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Flash News! Far too big for a house – A focus on POP ART – Frieze art fair

[06.10.2017]

Far too big for a house!

It’s his birthday and it’s him who is giving us a gift. And what a gift!

For David HOCKNEY’s 80th birthday, the Pompidou Centre, in collaboration with the Tate Britain and the MET, presents the most complete retrospective devoted to his work. The Paris exhibition, open until 23 October, stands out from all the others as it has 40 paintings more than were shown in London and is exhibiting paintings dated from last month, as well as being twice as large as the American version. The exhibition follows the artist’s career chronologically, illustrating it with paintings depicting his native industrial town, Bradford or the West Coast of the United States, which he discovered in 1964. Hockney became emblematic of a hedonistic and sun-drenched California and Bigger Splash (1967) gained iconic status. In the United States, David Hockney became a multi-talented artist, designing sets and costumes for the opera, as well as undertaking large double portraits in which he focused on a realism and perspective borrowed from photography, a medium he became fervently involved with. As early as the 1980s, David Hockney embraced the newly available graphics tools with which he conceived new types of images. After computers and graphics tablets, came the smartphone and then the iPad, that allowed him to gradually create more sophisticated images.

On Tuesday 26 September, the artist donated The Arrival of spring in Woldgate, painted in 2011, to the Pompidou Centre after having made similar donations to the Metropolitan Museum and MoMA in New York and to the Tate in London. David Hockney commented, with typical English humour, “I decided to part with it, it’s far too big for a house, I think it looks very good here.” This painting is even more welcome since the artist is almost absent from French museum’s collection. And there is a simple reason for that: this monumental work, measuring 10 metres wide by 4 metres high “is worth around €25 million,” says David Hockney’s dealer, Jean Frémon of the Lelong Gallery. An unaffordable price for the Pompidou Centre. For the directors of the museum, the arrival of this painting is the fulfilment of a dream, especially since very few works by the artist circulate on the art market. “Thank you for your generosity, thank you for your thoughtfulness and thank you David Hockney for painting,” said the Pompidou Centre president Serge Lasvignes, during the unveiling of the work. The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate will stay in the lobby so visitors – around 15,000 a day – can admire it.

A focus on POP ART!

The exhibition Pop Art – Icons that matter at the Musée Maillol in Paris is a must-see exhibition this autumn. It offers visitors the opportunity to rediscover this Post-war American art movement from the early 1960s to the end of the 1970s. Thanks to an exceptional loan from the Whitney Museum in New York, some 60 iconic works of American Pop Art are brought together, some of which have never been shown in France. While the exhibition gathers the greatest exponents of the movement, notably works by Robert RAUSCHENBERG and Jasper JOHNS, the monumental sculptures and canvases of Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselmann, James Rosenquist and Alex Katz, as well as Andy Warhol‘s silkscreen prints, it also features American artists who are less well-known in France, such as George SEGAL, Rosalyn DREXLER and John WESLEY, giving visitors the opportunity to appreciate the diversity of the techniques used.

But Pop Art fans need not limit themselves to the French capital since the museum of contemporary art in Saint Martin and the Château des Adhémar in Montélimar prolong the exhibition Pop Art, voir plus… dedicated to this movement and that offers a dialogue between its major figures and the younger generation. The American way of life is also in the spotlight internationally, with a focus on the work of Roy Lichtenstein for the exhibition Artist Rooms at the Tate Liverpool.

This celebration of Pop Art is in line with the popularity of its big names, who dominate the art market, but may also create an impact in auction houses for smaller works, such as Dreams of Unicorns (1965), a silkscreen by John Wesley, which goes on sale on 7 October at Peter Karbstein’s in Düsseldorf, with an estimate between €1,200 and €1,400.

In the wake of the Frieze art fair

Two weeks before the Fiac and the other Parisian fairs (Yia, Outsider Art Fair, Art Elysées…), major gallery owners are meeting informed collectors right now in London. More than 50,000 visitors are expected for the 15th edition of the Frieze art fair. 160 selected galleries are participating in the show, including Blum & Poe, Sadie Coles and Goodman, which will also be exhibiting under the nave of the Grand Palais in Paris in two weeks’ time for the Fiac fair. But the Frieze art fair is not limited to trendy contemporary artists. It focuses as much on the past as on the present, through the Frieze Master section, dedicated to the Masters of art history. With this section taking us back to antiquity, the Frieze art fair covers 1,000 years of art history, while continuing its pioneering approach, notably by inviting, for the first time in 15 years, galleries from Peru, Colombia and Cairo, pushing its boundaries even further each year. The Frieze art fair is not limited to the sculpture garden in Regent’s Park (this ‘Frieze Sculpture’ area giving people the opportunity to discover works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Urs Fischer, KAWS, Michael Craig-Martin and Ugo Rondinone in an outdoor setting), it is now all over London. Galleries, museums, auction houses… During this week, all major cultural venues offer events to attract art lovers from the four corners of the world.

As the Frieze art fair has now become the Frieze art week, and for good reason… First, London isn’t hosting just one art event but two, with 1:54, the fair dedicated to African art, whose popularity is increasing. The quality of the works on display and its maturity make this event an interesting complement to Frieze. As collectors of all kinds have come to London for the event – and are hopefully willing to buy – auction houses offer a wide range of sales during this busy week: after the auctions dedicated to design and photography organised by Christie’s on 3 October (with works by Marc Newson, Ray Eames, Robert Mapplethorpe and Irvin Penn, to name but a few), three major sales take place on 5 October at Sotheby’s (photography, Italian art and prestigious contemporary art), followed by a highly anticipated auction on 6 October at Christie’s, with works by Francis BACON, Peter DOIG, Antony GORMLEY and Jean-Michel BASQUIAT.

Unless you can be everywhere at once, you will have to return to London later as it is impossible to visit all the stands and exhibitions in a week. Fortunately, most of these events continue beyond the Frieze art week, such as the exhibitions of Wade Guyton at the Serpentine, Dubuffet at the Pace Gallery, Brice Marden at Gagosian, Jasper Johns at the Royal Academy, Basquiat at the Barbican art gallery, Rachel Whiteread at the Tate Britain, as well as Thomas Ruff at the Whitechapel and Malick Sidibé, whose first London retrospective runs until January 2018.

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