Nicolas Trembley

  • Left: Artist Wolfgang Tillmans and dealer Chantal Crousel. Right: Dealer Thaddaeus Ropac and artist Alex Katz. (Photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary October 24, 2011

    Breaking News

    BRIGHT SUN, NO APPARENT STRIKES, and last week’s surprising announcement in the World Wealth Report that France is the European country with the most millionaires per square meter: All of this boosted enthusiasm for the opening of the thirty-eighth Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) in Paris. On Tuesday evening, the day before the fair’s official opening, some collectors and their consultants—many of whom described being discouraged by the prior week’s “lukewarm” Frieze Art Fair—began to snatch up any work measuring more than three meters and costing more than 100,000 euros. From

  • Left: Sharjah Art Foundation director Jack Persekian. (Except where noted, all photos: Nicolas Trembley) Right: His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah, and H.E. Sheikha Hoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, president of the Sharjah Art Foundation. (Photo: Sharjah Art Foundation)
    diary March 29, 2011

    Plot Point

    EXHAUSTED, I GOT OFF THE CATTLE TRUCK that is the new Paris-Dubai Airbus 380 at 3 AM on Tuesday, March 15. After an hour’s wait at customs, the Bangladeshi driver who was to take me to the neighboring emirate of Sharjah asked if I wouldn’t mind waiting for the second passenger, who hadn’t arrived yet. After thirty minutes, I asked who the second passenger was. Glenn Lowry, he told me. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I’m sure he’ll find the way on his own. Let’s go.”

    And so various members of the international art-world elite began trickling into the United Arab Emirates. During the press conference the

  • Left: Artist AA Bronson with French minister of culture Frédéric Mitterand. Right: Curator Frédéric Bonnet. (All photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary February 17, 2011

    Get the Idea

    “I WAS STRUCK by the minister of culture, Frédéric Mitterrand. His speech was so heartfelt, quirky, and knowledgeable, with an undercurrent of humor, and he kept giving me sharp little looks all the way through, as if to say ‘You know whom I’m talking about!’ ” This was what AA Bronson told me right after receiving the distinguished French medal of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres last Thursday at the Canadian embassy in Paris.

    It’s still unclear whom Mitterand was talking about (perhaps Miss General Idea?), but the event was sufficiently moving and drew 150 friends and admirers who were carried

  • Left: Pharrell Williams. (Photo: Boramy Viguier) Right: Collector François Pinault with Takashi Murakami. (Photo: Laurent Stinus)
    diary September 21, 2010

    Rising Sun

    “IS THIS AN EMMANUEL PERROTIN OPENING?” everyone kept asking last Monday. The official answer was: No, it’s a solo show by the artist Takashi Murakami at the Château de Versailles—though Perrotin’s presence was certainly felt. No matter whose event it was, it was clear that this exhibition was already a worldwide media event, two years after Jeff Koons caused a similar stir at the Sun King’s former residence.

    The Murakami show was produced with the help and financial support of Perrotin, the Parisian gallery owner who seems to be subtly curating the Château’s program with his roster of marketable

  • Left: French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Right: Architect Shigeru Ban (right). (All photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary May 17, 2010

    Masterpiece Theater

    Metz, France

    ADVERTISEMENTS WITH PHOTOGRAPHS of Warhol, Picasso, and Dalí—along with the slogan JE M’INSTALLE À METZ (I’m Moving to Metz)—greeted visitors on the platform of the TGV high-speed train that had been reserved by the French government for last Monday’s official opening of the Centre Pompidou-Metz. The museum is France’s first “decentralized” cultural institution; the Louvre will follow with outposts in Abu Dhabi and in Lens, France, both scheduled to open in 2012.

    On the train one could overhear guests confessing, over coffee and macaroons, that this was the very first time they would set foot in

  • Collector François Pinault. (Photo: Nicolas Trembley) Right: Rat and Bear. (Photo: Peter Schnetz)
    diary June 15, 2009

    Time is Money


    THE MOST ENTERTAINING ACTIVITY of the past two weeks, as one raced from Venice to Basel, was comparing the vastly differing points of view over the same subjects. Thanks to globalization, which has multiplied the number of countries and artists represented at the fairs and exhibitions, the most diligent marathon runners (artists, dealers, critics, collectors) ended up a bit confused. They seemed most flustered when it came time for one of their favorite activities: judging. There were no clear standards, and what was “brilliant” to one person proved “disappointing” to another. “Splendid” or “

  • Left: Artist Anri Sala and Calvin Klein. Right: The SeaFair Art Boat. (Photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary December 08, 2008

    Last Resort


    “THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES lie at the intersection of your world and ours; be ready to discover a canvas for your imagination.” The new Fontainebleau Hotel, recently “reinvented” according to Morris Lapidus’s original design, didn’t skimp on words in its brochure to welcome Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami visitors. I (along with Ivana Trump) was among the visitors to stay in its hallowed walls last week.

