Europe’s Big Summer Art Shows

In June 2007 the art planets lined up for art lovers as Art Basel, Documenta 12, and the Venice Biennale all opened at exactly the same time. While Art Basel came and went quickly with mixed reviews, Documenta, the every-five-year contemporary art extravaganza continues through 23 September in Kassel, Germany. But if crowds are not your idea of a good time, there are more intimate options, even in Venice, not far from the bi-annual extravaganza that is the Biennale. 070718_Salvador_Dali_Tate_Set_Alfred_Hitchock_SpellboundF.jpg

Dali & Film
Perhaps no other 20th-century artist inspired as much controversy as the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. Was he a charlatan or a serious surrealist? One aspect of his oeuvre leaves no doubt about his artistic legacy. The exhibition “Dali & Film,” presented by Tate Modern in collaboration with the Dali Foundation in Figueras, Spain, focuses on the relationship of the surrealist master with cinema. From his early collaborations with Luis Bunuel through his mature works for Hollywood filmmakers from Walt Disney to Alfred Hitchcock, Dali helped to change forever the way that we view the moving image. “Dali & Film” plays the London galleries at South Bank through 9 September. (photo, right)

In Venice, the Venetian-Gothic Palazzo Fortuny is presenting “Artempo,” a show of the works of artists including Francis Bacon, Lucio Fontana, Andy Warhol, and Alberto Giacometti. Appropriate to its location (the former home of designer Mariano Fortuny), the exhibition explores the relationship between art, time, and the power of display, presenting 300 objects, from archaeological artifacts to contemporary installations. “Artempo” features commissioned installations by such international art stars as India’s Anish Kapoor and America’s “light artist” James Turrell. A special treat is the chance to view for the first time the living spaces of Fortuny, designer of the famous Art Nouveau fabric hanging lamp. Through 7 October. Consult for more information.

Brice Marden
An elegant retrospective of the work of Brice Marden is currently installed in Berlin’s handsomely converted train station, the Hamburger Bahnhof, through 7 October. More than 60 works painted by Marden between the 1960s and today are on view. For those who don’t care for monochromatic paintings, Marden proves the velvety beauty of a wax diptych whose two gray/green colors interpret the difference between the two sides of an olive leaf.

Anselm Kiefer
Elsewhere in Europe, a major overview of Anselm Kiefer’s work is on view at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao through 3 September. (The show originated at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which has an insightful interactive website devoted to it, at As part of its 10th-anniversary celebration, several of the soaring spaces of Frank Gehry’s greatest building have been turned over to the enigma that is Kiefer. At once monumental in scale and poetic in nature, Kiefer’s mythical, mystical artworks walk a tightrope between painting, sculpture and collage.

Will Shank

Photo credit: Salvador Dali on the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Spellbound,” 1945
Image Rights of Salvador Dali reserved. © Salvador Dali, FUNDACIO GALA-SALVADOR DALI, Figueres, 2007. Courtesy of the Tate.