Archive for March, 2012

Photography | Photographs, Photographs

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Sotheby’s, New York, USA
3rd April, 2012

Christie’s, New York, USA
5th April, 2012

So, these days you have no money problems.

That’s great to hear.

Sorry, I couldn’t really hear what you said… You want to do what?

To buy some photographs?

To buy a lot of photographs.

You want to create a collection.

But you know nothing about photography.

Oh, I see, that’s why you’re calling.

Uh huh. Yeah.

It’s kind of you to say so but really, I’m no expert.

OK. Perhaps I can help you, there.

Yes, you see, rather conveniently, there are a couple of auctions next week, both in New York, at Christie’s and at Sotheby’s, respectively – somewhat confusingly, each called ‘Photographs’ – in which a large quantity of work from those photographers regarded by the real experts as photography’s all time greats, is on sale.

You like the sound of that? Good.

You’ll be completely spoiled for choice. There are 350 items in the Christie’s sale, 204 at Sotheby’s.

No, no. I know you can. I understand that you can afford it. That’s not the problem. You can’t just buy everything, that’s all. It would just be crazy! Besides, I’m sure you’d prefer to be seen as a discerning sort of person – someone with a bit of taste – who doesn’t just throw their money around but on the contrary, has a keen eye for investment value.

That doesn’t bother you?

But surely, you don’t want to end up with a load of crap that you can’t offload on some other sucker, later.

Well, for one thing, in practical terms, you’ll have a fair number of duplicate prints, albeit each with different attributes: signed/unsigned, number within edition, etc. Then there’s condition to consider: excellent/very good/good/poor.

Yeah, you know some of the stuff is pretty old.

Old, you know, O-L-D. Early stuff…

Well, from my recollection, for instance: there’s a picture in the Sotheby’s sale taken by a guy by the name of Edward S Curtis. It’s called An Oasis in the Badlands. American. It’s of a Native American chief on horseback – very iconic but, in my opinion, his style often verges on the kitsch. It was photographed in 1905.

You didn’t know photography was that old? Well, here’s a surprise: it’s a hell of a lot older! The first permanent photograph was an image produced in France in 1826.

Kodak! Nooohhh! Much earlier than Kodak.

Anyway. Can I suggest you stick to one genre?

You don’t know what a genre is?

Well. Look. Let’s keep it simple. What about just buying landscape pictures? There’s tons of great stuff by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston you might like.

Yes, it’s all black and white.

You think black and white landscapes are boring. OK, there are some in colour by William Eggleston, who’s not really my cup of tea, but perhaps we should forget about landscapes.

Nudes? Yes, there are quite a few nudes. But, wouldn’t portraits be good? There’s a remakable Chuck Close, self-portrait called 5C – made from five unique, large-format, overlapping Polaroid prints – several Richard Avedon’s and some by Irving Penn, and loads of others at both venues.

Yeah, Avedon and Penn do nudes, too. Penn’s still life is amazing! A print of his Still Life with Grape and Moth, being sold by Christie’s is one of my all-time favourites. Then there’s…

Of course! Of course, nudes are certainly worth thinking about. However, how about starting to collect early modernist photography; Lásló Moholy-Nagy’s Alpenveilchen (Photogramm) will be in the Sotheby’s sale and his Scandinavia, shot in 1931 is at Christie’s. Christie’s are also selling Fire Escape, an amazing Alexander Rodchenko, photographed in 1927.

You don’t like ‘funny’ names.

No, no, nudes are certainly a possibility.

Flower pictures might be good, too, though. There’s the the Moholy-Nagy Alpenveilchen, I just mentioned – to you and me that’s a cyclamen – and Alma Levenson’s voluptuous Auratum Lily is at Sotheby’s. But there are a whole group of Robert Mapplethorpe’s flower pictures up for grabs in that sale, too.

Yes, he does do nudes.

So, if I understand you correctly, it’s just nudes, then, that you want to go for?

Er… interesting idea… and I must say, there are some very tastefully shot images of that variety by among others: Ruth Bernhard and Bill Brandt, included in both sales.

OK, yeah, I think I get it. You’d prefer more erotic stuff.

Female, I suppose?

I see. No preference. In their infinite variety, right? Big names as well as less well-known photographers – even a few with ‘funny’ names?

Well, it’s great that you’ve made a decision.

