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The art diary of an undercover reporter, from La Borne to New York

 

Tommy Hilfinger’s auction sale, contemporary ceramics in the Berry, Hans Ulrich Obrist... Nicolas Trembley unveils his art diary.

Photo : Jessica Craig-Martin

 

Each year, the magazine Art Review publishes a top 100 of the most influential people in the art world, and each year everyone wonders how the selection is made. The list includes powerful gallerists, directors of art institutions, collectors and a few artists. At number one is the Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, for the second time (since he was already given the top spot in 2009). In 2002, when the top 100 was first launched, he was at number 75. This year’s number 100 is the artist Ragnar Kjartansson, who’s new to the list. The top woman is in seventh place, although some appear as part of a duo, like the gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth at number three, or Nicholas Serota and Frances Morris at number five (respectively the former director of the Tate and the future director of Tate Modern). The lady at number seven is an artist and theoretician: Hito Steyerl. Hats off to her, for she’s not that well known and has come in ahead of artists as illustrious as Richter and Koons.

 

At La Borne, in the Berry, no one gives two hoots about the Art Review list because no one knows anything about it. Founded in the 60s by hippies, the Association Céramique de La Borne (located near to Bourges because of a seam of clay that’s been exploited since the 19th century) has evolved in line with the increasing interest in ceramics. The village now boasts a brand-new centre of contemporary ceramics, which this autumn is hosting an exhibition curated by the artist Natsuko Uchino in a duo with Sophie Auger-Grappin. Entitled J’ai rêvé le goût de la brique pilée (“I dreamed the taste of crushed brick”), the show is the fruit of this favourable wind for ceramics in contemporary art, since it mixes work by artists like Richard Serra or Ana Mendieta with pieces by “potters” such as Brigitte Penicaud or Anne Kjærsgaard. Inaugurated during the week of the grands feux (the moment when all the ceramicists fire their work in giant communal kilns), the event shook up a traditional ecosystem that had become a bit set in its ways, but which now welcomes well-known dealers (whose names we won’t quote) and even fashion people (perhaps due to the sell-out lecture given by Johan Creten). At night, everyone watches over the kilns and drinks, living together for ten days in a very agreeable limbo.

 

The Marbriers 4 space in Geneva is poised to become one of the essential places for taking the pulse of a new generation. The tiny gallery is collectively run by former students of HEAD – the Haute école d’art et de design, which has been consistently climbing in the league of Europe’s most prominent schools. The shows feature artists such as Amalia Ulman, Marie Karlberg or Bonny Poon, who decided to remove permanently the gallery’s front door. Good news for Paris, Marbriers 4 is soon going to open a space in the French capital. Another nice surprise is that one of the cult pictures of the 20th century, a Johns Flag by Sturtevant, is being offered for E3.5 million at Sotheby’s after having been bought for just E40,000 in 2000. It’s a shame that Sturtevant, who never commanded such sums while alive, is no longer here to see it.

The day Robert Smithson made the world's largest work of land art
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The day Robert Smithson made the world's largest work of land art

Art On 9 April 1970, 32-year-old Robert Smithson received the special-use lease agreement he’d requested from the Utah Department of Natural Resources pertaining to 25 acres of land on the banks of the Great Salt Lake at Rozel Point. On 9 April 1970, 32-year-old Robert Smithson received the special-use lease agreement he’d requested from the Utah Department of Natural Resources pertaining to 25 acres of land on the banks of the Great Salt Lake at Rozel Point.

The day Joseph Beuys did Düsseldorf – New York in an ambulance
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The day Joseph Beuys did Düsseldorf – New York in an ambulance

Art On 23 May 1974, Joseph Beuys left his home in Düsseldorf, Germany, wrapped in a felt blanket, and was transported by ambulance to the airport where he boarded a flight to JFK. On 23 May 1974, Joseph Beuys left his home in Düsseldorf, Germany, wrapped in a felt blanket, and was transported by ambulance to the airport where he boarded a flight to JFK.

The Wayne McGregor and Jamie xx ballet that’s shaking up the Opéra
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The Wayne McGregor and Jamie xx ballet that’s shaking up the Opéra

Art Until July 13, choreographer Wayne McGregor revives the “Tree of Codes” ballet at the Bastille Opera in Paris. Created with Jamie xx and Olafur Eliasson, the piece promises to be a choreographic, scenographic and musical success. Until July 13, choreographer Wayne McGregor revives the “Tree of Codes” ballet at the Bastille Opera in Paris. Created with Jamie xx and Olafur Eliasson, the piece promises to be a choreographic, scenographic and musical success.

The thousand faces of Cindy Sherman shown in London
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The thousand faces of Cindy Sherman shown in London

Photography For this rich retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery in London, American artist Cindy Sherman presents in 200 iconic photographs the genius of her artistic practice. They create a portrait of this artist who redefined the contours of photography with a work almost essentially made up of self-portraits, from her childhood, when she was addicted to TV shows, to today, when her crazy selfies take over Instagram. For this rich retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery in London, American artist Cindy Sherman presents in 200 iconic photographs the genius of her artistic practice. They create a portrait of this artist who redefined the contours of photography with a work almost essentially made up of self-portraits, from her childhood, when she was addicted to TV shows, to today, when her crazy selfies take over Instagram.

The day On Kawara reassured his gallerist he was still alive
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The day On Kawara reassured his gallerist he was still alive

Art On 5 March 1992, Japanese artist On Kawara sent a telegram to Nicholas Logsdail at the Lisson Gallery, London, that read “I am still alive.”  On 5 March 1992, Japanese artist On Kawara sent a telegram to Nicholas Logsdail at the Lisson Gallery, London, that read “I am still alive.” 

From Jeff Koons to Sarah Lucas, the libertine exhibition in Denmark
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From Jeff Koons to Sarah Lucas, the libertine exhibition in Denmark

Art Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas, Simon Fujiwara, Wolfgang Tillmans… the “Art & Porn” exhibition, at the ARoS Museum (Aarhus Kunstmuseum), celebrates the end of pornography censorship in Denmark in 1969. The artists question the body and reject its academic form in favour of a more erotic acceptance. Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas, Simon Fujiwara, Wolfgang Tillmans… the “Art & Porn” exhibition, at the ARoS Museum (Aarhus Kunstmuseum), celebrates the end of pornography censorship in Denmark in 1969. The artists question the body and reject its academic form in favour of a more erotic acceptance.