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6.4.05

Art Happenings Here and There

This is one of those odds and ends posts, where I just throw out a collection of various links for your Wednesday reading. First, as a bibliophile, I already think that libraries are the bomb, and now that more and more of them are going online, they are the bomber. By way of an article (The NY Public Library's Digital Gallery, March 21) by Jim Regan for the Christian Science Monitor, I have just learned about the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery, which is a nice addition to a list of Web sites of digitized library treasures like American Memory from the Library of Congress, Treasures in Full from the British Library, and Gallica from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Lots of good things to see and read. Yum, more books.

Another article (Schiele: exposition à Amsterdam, March 25) from France 2 Cultural News reviews the new exhibit on Egon Schiele, at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (until June 19). I've written about Schiele here before, the disturbed artist who spent time in prison and is known for his creepy self-portraits. This is the first retrospective on Schiele in Holland, and there are "over 100 works, mainly gouaches, watercolours and drawings." The museum is also hosting a program of dance performances by Marina Abramovic and Dansgroep Krisztina de Châtel. It sounds cool.

Then there are two more unusual shows of new art to mention, after the show of inventor art I wrote about on Saturday (which also combined art and dance performance). An article by Valérie Oddos (Première biennale d'art contemporain à Moscou, February 7) for France 2 Cultural News is a brief review of the first ever Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, held last month. Their Web site is still working, and it has lots of images, which are definitely worth some time to see who was showing what. The Viennese collective Gelatin was there, for example, with a piece called Zapf de Pipi. As far as I can tell from the photographs, it is a poorly constructed wooden outhouse, approached by several shoddy steps, that is placed in a window of the Lenin Museum. From the outside, you can see the outhouse with what looks like a frozen urine stalactite hanging down from it to the ground below. Gelatin is obsessed with urine, for example, in their outrageous sculpture Arc de Triomphe that caused such a controversy at the 2003 Salzburg Festival (read my post about it to see what I mean). Bill Viola's video installation Greeting, at the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, is a modern take on the Annunciation scene, as it tries to bring to life Pontormo's Meeting of Mary with Elizabeth. (Is this a reaction to J. Seward Johnson?) Christian Boltanski contributed a new installation called Odessa's Ghosts, which is another autobiographical project like this one. And lots more.

Finally, there is the Salon Art Paris show, which was held in the Carrousel du Louvre (it ended on Sunday), as described in an article (Quelques raretés et de bonnes surprises au salon Art Paris, April 1) by Harry Bellet for Le Monde. The date of this annual show has recently been moved to the spring and away from the fall, when it was losing out in competition with the FIAC (see my post from last November) and the Frieze Art Fair in London and other art shows in Cologne and Berlin. The image in the Le Monde article was a surreal photograph by Anne-Catherine Becker-Echivard called La Nostalgie du passé immédiate, which I just love for its whimsy. It shows a fish in a campy outfit at a table, looking with relish at a plate of... fish. The show's Web site has quite a few images and lots of links to galleries. Much time to be wasted there, looking at art. There is an interview with Henri Jobbe-Duval, the show's artistic director, by Henri-François Debailleux («Art Paris vise un public moins spécialisé», April 1) in Libération.

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