Yes, of course. It’s your money; I wouldn’t dream of telling you how to spend it. Glad I was able to help. Let me know how you get on but… er… could I ask a little favour in return?

I’m sure you’ll understand that… I shouldn’t really be seen… you know, to be associated with that sort of material. So I’d be grateful for your discretion… as a man of the cloth… I…

Photographs, from top
Sotheby’s Lot 192
Daido Moriyama How to Create a Beautiful Picture 6: Tights in Shimotakaido, 1986
Oversized, signed in pencil on the reverse, framed, printed later
Estimate $15/25,000

Christies Lot 105
Robert Mapplethorpe Back, 1986
Gelatin silver print
Signed, title, date, number 2/10 in ink and copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp (on the reverse of the flush-mount)
Image: 23 x 19 1/8in. (58.5 x 48.5cm.)
Sheet/flush-mount: 24 x 20in. (61 x 50.8cm.)
Estimate $10,000 – 15,000

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mouth2mouth | grundini

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

mouth2mouth | exclusive interview
grundini | graphic information supremo

Peter Grundy was a founding partner, with Tilly Northedge, of successful UK-based informational graphics design practice, Grundy & Northedge (1980-2006). Soon after he set up on his own. Releasing himself from the thankless task of producing beautiful informational booklets that no-one saw, and making a miraculous transformation into his alter-ego, Grundini, his work has gone global. As Taschen publish their latest design tome: Information Graphics, The Blog posts the first of an occasional series of interviews with prominent figures in the worlds of art, architecture, design, gardens, photography, etc.

Referencing Mies van der Rohe’s famous – and so very often repeated – remark, in terms of information graphics: is it enough for form to follow function?
Much of information design teaching follows the notion that designers should not infect the message with their own ideas. When Tilly Northedge and I started working together in 1980 we went against this theory, believing instead that the designer should function as a journalist and have an opinion on the messages they are asked to convey.

If the subject matter isn’t particularly interesting, is it enough to make your visual interpretation of whatever it is, attractive?
The most important part of any of my solutions is a good idea; that’s the bit most [information graphic] designers miss because they see things in terms of their own style. A good idea can bring uninteresting data to life, style probably not.

Is your preference for creating informational diagrams or poster images?
No preference. The Shell billboard posters I did are, as far as I’m concerned, information pieces, whereas Bodyparts – originally a diagram for Esquire – worked well as a poster.

How much input from an art director is comfortable for you?
They can contribute as little or as much as they like, but ultimately I’ll give them my take. I did a job recently for someone who was very prescriptive; I gave them my idea, they came back saying you didn’t put in what I asked for; you left off this and that, etc. I told them to find someone else.

How difficult is it to get the information you need from clients?
It varies. Mostly I get too much and have to edit it which, after 30 years, I’m quite good at.

In what form do you prefer to receive data from clients?
Simple, short messages. The Guardian’s G2 section were very good; they just provided the info they wanted to be included in the 30 spreads they asked me to produce – just as well, since one spread was required every week.

Albert Einstein said; ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ Agree? Disagree?
Simple messages are sometimes communicated by complicated visuals.

What method do you use to extrapolate the information given to you by a client?
What I seek is an overview idea, instantly communicating the message that will take the audience into the piece and invite them to explore. The two main tools I use for this are humour and entertainment.

Milton Glaser has said that computers are to design as microwaves are to cooking – the inference being that aside from using one for defrosting frozen ingredients, the best cooks wouldn’t touch a microwave with a barge-pole. Is this an outmoded remark?
I don’t think MG or anyone else for that matter could have seen in the 1980s, or even the 90s, how new technology would change the world of communication. He was talking about early, crude computer tools failing the requirement of those designers who had made things by hand. Today the internet has created new media environments and design challenges that need to be addressed by evolving design technologies. Having said that creative intelligence prevails now as it did 50 years ago.

When did you start using a computer for design?
Late 80s

How did the change effect your way of working?
Not at all, other than Adobe Illustrator replaced my set of Kern drawing instruments. The way my work looked didn’t change at all. What did change was the way I communicated with clients. When I started business was done by talking to people either in meetings or on the phone – today it’s by email or Skype. Sometimes that’s a shame, but the advantage is that one has a global rather than a local market.

How do you start to develop a visual idea – pencil scribbles or do you go direct to your computer?
I think and scribble in a small book then I do a finished piece on a computer that I show to the client. I don’t show the client a rough anymore – they don’t get it. This is something that surprises people who say to me: ‘That’s a lot of work to have rejected if they don’t like it’. My answer is that the idea is the difficult bit – building the image is often quite quick, and if I’m confident in the solution I can often convince.

Do you ever produce work without the aid of a computer?

What computer programmes do you use?
Adobe Illustrator is my tool box.

For an RCA project you produced an alphabet based on sections of the London Underground map, originally designed by Harry Beck in 1931. How important was the tube map to the development of your ideas about graphic communication?
Well, it is one of the seminal influences on any designer. It’s a good idea, it’s a simple expression of a complicated thing and it’s elegant.

At art college, were you any good at life drawing?
Rubbish at drawing! And because of this, I had to develop an achievable way of communicating visually – and fast. So I turned to a set of drawing instruments and developed a way of representing things simply using simple shapes. If anything my drawing borrows more from typography than the life drawing class.

I sometimes think I detect influences from the great art deco poster designer, Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, in your simplistic style of drawing and the graduation techniques you use, say, in the image for the international section on your website. Is he an influence and from who else do you draw inspiration?
We all benefited greatly from the art history education we received in the 70s.

Some of your bold, simplistic stuff – I’m thinking of the hand image on your 2004 Action Aid International poster and the 2007 Men’s Health magazine, as well as the figure in your Price on your head double-spread diagram for Esquire, is reminiscent of the primitive art of modern-day Central America. Is this accidental or have you studied the art from that region?
Yes, that’s true, my attraction to these ancient ways of drawing is its achievability. But this is the style thing, style is not enough to communicate and, as previously mentioned, the main ingredient is the idea.

You’ve been enormously prolific since the Grundy & Northedge company closed up shop and you became Grundini. Do you miss working within a company or do you prefer to work alone?
When Tilly Northedge retired I had two choices: carry on the company or do something different. I choose the latter. My aim was to get away from projects which were 25% creative and 75% management and to concentrate on work that was all about the creative. I achieved that, the problem was I was working on my own which can get boring. So now I work on my own but within a creative studio, in Holborn, London, where I’m amongst the creative cut and thrust every designer and illustrator need.s

Is the work you do now more, or less, lucrative than that which you did at Grundy & Northedge?
More lucrative. In the days of G&N we used to spend weeks and months producing beautiful informational books that no one saw, with next to no budget. Nowadays I concentrate on just the imagery and I sell these not only to information clients, but to a whole spectrum [of clients], though I doubt I could have achieved this position without my previous experience of working with Tilly Northedge as Grundy & Northedge.

Images from top
Death spread, Men’s Health magazine, 2007
Tree of skills diagram, The Guardian Educational Supplement, 2007
Price on your head diagram, Esquire magazine, 2006
The Age of energy illustration, The Telegraph newspaper, 2011
The Transform Awards imagery, The art of the impossible, 2012
All images ©Grundini

Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen & Julius Wiedemann with 200 projects and over 400 examples of contemporary information graphics from all over the world – ranging from journalism to art, government, education and business, includes four essays about the development of information graphics since its beginnings, an exclusive poster by Nigel Holmes – who during his 20 years as graphics director for Time revolutionized the way the magazine used information graphics – is published by Taschen

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Art | Raoul & Jean Dufy

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Impressionist & Modern Art, Including Russian Art, Sale
Sotheby’s New York, USA. 14th March, 2012

Amongst a very mixed bag of artworks in the catalogue for today’s sale at Sotheby’s in New York are several outstanding pieces by Raoul and a number by Jean Dufy, some of which are shown above. Each is unmistakably by one brother or the other, yet they share a visual language: a family characteristic, if you like, that on the one hand separates their images from the other lots, and on the other, irrevocably links them.

There were nine children in the Dufy family of Le Havre a port city in the Normandy area of north west France. It was a particularly musical family, and the father, in addition to his profession as an accountant, was a talented amateur musician, which probably to some extent explains the fixation for musical productions and composers of the era that are the subjects of many of the brothers’ later creations.

