Joan Mitchell

The Water Lilies. American Abstract Art and the last Monet (group show)
Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris
13 April - 20 August 2018

In 1955, Alfred Barr brought one of Monet’s large panels of Water Lilies (W1992) into the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at a time when these great "decorations", still in the studio in Giverny, were beginning to attract the attention of collectors and museums.

Monet was presented at that time as "a bridge between the naturalism of early Impressionism and the highly developed school of Abstract Art" in New York, with his Water Lilies seen in the context of Pollock’s paintings, such as Autumn Rhythm (number 30), 1950. The reception of these later Monet works resonated with American Abstract Expression then coming into the museum collections. At the same time, the idea of "Abstract Impressionism" was forged. The exhibition at the Musée de l’Orangerie focuses on this precise moment - when the great decorations of the master of Giverny were rediscovered and the New York School of Abstract Art was recognised - with a selection of some of Monet’s later works and around twenty major paintings by American artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Philip Guston, Joan Mitchell, Mark Tobey, Sam Francis, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Ellsworth Kelly.

Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris


Darren Almond, Raymond Hains, Joan Mitchell, Navid Nuur, Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille et al.

Painting the Night (group show)
Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz
13 October 2018 - 15 April 2019

Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille, Landscape with Earth and Moon, 2013. Courtesy of the artists and Almine Rech Gallery
Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille, Landscape with Earth and Moon, 2013. Courtesy of the artists and Almine Rech Gallery

The topic of night has infiltrated current debates concerning society (should we open shops at night or preserve that time for sleep?), the environment (how can we limit night light pollution which prevents us from seeing the stars and impacts natural life?), politics (the French “Nuit Debout” movement, clandestine nightly border crossings), science (we are constantly furthering our knowledge of the phenomenon).

Night-time, and the many questions it prompts, has haunted artists particularly since the late 19th century. Thanks to such ground-breaking discoveries as electrification and lighting, psychoanalysis and the advent of the space age the night has evolved, transforming us in turn: theories have consequently been completely reviewed changing our relationship to the night-tide.

From 13 October 2018 to 15 April 2019, Centre Pompidou-Metz is hosting an important exhibition featuring the night in modern and contemporary painting along with a catalogue and a wealth of associated events.

A prominent source of inspiration in the history of art, the night continues to offer a rich field of investigation. Revisiting such a vast topic spawns numerous profound interrogations on our condition and our place in the Universe and the role Art could play.

Though at first the idea might seem paradoxical, Painting the Night (Peindre la nuit in french) is in fact heavy with meaning. The title is voluntarily ambiguous for night painting could either mean representing the night or painting at night. Painting the dark or in the dark, a choice has to be made either to improve one’s night vision or on the contrary to abandon seeing altogether. Indeed it is at night that we can, both physically and symbolically, at last “disconnect from the world”— a typically modern aspiration. Actually, twilight would be a perfect metaphor for the elusive boundary between figuration and abstraction.

With a focus on the perception of night rather than its iconography, the exhibition intends to be, in fact, a nocturnal experience: as visitors weave their way in they become night-owls, the heady atmosphere of nightlife takes its hold teasing the senses, stirring the inner self inducing cosmic vertigo. One steps into the exhibition as one would step out into the night.

In keeping with the spirit of Centre Pompidou-Metz exhibitions, this show is not limited exclusively to paintings, though these are central, for parallels and resonances are established with, for instance, music and literature, as well as video and photography. The event groups about a hundred artists and historical figures (Winslow Homer, Francis Bacon, Anna-Eva Bergman, Louise Bourgeois, Brassaï, Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Klee, Lee Krasner, Henri Michaux, Joan Mitchell, Amédée Ozenfant, etc.) and contemporary artists (Etel Adnan, Charbel-joseph H. Boutros, Ann Craven, Peter Doig, Jennifer Douzenel, Rodney Graham, Martin Kippenberger, Paul Kneale, Olaf Nicolai, Gerhard Richter, etc.) as well as a number of spectacular installations, some of which were created especially for the project (Harold Ancart, Raphaël Dallaporta, Spencer Finch, Daisuke Yokota, Navid Nuur, etc.).

Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz