ART & CULTURE
High season is here and our and our playground becomes the playground of the world as planes, trains and particularly yachts bring holidaymakers into the region. The art world, ever mindful of having a presence when the people arrive, is out in force. This summer, there are more shows than ever, making the Riviera an art lover’s paradise.
The myth of the Riviera was first immortalised by F. Scott Fitzgerald in “Tender is the Night”. With the worldwide appeal of the eponymous television series “Riviera,” has the baton finally been passed? For the first time, the hit series will air in France on 22 July, with worldwide distribution it has been bringing global perceptions of fictitious decadence in the region up to date, if you are lucky enough to catch it, look out for local landmarks like the lovely Villa Eilen Roc which features heavily in the show. Just remember that however plausible the storyline, it is all fiction.
If you would like to read about the true comings and goings and art scandals in the region, pick up a copy of “The Bouvier Affair” by Alexandra Bregman. It is fascinating, granting powerful insight into the ongoing intrigue surrounding ‘Salvator Mundi,’ the world’s most expensive painting - which according to art world rumours is aboard its owner Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman’s yacht the Serene, currently in the red sea (if spotted in the local waters your local art correspondent would love to know). Bregman's book is certain to spark conversation and I will be taking mine with me wherever I go and leaving it on the table in the hope of gaining “local” insight.
Starting out in Provence, the Arles Festival of Photography (1 July - 22 September) is celebrating their 50th anniversary and is well worth a visit. There is also plenty to see in Aix-en-Provence: The Guggenheim show at Hôtel de Caumont presents “Masterpieces from Manet to Picasso: The Thannhauser Collection” showing pieces from the Solomon Guggenheim Collection in New York. This show has had rave reviews and should not to be missed. Until 29 September. www.caumont-centredart.com
Plan your visit in combination with the Festival International d'Art Lyrique d'Aix-en-Provence, their annual Opera festival, which includes performances of Mozarts Requiem and Tosca. 3 - 22 July at the Théâtre de l'Archevêché, Aix-en-Provence. www.festival-aix.com
Nearby at Château La Coste you can not only visit their permanent sculpture trail but also the various dedicated exhibition spaces. Shows include Don McCullen, Jean-Michel Basquiat and perhaps most fascinating of all, for those who have yet to experience Virtual Reality and art, Michel van der Aa has produced “Eight,” the story of a woman's life told in reverse via music theatre and visual art. 1 - 31 July, booking required. www.villalacoste.com
Although quite a distance away, for true art lovers an exhibit from the collection of Yvon Lambert is well worth the trip to Avignon to see “Basquiat Remix”. Yvon Lambert was the gallerist that launched the career of Cy Twombly and Basquiat in France and his priceless collection is as impressive as his exquisite eye. 1 July - 29 September. www.collectionlambert.fr
If you are in Marseille, don’t be alarmed if you see the glowing insignia of the famous superhero Bat Man high above the sky. Although it would be wonderful to think he could be floating around to save us all from bad guys, it is, in fact, Los Angeles-based artist Alex Israel's “Bat Signal” which is beaming across the city from MAMO’s open-air space atop Corbusier's City Radieuse. Until 31 August. www.mamo.fr
Marseille is a wonderful place if you are passionate about contemporary art. Friche La Belle de Mai has five exhibitions opening including the first solo Paul Maheke exhibition. http://www.lafriche.org
The commercial art galleries centre around Rue du Cavalier Rose and this year's Art-O-Rama, the affordable art fair, which is supported by so many of the region’s art institutions will occur 30 August - 1 September. www.art-o-rama.fr
The full moons will be around the 16th July, 15th August and 14th of September and if you do nothing but walk to the sea's edge and look at the full moon reflected on the Mediterranean you will see one of the most beautiful sights of the summer. Take it a step further at the Fondation Carmignac at Porquerolles. Organised with Soundwalk, their sensory experience called “Nuit de pleine lune” is an immersion into the forested gardens especially for full moon nights, guided by the voices of Patti Smith and Charlotte Gainsbourg. The isolated natural beauty of the island cloaked in darkness may well be a bit spooky! From 10 pm - 12 am, 13 – 19 July, 12 – 18 August and 11 – 17 September. Booking required. www.fondationcarmignac.com
The Maeght Foundation examines the work of Joan Miró, curated by the former director of the Miró Foundation in Barcelona, Rosa Maria Malet. This exhibition promises to be fascinating, exploring the relationship between the Maeght and the artist in various media. Until 17 November. www.fondation-maeght.com
The Venet collection in Le Moy is showing “Claude Viallat: Unleashing colour”, and refers to Viallat’s 1970 show in Bordeaux - where he worked with army surplus tents, taking them through a fascinating process to create brightly coloured textiles. Book online in advance and enjoy the wonderful sculpture garden. Until 13 September. www.venetfoundation.org
In Nice, they continue to celebrate film with L’Odysée du Cinéma. Various screenings of art films and notable installations by Clement Cogitore at the National Chagall Museum and an exhibition of filmmaker Alain Fleischer at the Charles Nègre museum of photography. www.cinema2019.nice.fr
For a true Fench intellectual experience with a little exciting outrage that will challenge you're understanding of gender, make your way up to Villa Arson for Brice Dellsperger’s film “Fucking Perfect: Body Double 36” as part of the Brice Dellsperger: L'âge du Double. Dellsperger teaches at the École National Superior Arts Decoratif in Paris and his filmmaking uses camp and drag to destabilise the conventions of cinema and representation. Do turn up with an open mind and expect to be challenged, but do not bring your granny - unless she is liberal and curious. Until 13 October. www.villa-arson.org
Finally, if the hot sun and the traffic gets to you and you just want to get lost for a few hours in air-conditioned darkness of a museum, escape inside the beautiful mind of Yves Saint Laurent. “L’Aisie Rêvée D’ Yves Saint Laurent” has arrived at the Musée des Departments Asiatique Nice. Take time to understand how Yves Saint Laurent influenced his design with his dreams of the Far East - and how he ultimately created Opium, the perfume that made him very rich. Until 6 October. www.maa.departement06.fr
- Sarah Hyde