Nicolas Trembley

  • Left: Pompidou curator Christine Macel with Emmanuel Perrotin. Right: Artist Paola Pivi.
    diary June 27, 2006

    Risqué Business


    Excitement and excessive eroticism are generally what one expects from a Gelitin opening. But on Saturday night, competition in the Marais neighborhood of Paris was fierce, as the Gay Pride paraders flocked to the Bastille, just blocks from Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery. It was just like the good old days as half-naked celebrants chanted and waved placards reading “Trannies, dykes, pervs—we’re all wannabe sluts and proud of it!” and “Sodomy and fist fucking opens your mind.” When I related the latter slogan, Paola Pivi, who was exhibiting alongside the four-member Austrian collective, replied, “It

  • Left: LISTE director Peter Bläuer. Right: Swiss Award winners curator Daniel Bauman and artist Maï-Thu Perret.
    diary June 15, 2006

    Shopping List


    A few blocks away from Art Basel, which had just opened its Art Unlimited and Art Statements sections to the sound of pounding techno, LISTE's preview party kicked off at 5 PM Monday in a rock ’n’ roll style that was more beer-and-wiener than champagne-and-petits-fours. This “alternative” fair now seems out of touch with the expectations of new collectors who associate contemporary art with high-end design, fashion, and the international jet set, prompting most visitors to comment on how very “underground” the event. “Frankly, I wouldn’t know what to choose. At least at Art Basel everything is

  • Left: Dealer Pierre Huber. Right: Artist Sylvie Fleury.
    diary June 08, 2006

    Geneva Convention


    Attending exhibition previews at Le Magasin, Grenoble’s national center for contemporary art, one tends to run into lots of visitors from Geneva. They come as neighbors and have been well acquainted with the center since the '80s, when Swiss-born Adelina von Furstenberg was at its helm. The preview for “Video in the Pierre Huber Collection” or “Video in the Collection of Pierre Huber” (“We hesitated between the two options,” grinned Yves Aupetitallot, the current director) was no exception. Huber, the well-known art dealer and one of the leading personalities responsible for the renewal of Art

  • Left: Artist and curator Xavier Veilhan with Karl Lagerfeld. Right: “La Force de l'Art” organizer Bernard Blistène.
    diary May 15, 2006

    Vanity Fair


    “La Force de l’Art” is the somewhat pompous title of a mega-exhibition of new French art that opened at the Grand Palais on Tuesday after having weathered a weeks-long polemical storm in the media. Announced by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin during the FIAC art fair last October, the show was designed to be “a great exhibit dedicated to contemporary French art, one that will give new visibility to French creators.” The result amounts to a kind of Parisian Whitney Biennial, and has been tagged “Expo Villepin” by critics keen to denounce it as a media stunt aimed primarily at boosting the

  • Left: Witte de With director Nicolaus Schafhausen. Right: Artist Erik van Lieshout.
    diary May 04, 2006

    Double Dutch


    Why was one of last Friday’s trains from Paris Gare du Nord to Rotterdam so packed? The arrival of an orange-clad passenger reminded me that—of course!—Saturday was Queen’s Day, the beginning of Holland’s weekend-long homage to her Majesty. If you’re not a fan of beer festivals and public urination, however, this is a holiday to avoid, and perhaps this was the reason that there were so few attendees at Witte de With’s press conference about the first exhibitions to open under the leadership of newly appointed German director Nicolaus Schafhausen. Or had the crowd thinned in reaction

  • Left: Hedi Slimane. Right: Artist Thomas Ruff poses in front of one of his “Jpegs.”
    diary January 13, 2006

    Saturday Night Fever


    Last Saturday’s openings in Paris were quieter than usual, perhaps due to the cold wind blowing across the capital but maybe also because of a gastroenteritis scare. In the middle of Rue Louise Weiss, Emmanuel Perrotin, who informed me of the proliferating virus, made sure not to shake my hand when we said hello. I was just arriving from Galerie Nelson, where Thomas Ruff was showing new images from the “Jpegs” series presented in the Italian pavilion at last summer’s Venice Biennale. (Nelson was among the first to show Ruff’s ’80s portraits, when the gallery was located in Villeurbanne.) The

