December 13th, 2017   Photography | The High Life & The Horror

Serge Lifar, 1935,
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



Madame d’Ora.
Make Me Beautiful!
Museum für Kunst
& Gewerbe Hamburg
Hamburg | Germany
21 December 2017
> 18 March 2018



Separated Calf’s Head,
before 1958, from the
Slaughterhouse series,
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



Having your portrait photographed by Madame d’Ora underpinned your claim to a place in the world of the beautiful, the well educated and the famous. But then the world changed. Madame d’Ora (1881 > 1963), who from 1910 had dedicated her work exclusively to Viennese and Parisian fashionable society was Jewish and, as the Germans advanced, was forced to flee the French capital.

Born into a wealthy family – her father was a lawyer at the Viennese palace court – Dora Philippine Kalmus would adopt Madame d’Ora as her professional pseudonym. Having trained as a photographer in Berlin, she established a photography studio with Arthur Benda in Vienna in 1907. The two operated a summer studio from 1921 until 1926 in Karlsbad, Germany, and set up an atelier in Paris in 1925. In the 1920s, she courted the rapidly evolving illustrated press, where her images would appear in upmarket magazines such as Die Dame, Madame, and L’Officiel de la Couture et de la Mode.

Fashion designer
Emilie Flöge
wearing a dress with
Kolo-Moser-Motifs, 1908,
Atelier d’Ora
Gelatin silver print



Woman supporting an
ailing man, 1945/46,
from the Refugees series,
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



She photographed fashion for the Wiener Werkstätte, and the long list of those who sat for Madame d’Ora included the clothing designer, businesswoman and lifelong companion of Gustav Klimt, Emilie Flöge. She produced portraits of Coco Chanel, Colette, Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova, and Tamara de Lempicka. Aristocrats like Comtesse Heléne Costa de Beauregard and the modernist patron Marie-Laure de Noailles, Vicomtesse de Noailles, became her clients. However, her camera wasn’t reserved for women; considered the chief architect of modern French ballet, Serge Lifar sat for her, as did Picasso and Maurice Chevalier. In the 1920s Madame d’Ora had photographed flamboyant Jazz-Age entertainer, Josephine Baker, who – by now a French citizen – when war came, joined the Resistance.

Tamara de Lempicka
with a hat by Rose
Descat, 1933,*
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



Skinned Rabbit Body,
before 1958, from the
Slaughterhouse series,
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



By 1945 d’Ora, incensed and appalled by the cruelty of the Nazis, had adopted a tough-edged, no-frills photographic style that she used to document the fate of refugees in the area around Vienna. Returning to Paris and to the glamorous world of portraiture, her personal artistic response to the horrors of war would nevertheless reach its apotheosis in two haunting photographic series of 1950 and 1958 depicting the bloody, dismembered remains of dead animals in the city’s slaughterhouses.

The exhibition Madame d’Ora. Make Me Beautiful! at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) presents the first-ever survey of d’Ora’s work and features some 250 photographs spanning her career from the 1910s to 1950s.

All photographs courtesy Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.
All photographs © Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, except (*) from a private collection in Vienna


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

December 8th, 2017   Design | Haute-Tech: Brainy, Fashionable Furniture

Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance,
unique Ammonite shelf, 2012
Two-tone patinated steel.
Executed by Stefano Ronchetti
for Meta, London.
Collection of Hana Soukupová
& Drew Aaron
Estimate $1,000 > 15,000



Important Design
Sotheby’s New York
New York City | USA
Exhibition 9 > 12 December 2017
Sale 13 December 2017



Michel Boyer,
sideboard, c1970
Stainless steel with
mahogany interior.

Estimate $18,000 > 24,000



Confirming fashion’s current infatuation with technology, Dutch designer, Joris Laarman has been described by W Magazine as producing an ‘haute-cerebral brand of futurism’. The 37-year-old’s pioneering work is at the intersection of design, art, and science. His aim is to abolish the traditional distinctions between the decorative and the functional, the natural and the machine-made world. Creators of 3D-printed bridges, tables constructed with the aid of industrial robots, and chairs that can be downloaded from the internet, his company’s work is currently the subject of Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in New York. Sitting alongside rare pieces by an array of international, celebrated 20th and 21st-century artists, architects and designers, Laarman’s Bone armchair, below, produced in 2007, is one of the star lots inspired by technological innovation in Sotheby’s forthcoming design sale.

In the 1960s French designer, Michel Boyer (1935 > 2011), became sought after for his ability to combine glass, steel and rare woods to create functional luxury furniture. He oversaw and designed the interior of Baron Elie de Rothschild’s personal office in the de Rothschild Frères bank’s Paris headquarters, in which his unique sideboard, above, (commissioned 1970) with its machine-like finish, was installed. During the 1970s, Boyer gained a worldwide reputation for prestigious commissions such as the French embassies in Washington DC and in Brazil.

Joris Laarman,
Bone armchair, 2007
Carrara marble powder
and casting resin.
Produced by Joris
Laarman Lab, Amsterdam,
The Netherlands.

