Nicolas Trembley

  • diary July 12, 2021

    Starry Nights

    SHE WANTED IT to be a lighthouse for the Mediterranean and an archipelago of activities. Maja Hoffmann, the Swiss pharmaceutical heiress and art patron, achieved as much with the Luma Foundation’s Parc des Ateliers in Arles, which after thirteen years of development and construction was unveiled to the public at the end of June. For many of us, this was the first major opening after lockdown, with nearly everybody fully vaccinated and ready to start the season in the south of France.

    I arrived the day before the press opening and headed first to “Laura Owens & Vincent van Gogh,” cocurated by Bice

  • Nicolas Trembley receiving a birthday cake from Hans Ulrich Obrist. Photo: Rita Targui.
    diary January 28, 2020

    Singapore Fling

    I FOUND MYSELF on a recent Sunday evening in a Singaporean mall, at a dinner hosted by ShanghART gallery, meeting the country’s arts impresarios over Peking duck and century eggs. Dealer Lillian Wu and Rosa Daniel of the National Arts Council spoke of the country’s expanding arts scene—words such as “global platform” and “art hub” were as plentiful as the bonnes bouches on offer. And such talk is warranted. For readers unfamiliar with Singapore (as I was a couple weeks ago), I hereby report that the city-state is booming, enjoying new streams of money diverted from Hong Kong. On January 12, the

  • Doug Aitken, Mirage Gstaad, 2019. Photo: Stefan Altenburger.
    diary February 13, 2019

    Such Great Heights

    I HAD TWO RIDE OPTIONS to the third iteration of “Elevation 1049” (the number refers to the ski resort’s altitude), produced by Luma Foundation, with the involvement of Maja Hoffmann, and again curated by local artist Olympia Scarry and Neville Wakefield: driving with artist Sylvie Fleury in her new Tesla (the brand is popular in the Alps, and it’s easy to find charging stations) or flying with Hans Ulrich Obrist in an Airbus helicopter (also very popular, with many local landing areas). But an unexpected snowstorm forced me to take a regular train from the Geneva airport to Montreux, and then

  • Hotel Castell in Zuoz, with a James Turrell “Sky Space” covered in ice and snow. (All photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary March 27, 2018

    E.A.T. Up!

    ZÜRICH’S KLOTEN AIRPORT WAS VERY BUSY during the last week of January. The snow was unusually abundant, as was the number of security guards deployed to protect the roster of international leaders—including France’s president Emmanuel Macron, President Donald J. Trump of the United States, and the United Kingdom’s prime minister Theresa May—arriving for the World Economic Forum in Davos. But in the village of Klosters, the heartland of British royalty, we boarded trains for Lower Engadin, in the direction of the village of Zuoz, for another illustrious (yet far more artistic) summit called the

  • Karl Fritsch, untitled, 2004, glass stones, oxidized silver, 3 1/2 × 2 × 2". From “Medusa: Jewelry and Taboos.”


    This exhibition might be the most ambitious project dealing with jewelry ever conceived for a museum. The titular reference to taboos relays that while gems may be popular within institutions of applied arts, they are historically not welcome in fine-art contexts (too marginal, craft-oriented, precious, or ornamental). Transcending chronological and geographic categorizations, the curators will bring together more than four hundred pieces of jewelry to be displayed around four themes—identity, value, body, and ritual. The selection

  • Left: Artist Thomas Schütte. Right: Artist Pipilotti Rist. All photos: Nicolas Trembley.
    diary February 15, 2017

    Oh My Gstaad

    WITH RECORD-LOW SNOWFALLS, Swiss ski resorts appear to be the latest casualty of global climate change.

    Which is a shame, since winter sports are now intrinsically bound to Swiss contemporary art—that is, to cultural attractions that keep residents busy or attract new ones.

    These past few weeks, one could take part in master classes at the Verbier Art Summit in Valais (with Rem Koolhaas, Tino Sehgal, or Beatrix Ruf) or in the Engadin Art Talks in Zuoz (with Oscar Tuazon, Hito Steyerl, and even Eileen Myles). But the only alpine event that promises to resemble an art exhibition is Gstaad’s Elevation

  • Left: The Fondation Louis Vuitton. Right: LVMH owner Bernard Arnault. (Except where noted, all photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary October 23, 2014

    Love for Sail

    AFTER SIX YEARS of pharaonic construction, the long-awaited Fondation Louis Vuitton building, imagineered by Frank Gehry, emerged during FIAC week in Paris with a succession of openings that kept crazy-busy an army of PR and various other sergeants of protocol.

