A worldwide tour of “art trends” around the planet takes us from Montauk to Singapore, from Malaga to Milan, passing through Paris: a hip and happening universe, in which art is questioned, as it should be.
By Mário de Castro
A tribute to the artistic genius!
The Picasso Museum in Malaga, inaugurated in 2003, is a moving tribute that fulfills the heartfelt wishes of the artist Pablo Picasso, who wanted his masterpiece represented in the city where he was born, on October 25th, 1881. Installed throughout twelve rooms of the Buenavista Palace, a National Monument and an iconic example of 15th century Andalusian Renaissance civil architecture tinged with Mudejar features, this museum is situated in the historical city center, just steps from the artist’s childhood home and the cathedral. Two members of the Picasso family, Christine-Ruiz Picasso (Picasso’s oldest son’s widow) and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso (grandson), donated part of their private collections.
233 masterpieces belonging to the museum are displayed, along with 43 others on temporary loan for 15 years. Retracing different styles, materials and precious techniques proprietary to the cubism genius, amongst the paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and engravings, one is astonished when contemplating “Maya With Doll" (1896-1897) and the portrait of "Olga Khokhlova with a Mantilla" (1917).
The surprising volume of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, set on an artificial water basin, as though an impressive spaceship, is wrapped in twelve glass sails that play marvelously with light and mirror effects, while beautifully blending into the natural surroundings.
Spectacular and iconic, this imaginary sailboat has already been renamed by many “The Iceberg” as the resemblance is striking. Inaugurated in October 2014 in the gardens of the Bois de Boulogne, once known as the Royal Park, and opened to the public for the first time during the reign of Louis XIV, the structure is a feast for the eyes and senses. Surrounded by lush gardens encircling the Jardin d’Acclimatation, one is in awe viewing the water basins and waterfalls that brought a breath of fresh air to the 16th arrondissement, and to Western Paris in general.
The center is comprised of four terraces, suspended gardens, eleven galleries, a studio, a library, and an auditorium with modifiable modules that can welcome 360 – 1000 people; the lower level houses spaces dedicated to temporary and permanent expositions, a waterfall with bridges, and an unbeatable restaurant. The Fondation Louis Vuitton brings design and culture together, perpetuating the striking architectural effect of the Eiffel Tower, so precious to Paris. This extraordinary project was piloted by Bernard Arnault, owner of Louis Vuitton, and CEO of LVMH, a worldwide luxury holding company. American architect Frank O. Gehry, the creator of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, was assigned this mission that relays the utter ingenious creativity of the artist. At 86 years old, the internationally acclaimed architect offered this unmeasurable tribute to Paris and to all of France.
The spirit of a cultural village
Classical sculptures, cinematic classics, contemporary masterpieces of all arts mixed together, the Prada universe is vast, eclectic, unusual, and eager to explore and share different views, and the savoir faire of artists from Italy and elsewhere.
A savvy remodel orchestrated by the firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas twenty years after its creation, the Fondazione Prada in Milan gives itself a makeover by investing in an ancient foundry in Southern Milan. The Fondazione Prada transcends time by promoting current creations through architecture-related projects, contemporary art, philosophy, and cinema. The buildings are impressive in their volume and surface, the exhibition space covers 11,000 square meters. The building is located just outside of Southern Milan, in a rather industrial neighborhood named Largo Isarco, in an old distillery dating from the 1900s.
The opening of the Prada Foundation is truly a cultural event for Milan. It took place just days after the official opening of the World Expo 2015, on May 9th, 2015. A stop off at the restaurant-bakery-cafe LUCE is a must.
Designed by the American film director Wes Anderson, the Bar Luce recreates the atmosphere of a typical Milanese café. Conceptualized from the idea that it would be a good place to write a film, the director has tried to recreate a bar atmosphere in which he would enjoy spending his afternoons. The outdoor furniture of the restaurant, retro from the ’50s and ’60s, adds ambiance. Respecting the harmony, the interior design is comprised from several sources: seats, formica furniture, flooring, walls clad with wooden panels, one admires the range of colors used, reminiscent of popular Italian culture and style from the 1950’s and 60’s. Additional iconic sources inspired Wes Anderson, notably the two Italian Neo-Realism masterpieces “Miracle in Milan” (Vittorio de Sica, 1951) and “Rocco and his Brothers” (Luchino Visconti, 1960). Discover the Accademia dei Bambini, the Fondazione Prada’s first project created specifically for children, located on the second floor, above the Bar Luce.
A new El Dorado for Art!
Admirers call it the SAM (Singapore Art Museum). Since opening its doors in 1996, the SAM has already been relocated from Bras Basah Road to Queen Street. Permanently settled into a former Catholic school, a rare jewel of colonial Singapore monuments, it houses one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary South Asian art in the world. The SAM has changed the rules and presents an annual exposition, the President’s Young Talents, bringing together artists under 35 years of age. The Singaporean scene has been in full swing since 2000.
New artists express themselves through unprecedented and unedited visual language, using video and exhibits. In this young country, the Art Story remains to be written. The country is three quarters of mixed Chinese and the remainder a mixture of Malays and Indians, who all seem to be seeking their personal identities. This is another reason why collectors are changing with the times. This museum differentiates itself from many others around the world because it is not only open to art creators, but also to modern art theorists.
Originally established in Southampton, in 1898, it was in November of 2012 that this former farm, renovated with panache by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, opened its doors to the public. Perfectly blending into the traditional countryside landscape, the museum is located outside of New York city. Special events, expositions, and internationally renowned artistic events have been held here.
Ironically, the museum is considered an example of modern Agricultural style. The horizontal structure consists of two parallel wings joined by a central spine. 615 feet of poured-in-place concrete walls are discreetly recessed under a white corrugated sheet metal roof. Perfectly surrounded by a meadow of tall grass on the long and legendary Montauk Highway, the museum quickly became an atypical place, well adapted to its environment. This horizontal strip of land stretches to famous, yet relaxed beaches of the region where a unique simplicity has emerged. This energy has begun to attract artists such as Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner and Willem de Kooning.
The interior of the museum is threaded with skylights and large sections of glass have been used to offer views through the museum and into the surrounding landscape. The collection honors several generations of Eastern Long Island artists, including the American impressionist William Merritt Chase and realist Fairfield Porter.