Madonna mixes art, commerce and racy photographs in Düsseldorf; American Jenny Holzer illuminates politics in Austria; a German fashionista turns 40 in Vienna; and Paris shows the measured pleasures of Aurelie Nemours
The Material Girl gets esoteric in a Düsseldorf exhibit
Madonna Gets Arty
NRW-Forum for Culture, Düsseldorf
Showing for just a brief time in Düsseldorf, "X-STaTIC PRO=CeSS" is a performance project conceived of by Madonna and fashion photographer Steven Klein, when Klein photographed the pop diva for W Magazine. For both artists, the photo and video series continues their voyage from purely show biz to high-concept media art -- think Cindy Sherman or Joseph Beuys. In these conceptual works, Madonna is photographed on a makeshift stage in puzzling, evocative costumes: as a Middle Eastern queen in a Gaultier dress; as a confused psychiatric patient; wearing a mask next to a burning bridal gown; or contorted next to a pulsing kidney. The pictures are accompanies by recordings of Madonna reciting Bible passages. Klein's photos mix images of sexuality, aggression, vulnerability, and mysticism with references to Madonna's music videos. Ever at the razor's edge of art and commerce, Madonna timed the show to coincide with the kickoff of her latest concert tour.
"X-STaTIC PRO=CeSS Madonna | Steven Klein" runs from June 10 through June 27. It is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., Friday until midnight.
Jenny Holzer Illuminates CIA Texts
Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria
U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is the subject of Jenny Holzer’s project at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria. Over the top three floors of the Kunsthaus programmed electronic signs seek to convey the welter of voices involved in government decision making. The show's title, Truth Before Power, is taken from a 1968 essay by Sherman Kent, one of the CIA’s founders and leading thinkers. The works point to the complicated relationship between political decision making and public debate, with reference to the current U.S.-led "war on terror" and the aftermath of 9/11. For the most part, the texts were taken verbatim from U.S. government documents, many of which were only recently declassified.
"Truth Before Power" runs through September 5 at the Kunsthaus Bregenz. It is open from Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday until 9 p.m.
Fashion Meets Art: Juergen Teller
Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna
German photographer Juergen Teller is an art photography star. In the 1990s, working from London, he revolutionized the international fashion scene, creating pictures at the juncture of art, advertising, and fashion. The exhibition "Ich bin vierzig" ("I am forty") features a selection of the prolific artist's work, which -- far removed from the usual high gloss aesthetics and airbrush treatment of impurities -- challenges the beauty cult of modern society. A large section of the exhibit is devoted the photographer's self portraits in both photography and video. The yet-unpublished series 'Louis XV' offer glimpses of his current art production: showing the artist in role play with the film actress Charlotte Rampling.
"Ich bin vierzig" is showing at the Kunsthalle Wien through October 17. Open Friday through Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday until 10 p.m. Closed Wednesday.
Aurélie Nemours: Painting With Numbers
Centre Pompidou, Paris
No complicated mathematics, but a certain rhythm and a good deal of intuition are at the heart of abstract geometric works by Aurélie Nemours. "Aurélie Nemours: Rhythm, Number, Color, shows shows some 150 of paintings -- made up of squares, rectangles, and horizontal and vertical lines -- from the last 40 years of Nemours' work. "Before form, comes rhythm(...)", the artist, born in 1910, says when describing her work. Among the paintings is also the well known series "Rythme du millimetre" (Rhythm of the millimeter), which playfully brings black and white geometric forms into contrast.
"Aurélie Nemours: Rhythm, Number, Color" is on at the Pompidou Center in Paris, through September 27. Open daily except Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday until 11 p.m.