealism which predated it, Abstract Expressionism refuses to be bound by any formula and is instead a celebration of individual diversity and freedom of expression.

Characteristics of this movement include works on a colossal scale which are sometimes intense, spontaneous, and extraordinarily expressive, while other times they are more contemplative through the use of vast color fields. These creations redefined the nature of painting and aspired not only to be admired from afar but also to be enjoyed in two-way encounters between the artist and the viewer. Just as the artists express their emotions and convey the sense that these emotions are brought into the work, the viewer’s perception is the last step in this interaction. Thus, “Abstract painting is abstract. If confronts you,” as Jackson Pollock stated in 1950. Furthermore, the intensity of this encounter could be further accentuated by the way the works are displayed, as exemplified in the Rothko Chapel in Houston.

Early works
The early years of Abstract Expressionism reflect the ill-fated era in which the movement materialized, a time that was marred by two World Wars and the Great Depression. This can be seen in the sinister skeletons of Jackson Pollock’s series Untitled Panels A – D (1934–38), the architecture depicted by Mark Rothko in Interior (1936), and the Philip Guston work The Porch (1946–47), where the human figure seems to be threatened and takes on a macabre tone clearly influenced by the Holocaust. In the 1940’s, these connotations evolved towards a more universal language which included the creation of myths such as Idolatress I (1944) by Hans Hofmann (1942–43), archetypes such as Pollock’s totemic Male and Female , and primitivistic forms such as the savage biomorphs of Richard Pousette-Dart’s Undulation (ca. 1941–42). Willem de Kooning conferred a subjective sensitivity on abstract motifs in Untitled (1939–40), while in their collaborative piece Untitled (1940–41), William Baziotes, Gerome Kamrowski, and Pollock showcase another popular trend of allowing the paint to flow almost at whim.

Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky’s (Armenia, 1904 –Connecticut, 1948) importance stemmed from his in-depth knowledge of art history, which he conveyed to his protégé De Kooning, coupled with his ability to fuse trends like Cubism and Surrealism to create a new syntax. This hybrid language appeared early on in Untitled (Nighttime, Enigma and Nostalgia) (ca. 1931–32), which evokes the proto-Surrealist Giorgio de Chirico.

Gorky later revealed his talent as a master of color and line, and between 1944 and 1945 he reached his peak with paintings like Water of the Flowery Mill (1944) and The Unattainable (1945). Tragic events, like the fire in his studio and a traffic accident which almost cost him his life, made Gorky’s art take on a cold, elegiac tone, as seen in The Limit and The Orators , both from 1947, until his tragic death in 1948.

Willem de Kooning
De Kooning (Rotterdam, 1904 – New York, 1997) was the master of the gesture as a reflection ofraw emotion. His paintings swayed between abstraction and figuration, creating explosive, rebellious effects. After an early obsession with female eroticism, he went on to explore another dimension. His 1949 work Zot (which means “demented” in Dutch) conceals a condensed dramatic quality in which vestiges of the figure and other details clash with and blur into each other.

From the same period, Abstraction (1949–50) revealed the potent religious symbolism that permeated the artist’s iconography, which spans from lust and perdition to salvation, making it a modern take on the reflections on the human condition rendered by the masters of classical painting.

Representations of females were a constant feature in de Kooning’s oeuvre, although by the 1960’s they took a turn towards the grotesque, while he simultaneously made these women more accessible, such as in Woman as Landscape (1965–66). De Kooning contrasted the febrile universe of female sexuality with the chaos of the modern city in what the artist called feelings of “leaving the city or returning to it.” Thus, in Villa Borghese (1960) and Untitled (1961), the strips of pastel hues exude an air of freedom, in line with the enjoyment and serenity that the artist got from nature. And in the 1970’s, his style became more fluid and contemplative, as can be seen in the work …Whose Name Was Written in Water (1975), in which the use of paint diluted with oil yielded longer and more gestural brushstrokes.