    Visits to the site-under-construction began already years ago, and an initial press preview of the empty but finished building took place in early September. As Suzanne Pagé, the artistic director, explained, “This is the first chef d’oeuvre of the collection,” a collection that belongs to the foundation and to Bernard Arnault, owner of

  • Left: Sturtevant, Serpentine Gallery codirector Hans Ulrich Obrist, Loren Muzzey, and artist Gustav Metzger. Right: L’Wren Scott, Mick Jagger, and Serpentine director Julia Peyton-Jones. (Photos: Dave Benett)
    diary July 06, 2013

    Again and Again

    THE FACT THAT THE ART WORLD does not have the same criteria for assessment as the rest of the world was brought home to me recently while in a taxi with Sturtevant—indisputably one of the most influential artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, maybe ever. When we left the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party in London, there were hundreds of fans gathered in Kensington Gardens and paparazzi cameras flashing madly. They were not cheering “my star,” though, but top models (Naomi, Kate, Karen, and Eva) and actors from Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, stars from another galaxy who were

  • Left: Urs Fischer's self-portrait. Right: Palazzo Grassi founder François Pinault with Urs Fischer. (Photos: Marco Sabadin)
    diary April 23, 2012

    The Fischer King

    IT WAS RAINING when Urs Fischer’s exhibition opened at the Palazzo Grassi. When it rains in Venice, armies of parka-clad tourists toting umbrellas of all colors wind down the narrow streets. Fischer, the anti-Abramović, was conspicuously not present at the official opening of the exhibition, whose title, “Madame Fisscher,” is the feminine version of the artist’s name. Madame Fisscher is also the title of a work at the entrance to the Palazzo that consists of an exact replica of the artist’s former studio in London.

    Fischer—in the company of François Pinault, owner of the Palazzo and one of the

  • Left: Moderna Museet director Daniel Birnbaum and deputy director and chief curator Ann-Sofi Noring. Right: Artist Sturtevant and dealer Gavin Brown. (Except where noted, all photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary March 21, 2012

    Again and Again

    LAST FRIDAY, cover artist Sturtevant took over the Moderna Museet with her new exhibition “Bild över bild” (Image over Image), her first show in Scandinavia, which travels to the Kunsthalle Zurich at the end of the year. Friends, curators, dealers, and artists came from all over the world to celebrate the interrogative pioneer who questioned art’s autonomy.

    During the opening, Sturtevant raised her arms and made several hip-hop hand gestures while shouting, “Wow, it’s cybernetic style!” Fans (including me) responded with a round of laughter and applause before attacking the meatballs and gravlax.

  • Left: Writer and dealer Bill Powers with writer James Frey. (Except where noted, all photos: Nicolas Trembley) Right: Artist Richard Prince. (Photo: Jesus Dominguez)
    diary March 02, 2012

    Crown Prince

    THE TWO MOST FAMOUS PEOPLE ever born in Málaga, Spain, are Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas. They’ll soon come together when the actor portrays the artist in filmmaker Carlos Saura’s biopic 33 dias. But on Monday, Málaga celebrated a different union, this one between Picasso and Richard Prince. The Prince/Picasso exhibition, which is being held at the Museo Picasso Málaga, was organized in collaboration with the artist’s grandson, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, and his wife, dealer Almine Rech, and the support of their foundation, FABA.

    Prince arrived Saturday from New York on a private jet in the

  • Left: Neutral Zurich's Michelle Nicol with artist Olaf Breuning. (Photo: Andy Guzzonatto) Right: W editor Stefano Tonchi with Delphine Arnault and artist Anselm Reyle. (Photo: Billy Farrel Agency)
    diary December 05, 2011

    Talking Shop

    I CAN’T BELIEVE how many people I met in Miami who had not yet made it to the big fair, even though that’s why we were all (ostensibly) there in the first place. It turns out it wasn’t Art Basel that they were interested in, but “Art Basel”—the constitutive surplus of cocktails, galas, parties, and fetes around the fair. ABMB began as an art thing, but has by now become one of the biggest platforms for the luxury-goods market, especially clothing.

    It makes sense that Fendi, Audi, and Swarovski were the main sponsors of Art Basel’s sister show, Design Miami. But it was a bit of a surprise to come