For this last column of 2007, I would like to mention two current European exhibitions, restricted to adults.
The first, Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now, opened October 12th at the Barbican Art Gallery (www.barbican.org.uk) in London and runs through January 27th. It explores the representation of sex in art through the ages thanks to over 300 works, including works from Nobuyoshi Araki, Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons, Robert Mapplethorpe, Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt van Rijn and Andy Warhol. A cast of Michelangelo's David was to be shown to Queen Victoria: a stone fig leaf was added in front of the statue's privates parts to avoid shocking the monarch... Sketches from Turner's notebook reveal that the artist was not only interested in romantic scenery. Entrance is restricted to over 18s.
The second, L'Enfer de la Bibliothèque, Eros au secret, opened December 4th at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (site François Mitterrand, www.bnf.fr) in Paris. With over 350 pieces the exhibition features the history and illustrates the content of the distinct and secretive section where books and documents deemed dangerous for the public eye were kept. In addition to Sade, several major writers are shown through their works: Guillaume Apollinaire, Pierre Louÿs, Georges Bataille, Pierre Guyotat, Jean Genet as well as unknown and anonymous authors who celebrated eroticism and sex. The exhibition runs through March 2nd and is restricted to over 16s.
And if you are in Rome before January 6th, visit, at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Mark Rothko, a survey of the career of the American painter through 70 paintings and a selection of works on paper (www.palaexpo.it). The exhibition ends with the black-on-grey canvasses painted before his death in 1970.