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Michel Majerus Dies in Plane Crash at Thirty-five

MICHEL MAJERUS DIES IN PLANE CRASH: Thirty-five-year-old artist Michel Majerus was among the victims of an airplane crash on November sixth in Luxembourg. Majerus, who was born in Luxembourg and studied in Stuttgart before moving to Berlin in 1992, forged a bold new brand of painting-installation, which combined pop-cultural and painterly concerns. Among his many memorable works was a painting that also served as a functional half-pipe ramp for skateboarders at the Kölnischer Kunstverein in 2000. In its report, FAZ.NET notes, “Majerus's images spread over walls and floors, ceilings and ramps. They cannot be seen in one glance, for they fill up the entire room, creating a passage from the virtual world of the Internet to the reality in which we still live. His great achievement was to confront the experience of virtual, total, emotional space with the real spectator's perception.” In Berlin's Tageszeitung, curator Klara Wallner offers a personal reflection on Majerus's work, while the Süddeutsche Zeitung's Jörg Heiser writes on the artist's wide-ranging production, from a recent solo show at Friedrich Petzel in New York to an image of a housing project that he wrapped around Berlin's Brandenburg Gate in September 2002.

ANDRÉ BRETON'S POSSESSIONS GO ON THE BLOCK: Since André Breton's death in 1966, his apartment at 42, rue Fontaine near Place Pigalle in Paris has been kept virtually intact by his family. After thirty-six years—and countless loans to museums—Breton's daughter Aube and his granddaughter Oona have finally decided to auction off the founding Surrealist's impressive collection. Libération's Elisabeth Lebovici reports that the auction catalogue includes thirty-five hundred books, four hundred paintings, and fifteen hundred photographs, with works by le Douanier Rousseau, Aloïse, Magritte, Picabia, Miró, Arp, Toyen, Tanguy, Duchamp, Nadar, Man Ray, Denise Bellon, Hans Bellmer, Boiffard, and Claude Cahun. A CD-ROM will be made to record the apartment as Breton created and lived it. The auction will be held at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris, April 1–18, 2003.

ROUNDUP: Cologne's recent art film biennial, which took place mainly at the Museum Ludwig, leaves the Frankfurter Rundschau's Daniel Kothenschulte with the desire to establish a full-fledged cinematheque. Though Kasper König, the Museum Ludwig's director, has dedicated two recent exhibitions to the moving image—Matthew Barney's CREMASTER cycle and Werner Nekes's “seeing machines” collection, dedicated to the prehistory of film and animation—Kothenschulte points out that the institution’s historical film program was eliminated when König took up his position. Apart from the Barney films, the screening room has not been used for an entire year. “Of all places,” writes Kothenschulte, “the Museum Ludwig, whose collection allows one to study the influence of film on the visual arts, has closed its doors to film history.”

In Paris, Le Monde's Philippe Dagen senses a “philosophical practice” and “the joy of improvisation” in the films of Michael Snow, now being presented in a retrospective at the Centre Pompidou. Meanwhile, Libération's Maoea Bouteillet reports on a change in direction at the Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, which are currently being renovated. Founding director and choreographer François Verret, who left his position six months ago, will be replaced by a directorial trio made up of choreographer Loïc Touzé, art critic Yvane Chapuis, and curator François Piron. Thomas Hirschhorn is among the artists who will be welcomed at the space next fall when the renovations are complete. Finally, Libération's Brigitte Ollier approves of Le Mois de la Photo's focus on fashion, which includes an exhibition of photographs by Craig McDean, Inez Van Lamsweerde, and Paolo Roversi commissioned by designer Yohji Yamamoto.