Estimate $250,000 > 350,000



Zaha Hadid,
Serif 4 shelf, from the
Seamless series, 2006
Polyurethane-lacquered
polyester resin.
Produced by Established
& Sons, London.
Estimate $15,000 > 20,000



Sculptural and intriguing, the spiraling Ammonite shelf (2012), top, inspired by technology as much as by nature, is by contemporary furniture and interior designer, and author, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance (b 1974), also French, whose career took off in 2002 after he served as artistic director for the London restaurant Sketch. Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance’s recent projects have included a private dining room for Chateau d’Yquem in the Parisian hotel, Le Meurice; he has designed a candelabra for Baccarat, as well as a scent bottle in the shape of a gold bar for Paco Rabanne. In collaboration with Brand Image, he created the visual and architectural identity of the Air France business class lounges and has developed retail concepts for clients, such as Yves Saint Laurent. Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance furniture creations include, among others, the Corvo and Chiara chairs for American brand Bernhardt Design, and various products for Ligne Roset.

Mathieu Mategot,
magazine rack, circa 1955
Lacquered metal.
Collection of Hana
Soukupová & Drew Aaron
Estimate $2,000 > 3,000



Hungarian, Mathieu Matégot, (1919 > 2001), having spent time in America and Italy, settled in Paris in 1931 and began working as a set designer for the Folies Bergère and window-dresser for the Galerie Lafayette department store, where he also created dresses and tapestries. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Matégot became involved in furniture design. Exploring a variety of materials, including metal, glass, Formica, wood, textiles, and leather, he would later become famous for innovative furniture and accessories incorporating metal tubing and perforated sheet metal, such as the magazine rack, above.

Uncompromising and elegant – although at first sight its function may only be guessed at – the limited edition, Serif 4 shelf (2006), above, by Pritzker Prize- and Sterling prize-winner, Iraqi-British architect, Zaha Hadid (1950 > 2016), who had been practising her own haute-cerebral brand of futurism since the 1980s, is also included in Important Design at Sotheby’s New York. The sale features a total of 165 items, many of which derive from renowned, international collections.

All images courtesy Sotheby’s


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

December 1st, 2017   Auction | One Man’s Vicarious Visions of America

Elizabeth Heyert (1951 >)
Death portraits, from
the series ‘The Travelers’ 6

£2300 > 3800
$3000 > 5000



The Producer’s Pix
Photographs from the
Collection
of Bruce Berman
Bonhams
Los Angeles | California | USA
Exhibition 9 December > 14 December
Sale 14 December 2017



Manuel Alvarez Bravo
(1902 > 2002)
La Operacion Hospital,
Juarez, Mexico

£1500 > 2300
$2000 > 3000



Presumed Innocent, New Jack City, The Client, GoodFellas, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Malcolm X, The Bodyguard, JFK, The Matrix trilogy, Ocean’s Eleven, Mystic River, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Logo Movie are just a few of more than 100 major Hollywood films that Bruce Berman has been passionately involved in producing since 1984. Berman also has another passion: photography.

Steven Soderbergh, who directed some of those movies, was asked to write an introduction to the catalogue for this forthcoming sale of a portion of Berman’s collection of photographs. In it he explains that a great photograph is a story. A great collection also tells a story about its collector.

William Christenberry
(1936 >)
House in Summertime,
Greensboro, Alabama

£1500 > 2300
$2000 > 3000



Andrew Moore
(1957 >)
War of 1812 Mural,
Building 125, Governors
Island, New York

£3000 > 4500
$4000 > 6000



Berman’s advice to someone who wants to start a collection is ‘to go with what strikes them, with whatever hits that button in them.’ His own taste in photography was formed by his early experiences. Having been given a Kodak Brownie camera for his eighth birthday, he immediately began taking pictures. In his teens he graduated to an SLR and while at college – inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On The Road novel – made epic road trips across America, stopping at the roadside to photograph whatever caught his eye.

Christian Patterson
(1972 >)
No Nothing, from
‘RedHeaded Peckerwood’

£600 > 900
$800 > 1200



As his career progressed, he began buying work he liked by photographers such as Diane Arbus and William Eggleston. And when, in 1988, after a decade in the film business, he was earning enough to pay photographers to travel around the country producing their own work on his behalf, he dispatched them to the Midwest, to Minnesota and Wisconsin, or to the South. Revelling in his vicarious wanderings and describing himself as ‘totally addicted’ to collecting, by 2007, Berman, aided by his wife, Nancy, had amassed 2,600 photos. He donated many to the Getty Center in Los Angeles, which that year mounted the exhibition, Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection. By focussing on one particular genre, and, via his commissioning and discovery of new talent, having made a direct contribution to the formulation of the genre itself, Bruce Berman had justly earned a place in the history of American photography.

The film mogul currently owns a mere 700 prints. Having accepted that he is now at a different phase in his life, he says that he no longer gets sad when he sells or donates his a photographs.

