Art dealer Bernard Jacobson has been looking at art for 60 years and selling it for 45. But he is becoming increasingly disillusioned. “I think it’s the end of an era,” he says, going on to lament the loss of generous spirit and the increase in megalomania and consumerist drive among contemporary artists. In fact, he doesn’t call them artists. “I call them businessmen,” he laughs wryly.
As an antidote to this despair, Jacobson has mounted a splendidly colourful and vibrant exhibition, featuring works by Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Robert Motherwell and Sam Francis, who, to him, epitomise the “bonheur de vivre” of the 20th century. Matisse is quoted as saying: “Colour above all, and perhaps even more than drawing, is a means of liberation,” and it is certainly the key element in this joyous show.
Although never having worked with Matisse or Miró before, Jacobson is a staunch supporter of Motherwell, was a close friend of Francis, and met and was befriended by Calder as a young man. He spoke to Studio International about some of his memories, as well as some of his opinions on the state of the art world and his hopes for the future.
Bonheur de Vivre
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London
18 March – 27 May 2016
Interview by ANNA McNAY
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY
Click on the pictures below to enlarge
Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape
Long awaited, the first large-scale Miró exhibition in Britain for 50 years does not disappoint; it is the product of a collaboration between Tate Modern and Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona.
A Runaway Girl at Home in New York: Louise Bourgeois at the Guggenheim
Louise Bourgeois, a travelling retrospective marking the artist's nearly 100 years of living and more than seven decades of art-making, is an ambitious project. Opening in October 2007 at Tate Modern in London, the exhibit appeared at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and now is installed in expanded form at the Guggenheim in New York. The museum's singular Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda, with its spiralling ramps, emphasises Bourgeois's prevailing modes of operation: recalling, recreating, reworking, revisiting and re-examining.
Sharon Booma's Odes and Intimations of Immortality
The seductive allure of Sharon Booma's paintings defies description. Viewing one of the artist's oil and mixed media inventions, one feels an attraction to surface beauty, the pull of colour and texture, and then the plunge into deeper mystery. Booma's keen sense of balance finds harmony in disarray and between dissimilar elements and unusual juxtapositions.
Starting at Zero: Black Mountain College 1933-57
Radical educational establishment and sanctuary of the avant-garde in art, music, poetry and dance, Black Mountain College survived for only 24 years, but its influence spread far beyond its isolated North Carolina location. This exhibition, and its accompanying catalogue, offers 'a kind of afterlife to [the] artists' practices'1 by assembling the sometimes contradictory memories and records of the college's experimental achievements in paint, print, dance, pottery, photography, poetry, theatre and music.