Franz Kline
By the time he held his first solo show in 1950, Franz Kline (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1910 – New York, 1962) revealed a mature oeuvre in which he explored black and white in contradictory configurations and violent imbalances, creating images that were at once architectural and poetic. The titles of Franz Kline’s works summon a universe made up of people and spaces from the industrial and mining region of Pennsylvania, where he was born, along with romantic reminiscences of Europe, such as Requiem (1958), in which Kline depicts an ominous world. Even though his monochromatic brushstrokes look spontaneous, his technique was among the most deliberate of all the Abstract Expressionists. Kline, who often created his paintings based on drawings, worked at night and used diluted commercial paints and thick brushes, as in Untitled from 1952, one of his most celebrated works. Shortly before his premature death, he managed to achieve extraordinary horizontal dynamism and once again introduced an almost fluorescent glow which stressed the bravado of his large-scale dramas, as seen in Andrus , named after the doctor who treated his heart disease.

Mark Rothko
The paintings that Mark Rothko (Daugavpils, Russia [now Latvia], 1903–New York, 1970) made in the 1950’s and 1960’s perfectly capture his zeal for creating abstract personifications of powerful human feelings such as tragedy, ecstasy, and fatality, as the artist himself explained. Instantly recognizable, Rothko’s floating rectangles have inspired countless interpretations, such as that they replace the human presence, that they abstractly and sublimely symbolize the landscape, and that they express moods.

By eliminating any trace of narrative from his compositions, which are simple in appearance, he clears the path to a more direct emotional response to the image. Rothko called his paintings “façades,” a term that refers to both the frontality with which the works confront the viewer and their enigmatic hypnotism, given that by definition façades both reveal and conceal at the same time. The auras which sometimes surround the color fields give them a luminous halo and a strange mix of stillness and drama, such as in the large “wall of light,” Untitled , from 1952-53, which is part of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Collection.

Even though Rothko created more colorful or darker canvases at different stages in his life, after 1957 his works primarily veered toward darkness. The paintings displayed here span from his early exploration of light to his later relationship with shadows.

Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock (Cody, Wyoming, 1912–Springs, New York, 1956) is regarded as the leading practitioner of Abstract Expressionism. With the giant mural that he painted for the home of the collector and patron Peggy Guggenheim in 1943, he reached a milestone in the history of early Abstract Expressionism, paving the way for both Rothko and Gorky to produce their largest paintings the following year. His
Mural (1943), which combines bold paint application with a colossal size, gave Pollock the confidence to explore the painting process on the huge surfaces in Portrait of HM (1945) and Night Mist (1945), until he reached his characteristic style in 1947–1950.

With the untreated canvas spread over the ground, Pollock poured and splattered his pigments with surprising control, creating labyrinths that followed the rhythm of his body and suggested both a kind of mental script and muscular release. Pollock described these extraordinary tracings as “energy and motion made visible, memories arrested in space.” Perhaps the most striking feature is how Pollock’s extraordinarily personal style was anything but a constraint and instead managed to generate such a wide range of effects.

Traumatized by Pollock’s death in the summer of 1956 it took his wife Lee Krasner until 1960 to wrestle with his formidable ghost. The outcome was the bounding rhythms and arcing vectors of The Eye Is the First Circle . As such, this monumental canvas ranks as perhaps the most memorable single tribute to Pollock’s seismic achievement. A similar sense of inward immensity marks the almost micrographic fields that Krasner and the Ukrainian-American artist Janet Sobel crafted in the late 1940s. In turn, Sobel’s fusion of the micro- and macrocosmic most likely impressed Pollock and influenced his subsequent adoption of the “all-over” painting style. Similarly Robert Motherwell, whose more than 200 Elegies to the Spanish Republic (1965–75) are contemplative; the version in this gallery in particular was inspired by Pollock’s Mural , doubling as a memorial to that artist. Smith’s sculpture Tanktotem III (1953) evokes a prancing bestial presence spun out of Mural into three dimensions.

Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt
Two artists with such different backgrounds and temperaments like Barnet Newman (New York, 1905 – New York, 1970) and Ad Reinhardt (Buffalo, New York, 1913 – New York, 1967) took color to the limit, and their decorative and sensorial associations tended towards the absolute. By the late 1940’s, Newman had established his two main painting motifs: thin vertical lines, also known as zips, which were used to create focal points, and the range of bright colors that these lines organized. In Galaxy (1949), Newman suggests an embryonic cosmos, while in Eve (1950) and Adam (1951–52) , the lines combined with earthy browns and reds take on an organic aura, as if the couple were announcing an act of creation. In Ulysses (1952) and Profile of Light (1967), blue evokes the immensity of the ocean in the former and a transcendental sublimity in the latter.