Dorothea Lange
(1895-1965)
Funeral Cortege,
End of an Era in a
Small Valley Town

£11000 > 19000
$15000 > 25000



Sheron Rupp
(1943 >)
Shawnee; and Utica, Ohio 2
£750 > 1100
$1000 > 1500



Elsewhere in the catalogue, The Getty’s Judith Keller and Anna Lacoste describe Berman’s personal collection as ‘an archive of late twentieth-century American life’. If one presumes that the images being offered in this auction are a representative selection from the work he accumulated, it might be fair to conclude, however, that in avoiding extremes – of poverty, of wealth, of depravity, of political, environmental, racial, and sexual issues – despite the pioneering spirit on which it was founded and pursued, the richness and quality of its content and Berman’s enthusiasm for photography, his story of life in the USA during the period in which these photographs were created is a fascinating, offbeat, but ultimately sentimental and nostalgic journey.

The Producer’s Pix: Photographs from the Collection of Bruce Berman at Bonhams includes 170 lots by, among others, Stephen Shore, whose work is the subject of a major retrospective currently on show at MoMA in New York.

All images courtesy Bonhams


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

November 24th, 2017   Photography | Lucien Hervé’s Architecture Agenda

High Court, Chandigarh, India, 1955*
Architect: Le Corbusier



Lucien Hervé
Geometry of Light
Jeu de Paume­
Château de Tours
Tours |
France
> 27 May 2018



Unless we are prepared to travel a great deal the majority of our opinions about new – and old – buildings around the world are largely based on the photographs we see of them. While architects often have their own agenda, the photographer plays a critical role in our perception of their work. It’s worth bearing in mind, therefore, that his/her depiction of a particular building may reflect his/her personal and, perhaps more importantly, political philosophy.

Lucien Hervé (1910 > 2007), who became one of the most famous and sought after architecture photographers of the 20th century, was above all else a socialist. It was his socialist instinct that drove him to visit Le Corbusier’s L’unité d’habitation in Marseille, then under construction, in 1949, and to create 650 photographs of it in a single day, which he sent to the architect, who subsequently asked him to photograph everything he built. Their collaboration would last until the architect’s death in 1965.

Le Corbusier believed the tower block was the solution for rehousing the masses that had been displaced during the Second World War and Hervé was seduced by his vision. With 337 apartments and facilities for housing 1,600 people, and incorporating two shopping streets, a hotel and a rooftop terrace, completed in 1952 L’unité d’habitation was designed as a self-contained community. It was, and remains, a living illustration of the architect’s famous dictum that ‘a house is a machine for living in’.

Hervé took the pseudonym given him by the French Resistance, with whom he fought against fascism during World War II as his own name. Born László Elkán, into a modest background in Hungary, in 1910, he studied economics and art in Vienna and before settling in Paris in 1929, where he joined the French Communist Party and, in 1937, became a French citizen. The following year he secured a job as a photographer on the periodical Marianne but at the outbreak of war was conscripted as a military photographer. Captured by the Germans at Dunkirk in 1940, he was sent to Prussia, but soon escaped, making his way to Vichy France, where he promptly joined the movement fighting against the Nazis.

Paris Sans Quitter Ma Fenêtre
(Paris Without Leaving
My Window), series, 1947



Shipyard, Barcelona, ​​Spain, 1959



Cathedral, Brasilia, Brazil, 1961
Architect: Oscar Niemeyer



Clues were also already apparent in his first peace time photographic series (1947), Paris Sans Quitter Ma Fenêtre (Paris without Leaving my Window), above, inspired by Russian and German cinema, in which he depicted a jaunty group of anonymous cyclists, long shadows spread over the cobbled surface of the road, that he would focus on humanity rather than on the individual. In stark contrast to the albeit also left-leaning, life-affirming school of photography of his French contemporaries, Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis, Hervé didn’t want his own pictures to tell stories and he took pains to avoid the anecdotal. The human figure, nevertheless, though often only fugitive or suggested, provided welcome animation in the rigorous compositions of the architectural photographs he would later produce.

Le Corbusier had told Hervé that he had the soul of an architect and Hervé himself has been quoted as saying that the best interpretation [of architecture] is that which reveals the work while remaining faithful, with humility, to the spirit of its creator.

Creating an architectural experience, thereby departing from earlier architecture photography, rather than simply showing the whole of a building in a single shot, Lucien Hervé’s approach was to present tightly cropped details that forced the viewer to proceed over its planes and through its spaces in intervals; isolating its various parts, he drew attention to how light and shadow reacted with its structural forms and geometry.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, 1944
Architect: Stephen Sauvestre
Structural engineers:
Maurice Koechlin,
Émile Nouguier


His close affinity with architecture led to his documenting the construction of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris (inaugurated 1958), and to immortalise Brasilia, as well as architectural works by, among others, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Alvar Aalto, Jean Prouvé and Richard Neutra.

