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April 15 2009 4 15 /04 /April /2009 12:46

“The Endless Renaissance” is an original proposition of the Bass Museum of Art in which the curator Steven Holmes offers us, from April 17 to August 16, a fresh new look on its collections with the help of well-known contemporary artists.


Indeed, some Delacroix, Rubens, Goya, Rigaud and Hoppner, are shown juxtaposed with pioneering artists of our day such as Joseph Beuys, Charles Ledray, Byron Kim, Jonathan Monk and Eve Sussman. The purpose of the curator is double : first to show the deep link between contemporary art and art from 17th , 18th  and 19th centuries, how an artist is constantly looking back to its masters when he creates. And secondly in which manner, when an artist quotes an other one, or when an art critic gives a point of view on an artist, our look changes almost irreversibly on this latter.

In fact, quoting an artist has always been in the creation’s process of artists, but we can notice an increase in the interpretation of the master in actual art. Apart from the famous example of Duchamp, when he drew a moustache and goatee on a cheap postcard of the Mona Lisa, and titled it L.H.O.O.Q, we can remember the historical portraits series of Cindy Sherman, when she retakes famous portraits such as the Self-portrait in Bacchus by Caravaggio, or the Virgin and the Child by Sandro Botticelli. Besides, one of the biggest exhibitions of this year was in Paris at le Grand Palais with  “Picasso and the Masters”, an explanation of the inspiration’s sources of Picasso, and how he confronted himself to painters such as Delacroix, Velasquez, Manet, or Raphaël.

To do pastiches can bring new ideas either on the subject represented or on the artist itself.  For instance, when Yinka Shonibare, actually exhibiting at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, refers to the painting The raft of the Medusa  by Théodore Géricault, it is to give a new point of view on the historical matter of the tragedy of the raft of the Medusa. And it is true that after, when we see again at this masterpiece, our look has changed: we now think about the Africans who suffered the colonialism of the British and the French.

It is the same matter with art critic; the texts actually have an influence on our interpretation of works of art. Thus, our aesthetical experience, sensitive, gets modified following the moment we look at it : this is what Steven Holmes wants to show us : how instable and unpredictable is our experience of art.

Among the artists presented you will find  Joseph Beuys, Joe Coleman, Gregory Crewdson, Eugène Delacroix, Thierry Delva, Wim Delvoye, Nicole Eisenman, Peter Friedl, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, John Hoppner, Pieter Hugo, Byron Kim. Charles LeDray, Sol LeWitt, Kelly Mark, Jonathan Monk, Martin Puryear, Sharron Quasius, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Bert Rodriguez, Peter Paul Reubens, Chemi Rosado Seijo ,Thomas Struth, Huang Yongping.

The Bass Museum of Art is generously funded by the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council; with additional support provided by Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners; State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; and Friends of the Bass Museum, Inc.

[Visuals above : Left : Pieter Hugo (South African, b. 1976), Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria, 2007, From the series The Hyena and Other Men, Digital C-Print , © Pieter Hugo, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York and Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, Courtesy The Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE, Miami. Right: Hyacinthe Rigaud (French, 1649-1743), Hans William Bentinck, Earl of Portland, K.G., 1698-1699, Oil on canvas, 53 x 42” Collection Bass Museum of Art]

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