Balthus or a treatise on style

A young girl, a cat, a mirror… We thought that we already knew everything there was to know about Balthus. But in Riehen, Switzerland, the Beyeler Foundation is staging an enlightened show on the enigmatic work of this artist. From naked bodies to serene landscapes… When we think of Balthus, we often think of his pale, consenting young ladies, surprised in dubious positions. But Balthus offers more than striking images of these sleeping beauties, these chrysalids who disturb as much as they enchant. Above all, Balthus is associated with the Italian countryside and the landscapes of the Morvan region, nostalgia for a tranquil world. In Arezzo, the painter’s vision was shaken up when he discovered the frescoes of Piero della Francesca, enhanced by a certain buzz in the air… Born in 1908 in Paris and of Polish descent, Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, better known as Balthus, spent part of his childhood in Switzerland. He became close to artists Bonnard and Derain, and with the encouragement of Rilke, he chose painting from an early age. Apart from perhaps Henri Michaux, an unclassifiable artist, Balthus had no equivalents this century. And yet, on a technical level, nothing seems to stand out in particular. Perhaps because style and great art ultimately consist in covering up one’s game. This withdrawal, this masterly discretion is undoubtedly what makes him one of the great 20th century masters. Singlehandedly, he encapsulates an original combination of Quattrocento painting, Japanese poetry, and the landscapes of Gustave Courbet. In short, something truly magical. But to get there, he’d have to put in time. His path wasn’t that straightforward. When Balthus was first shown in Pierre Loeb’s gallery, in 1934, the failure was excruciating: not a single work sold. It wasn’t until 1966, with the retrospective at the Musée des...

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Ludwig Museum presenting Joan Mitchell’s exhibition

In partnership with Kunsthaus Bregenz, in Austria, and in close cooperation with the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York, the Ludwig Museum, in Germany, will be presenting Joan Mitchell’s exhibition “Retrospective. Her Life and Paintings’. The show will start on 14 November 2015 and run until 21 February 2016. The exhibition will focus on the retrospective artist’s painting, ranging from early works from the 1950s to her later work during the final years of her life. The works come from institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, as well as works from private collections which have never been shown in public. Furthermore, a large part of the exhibition is dedicated to the first extensive display of archival materials from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. With film re­cord­ings and pho­to­graphs as well as letters, in­vi­ta­tions, posters, and other ephe­mera, Joan Mitchell’s vi­brant per­so­n­al­i­ty and her vari­ous re­la­tion­ships with artists, au­thors, and other fig­ures from the cul­tu­r­al world of her time are brought to light. Mitchell moved to France in the 1950s and developed her own form of abstract painting in the milieu of the New York School: a poetic style caught between clinical calculation and emotion. These enter into a dialogue that sensually seduces and intellectually stimulates the viewer through her deeply original style of painting in occasionally very large-format works. Mitchell was born in 1925, in Chicago and died in 1992, in Paris. The Joan Mitchell Foundation sustains and celebrates Mitchell’s unique legacy as a leading American Abstract Expressionist...

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Retrospective Frank Stella at the Whitney Museum

From 30 October 2015 to 7 Febuary 2016, the Whitney Museum, in New York, is holding a retrospective exhibition devoted to Frank Stella, co-organised with the Museum of Modern Art of Fort Worth. A hundred works, bringing together both his major works and other less known ones, retracing near 60 years of his career through these paintings, sculptures, reliefs, prints, maquettes, and drawings. It’s the artist’s first American retrospective since at the MoMa in 1987. Michael Auping, chief curator of the exhibition, declared, “A Stella retrospective presents many challenges, given Frank’s need from the beginning of his career to immediately and continually make new work in response to his previous series. And he has never been timid about making large, even monumental, works. The result has been an enormous body of work represented by many different series. Our goal has been to summarize without losing the raw texture of his many innovations. ” Born in 1936 in Malden, in the Massachusetts, Frank Stella is a famous American artist and icon of post-pictural abstraction and minimalism. His work is part of institutional collections such as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.) the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo, Ohio) and the Whitney Museum (New...

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Fred Forest, the Rebel Artist

Fred Forest, the perfect example of the rebel artist. Very involved in the emerging forms and innovative concepts, he was a pioneer of video art (in 1967) and Net Art (1996), and co-founded two significant art movements—albeit porous—Sociological Art (1974) and aesthetics of communication (1983). His friend Pierre Restany said that he also participated in the release of retinal art. He is currently the subject of a dematerialized exhibition at the Jeu de Paume Museum (“Fred Forest: Media sharing”). In 2017, the Centre Pompidou will devote a retrospective to him. Art Media Agency met Fred Forest to learn more. The Centre Pompidou is dedicating a retrospective to you which is planned for 2017. What would you like to exhibit there? My work has constantly been changing. I’ve used film, performance, the Internet, etc. However, I don’t want to show what I’ve already done. For this exhibition, I’ve chosen a new line of work: the idea of territory. The notion of territory has been the backbone of my artistic practice since 1977. So it’s not so much a retrospective of your work. The term retrospective is effectively just a word to tick the boxes. It needs to be called “a retrospective” to warrant a catalogue! What’s the story behind this notion of “territory” in your work? It all started with the m2 artistique in 1977. The point of this work was to question both the art and the property markets by combining the two. It seemed crazy at the time, especially since I wanted to create an exhibition that would have a national impact, without political or artistic backing. So to do that, I founded the “Real Estate Civil Society of the Artistic Metre Squared”, an actual business. Then, on the Swiss border, (the choice of location wasn’t exactly innocent),...

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“The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi”: a retrospective at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art

The Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington D.C., United States, is hosting a retrospective entitled “The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi”, presenting the work of the Japanese artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi until 30 August 2015. “The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi” chronologically retraces the artistic career of Kuniyoshi, featuring 41 paintings and 25 drawings. Indeed, understanding the artist’s background allows the viewer to have a better grasp of the artist’s work. Son of Japanese immigrant family, Kuniyoshi arrived in the United States as a young teenager, in 1906. Despite feeling American all his life, he has been subject to xenophobia and has never been able to obtain American citizenship. Elizabeth Brown, director of the museum, affirms that “Even now, eighty or ninety years later, we must search carefully to find those points of apprehension in his art and life; like dots on a graph they chart the back-story of this immigrant’s experience.” The museum is paying a tribute to the artist, who is today more more widely known in Japan than in the United States, where he spent almost his entire life. In 1948, Kuniyoshi was the first living artist to receive a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. At the moment, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art is organising his second retrospective in the United...

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