Die Jugend 1896Art Nouveau is an art movement that was very popular in the 1890’s up until the first years of the 20th Century. The term means ‘New Art’ in French and in other languages it is known as “Jugendstil” (Germany), “Sezessionstil” (Austria), “Modernismo” (Spain), and “Floreale” or “Liberty” in Italy. Art Nouveau has been applied to all of the decorative arts, architecture, painting and sculpture.

Art Nouveau was charged with an ideology to break the standards of the 19th Century Academic Art and to bring down the barriers between the fine arts and applied arts. It was a movement to combine all the arts in an attempt to create new art based on natural forms that could be mass-produced by the technologies of the industrial age. Additionally, the artist should be able to work on various different approaches from painting to metalwork and everything in between. 

A central element in Art Nouveau is the organic, plant-inspired motif which is often expressed with floral patterns and themes. Such themes are highly stylized with flowing curved forms. Other primary themes are birds, insects and femme fatales. The use of abstract lines and shapes as well as the lack of vivid shading is applied in order to eliminate the sense of depth thus most Art Nouveau paintings are presented in a two-dimensional manner.

Many Art Nouveau artifacts such asArt Nouveau Champenois vases, bowls, plates, lights, various furniture etc are beautiful objects but not necessarily very practical to use. During the first years of the movement, advertising posters were introduced into art providing a new space for the exhibition of this new art. Additionally, architects like Antoni Gaudí (although he has his own distinct style) have stretched the limits of design into astonishing and magnificent forms.

Art Nouveau remains an extraordinary form of art until today.Countless artifacts from the period 1890-1914 are constantly reproduced and many contemporary artists identify themselves as Art Nouveau artist. It is indeed the boldness, the sense of adventure and the desire to revolt that makes Art Nouveau such a pleasant trip for the senses!
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Mirror, mirror at the Freud Museum

Mark Wallinger with Freud's jacket in background
Mark Wallingers Self Reflection show, in which he has installed a mirror across the entire ceiling of Sigmund Freuds study at the Freud Museum in Londons Hampstead, is one of the most successful of the many artistic interventions that have taken place in this iconic room. As well as its richly chiming references to Freudian notions surrounding the doubled self and self-reflection, it also presents a weirdly disorientating and decidedly unheimlich perspective for anyone entering the room, especially when you notice through the window the loomingand also doubly reflectedpresence of the artists sculpture Self (2016) outside in the garden. Thanks to the Art Fund, this Wallinger-height bronze columnar letter I is to be a permanent al-fresco fixture at the museum.

All these subjects and much more were given an illuminating airing at the beginning of the week in a sparky conversation between Wallinger and Fiona Bradley, the director of the Edinburghs Fruitmarket Gallery. The packed audience included Elisabeth Murdoch, whose Freelands Foundation has just awarded the Fruitmarket its inaugural 100,000 Freelands Award to mount a major show of Jacqueline Donachie. Butas Dr Freud would certainly agreeit is the nature of live talks that surprises can spontaneously emerge, and this certainly happened when one audience member quizzed Wallinger about the erotic, bordello connotations of the mirrored ceiling, stating that he was speaking as an architect who had become familiar with mirrored ceilings while working on a suburban brothel. There were a few ripples of nervous laughter before the interlocutor added that it was his job to convert the building into a new function and remove, rather than install, its reflective surfaces. Ego and id, indeed.

Antiques dealers arrested and $4.5m worth of ivory seized in New York

The Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R.  Vance and the Environmental Conservation Department commissioner Basil Seggos (left of the podium) with some of the ivory that was seized
On 22 September, three dealers who operate the Metropolitan Fine Arts and Antiques store in New York were arrested for selling ivory works of art without a licensea felony in a state under a law passed in 2014 to limit the ivory trade. Officials with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation raided the shop and found 126 objects totalling $4.5mincluding two pairs of elephant tusks, one of which was seven feet long. This followed a sting operation in which undercover investigators purchased a $2,000 statuette that was supposedly carved from mammoth tusk but turned out to be ivory from an African elephant.

The Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr said that the dealersVictor Zilberman, Irving Morano and Samuel Moranocontinued to sell ivory works of art after their non-renewable license expired. A lawyer for Zilberman told the New York Times that his client denied the charges and intended to fight them. A lawyer for the Moranos did not respond to a call for comment. All of the objects found in the seizure will be destroyed in New York on World Elephant Day next year.