As the extensive retrospective exhibition Lucien Hervé: Geometry of Light at Jeu de Paume Château de Tours demonstrates, when demand for the photographer’s work became more international, Hervé had begun to travel a great deal and, in the late 1950s, started photographing the historical architecture and monuments of the countries he visited. While he marvelled at the of the Mughal ruler’s creations in India and the royal power embodied in Spain’s Escorial palace, he was inspired equally by the simple forms of popular houses of the Balearic Islands, to which, in accordance with his personal ideals, in his photography, he afforded the same respect.

All photographs by Lucien Hervé, courtesy Jeu de Paume.
All photographs © Lucien Hervé, Paris, except * © FLC – ADAGP / J Paul Getty Trust, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

November 16th, 2017   Art | gimhongsok – Believe It or Not

A Study on Slanted
& Hyperbolic Constitution
– Small Love, 2017
Cast resin
238 x 103 x 90 cm



gimhongsok:
Subsidiary Construction
Perrotin
Hong Kong
17 November > 22 December 2017



Structuring Shadows
(bubble wrap), 2017
Pigment print on
resin coated paper



Accomplished liar: his untruths and ability to confuse his audience fascinate Korean painter, sculptor, performance and video artist, gimhongsok, whose methods elicit antagonism and acceptance in equal measure. Born in Seoul, in 1964, where he continues to live and work, despite claiming a fear of foreign travel, he studied in Braunschweig and at Düsseldorf Kunst Akademie in Germany (1990 > 1996).

The relationship between money and art is also of great interest to him. He once put on a performance in which a person he paid to wear an animal costume, held a pose for a certain length of time. For the same performance at another venue, he placed a mannequin inside the costume with an accompanying explanatory panel saying that he had paid a Spanish worker to model for him, so that on this occasion both the existence of the performer and the financial transaction existed only in the text.

While he might have us believe that he is a homebody, and that many of his ideas are derived from the long hours he spends watching TV news and documentary programmes, the content of which he subverts and manipulates in order to present convincing fictional stories of his own, his artistic concerns are far from parochial and deal with global issues – fake news, waste, and political oppression having been long-term preoccupations.

gimhongsok openly admits that plagiarism plays a strong role in his creativity. The animal costume piece mixed elements taken from Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s Love Lasts Forever (1999) with Mexico-based artist Santiago Sierra’s practice of hiring workers to perform tasks. In his recent sculptures, he mixes Jeff Koons-style wit with the sculptural forms of Constantin Brâncuși, while his prints suggest the spatialist techniques developed by Lucio Fontana. His earlier works borrow freely from, among others, the graffiti-based art of Jean-Michel Basquiat, from Joseph Beuys, John Chamberlain, and Carl Andre.

Structuring Shadows
(plastic bag), 2017
Pigment print on
resin coated paper



A Study on Slanted
& Hyperbolic Constitution
– Cubi XII of David Smith, 2017
Cast bronze
227 x 93 x 88 cm



Structuring Shadows
(cardboard box), 2017
Pigment print on
resin coated paper



Asked In a 2007 interview with ArtAsiaPacific whether there was any piece that best represented his style at the time, gimhongsok explained that, although it is common for contemporary artists to utilise diverse media, many still express a certain signature style. ‘In such a light’, he continued, ‘I could be accused of doing something completely arbitrary or nonsensical, because neither my methodology, nor the images I create represent stylisation, which I expressly resist… As such, it is agonising for me to pick a representative work’. Although his working method might be interpreted as parasitic, he asserts that because he is not dependent upon any particular subject matter, method, or style of presentation, he often believes that he is ‘on a perfect journey’.

gimhongsok’s work has been regularly exhibited throughout Asia, in the USA, Australia, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK since 1998, and the fact that all of the major Korean museums, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art, as well the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan; National Gallery of Canada, Canada; Queensland Art Gallery, Australia, and many other important international institutions, have acquired examples of it, stands as testament to the art establishment’s belief in his extraordinary talent.

Nothing is ever quite what it seems in gimhongsok’s creations and he delights in being found out. A Study on Slanted and Hyperbolic Constitution – Small Love, from his 2017 series – the series title itself is a clue that it is an appropriation of works by American sculptors David Smith and Robert Indiana – included in the forthcoming gimhongsok: Subsidiary Construction at Perrotin Hong Kong, might appear to be an unstable 2.4m high stack of taped-up cardboard boxes, however closer inspection reveals it as a hyper-realistic resin fabrication.

All images courtesy the artist and Perrotin


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

November 3rd, 2017   Architecture | Brutalism Bites Back

Plumbers and Gasfitters
Employees’ Union Building,
Melbourne, Australia, 1968 > 1971.
Architect Graeme Gunn
Photo Graeme Gunn c 1971



SOS Brutalism
Save the Concrete Monsters!
Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM)
Frankfurt am Main | Germany
9 November 2017 > 2 April 2018



Birmingham City Library,
Birmingham, UK, 1969 > 1973,
demolished 2016.
Architect John Madin
Photo Jason Hood 2016



Brutalism has been given a hard time. Over the past thirty years or so many brutalist buildings across the globe have been destroyed. Many more are now at risk. Some of those bent on their demolition see themselves as avenging angels, ridding the world of ugly, unloved monsters that should never have been erected and which the world would be better off without. Often brutalist buildings were commissioned from noteworthy architects by big companies, cities or governments as symbols of success and of civic and national pride; they were constructed on prime sites, the current real estate values of which give pause for thought.

