85.8 Arc x 16, 2011. Cor-ten steel, 22 meters high. View of work as installed at Versailles.

Bernar Venet: Selling the Wind

When 26-year-old Bernar Venet met Marcel Duchamp in New York in 1967, he boasted that his works were more radical than those made by the father of the readymade. It was another artistic luminary, Christo, who introduced the pair, having described Venet as “the new Marcel Duchamp” to Duchamp himself. It seems that a generous Duchamp was charmed by the cheeky young French conceptualist and wrote a playful recommendation, twisting an ambiguous but usually derogatory French idiom: “Le vent du vent est l’event du Venet” (“The sale of the wind is the event of Venet”). Venet’s youthful arrogance has long since mellowed into an assured confidence that lends him the air of a man who might be able to achieve anything he desired. And his art, which he insists is still rigorously conceptual, has developed from works that might once have been as ephemeral as the wind into sculptures that approach monumentality in both scale and choice of materials. …see the entire article in the print version of March’s Sculpture magazine.