Reinhardt, in turn, takes the rectangle as the basic element of painting in order to condense the chroma, or the apparent saturation of the colors, to the utmost. The reds and blues he created in the 1950’s led to a darkness that hinted at the idea of emptiness and the irrevocable. After 1953, Reinhardt only made “black” paintings, sensing that he had managed to strip art down to its purest essence. Yet despite their monochromatic appearance, these works are actually made up of grids painted in saturated tones of red, blue, and green, in a hypnotic interaction that tests the limits of vision.

Blurred Epicenter
Even though Abstract Expressionism has its roots in New York, its sphere of influence spread to artists on the U.S. West coast as well, such as Sam Francis (San Mateo, California, 1923–Santa Monica, California, 1994).

During the 1950s, Francis’s work shifted from almost monochromatic compositions dense with corpuscular motifs to others glowing with rich hues and, finally, an uplifted openness evoking rarefied, empyrean voids. Outpacing neat categories that sometimes pigeonhole the Abstract Expressionists into “colour-field” artists versus “gesturalists”, Guston, Joan Mitchell and the young Helen Frankenthaler evolved their own respective visual palimpsests by the second half of the 1950s.

Mitchell’s Salut Tom is an apotheosis wherein sunlight and shade contend. The quadriptych format probably recalls Monet’s enveloping Nymphéas’ as it aggrandizes the artist’s faith in the “landscape I carry around inside me”. Again, though, the sentiment is valedictory: the title commemorates the critic Thomas B. Hess, who championed Abstract Expressionism. Whether in Guston’s lush yet fragile impasto, Mitchell’s fleet, tactile brushwork or Frankenthaler’s lyrical oil washes that sketch myths and memories as they permeate the canvas, each artist created their own unique fusion of colour and gesture.

More A “Phenomenon” Than A “Movement”
In its late phase, the Abstract Expressionists went in different directions, faithful to their individualism. Some artists embraced darkness, like Motherwell in the work In Plato’s Cave No. 1 (1972). Tworkov’s gravely meditative Idling II (1970) makes a tacit yet eloquent complement to his friend Rothko’s stern visual endgame, the latter works sealed by their distancing white borders. Mark Tobey’s works are imbued with spirituality. In Parnassus (1963), dynamic black lines show the influence of Zen calligraphy on Tobey, whose “white writing” ended up becoming his hallmark. Other artists explored more luminous terrains, such as William Baziotes and his watery world, in which phantasms sporting tentacles roam through phosphorescent depths. Their mythic cast – redolent with deep time and primitivism – recalls Abstract Expressionism’s early interests, now writ large, while the opalescent textures intimate a universe glimpsed distantly in the mind’s eye. Guston, in turn, went back to his origins by painting figurative images in the late 1950’s, which earned him fierce criticism that led him to retire from the art world.

Guston’s figuration, which is present in his early work, is revisited here in Low Tide (1976), where the waters of abstraction ebb to reveal unsettling fragments. Simultaneously hobnail heels and parodies of the letter “omega” – the last in the Greek alphabet – Guston’s quiet apocalypse also doubles as timely pictorial metaphor. Ominous orbs rise / set on the ruddy Abstract Expressionist horizon.

Photography
The critic Harold Rosenberg’s definition of Abstract Expressionism as “action painting” in 1952 excluded photography. However, Aaron Siskind had close ties to the Abstract Expressionist painters, as did Minor White, who taught alongside Clyfford Still for many years. The bold marks, graffiti, and textures captured by Siskind and other photographers like Frederick Sommer share the same expressive concern with violence, darkness, and immediacy that we find in the Abstract Expressionists’ paintings. Harry Callahan, Herbert Matter (a close friend of Pollock), the prolific Albanian-born ‘Life’ photographer Gjon Mili, and Barbara Morgan all conjured up abstract ideograms and swift motion that match the painters’ goals. The most influential photographic images include the ones by Hans Namuth portraying Pollock in action, which were used to expand the limited, hierarchical definition of Abstract Expressionism.

Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still (Grandin, North Dakota, 1904–Baltimore, Maryland, 1980) was always a diehard outsider. He remained close to the immensity of the western U.S. and only lived in New York for 12 of his 75 years. This geographic distance from the center of art tinged his originality. He was gifted at drawing, had extensive knowledge of art history, and was a fan of some of the great masters. This paradoxically kindled Still’s radicalism, as heralded in PH – 235 (1944), one of the early milestones in Abstract Expressionism. Beginning in dispersed landscapes, verticality became the main theme in his oeuvre through either extremely thin “lifelines” or imposing monoliths. Still associated verticality with the uprightness of the erect being and spiritual transcendence, whose opposite was the yawning abyss. Thus, his work wages a battle between luminosity and darkness, somehow merging life and death. For the first time, the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, which holds 95% of the artist’s work, will loan nine major paintings to the exhibition, establishing the artist at the very forefront of Abstract Expressionism.

David Smith (in several galleries)
In 1934, David Smith (Decatur, Indiana, 1906 – Vermont, 1965) began to weld metal sculptures using an oxyacetylene torch; these were probably the first welded-metal sculptures made in the United Estates. He soon discovered Terminal Iron Works, a commercial welding operation on the Brooklyn Waterfront. Smith is the leading sculptor from the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, and his ideas and visual universe echo the concerns of the movement as a whole. The sculptures scattered about different galleries represent the oeuvre Smith produced from the late 1940’s until his premature death in 1965, and they evince the constant interaction between the sculptor and the painters. Some of his works explore upright forms that abstractly evoke the human presence, while others are more austere, sometimes mechanistic and other times architectural, such as the dazzling stainless steel surfaces of Cubi XXVII (1965).

Exhibition in Dresden presents 19th-century paintings of Italy between Claude Lorrain, Turner and Böcklin – Dresden – 10.02.2017-28.05.2017 – 10490

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Jakob Philipp Hackert, Tempel der Sibylle bei Tivoli.
During the 19th century, Italy was a magnetic destination for many travellers from Northern Europe, including artists such as Carl Blechen, Camille Corot and William Turner, Oswald Achenbach and Max Klinger. In Germany, Johnann Wolfgang von Goethe fuelled the compulsion to head South with his “Italienische Reise” (“Italian Journey”), published in 1816/17 for the first time.”Italian” was the word Heinrich von Kleist used in a letter to describe the blue sky over Dresden, thereby expressing a deeply rooted yearning for the bright light of a country which, in equal measure, cast a spell with its ancient and Christian historical sites, its wealth of Renaissance art and its landscapes. The city of Rome became an artistic focal point in this context. Artists of various nationalities hoped to find impulses that would give direction to their creativity here.

The exhibition “Beneath Italian Skies. 19th-century paintings of Italy between Claude Lorrain, Turner and Böcklin” in the Albertinum in Dresden traces this enthusiasm – which has continued uninterruptedly to this day – for the “land where the lemon trees bloom”. With 130 works, the exhibition provides a comprehensive overview and invites its public to take a visually powerful journey through the bel paese. The rich holdings of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden are the focal point here. Numerous paintings have been restored for the exhibition and can now be seen for the first time anywhere.

The presentation takes place in the context of paragons from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and ancient and 19th-century sculptures from the Skulpturensammlung. At the entrance, visitors are immediately greeted by the painting “Coastal landscape with Acis and Galatea”, completed in the mid-17th century by Claude Lorrain, who turned landscape painting into a leading genre and, alongside Nicolas Poussin, set the standard for many artists over several centuries to come. An impressive panorama of varied images of Italy follows, from the epochs of Classicism and Romanticism (Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Ernst Ferdinand Oehme, Ludwig Richter, Carl Blechen), through to the currents of Realism, in which the Arcadian dream gradually gives way to an increasing engagement with reality through a conception of nature based on studies completed in the open air (Oswald Achenbach, Adolph Menzel). The so-called German-Romans, by contrast, drew closely on the art of antiquity and the Renaissance in the second half of the century (Arnold Böcklin, Anselm Feuerbach, Hans von Marées). The sequence of artistic positions thus provides an insight into the changing world as it moved from agrarian culture to industrial landscape, from the early development of tourism by coach or foot to steam ship or train in the late 19th century.