While no-one, in Britain at least, has gone so far as to prostrate themselves before the bulldozers, flying in the face of the destroyers’ views brutalism has reached cult status on Facebook and Instagram. On the British Brutalism Appreciation Society, Facebook page, one of its many members, Rhys Edmonds, a student at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), expresses his excitement at having the Grade II listed One Kemble Street, built between 1964 and 1968 by Richard Seifert’s architectural company ‘right next to my Uni campus!’

Though it must be said that many were thrown up quickly and have little architectural merit, even some of the more functional buildings were executed with great care. In August this year, Westminster Council approved the demolition of the striking, brutalist Welbeck Street car park – just off Oxford Street  – designed by Michael Blampied and Partners in 1971. ‘While the car park on Welbeck Street stands out nationally as an exemplar of 1960s car parks, it does not meet the very high bar for listing buildings of this date,’ a spokesperson for Historic England said. The planners’ excuse is that removing the building is in line with the move away from the use of cars in central London.

Sainte-Bernadette du
Banlay,
Nevers, France,
1963 > 1966.
Architects Claude Parent
& Paul Virilio

Photo Bruno Bellec 2008



Sacré-Cœur Cathedral,
Algiers, Algeria, 1955 > 1963.
Architects Paul Herbé
& Jean Le Couteur

Photo Cyril Preiss 2005



Holy Trinity Church,
Vienna, Austria, 1971 > 1976.
Architect Fritz Wotruba
Photo Wolfgang Leeb 2011



Meanwhile, the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture held the day event Caring for Brutalism in Durham last month in response to the Secretary of State’s renewed decision not to list the city’s angular, concrete students’ union building. Designed by Architects Co-Partnership, Dunelm House was completed in 1966 under the supervision of internationally renowned engineer Sir Ove Arup – his remarkable oeuvre was celebrated in a major retrospective exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2016 – whose adjacent Kingsgate Bridge opened two years earlier. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, the noted architecture historian, considered the building, ‘Brutalist by tradition but not brutal to the landscape…the elements, though bold, [are] sensitively composed.’

It’s interesting to note that the term brutalism does not originate from the English word ‘brutal’, but rather from ‘béton brut’ – the French term for exposed concrete. However, it was coined in the 1950s by a young generation of architects in Britain who used the expression ‘New Brutalism’ to distance their work from the dreariness of post-war architecture. Architecture critic Reyner Banham described the Hunstanton School by Alison and Peter Smithson (and their unrealised Soho House) as ‘points of architectural reference by which the New Brutalism in architecture may be defined’.

Rozzol Melara, Trieste,
Italy, 1969 > 1982.
Architects IACP
(Carlo Celli & Luciano Celli)

Photo Paolo Mazzo 2010



La Pyramide, Abidjan,
Ivory Coast, 1968 > 1973.
Architect Rinaldo Olivieri



Brutalist architecture celebrates rawness and bare construction, qualities that lend themselves well to photography. #SOSBrutalism is a growing database and interactive site that currently contains images of over 1000 brutalist buildings from all over the world. The passionate conservation group behind it, in whose view brutalist buildings are not always made of concrete, ‘but are all ‘rhetorical’ in that they blatantly place the focus on their material or sculptural form’, have joined forces with the internationally esteemed Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) to present the eponymously-titled SOS Brutalism exhibition. To coincide with the show, this month Park Books publishes SOS Brutalism – A Global Survey, the first ever worldwide survey of brutalist architecture from the 1950s to the 1970s.

All images courtesy the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM)


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

October 27th, 2017   Exhibitions | Josef (& Anni) Albers’ Homage to Mexico

Detail of stonework,
Mitla, c1937
Gelatin silver print.
The Josef and Anni
Albers Foundation



Josef Albers in Mexico
Solomon R Guggenheim Museum
New York City | USA
3 November 2017
> 18 February 2018



Study for Homage to
the Square: Consent, 1971
Oil on Masonite.
Solomon R Guggenheim
Museum, New York.
Gift, The Josef
Albers Foundation, Inc,
91.3895



Josef and Anni Albers liked to travel. Between 1927 and 1933 when the Bauhaus – where he was professor of art and design and she taught weaving – was officially closed and their move to the USA, the pair had visited Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Barcelona in Spain, Avignon, Biarritz, and Paris in France, and Geneva and Ascona in Switzerland. No sooner had they arrived in America than they took a trip to Cuba, before, in 1935, they packed their bags for the first of their eventual fourteen visits to Mexico and Latin America.