  • Left: Nicolas Bourriaud and Jèrôme Sans. Right: Assistants preparing the Martin Creed installation on Saturday, September 9. (Photo: John B. Baloumba)
    diary September 19, 2005

    Flower Power


    The title of the current installment of the Lyon Biennale—“L’experience de la durée” (Experiencing Duration)— put me in mind of the famous Parisian tearoom Ladurée. But alas, no pastel-perfect macaroons were on offer at La Sucrière, the old sugar warehouse that serves as the event’s core venue. Even if there had been, I would likely have demurred, for fear of ingesting psychotropic substances—doctored pastries being more or less in keeping with the show’s theme. Artistic director Thierry Raspail had appointed “odd couple” Nicolas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans curators of the exhibition, which they

  • Left: Galleriest Chantal Crousel with artists Jean-Luc Moulène, Melik Ohanian, and Sophie Calle. Middle: Wolfgang Tillmans signing copies of his new book. Right: Hans Peter Feldman.
    diary September 15, 2005

    One Night in Paris


    Un, deux, trois, let’s do it again! Saturday, September 10 was the day of the “rentrée”—a new season at the Paris galleries. A crowd of tanned art lovers came back from their Provence holidays with new resolutions, such as to stop drinking and smoking. I guess we’re getting old. At least thirty galleries listed in the Galeries Mode d’Emploi held simultaneous receptions for this ostensibly wholesome crowd. My own rentrée had actually taken place the previous Tuesday at Marian Goodman’s gallery where, in an apparent spirit of iconoclasm or perhaps just a desire to beat the crowds, the gallerist

  • Left: Silke Taproggle, Jérôme Sans, and Nicolas Bourriaud. Right: Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag.
    diary June 26, 2005

    Poster Children


    Posters! Posters everywhere! That was my first impression upon walking into “Translation,” the new show at the Palais de Tokyo, where blue-chip contemporary art from the Dakis Joannou Collection shares the galleries with the work of French graphic design duo M/M Paris, of Bjork album-cover fame. The result of this art-design pairing? According to the press kit, it’s a “unique exhibition experience” aimed at defining a new kind of “altermodernism,” one that resists cultural and economic standardization and instead articulates “a mutant form of creole culture.”

    “Haphazard and unplanned, that’s the

  • Left: The entrance to Art Unlimited. Right: Performers with Doug Aitken's hardwood table.
    diary June 18, 2005

    Supersize Spree


    At the Monday opening of the sixth annual Art Unlimited exhibition, Art Basel director Samuel Keller was quick to remind everyone, “The artworks here are for sale”—an announcement that functioned like the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, signaling the beginning of the week’s trading. Keller was making an important point, because while this section of Art Basel, held in a large hall next to the fair’s main space and devoted to large-scale works that do not fit in regular booths, looks like (and is) a curated exhibition—organized by Switzerland-based artist and independent curator

  • Left: French Pavilion curators Suzanne Pagé and Béatrice Parent. Middle: Annette Messager with the Golden Lion for Best Pavilion. Right: Pierre Cardin.
    diary June 14, 2005

    Casino Advantage


    Representing one’s country at the Venice Biennale is undoubtedly an honor. It can pump up an artist's career—but it can also take the wind out of one's sails. There is no other exhibition in which artists must stand at their own front doors, so to speak, making themselves available to critics and passersby. “Like prostitutes,” said one visitor to the Giardini. The up side: “Those who used to think you were full of shit might suddenly love you because it’s ‘your moment’—or because you have the right dealer.” Artists know it’s just a game, but when it’s their turn they may find the going

  • Left: Performers with Jason Rhoades and Paul McCarthy's “shit plugs.” Right: Street artist Bernie as “Punki.”
    diary February 21, 2005

    Trash and Vaudeville


    As people queued up for the opening of “Dionysiac” at the Pompidou Center last Tuesday night, a group of women calling themselves Les Artpies (a pun on “harpies”—it sounds better in French)—distributed flyers that stated, “Glory to virile art! Finally, the Pompidou Center has opened up to masculine art!!!” Clearly inspired by the Guerrilla Girls (though not wearing masks—I recognized a few of the artists and journalists amongst them), the Artpies were expressing the view that the Pompidou has hit a new high with “Dionysiac.” While 93% of the works in the collection are by male