In this context, works by German-speaking artists are in dialogue with the works of outstanding contemporaries such as Camille Corot, Johan Christian Dahl and William Turner. Their paintings shaped the expectations and attitudes of many generations of travellers to Italy. The paintings take visitors on a journey through a land of lush vegetation and striking wastelands, Mediterranean climate and intense light, capable of inspiring anyone’s wanderlust and imagination.

At the end of the exhibition, the focus shifts to the fascination for Italy in the present and visitors become part of the exhibition themselves. A panorama of highly individual and contemporary holiday impressions is created through a photo campaign aimed at visitors.

The exhibition combines valuable works that are on loan from the Tate in London, Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen, the Berlin State Museums, the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, among other places.

A broad-based education and communication programme has been designed for visitors of all ages. Themed guided tours and workshops specifically for kindergartens, schools and families, groups and individual visitors convey the 19th century’s fascination with Italy. There are various formats to choose from, depending on the target audience: a lecture by Florian Illies, for example, a film evening with a showing of the legendary film “Go Trabi Go” in the presence of its star Wolfgang Stumph, a promenade concert with the Vocal Concert Dresden ensemble or a literary voyage of discovery, followed by a writing workshop for school students.

MSK Ghent exhibits works by Francisco Goya & Farideh Lashai – Ghent, Belgium – 11.02.2017-07.05.2017 – 10489

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In 2016, the MSK welcomed 137,132 visitors. With this record year, the museum continues the positive trend that began in 2015. Catherine de Zegher, director, says: “It’s clear that ‘The Open Museum’ is growing: as a social meeting place for old and young, as a museum with a focus on art from the past and the present, and as a place of reflection on art, beauty and society. In February, we open the Goya / Lashai exhibition, which connects the present with the past in the fight against injustice and pain … Whoever visits the museum in the weeks leading up to the opening might encounter the Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar making a work in situ.”

During the spring of 2017, the MSK brings together two artists in the newly established Drawings Cabinet. The exhibition Eyewitnesses links the social criticism of the Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746-1828) to the social commitment of the Iranian artist Farideh Lashai (1944-2013), in a shared indictment against violence and oppression.

In 2015, the MSK acquired a copy of Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War) by Francisco Goya. This series of engravings depicting the horrors of war was created between 1810 and 1820, during the Spanish War of Independence against the Napoleonic occupation. It was never shown by Goya during his lifetime.

Working in an era of war and oppression, Goya explicitly broke away from the bombastic rhetoric of classical painting: instead of glorious heroes he depicted ordinary citizens struggling to survive during the war. The cycle is considered a universal indictment against all forms of violence.

The Iranian artist and writer Farideh Lashai also worked in a time of conflict and oppression. In her drawings and prints, she combined the picturesque landscapes of her homeland with the techniques of contemporary art. For her last work, When I Count, There Are Only You … But When I Look, There Is Only a Shadow (2011-2013), Lashaiunited Goya’s Desastres with her own video projections. In her subtle but subversive video installations, she takes a critical look at the political situation and difficult living conditions in Iran. For this reason, her oeuvre remains of great contemporary relevance.

In Eyewitnesses, the MSK demonstrates how the past and present are intimately intertwined. Born almost exactly 200 years apart, Goya and Lashai were chroniclers of the conflicts in their respective countries.

Both experienced radical social upheavals and were forced to work in periods of repression and censorship. They both used art, and even humour, to take their own unique stands against the injustices that they witnessed.

To do this, they employed a variety of techniques and visual languages. By placing their work in dialogue, the MSK aims to encourage visitors to see the positive change in contemporary society through a better understanding of the past. Two centuries have elapsed since Los Desastres was created but the message remains internationally relevant, especially in the light of the numerous conflict situations that have arisen in recent years…