“Museum of Modern Art”

Data: Picabia, nihilism and humour at auctions

A painter with talent, cheekiness and an eventful life… Francis Picabia marked the 20th century with the eclecticism of his painting and his significant contribution to French and American intellectual life. And what does the market make of him? Francis-Marie Martinez de Picabia was born on 22 January 1879 in Paris. A single child born to parents representing Spanish aristocracy and French bourgeoisie, he grew up in a certain material comfort but was not spared from emotional affliction. He was seven when his mother died of tuberculosis, and he found himself stuck with his father, Juan Martinez Picabia, the Cuban consul in Paris, his bachelor uncle Maurice Davanne, a curator at the Sainte-Geneviève Library in Paris, and his grandfather Alphonse Davanne, a wealthy businessman and enthusiastic amateur photographer who at one time was president of the Société Française de Photographie. In this universe that was possibly a little too virile, Francis escaped boredom by painting. In 1895, after school, he signed up at the École des Arts Décoratifs with Braque and Marie Laurencin as his teachers. In 1899, Francis Picabia joined the Salon des Artistes Français thanks to his painting Une Rue aux Martigues. At the start of the 20th century, his painting owed a great deal to impressionism. He showed at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, but also in galleries such as that of Berthe Weill or at the Galerie Haussmann. His paintings sold well. In 1908, Francis Picabia met Gabrielle Buffet, a young avant-garde musician who encouraged him to continue his research. Supported by his personal fortune, he gradually shook off his ties with his synthetic style and his dealers to trace a path through the 20th century’s “isms”: fauvism, futurism, cubism and orphism. His style stretched in all directions and adapted itself to every constraint, every manifesto. Some of his...

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A dystopian fairy-tale

The new Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, near the Tagus in Lisbon, opened to the public this week. The inaugural exhibition of this new institution presents an installation by French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, based on a dystopian fairy-tale, in other words, an anti-utopian fiction featuring an imaginary society whose members are unable to find unhappiness… Pedro Gadanho, former architecture curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is the director of the new...

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Three Bruce Nauman retrospectives

Bruce Nauman has recently signed a contract for a retrospective at the Tate Modern in London, to be held in 2019. The exhibition, yet to be officially announced, will be the artist’s third retrospective, as Blouin Artinfo reports. The first exhibition will open at the Schaulager in Basel in 2018, before travelling to the Museum of Modern Art in New...

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First official survey of Yoko Ono’s work to take place at MoMA in 2015

From 17 May until 7 September 2015, MoMA is to exhibit a survey dedicated to Yoko Ono. In 1971, Ono advertised a one woman show at MoMA; however when visitors turned up there was no work except for a sign describing a performance art piece involving flies. This time, over 40 years later, MoMA has confirmed the exhibition of the multi-disciplinary artist. “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971” focuses on a pivotal decade in the artist’s career and will feature around 125 pieces of her early work including works on paper, installations, performances, audio recordings, and films, alongside rarely seen archival materials. Early interactive piece Painting to Be Stepped On (1960/1961) will feature, as will the iconic performance work Bag Piece (1964). Issues confronted by Ono in her work include gender, class, and cultural identity; towards the end of the decade, her focus shifts to her fight for world peace. The exhibition is largely bolstered by the 2008 acquisition of the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, which added approximately 100 pieces of art and ephemera by Yoko Ono to the museum’s...

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Picabia retrospective for 2016 at MoMA

Following rumours, MoMA confirmed on 30 October that they are planning a retrospective of Dadaist Master Francis Picabia for 2016. The retrospective is scheduled to take place November 2016 and will include the work Tableau Rastadada (1920) which the museum acquired at Art Basel in June 2014. Little has been revealed about the exhibition as of yet, but the museum already owns 10 prints, nine paintings, and eight drawings by the French-born painter, poet and leading figure of the Dada movement. Picabia is known for his refusal to be categorised, questioning existing attitudes surrounding the artistic process; however his works are also full of hidden messages and in-jokes. The exhibition is being organised by Anne Umland, a curator of painting and sculpture at MoMA....

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