Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Salomon Contemporary Art Foundation

A renovated 16th-Century chateau, in the village of Alex, between Thônes and Annecy, houses the Salomon Contemporary Art Foundation. This unexpected and delightful museum, more properly called the la Fondation pour l'Art Contemporain Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, presents truly contemporary work that reflects the artistic judgment of the Foundation's founders, who created the Salomon ski (and now snowboard) equipment and apparel giant.

The museum's building, the chateau d’Arenthon, contains three floors of galleries, plus a gift shop and a salon de thé/library. After seeing the exposition with Susie, I skimmed a great book on Shepard Fairey while sipping a soft drink. Sculpture gardens surround the chateau.

The current exposition, "Collection 3," shows works from the private collection of Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, primarily figurative drawings and paintings. The exposition displays its most abstract works in the top-floor gallery.

The exposition contains many memorable works, all by artists born after 1960. One fun piece was Shepard Fairey's ersatz record label for "The Last of the Rebel Waltzers," part of an extensive series of related works. This particular work includes several long-running Fairey motifs, including "OBEY" and the abstract Andre-the-Giant-in-a-star logo. You can buy (at exceptionally reasonably prices) original works directly from Shepard Fairey at his Web site,

This large untitled work by Olivier Masmonteil struck me as a clever commentary on the relationship between landcape and abstract painting.

The building itself is interesting, combining Gothic architecture and contemporary art. Here's a view of across the entry toward a circular stairwell visible through a window.

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