Posts By max mulhern


FIAC 2012 in Paris – art outdoors and the party inside

Like Birnam Wood the FIAC is approaching my door. Thanks to offsite/outdoor installations it is possibe to experience the FIAC further and further afield from the Grand Palais, the pit of a giant  art fruit that falls onto Paris and  ripens and burst every October. ( I have to wonder, sometimes, if God didn’t ask Adam & Eve not to look at something way back when in the Garden of Eden?). The Parisian outdoors are recolonised as the gardens of Paris become galleries and squares become stages. We aren’t looking at Land Art  ( No artist has yet to dig ... More » »


Dust Do It – Laurence De Leersnyder at Galerie Laurent Mueller in Paris

Walk into Laurence De Leersnyder’s studio in Saint Denis, the teeming suburb north of Paris, and you’ll think that you have stumbled onto a missile silo workshop. The “missiles” are encased in half-open boxes. Some are lying horizontally while others are upright.  They appear to be made of dirt. Though asymmetric and rough surfaced the  partially concealed cones are redolent with menace.  De Leersnyder has hit a nerve. The French state used to test submarine engines on the site of her studio. About three years ago in these columns I reviewed a female Columbian artist Juliana Cerqueira Leite who had ... More » »


Ceci N’Est Pas Une Critique de Robert Crumb

The Musee de l’Art Modern de La Ville de Paris is hosting a retrospective of Robert Crumb. There is a lot to see. There is so much writing and drawing  that one is reminded of newspapers of the 60’s and 70’s whose front pages were a  gray on gray haze. I cannot give an objective appreciation of the show. I am not sure that I like Crumb’s work. It is the first time that I have seen it in 40  years. However, I do appreciate it. He was and is enviably prolific and deft with his pen (people lived for ... More » »


Studio visit with Rupert Mair

The Italian artist Rupert Mair recently exhibited at the Pixie Gallery in Paris. His show was entitled “Enjeux”. It was a showcase of the delicate and  seemingly tentative and yet it was affirmative in its silent insistence that there could be mass to nothingness. All you need is a hint. Many of the pieces assembled in the space  resembled the  parts of familiar games and yet neither the pieces nor the games they suggested became whole or playable.


Chirp without the buzz – FIAC comes and goes in Paris

The Art Fair Bird alighted in Paris about three weeks ago in the form of the FIAC. What was “in” then is probably already “out” but here is a brief and patchy survey of the scene.

I can feel the Fatwa...

FIAC 2010 in Paris – A ramble unearths some deep thoughts

Despite nationwide strikes that continue to hobble the country the french international art fair, FIAC, came to town (Oct. 21-24th) for a week and enabled collectors and artists get down to the business of selling art. Not a riot could be heard within its walls, and business was brisk. Attendance was up. Prices were up  5.4% ( after a 42% plunge  in 2008/09).  Art is more affordable now then during the boom, and the volume sold is stable, according to the Financial Times. Good news, then,  since the crisis broke.



The Centre Pompidou, located in the heart of Paris, was originally conceived as a temporary structure in 1977. Though it has become a permanent  and thriving cultural hub the Pompidou’s original temporary identity  remains intact as witnessed by  the current installation of cardboard – based works by the Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata on the centre’s facade.


Hunting Trophies

“Le Zoo de Vincent” by Vincent Who at  Substance in Paris stopped me in my tracks like a deer caught in headlights. Traffic signs, small logs, branches and rubber are assembled with great wit to create representations of stuffed heads from the antler class of mammal. What tickles is the transformation of the work of art into quarry to be bagged.

" I-de" pronounced ee-day which is a play on words between 'ee-day" which is french for idea and "day" which is french for die.

Cancelled–Alba Pistolesi and luck

As luck would have it I went  to see the work of a young French artist named Alba Pistolesi. Alba is , in her words, obsessed with cancelling the usefulness of objects as well as with table legs and their standard 72cm length. A week earlier she had shown me a large wooden die and a faggot of table legs that were meant to be screwed into the die on each face. The number of legs per face were to correspond to the number on the face of the die. This results in an object that evokes either a virus or ... More » »

Shit Head

Chris Ofili at the Tate Britain

The Chris Ofili mid career survey at the Tate Britain reveals a sexually charged and scatalogical body of work reminiscent of Gilbert and George’s The Naked Shit Pictures. This survey contains overlooked sensations and under-exploited materials. The energies driving the early works have been tamed and the latest works are in an amorphous state of disarray. This could be one of the futures most exciting shows if Offili finds the new path he is looking for.

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