In truth the German-born duo had known far more about Central and South America than they did about the United States, having fallen in love with the pre-Columbian art they saw in the collections of German museums. Once Josef was established in a teaching post at the newly founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina, they took advantage of their first opportunity – he even learned to drive just so they could make the journey – to go to Mexico.

Untitled (Great Pyramid,
Tenayuca, Mexico), c1940
Gelatin silver print.
Solomon R Guggenheim
Museum, New York.
Gift, The Josef and
Anni Albers Foundation



Prismatic II, 1936
Oil on wood
composition panel.
The Josef and Anni
Albers Foundation



‘For the Albers, art and the visual had to be everywhere in your life, and in Mexico, art was everywhere,’ Josef & Anni Albers Foundation director Nicholas Fox Weber, who knew the couple, was quoted as saying in a fascinating article on the Artsy website in January of this year, ‘They felt that people there were living with visual flair, even if they were living in simple huts – the jewellery that women wore, the serapes, the blankets, the earthenware pottery. They just felt that it was the most natural thing in the world in Mexico to make the visual environment beautiful, which was the dream of the Bauhaus.’

Over the years, the couple amassed a collection of around 1,400 objects, some dating back as far as 1200 BC, including 16th century Aztec pottery as well as ancient and modern Mexican textiles.

In its forthcoming show the Guggenheim has chosen to focus exclusively on the influence Mexico exerted on Josef Albers’ (1888 > 1976) work.

Variant / Adobe,
Orange Front, 1948–58
Oil on Masonite.
Solomon R Guggenheim
Foundation, Gift,
The Josef and Anni Albers
Foundation in honour
of Philip Rylands for his
continued commitment
to the Peggy Guggenheim
Collection 97.4555



Untitled (Uxmal,
Mexico), c1940
Gelatin silver print.
Solomon R Guggenheim
Museum, New York,
Gift, The Josef and
Anni Albers Foundation



‘Mexico is truly the promised land of abstract art,’ Josef wrote to his former Bauhaus colleague Wassily Kandinsky. Although he never simply appropriated what he saw, the influence Josef derived from pre-Columbian art, objects and architecture is clear in the spirit in which he arranged the geometric shapes in his paintings and also in his photographs. The same can be said of Anni’s fabric and jewellery designs. The colours Josef saw while travelling around Latin America had a big impact on his palette too, just as they did on Anni’s.

Josef Albers in Mexico at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum will feature a selection of rarely seen early paintings from Albers’ Homage to the Square and Variant / Adobe series, as well as a selection of works on paper, photographs and photo-collages, many of which have not been on public display.

All images artwork and photographs by Josef Albers, © 2017 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, courtesy Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

October 20th, 2017   Art | Jimmie Durham’s Confusing World

Self-Portrait Pretending to
Be a Stone Statue of Myself
, 2006

Colour photograph.
Collection of fluid archives,
Karlsruhe,
Courtesy
ZKM Center for Art and
Media, Karlsruhe



Jimmie Durham:
At the Center of the World
Whitney Museum of American Art
New York City | USA
3 November 2017 > 28 January 2018



Tlunh Datsi, 1984
Puma skull, shells,
turquoise, turkey feathers,
metal, sheep and deer
fur, pine, acrylic paint.
Private collection, Belgium



Duchampian appropriation or cultural theft? No one, including the artist, evidently, seems very sure. Nevertheless, blazing an inexorable trail of controversy in its wake – the retrospective exhibition was originally shown at the Hammer Museum, in Los Angeles, before travelling to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis – Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World, is scheduled to open early next month at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Central to the debate is that Durham, who has been described as having ‘made a career out of being Cherokee’, and, allegedly, once claimed to be Cherokee, has no known ties to any Cherokee or other Native American community. The Native American newspaper Indian Country Today has even gone so far as to publish an editorial with the title Dear Unsuspecting Public, Jimmie Durham Is a Trickster categorically stating: ‘Durham is not a Cherokee in any legal or cultural sense… [He] has no Cherokee relatives; he does not live in or spend time in Cherokee communities; he does not participate in dances and does not belong to a ceremonial ground.’

Head, 2006
Wood, papier-mâché,
hair, seashell, turquoise,
metal tray.
Fondazione Morra Greco,
Naples, Italy.
Image courtesy
kurimanzutto, Mexico City



Sculptor, performance artist, essayist and poet, American- born, Durham (age 77), has actually been based in Europe since 1994, where, in art circles and galleries his name is spoken with great reverence and he has been honoured with solo exhibitions at many major venues including: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin and Fondazione Querino Stampalia, Venice, (both 2015), MuHKA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp (2012), Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2009), Kunstverein Munich (1998), ICA, London and Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (both 1993). On London’s Serpentine Gallery website – the exhibition Jimmie Durham: Various Items and Complaints was shown there in 2015 – the introductory write-up explains: ‘His work addresses the political and cultural forces, eg, the forces of colonialism that construct our contemporary discourses and challenges our understanding of authenticity in art.’ In the press release for their impending exhibition, the Whitney says that it does not attempt to resolve the current controversy and, more cautiously, contends that ‘Durham’s work offers a crucial perspective on the history of American art and life.’

