While in Switzerland I have been working on a web-based project which launches next week - more on that later - and this has delayed my much anticipated tales from Zürich and Basel, where the Renzo Piano-designed Beyeler Foundation blew me away. Although not large art districts, there is a high quality of art going on in Zürich and it was refreshing to see a focus on young contemporary Swiss artists from all mediums. This was prevalent in the Aussersihl district, a hang out for young curators and gallerists. I was staying in the industrial area of Löwenbräuareal and Umgebung with the ex-brewery of the Migros Museum and Kunsthalle, housing the likes of Hauser & Wirth, Bob van Orsouw and the Migros-own sponsored spaces. Highlights included Paul McCarthy at Hauser & Wirth, Philippe Parreno at Kunsthalle and Christoph Ruckhäberle at Migros Museum, whose paintings I wanted to take all home with me! In the innenstadt rechts der Limmat and its leafy neighbourhoods, one can find gallery-converted city villas, my favourite being the beautiful space of semina rerum by Irène Presiwerk that was so individual and a triumph above commonplace white cube spaces. Only a few blocks away lies the Kunsthaus Museum of Modern Art, showcasing a retrospective of german-artist Katharina Frtisch filled with large-scale sculptures fused with images of her native surroundings and Pop culture. And to conclude, I couldn't finish without commenting on the subject of food. A Zürich landmark, the Kronenhalle restaurant is more than a restaurant . Original works by Klee, Chagall, Matisee, Miró, Kandinsky, Braque, Picasso and many more early-twentieth-century masters line the walls of the dining room as you dine on exquisite Swiss cuisine - try the veal and potato roesti and toast to the founding matriarch's taste in art.
In the land of time... there has been no time to blog with all the art, food and art with food consumption that has been going on, but more on that later . So for now, enjoy the art at Groeflin Maag Galerie and their resident dog!
I'm in Zürich to check out the art scene, but like every new city I visit I have to be honest and say I explore with my nose first and feet second, and what better way to wander through innenstadt rechts der Limmat, the Old Town, than with a deliciously moorish pretzel from whole-in-the-wall-bakers, Vohdin Urs, that dates back to 1626. It was the perfect accompaniment as I walked from the Helmhaus, featuring a group show of contemporary art by Swiss artists and creatives to Cabaret Voltaire, the birth place of Dadaism. More art and food coming soon.
Check out the extravagance from the past to the present that hits London by means of Jeff Koons with his Popeye series (left) at the Serpentine Gallery and Baroque: Style In The Age of Magnificence (right) at the V&A. Koon's glorification of American consumer-culture through highly-polished painting and sculpture ties neatly with the coveted style from the eighteenth-century that encompassed not only art, but architecture, design and society: a way of life. South Kensington can pay claim this month to housing the best collection of art work in the world, and at a time of recession this is no mean feat. It is precisely this triumph that bares stronger weight than the art work itself. This is not just Pop Art - it's Pop Art made by one of the world's highest-paid living artists - a personality of the twentieth-century that parallels the greats as Rubens and Bernini 300 years ago with their rare works on display. It is too easy to treat these movements as superficial expressionism and what better way to realize this than to see it, past the façade, with your very own eyes. Enjoy.