Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
MECC MAASTRICHT, THE NETHERLANDS
The World’s Leading Art and Antiques Fair
MARCH 16-25, 2012
Principal Sponsor Editor’s Letter
B A M FORD
: G E OR
© 2011 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York P H OTO
1 Interchanged, 1955 Willem de Kooning (1904–97) Oil on canvas, 200.7175.3cm Collection David Geffen, LA
Ancient and modern If we are prepared to travel, then the opportunities to see great shows are seemingly endless – that is, of course, if we are also prepared to stand in line, or wait weeks for our viewing slot. Some shows are more than worth it, foremost among them ‘Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan’, which closes this month at the National Gallery in London (reviewed within this issue). Occasionally an exhibition distinguishes itself and reveals the singular genius of an artist to the public in some new or definitive way, and certainly MoMA’s recent Willem de Kooning retrospective was one of these. The term ‘abstract expressionism’ was first used not in relation to de Kooning and his contemporaries but in Germany in 1919, to describe the work of Wassily Kandinsky. In 1946 the term was used by Robert Coates, art critic for The New Yorker, to describe the work of a group of New York artists who went on to define ‘new’ art for a generation. De Kooning’s influence endures, in the paintings of Cecily Brown and in Richard Prince’s kitsch pastiches of his work. Including de Kooning’s most important works, this exhibition was exuberant and overwhelming – I can’t understand why a British museum like Tate Modern didn’t take it on, opting instead for Damien Hirst, a poor substitute.
Jens Daehner and Christopher Green have curated ‘Modern Antiquity: Picasso, de Chirico, Léger and Picabia in the Presence of the Antique’, which opens this month at the Musée Picasso, Antibes, after an initial spell at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Linking the ancient and the modern is something we likewise attempt to do within Apollo – Mr Daehner even contributes an article to this issue – and it is a theme that seems to have reached a tipping point among the art world. Christian Levett’s Mougins Museum of Classical Art, Apollo’s 2011 Museum Opening of the Year (see December’s issue), makes similar juxtapositions, and these synergies are articulated and explored in Susan Moore’s interview with Mr Levett.
In Athens, too, there is an attempt to bring together ‘our’ art and the art of history. The wonderful Museum of Cycladic Art, which houses one of the world’s great collections of Cycladic sculpture, has embarked on a program of exhibitions by modern and contemporary artists. Late last year its exhibition ‘The Last Grand Tour’, curated by the Tate’s Jessica Morgan, featured the work of 17 artists who had been inspired by their travels in 20th-century Greece; there we saw John Craxton’s paintings made after he spent time in Crete with his then friend Lucien Freud, as well as Bryce Marden sculptures fashioned from the same marble as the Cycladic figures. Anselm Kiefer, interviewed herein by Martin Gayford, gives us work that makes its subject the ruin of the past; in his work we see time as an aggressor, and our civilisation, or at least an approximation of it, as decayed and ruined. o Oscar Humphries, Editor february 2012 apolo 15