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On June 1 in Le Muy, France, the Venet Foundation—a multi-faceted art mecca spread across 17 acres of idyllic French countryside—unveiled a vibrant summer exhibition titled “Robert Barry: A Situation,” currently on view through September 30. Curated by Mathieu Copeland in collaboration with pioneering artist Robert Barry, the dynamic show welcomes visitors into an immersive double retrospective of Barry’s singular expressions of Conceptual Art and Minimalism in the form of provocative murals and sound pieces. Alongside the exhibition, visionary founder Bernar Venet debuts his own alluring new paintings and installations, joining ongoing presentations of majestic works by icons such as Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, James Turrell, Frank Stella, Ulrich Rückriem, and Anish Kapoor.
Opened in 2014 by the esteemed French artist and his wife Diane, the duo developed a comprehensive “total work of art” and “exceptional mental studio” concept in which art is not created but deeply explored. Upon entering the well-preserved site, visitors embark on a meticulously curated artistic journey that expertly layers modern and historic architecture and art in a utopian crossroads of introspection and intervention. The first retrospective of “Robert Barry: A Situation” displays a spirited show of murals. The square wall drawing UNTITLED, originally presented in 1978 at the Leo Castelli Gallery, is an ardent study of “rematerialization” in which words are lifted from paper to an experiential scale. YOUTO, originally shown in 1985 at the Renaissance Society of Chicago, thoughtfully expands a word, deconstructing its shape, form, and meaning. A second retrospective of enveloping SOUND WORDS, ranging from 1976 to 2022, echoes throughout the New Gallery as well as the outdoor Sculpture Park in an entrancing performance of spoken poetry and silence.
The auditory masterpieces are juxtaposed with visual treasures by Arman, Larry Bell, Tony Cragg, Robert Morris, and Phillip King in a holistic adventure for the senses en plein air. throughout The Factory, visitors will encounter Venet’s latest sculptures, such as 14 horizontally-placed Arcs, reaching 16 meters long, which reflect the nearby vertically-oriented 6 Arcs: Perception Inférieure / Perception Supérieure, situated in the Sculpture Park between the Stella Chapel, created by Frank Stella, and the ceremonious art of Anish Kapoor. 6 Arcs uniquely transports spectators to an underground arena in which the towering, 25-meter high sculptures introduce a visual network to the stars. Otherworldly structures such as Kapoor's Intersection (2012), presenting extravagant, robust spheres of Corten steel, and Larry Bell’s geometric Something Green (2017), offering delicate, ethereal windows of verdant, laminated glass, impart a freeform narrative for all ages, like a secret pathway through a beloved storybook where the purity of the abstract imagination and a full embracement of nature’s invaluable splendor reigns supreme.
The Venet Foundation recommends making reservations for public viewing and guided visits at www.venetfoundation.org.