    A couple of weeks prior the hotel had opened with a Victoria’s Secret fashion show, a video of which was relayed on a screen in a hallway. (“Delicious,” salivated one young guest

  • Left: Jeff Koons's New Hoover Convertibles Green, Green, Red, New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polishers, New Shelton Wet/Dry 5-Gallon, Displaced Tripledecker, 1981–87, installed at the Château de Versailles. (Photo: Jeff Koons, Laurentt Lecat/Éditions Xavier Barral) Right: Versailles president Jean-Jacques Aillagon, Jeff Koons, collector François Pinault, Jacques Chirac, and French minister of culture Christine Albanel. (Except where noted, all photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary September 15, 2008

    Palace Intrigue


    The other morning, a French TV talk show featured a spot on the Jeff Koons Versailles controversy. (Even in sophisticated France, few popular TV shows address contemporary art—except perhaps to criticize it.) “You either like it or you don’t,” one of the women said. “But you have to be impressed by the fact that the king of kitsch, the one who’s put vacuum cleaners behind glass and who married the ex–porn star Cicciolina, is showing at the château!” Rarely has an exhibition in France aroused so much public debate or such wide media coverage.

    To summarize, the complaints are as follows. Reactionaries

  • Left: Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz, Visionaire's Cecilia Dean, and artist John Armleder. Right: Collector Uli Sigg. (All photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary June 03, 2008

    Swiss Family


    “Darling, I can’t go around changing these dates with CEOs, artists, collectors, and curators. It’s too much drama. Can you arrive earlier?” Such was the dialogue that ran rampant throughout last weekend’s loosely organized itinerary of art events in Zurich—a prequel to the Basel hurricane and a high-category storm in its own right that rained openings, tours of collectors’ homes, and VIP dinners on the assembled dignitaries. “Some people fit in four dinners in an evening,” someone noted—but not me. Who’s that hungry? Though I did feel as though I had some catching up to do by the time I arrived

  • Left: Curator Anne Pontégnie and Gagosian's Serena Cattaneo Adorno. Right: Artist Mike Kelley. (All photos: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary April 14, 2008

    Strange Brew


    Last Thursday evening marked the first time that all three floors of Brussels’s new Wiels Centre for Contemporary Art, two floors of which had been inaugurated last year, would be open. The occasion was Mike Kelley’s first retrospective in Belgium, a confluence of exciting events that led Herman Daled, the museum’s president and an avid collector himself, to announce in his opening speech: “Wiels is born tonight.” Housed in the former buildings of the historic Wielemans-Ceuppens breweries, designed in 1930 by architect Adrien Bloome, the museum is for this show plunged into darkness, Kelley

  • Left: Yves Saint Laurent designer Stefano Pilati and Kanye West. (Photo: Ami Sioux) Right: Singer Sean deLear and Gelitin's Ali Janka. (Photo: Nicolas Trembley)
    diary March 04, 2008

    La Freak, C'est Chic


    Opening last Friday in the middle of Paris fashion week, Austrian collective Gelitin’s first museum exhibition (at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville) was not to be missed. Just when it seemed that the idea of fusing art and fashion was played out, the opening of their exhibition “La Louvre—Paris” effected a veritable return of the real. (A new trend for the coming season?) Sometimes the real can be too much: The poster for the exhibition, which features, among other things, Gelitin-ites Wolfgang Gantner, Ali Janka, Florian Reither, and Tobias Urban in the nude, did not make it past officials

  • Left: FIAC artistic director Jennifer Flay. Right: Lawrence Weiner with dealer Alfonso Artiaco and artist Robert Barry. (Except where noted, all photos: Léa Fluck)
    diary October 23, 2007

    Fair Labor


    Having misplaced the envelope containing my VIP pass to the FIAC art fair, as well as all my invitations to the week’s various dinners, I decided to do the event “plain clothes,” traveling by Vélib, one of Paris’s famous free bicycles. I wondered whether collectors were also going to take up this new method of transport, which makes the city “so cool and so real,” in the words of visiting Brits happy not to be hampered by the massive public-transportation strikes (trains, subways, airplanes—you name it). But at least one Swiss collector expressed a lack of sympathy for the proletariat: “It wasn’t