“Montreal Museum of Fine Arts”

Jean-Michel Othoniel… faces himself

The Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Saint-Étienne is currently giving Jean-Michel Othoniel carte blanche for his third solo exhibition at the institution. The artist’s work is also being shown at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, until 11 November. An encounter… Just how far will Jean-Michel Othoniel go? To mark the 30th birthday of the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Saint-Étienne, the artist, a native of this mining town, is presenting an even huger “wave” than the one seen in 2017 at the CRAC de Sète. A deep, intimate meditation on the artist’s future, the exhibition “Face à l’obscurité” (Facing obscurity) resounds like the end of a cycle. An interview devoid of nostalgia, tinged with memories and heady uncertainty.   Can La Grande Vague at Saint-Étienne be seen as an extension of the one presented last year in Sète? The two installations have little in common actually. Here, La Grande Vague presents a type of “matrix”. It’s designed like a somewhat threatening echo point, whose form is more ambiguous and in motion than the one shown in the south of France, which was more like a glass-brick monument. This one is a personal work, linked to my personal history and that of this town. A type of “artist’s folly” that corresponds to no museum logic.   So it’s a piece related to Saint-Étienne… Do you mean that this town has had an impact on your path? Absolutely… The MAMC triggered my artistic vocation. From the age of six years, I went to introductory art lessons at the Maison de la Culture and then attended evening classes at the town’s fine-arts school. From an early age, I became familiar with the collections of this joyful, welcoming, light-filled museum, so far removed from my memories of blackened faces and sad...

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Data: Robert Mapplethorpe, a stabilising market

The market of this “sculptor-painter”, whose auction prices are still affordable, is currently stabilising, even if great disparities exist. A market that still tends to be dominated by the United States… Robert Mapplethorpe was born on 4 November 1946 in New York State, into an English-Irish Catholic family. He was the third of six children. He spent his childhood in Floral Park, Queens (New York) where he attended Our Lady of the Snows. “I was a Catholic boy, I went to church every Sunday. A church has a certain magic and mystery for a child. It still shows in how I arrange things” (Deborah A. Levinson, Robert Mapplethorpe’s Extraordinary Vision). In 1963, Robert Mapplethorpe enrolled in Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. First — and primarily to please his father — he studied graphic arts. Bad choice. He dropped out two years later and it was then that he turned his attention the visual arts — drawing, painting, sculpture. He began making surrealist collages, in tandem with his discovery of cannabis and LSD. He met Patti Smith, and they became friends — following a short tryst. At this time, Robert Mapplethorpe was largely marked by Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell: he continued to practise collage, but also made boxes, installations and altar pieces, influenced by his Catholic childhood but also by black magic. At the end of the 1960s, Robert Mapplethorpe became fascinated by the New York avant-garde. He namely frequented the clubs near Union Square, such as Max’s Kansas City or CBGB, where Factory members tended to congregate: Andy Warhol himself, but also Gerard Malanga and Candy Darling. According to Patti Smith, it was only at the start of the 1970s that Robert Mapplethorpe started photography. His interest in the medium is inseparable from his visits to the Metropolitan Museum (New York), when John...

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Two Montreal museum collections come together

Montreal, 10 December 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). From 21 February until 15 June 2014, the MBAM (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) is to present an exhibition which combines its own contemporary art collection with that of the MACM (Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art), entitled “1 + 1 = 1. Quand les collections du Musée des beaux-arts et du Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal conversent (When the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Arts converse)”. The curators for the show are Stéphane Aquin, contemporary art curator at the MBAM, and John Zeppetelli, director and chief curator of the MACM. The exhibition is to embody a dialogue between the two Montreal museums. Through this aesthetic conversation, the exhibition hopes to consolidate the links of friendship which unite the two institutions. With the mixing of the two collections, the public is offered a greater understanding of the complementary nature and development of the two museums. While the MACM represents contemporary installations, photography and multimedia pieces, the MBAM collects works linked to the Fine Arts, such as paintings and...

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Tom Wesselmann’s traveling exhibition

Richmond (Virginia, United States), 18 April 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). Initially presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibition titled “Pop Art and Beyond: Tom Wesselmann” is currently set at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, from 6 April 2013 to 28 January 2014. Famous for his “Great American Nude” series, American painter Tom Wesselmann (1931-2004) is commonly considered as one of the key figures of the avant-garde movement of American Pop Art. Along with his contemporaries Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist, he contributed to the launching of this new movement by using materials and images from popular daily culture. However, no retrospective has been devoted to any of them in North America. Wesselmann explores the recurrent themes of the world of art in his days: the interpretation of art history, the status of images, the relation between art, industry and technology, and the ideals of American...

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Greedy Heist for Valuable Antiquities

Boston, 7 March 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). Anthony Amore, head of security at the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston for over six years and longtime investigator, held a conference last weekend concerning the theft of works of art. Antiquities in particular have recently been stolen in large numbers. Three important heists of antiquities were reported over the course of the last six years. In February 2012, the Olympia Museum in Athens was victim to a particularly violent theft in which a security guard was tied up at gunpoint and glass exhibition cases were smashed, according to ARTFIXdaily. In total, 77 works were stolen, most of which were bronze and pottery figurines, vases, and lamps. In January this year, the Athens National Gallery was victim to the theft of a Mondrian and a Picasso.  At the museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, a theft in October 2011 of two archeological pieces worth hundreds of thousands of dollars was only recently made public. The biggest heist of works of art to ever occur took place on 18 March 1990 at the Gardner Museum.  Thirteen works were stolen, including three Rembrandts and five drawings by French impressionist Edgar Degas. The total value of these works is estimated at half a billion dollars. The theft and loss of antiquities and works of all genres are recorded at the London Art Loss Register, a computerised international database providing information on works of art, antiquities, and...

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