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Art Diary

 

Chronicles of an undercover reporter in Venice. By Nicolas Trembley.

The opening days of the Venice Art Biennale are always the stage for more or less comical scenes. This year, the Golden Lion went to the Prada Foundation, whose guest-filled pontoon collapsed in the Grand Canal during the opening of the Portable Classic exhibition (not bags, but antique sculptures). The locals were greatly amused, the press running the headline “Tutti i VIP nell’acqua per Prada.” No one drowned, but they probably all came down with strep infections...

 

The chief curator of this 56th edition  of the Biennale, the Nigerian Okwui Enwezor, gave it the title All the World’s Futures. Each morning, in the central space of the international pavilion, there was a reading from Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. “What? A communist Biennale?!” Behind this project was artist Isaac Julien, whose new  film, somewhat incongruously, was sponsored by Rolls-Royce. The Biennale has now become a society event that uncomfortably straddles the breach between hot political topics (immigration, revolt, racism,  unequal wealth distribution) and its ever larger and richer audience who make it the lagoon’s most lucrative event (far more so than the Film Festival or the Carnival). But in art, politics can have its limits, as demonstrated by the Icelandic pavilion: designed by Swiss architect Christoph Büchel, who turned a former church into  a mosque, it was closed down after only two weeks. Similarly, the films of Syrian collective Abounaddara, though awarded a Special Mention by the jury, were never shown, and the collective consequently withdrew from the Biennale (they can be viewed at: http://vimeo.com/126950191).

 

“It’s a scam,” you often hear in Venice, but not for the same reasons. Venetians don’t hesitate to quadruple prices during the Biennale’s preview days...

 

 

By Nicolas Trembley

 

 

 

Read the full story in Numéro 165, now in stands and available in our iPad app.

 

 

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  • Photo Jessica Craig-Martin
Interview with Takashi Murakami, a pop icon
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Interview with Takashi Murakami, a pop icon

Art Drawing from Japanese popular culture and the world of manga, his spectacular artworks have brought him global fame and have been shown at such diverse and prestigious locations as New York’s MoMA, London’s Tate Modern and the Château de Versailles. Takashi Murakami was also a pioneer with respect to his iconoclastic fashion collaborations, an approach that he continues to explore today by co-producing exhibitions with the designer Virgil Abloh. Drawing from Japanese popular culture and the world of manga, his spectacular artworks have brought him global fame and have been shown at such diverse and prestigious locations as New York’s MoMA, London’s Tate Modern and the Château de Versailles. Takashi Murakami was also a pioneer with respect to his iconoclastic fashion collaborations, an approach that he continues to explore today by co-producing exhibitions with the designer Virgil Abloh.

Albert Oehlen, the painter of pop culture exhibited at Palazzo Grassi in Venice
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Albert Oehlen, the painter of pop culture exhibited at Palazzo Grassi in Venice

Art Like a free-jazz jam session, his canvases bring together a whirlwind of references, from pop culture to figuration to abstraction, blended in hyper-controlled chaos. François Pinault’s Venice museum is currently celebrating the work of German painter Albert Oehlen. Like a free-jazz jam session, his canvases bring together a whirlwind of references, from pop culture to figuration to abstraction, blended in hyper-controlled chaos. François Pinault’s Venice museum is currently celebrating the work of German painter Albert Oehlen.

Who is Yuko Hasegawa, a japanese art authority ?
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Who is Yuko Hasegawa, a japanese art authority ?

Art 2018 is a great year for japanese art in France, with a whole host of concerts, dance shows, theatrical events and exhibitions being planned. Top of the bill is hang at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, the work of Yuko Hasegawa, the greatly respected chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. 2018 is a great year for japanese art in France, with a whole host of concerts, dance shows, theatrical events and exhibitions being planned. Top of the bill is hang at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, the work of Yuko Hasegawa, the greatly respected chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

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How Art Basel moved from must-see fair to global brand

Art Basel, Miami, Hong Kong and soon Buenos Aires – Art Basel keeps on expanding its horizons, to the point where its name now rivals big global brands like Coca Cola in fame and recognition. Basel, Miami, Hong Kong and soon Buenos Aires – Art Basel keeps on expanding its horizons, to the point where its name now rivals big global brands like Coca Cola in fame and recognition.

Artists and hackers, they hijack new technologies
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Artists and hackers, they hijack new technologies

Art Algorithms, coding, data, hardware – what use (or misuse) can artists make of all these new technological tools? This is the fascinating question asked by a double exhibition at the centre pompidou, to which Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda has been invited as guest of honour. Algorithms, coding, data, hardware – what use (or misuse) can artists make of all these new technological tools? This is the fascinating question asked by a double exhibition at the centre pompidou, to which Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda has been invited as guest of honour.