Elmgreen and Dragset to install ‘tiny little lonely booth’ in the Grand Palais

View of Grand Palais' Nave (Image: Cosimo Mirco Magliocca/ Collection Rmn-Grand Palais)
What is an art fair actually? asks Michael Elmgreen, one half of the Berlin-based duo Elmgreen and Dragset. We love to go, and we love to complain about it. Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, the duos other half, explored this art world institution at their fake art fair solo show, The Well Fair, at the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing earlier this year. They are continuing this inquest with a one-day pop-up event at the Grand Palais in Paris on 24 September, Galerie Perrotin. The installation is an exact preview of Perrotins booth at the Fiac art fair, opening on 19 Octoberin the same spot in the Grand Palais Nave, with the same dimensions, the same presentation of works, the same furniture, all curated by the artists.

The aim is to give an entirely new perspective on an art fair by seeing just one small booth in the otherwise empty space of the massive, light-filled Nave of the Grand Palais. Its standing there alone, its quite vulnerable, Elmgreen says of the solo booth, calling it fantastic to see just one curated presentation of works, rather than the saturated mix crying buy me buy me buy me. As a unique space, before it is enveloped by all the other galleries, the booth is actually quite charming, he says. The works on show include pieces by Elmgreen and Dragset, who are represented by Perrotin, and other gallery artists such as Jean-Michel Othoniel, Sophie Calle and Gregor Hildebrandt, all in a black and white palette (as were the works in The Well Fair). Its almost like the starting point of the whole Fiac is coming from that tiny little lonely booth, Elmgreen says.

The pair also has a solo show, Elmgreen and Dragset: Changing Subjects, coming up at the Flag Art Foundation in New York in October (1 October-17 December), with works from 1998 to the present on two levels. One of the two new works on show is a site-specific installation on the foundations terrace, human-sized lifeguard called Watching (2016) overlooking the Hudson River, made of polished stainless steel to reflect the Chelsea skyline. The other new work, Human Scale (2016), is made of stainless steel rulers attached to a wall that give the dimensions of the body parts of an anonymous adult. The body has completely boiled down to be just these numerical values spread out on the wall, Elmgreen says. This forms an interesting contrast to the hyper-real sculptural representations of the human body in some of the other works in the exhibition, such as The Experiment (2011), which shows a young boy trying on his mothers lipstick and high heels in front of a mirror.

The upper-level gallery space will be entirely dedicated to one work, Side Effects (2015), hand-blown, clear glass vases that contain the pastel powdered food colouring pigments that are used in the latest wave of HIV medication. The colours look a bit like candy Elmgreen says, and have a calm visual appearance, camouflaging the toxic side effects that such medications have, even though we are fortunate that we actually are in a position where we can survive HIV. The work also addresses the lasting stigma of HIV/Aids, even within the gay community itself. New York is an appropriate place to show the work because of the citys history with the Aids crisis in the 1980s and more recent activism, Elmgreen saysand of course it is also timely with the approaching US presidential election.

Egypt’s Mallawi Museum reopens with looted collection mostly restored

The objects stolen from the museum predominantly date to the Graeco-Roman Period and included jewellery, shabti figurines depicting workers in the afterlife, statues of the gods Osiris, Isis, Hathor and Thoth, pottery, papyri, gold coins and wooden coffin
The Mallawi Museum, in Egypts Al Minya Governorate, reopened this week after a 864,000 renovation. Most of the museums 1,000-piece collection has also been recovered from looters and is back on display.

The museum was ransacked in August 2013 during a period of violence in the country following the ousting of the former president Mohamed Morsi. The looters shot one member of the museum staff dead and stole almost all of the artefacts on display. Other items, too large to remove, were vandalised, destroyed or burned. The objects stolen predominantly date to the Graeco-Roman Period and included jewellery, shabti figurines depicting workers in the afterlife, statues of the gods Osiris, Isis, Hathor and Thoth, pottery, papyri, gold coins and wooden coffins.

Shortly after the attack, a Red List of the looted artefacts was distributed by Unesco in Arabic and English. Over the following years, the vast majority of these artefacts were recovered. A limestone statue of Ankhesenamun, Tutankhamun's wife, was seized in December 2013, after officials traced it to a bazaar in Cairo, and a man was arrested in Giza after he tried to sell 13 artefacts taken from the museum. Many of the objects were returned by local people after Egyptian authorities promised a small reward and that no criminal charges would be brought against them.

The Mallawi Museum opened in 1963 as a space for the display of artefacts excavated at local archaeological sites, including Hermopolis, a major centre associated with the god Thoth, where many mummified animals and statues have been discovered. It now features modern display cases, lighting and security, and the newly revamped museum places much greater emphasis on education. The aim is to promote the history of Al Minya to locals and explain the daily lives of the communities in the region, from the Pharaonic Period through to the Islamic Period.

The three-year redevelopment project was funded by Egypts Ministry of Antiquities, the Al Minya Governorate and the Italian government.

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