Malinche, 1988 >1992
Guava, pine branches,
oak, snakeskin, polyester
bra soaked in acrylic
resin and painted gold,
watercolour, cactus leaf,
canvas, cotton cloth,
metal, rope, feathers,
plastic jewellery, glass eye.
Stedelijk Museum voor
Actuele Kunst (SMAK),
Ghent, Belgium
Image © SMAK/Dirk Pauwels



Starting out as an artist in Texas in the 1960s, by the 70s, Durham was heavily involved in civil rights activism in the United States for African Americans and Native Americans, and served on the central council of the American Indian Movement (AIM). After a major falling out with them, Durham turned back to art, basing himself in New York, where he achieved moderate success. Becoming disillusioned with the art market, however, he left the city in the 1980s then, after deciding that he ‘didn’t want to be a part of the American dream,’ departed the country altogether, relocating to Mexico. Having since lived and worked in Dublin, Brussels and Marseilles, he is now based between Berlin and Naples. By all accounts he hasn’t set foot in America since 1995, and, claiming that his doctor advised him against the journey, didn’t turn up for the Hammer opening.

‘There is no true history,’ says Durham in a video on the Hammer website, while the artist recently explained, albeit somewhat confusingly, to the New York Times, ‘I am perfectly willing to be called Cherokee, but I’m not a Cherokee artist or Indian artist, no more than Brancusi was a Romanian artist.’ Even more confusingly, bearing in mind the aforementioned Indian Country Today editorial, the New York Times themselves inform us, in their same article, that Durham was ‘Born to a Cherokee family in rural Arkansas’.

Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World at Whitney Museum of American Art, features around 120 works – drawings, collage, printmaking, photography, and video – from 1970 to the present.

All work by Jimmie Durham, © The artist.
All images courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

October 13th, 2017   Photography | Albert Renger-Patzsch: Beautiful World

Kauper, Hochofenwerk,
[Kauper, blast furnaces]
,
Herrenwyk, Lübeck, 1927
Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv /
Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde,
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich



Albert Renger-Patzsch
Things
Jeu de Paume
Paris | France
16 October 2017
> 21 January 2018



Hände [Hands], 1926 > 1927
Collection Ann und Jürgen Wilde



Eminent photo-historian, the late Bruce Bernard’s Photodiscovery book (1980) contains useful, sometimes lengthy potted histories of the photographers whose work he decided to include. He was dogged and persistent in his research, so, as the German photographer’s entry is severely limited, it is safe to presume that when Bernard was gathering the material together almost forty years ago, little information was available on Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897 > 1966), whose work is the subject of a forthcoming retrospective at Jeu de Paume. During the intervening years, which have seen a revival of interest in the 1920s German Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) group that included George Grosz, Otto Dix and Max Beckmann, with which Renger-Patzsch was associated, and fuelled by the popularity of the work of later and contemporary photographers such as Bernd and Hilla Becher, Martin Parr and William Eggleston – who it might be said followed in the same tradition – knowledge about him has grown and examples of his oeuvre have become more accessible.

Natterkopf [Snake's head], 1925
Berinson Gallery, Berlin



Landstraße bei Essen
[Country road
near Essen], 1929
Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv /
Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde,
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich



Renger-Patzsch took his first photographs, aged twelve, in Würzberg, Bavaria. His first job was as a chemist, then he did a stint as a photography archivist before becoming a freelance documentary and press photographer in 1925. As with the somewhat older German photographer, Karl Blossfeldt (1865 > 1932), whose work would not achieve public attention until 1928 when his book Urformen der Kunst [Art Forms in Nature] was published, Renger-Patzsch’s scientific background exerted a strong influence on his photography. In his own very influential book Die Welt ist schön [The World is Beautiful], which appeared that same year, Renger-Patzsch displayed images from both nature and industry; all shot in a clear, uncluttered style closely related to the detached and literal renderings of reality espoused by the Neue Sachlichkeit painters, whose approach reflected the resignation and cynicism of the post-World War I period in Germany.

Stapelia variegata,
Asclepiadaceae, 1923
Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv /
Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde,
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich



Jenaer Glas (Zylindrische
Gläser) [Jena Glassworks
(Cylindrical beakers)], 1934
Museum Folkwang, Essen



The development of the photographic process itself had been the result of in-depth scientific research. Some 19th century artists would take advantage of the medium’s capacity to record details that they could employ as reference for their paintings, and a few photographers would use it for its documentary potential, but it was generally viewed as a method of creating images that resembled paintings and executed in a style that intentionally distanced it from reality and was referred to as pictorialism. In his strong belief that his subjects did not require any enhancement Renger-Patzsch rejected pictorialism and forgoing painterly techniques, such as soft focus, recorded the exact, detailed appearance of his subjects, in an attempt to discover beauty in everyday things and places, in the ordinary and the mundane. Some of his contemporaries who were working in similar areas at the time and whose approach, like Renger-Patzch’s eschewed the emotional and the spiritual in favour of the rational and sometimes political, and whose photography was a response to the rapid industrialisation of Europe and America, included Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, August Sander and Edward Weston.

