A birthday celebration with Yaacov Agam
It was a happy 86th birthday for the Father of Kinetic Art, Yaacov Agam, on May 11 as he and classical harpist Chantal Thomas d’Hoste celebrated with Park West CEO Albert Scaglione and his wife Mitsie at a private dinner in Paris.
Agam also marked the occasion on May 13 when the Israeli artist welcomed close to 90 of Park West’s VIP collectors into his Parisian studio for a rare tour and a sampling of his performance piece “Harp Musicale,” accompanied by Chantal. Afterward, she delighted guests with a concert and gave each a CD of her music to take with them.
At Agam’s request, Albert made a contribution to the music of the event with a charming rendition of the Elvis Presley hit, “Love Me Tender,” also accompanied by Chantal. He had recently sung the song at a cocktail party in New York at which Agam was the celebrated guest.
Agam’s studio is located in the Montparnasse district in Paris, an area traditionally known as home for many important artists. The artist told guests that the painter Paul Gauguin at one time occupied the well-lit space that has been Agam’s studio since the 1970s – close to the time Albert and Agam began their now 40-year relationship.
“I began dealing Peter Max’s work in 1972, I waited until 1974 to reach out to Agam,” Albert said. “I wanted to be sure I was ready.” Albert founded Park West Gallery in 1969.
“Through the years, we’ve watched each other’s children grow, welcomed grandchildren, enjoyed fruitful business and developed a wonderful personal relationship,” said Albert.
Guests were treated to an up-close look at miniature models of Agam’s Fire and Water Fountain that is in Tel Aviv (built in 1986 and recently restored), and his colorful monument entitled “Peaceful Communication with the World” that was constructed at the entrance to the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Guests saw works in progress, some of Agam’s digital art and a personal demonstration of his mesmerizing “Beating Heart” sculpture.
Agam displayed many of his signature Agamographs in varying sizes, including the original of his recent artwork entitled “Homage to Jean-Sebastian Bach,” which bares a distinct color scheme compared with much of Agam’s well-known artwork.
In addition to a visit to Agam’s studio, guests enjoyed a mid-day meal at Les Petites Sorcières, operated since 2007 by well-known Belgian chef Ghislaine Arabian, who appears on the French version of “Top Chef.”