CHRONICLES OF AN UNDERCOVER REPORTER FROM PARIS TO PORTO
What we call “politically correct” is
a way of thinking that aims to re- establish a balance when the relationship between two parties is wonky. These past few years there’s been a tardy readjustment concerning the representation of female artists in museums and exhibitions. But where the market is concerned, things have a been a bit slower, since during the first six months of 2018 the figures say that, when combining the number of sales per artist with the highest sales prices, the top ranking woman is the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, in 20th place.
This summer, the readjustment
effect seemed to be working because many exhibitions showcased work by artists from what were traditionally called the “minorities.” Jean- Michel Basquiat, even if he’s a bit of an easy example, will have a large retrospective this autumn at the Fondat ion Louis Vui t ton. Moreover I wonder if this question of intellectual and political “rebalancing” preceded or followed the fashion for detox cures that aim to mitigate the ef fects of acidity on the body. These past few years, many spas and clinics have begun offering the Mayr cure, invented by the Austrian professor Franz Xaver Mayr (1875–1965), who spent his life studying the human digestive system. Mayr’s cure aims to rebalance the pH value of our various digestive tubes, in part by expulsing toxins through the ingestion of various laxative salts which provoke in the patient copious and putrid diarrhoea, ammoniac-stinking urine and malodorous perspiration. Nonetheless it’s a success! Cindy Sherman is an adept, having become a regular at the Lanserhof Tegernsee in Bavaria, one of the upmarket clinics which attract the crème de la crème of the art and fashion worlds (and the rich in general, of course). Where the diet is concerned, it’s all pretty straightforward, since you essentially eat boiled potatoes, because they’re alkaline. We’ll have to remain discreet about it all though, since the artists, collectors and gallerists who frequent such establishments prefer to remain anonymous. But look around you, they’re there! Art can be dangerous, as a visitor to the Serralves Foundation in Porto found out to his cost when he fell into an installation by Anish Kapoor. The piece, Descent into Limbo (1992), takes the form of a hole in the ground filled with dense pigment to produce a trompe- l’oeil effect of both depth and flatness. Deep? Flat? You get closer and closer to find out and… bam! Kapoor and his work earned unprecedented media coverage, but what a shame that the big media players are only ever interested in trivial anecdotes about contemporary art.
By Nicolas Trembley, photo by Jessica Craig-Martin