From the early 1930s Renger-Patzsch taught photography, and afterwards, while working as a freelance photographer, focused on personal projects. As with his early work, his later subjects were natural and industrial: Eisen und Stahl [Iron and Steel], 1930, Bäume [Trees], 1962), and Gestein [Stones], 1966.

Albert Renger-Patzsch: Things, at Jeu de Paume, including over 150 prints, is an overview of the themes and directions, which marked the photographers’ career.

All images by Albert Renger-Patzsch, courtesy Jeu de Paume
© Albert Renger-Patzsch / Archiv Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Zülpich / ADAGP, Paris 2017


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

October 6th, 2017   Cinema | Antonio’s Girls & Boys on Sex Fashion & Disco

Donna Jordan, for 20 Ans, 1970,
drawn by Antonio Lopez



Antonio Lopez, Jardin
du Luxembourg, Paris, 1971,
photographed by Juan Ramos



Antonio Lopez 1970:
Sex Fashion & Disco
Directed by James Crump
Cinema release,
12 October 2017



Carol LaBrie, for
Italian Vogue, 1971,
drawn by Antonio Lopez



Anyone who knows about fashion knows that ‘fashion illustrator’ is an inadequate description of Antonio Lopez. Born in Puerto Rico, raised in the Bronx, Lopez’s talent for drawing was more than equalled by his charismatic power to draw around him the most exciting group of individuals in the fashion world of the early 1970s and, as a liberal and progressive stylist, to exert an influence on fashion itself that remains apparent even now – according to W Magazine – in the current collections at Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent and Kenzo.

So, that the forthcoming film documenting the social and cultural milieu in which Lopez (1943-1987) lived and worked – beginning in the tumultuous late 1960s, against a background of the Vietnam War, political assassinations in the USA and often violent international student protest, when he embarked on a quest for beauty and pleasure in the vortex of New York’s thriving and hedonistic club scene – justifiably places him centre-stage, comes as no surprise.

Nevertheless, focussed on the period Lopez spent in New York and Paris between 1969 and 1973, and set to a soundtrack of music by Donna Summer, Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Chic, and the Temptations, director James Crump’s Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco, featuring archive footage and original interviews with principal characters among the artist’s colourful and sometimes outrageous associates including, among others, Jessica Lange, Grace Jones, Bob Colacello, Jerry Hall, Grace Coddington, Patti D’Arbanville, Karl Lagerfeld, Juan Ramos, Bill Cunningham, Yves Saint Laurent, Joan Juliet Buck, and Michael Chow, makes some unexpected revelations.

Jerry Hall and Antonio
Lopez,
Paris, 1972,
photographed by Juan Ramos



Eija Vehka Ajo, Juan Ramos,
Jacques de Bascher,
Karl Lagerfeld and Antonio
Lopez, Paris, 1973,
*from Sex Fashion & Disco



Jessica Lange, Paris, 1974,
photographed by Antonio Lopez



For instance, it turns out that bisexual Lopez had an intimate relationship with his teenage discovery, Jerry Hall – the pair, we discover, lived together for two years, much to the consternation of Juan Ramos, Lopez’s art director and long-time partner.

It’s common knowledge that Karl Lagerfeld, became so smitten with Lopez, who had decamped with his entourage to Paris in 1969, that he lent them an apartment on Boulevard Saint-Germain. However, photographer Bill Cunningham recalls in the film that when Lopez was diagnosed with AIDS following his return to New York in the mid-70s and appealed to Lagerfeld for help, the designer deserted him. Lopez died, aged 44, in 1987 of an AIDS-related complication.

The fashion cognoscenti are aware that Antonio’s legendary drawing sessions were arranged along exactly the same lines as fashion photo shoots and were every bit as complex. Antonio’s Girls, as they were known – he talent-spotted unusual beauties such as Grace Jones, Pat Cleveland, Tina Chow, and Warhol superstars Donna Jordan, Jane Forth and Patti D’Arbanville – were the models whom he transformed into goddesses in his drawings. It might still catch some unawares to discover that Academy Award-winning actress Jessica Lange, who was amongst them, had been broke and studying mime when she met Lopez and started modelling for him in Paris.

Crump’s recent work includes, Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art unveiling the enigmatic lives and careers of artists Robert Smithson (Spiral Jetty), Walter De Maria (The Lightning Field) and Michael Heizer (Double Negative), which premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival and at Fondazione Prada in Milan. For Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco, he was given unlimited access to the thousands of drawings, photographs, Super 8 and 16mm film and video that make up Lopez’s archive.

All images from Sex Fashion & Disco, courtesy the film’s producers. Used by permission.
All images, except *, © The Estate of Antonio Lopez and Juan Ramos, 2012


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, photography and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you.

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin