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The DART Board: 05.20.2020

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday May 20, 2020

Week ten of lockdown began with sunshine, cleaner air, and colder than usual for the unofficial start of summer. In a surreal moment of clarity I realized that all who are working from home are unwittingly participating in a revolution. Stranger still, I realized this is a negative revolution, as if we are shifting from having electricity to not having electricity. It seems that this particular revolution has been rumbling along without the kind of watchdogs that usually gather for such moments. That is until Naomi Klein identified “Coronavirus Capitalism” as a potential threat to democracy, in The Intercept. 

She wrote, “The Trump administration and other governments around the world are busily exploiting the crisis to push for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts and regulatory rollbacks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is moving to repeal financial regulations that were introduced after the last major financial meltdown, as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. China, for its part, is indicating that it will relax environmental standards to stimulate its economy, which would wipe out the one major benefit the crisis has produced so far: a marked drop in that country’s lethal air pollution."

She continues, “This crisis — like earlier ones — could well be the catalyst to shower aid on the wealthiest interests in society, including those most responsible for our current vulnerabilities, while offering next to nothing to the most workers, wiping out small family savings and shuttering small businesses. But as this video shows, many are already pushing back — and that story hasn’t been written yet.” Follow the story here

With this in mind, the items in my inbox that got my attention this week range from the surreal to the downright laughable:

Today, Brussels-based Clearing Gallery, which also has an outpost in Brooklyn, launched the second in its online Video Club, Loïc Raguénès’ Reverso (La Peau Douce), above, 1964-2017. This is a must for Nouvelle Vague cinema fans. From the gallery: To create Reverso (La Peau douce), Loïc Raguénès deconstructed François Truffaut’s 1964 film, La Peau douce [The Soft Skin], and remounted it, frame by frame, in reverse. In explaining the repercussions of this inversion, Raguénès says, “The beginning is the end, the end is the beginning. Rid of its narrative intrigue, the film is transformed into an experience of rewinding time. The mechanics of the seducer - their strategies, their lies - melts away. The woman and her lover resume their story, enlightened by a new truth.” The incredibly disquieting 1 hour 58 minute HD Video can be seen here From May 20 to May 31.

Just like Reverso, Raguénès’ paintings seem to warp time. With a slow, meditate approach, he builds compositions with layers of tempera, a technique widely used during the Renaissance, to create paintings that feel at once like relics, yet strikingly alive.

More works by Raguénès are on view in the David Zwirner Platform: Paris / Brussels online viewing room starting Friday, May 22 and until June 14. 

The Scream—icon of anxiety by Edvard Munch— held by the Munch Museum, in Oslo, has succumbed to a lack of social distancing, as reported this week in The  Guardian: An international consortium of scientists seeking to identify the main cause of deterioration of the paint in the canvas has discovered Munch accidentally used an impure tube of cadmium yellow which can fade and flake even in relatively low humidity, including when breathed upon by crowds of art lovers.

The result is that Munch’s initially bright yellow brushstrokes have turned to an off-white colour in the painting’s sunset and in the neck area of the central angst-ridden figure.

“It turned out that rather than use pure cadmium sulphide as he should have done, apparently he also used a not very clean version that contained chlorides,” said Prof. Koen Janssens from the University of Antwerp….When people breathe they produce moisture and they exude chlorides so in general with paintings it is not too good to be close too much to the breath of all the passersby.

Munch created four versions of The Scream between 1893 and 1910, two in pastel and two in paint, as well as a stone lithograph. The two painted versions were both stolen and recovered, the 1893 version from the National Gallery, Oslo, in 1994, and the Munch Museum’s copy in 2004. Above: Edvard Munch, The Scream (1910), from the collection of the Munch Museum, Oslo. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, in Greenwich and New York City, offers a variety of programs and events “to enhance and enrich the public’s experience with contemporary art” through exhibitions, workshops, and lecture series. With events temporarily suspended, they have launched an art competition, to reimagine Jeff Koons’ Puppy (above). For anyone who was enthralled by the 43-foot high flowerbed of a pup when it was hosted by the Public Art Fund at Rockefeller Center, in 2000, this would seem like a great idea. The announcement reads: Using the materials of your choice, create your own version of Puppy. Your artwork can take on any form (painting, sculpture, poem, etc.) that expresses your interpretation of this monumental sculpture. Submissions will be judged based on creativity, execution, inventiveness. 

 The deadline is June 1, 2020. The prize: A limited edition Puppy beach towel and a $25. gift certificate, good only at the Brandt Foundation Gift Shop. Info C'mon...

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