Raoul (1877-1953) was 11 years older than Jean (1888-1964) and is the more famous. In 1900 he obtained a scholarship to study in Paris, where he enrolled at the very academic École des Baux-Arts, however, he was far more interested in impressionist painting. An early exhibition, in 1903, was in the impressionist style he soon afterwards abandoned in favour of the vivid colours and sweeping brush strokes of the fauvists. Impressed with Cézanne’s work, Raoul experimented with a more muted palette. He worked for a time with Georges Braque but never really got into the spirit of Cubism. Discovering the possibilities of wood-engraving at an expressionist exhibition he saw on a trip to Munich in 1909, he illustrated a number of books for his literary friends, including the poet, Guillaume Apollonaire, with woodcuts. Raoul’s woodcuts came to the attention of Paul Poiret, the fashion designer with whom he produced textile designs and for whom he designed the interiors of the designer’s three boats. In the 1920s and 30s he travelled widely, producing paintings in the bold, confident style – optimistic, fashionably decorative and illustrative – that he became recognised for and that characterised the era in which the aftermath of war and social concerns were banished, however briefly. Lively, colorful yachting scenes at Cowes in England, chic parties, musical events and the dazzling life on the French Riviera became the stock in trade of his output.

It had been Raoul who encouraged Jean, who worked as a clerk for an overseas import business and was for a time secretary on the transatlantic liner La Savoie, which linked Le Havre to New York, to paint. But it wasn’t until Jean visited an exhibition in Le Havre showing paintings by André Derain and Picasso, where he saw Matisse’s Fenêtre ouverte à Collioure, with it’s dazzling light and bright colours, that he decided to be an artist. In 1913, moving to Paris, he became acquainted with his brothers’ circle, meeting Derain, Braque, Picasso and Apollonaire. His first watercolors, which were shown at the Berthe Weill Gallery in 1914, were in muted tones: sombre browns, blues, and reds mingled with the hatching technique he inherited from Cézanne via Raoul. Shortly afterwards he was drafted into the army but was able to produce many sketches of landscapes and flowers whilst convalescing from an injury. When the war ended, Jean began decorating porcelain for a company in Limoges – a commission which lasted for many years – before returning to Paris in 1920 where he settled in Montmatre. He began to be recognised for his painting technique based on a kind of patchwork of coloured squares and bold lighting effects. A succession of exhibitions now began that led to his work being shown widely, first in Paris and then in New York. Over the next few years his subject matter would change dramatically to mirror his excitement at the lively Parisian cultural scene. He loved the theatre and came into contact with many famous actors, musicians and composers. Their life and energy became the subjects of his creations. There followed paintings of circuses, boldly coloured and filled with horses, clowns and acrobats.

Surprisingly, Last year’s exhibition, Raoul and Jean Dufy: Complicity and Disruption, at Paris’s Musée Marmottan Monet, was the first exhibition in France exclusively dedicated to showing the two brothers’ work together. They had been close, if not living in one another’s pockets, until a big brotherly bust up over the gigantic mural – 61m long x 10m high, 200ft x 33 ft, La Fee Electricité (The Electricity Fairy). They had been commissioned to produce it together as a hymn to electricity for the Paris International Exposition of 1937 but Raoul ended up executing the final painting by himself. However, rather than for their differences, it’s for their gay and colourful scenes for which the brothers are most remembered and for the sheer joie de vivre their work conveys to the viewer.

Works from top
Jean Dufy Bois de Boulogne, 1930
Oil on canvas

Jean Dufy Boulevard avec caleches
Oil on canvas laid down on masonite
Property of a private collector, Palm Beach, USA

Jean Dufy Port de Honfleur
Watercolor and gouache on paper

Raoul Dufy Reception aux lumieres & Double étude de nu. A double-sided work
Watercolor and gouache on paper recto, pen and ink on paper verso
Property of a Boston gentleman, USA

Raoul Dufy Carrefour en forêt
Watercolor on paper

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Book | Psychedelic Art

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Electrical Banana Masters of Psychedelic Art

Norman Hathaway & Dan Nadel, Damiani, Spring 2012

The 1960s and psychedelia were finally over. The world’s first supergroup, Cream, formed in mid-1966 – the year that the hallucinogenic drug LSD was made illegal in both the UK and the US – had broken up in late 1968. The 1969 Beverly Hills murders of Sharon Tate, actress and pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, heiress Abigail Folger and four others, by Charles Manson and his family of followers had contributed to an anti-hippie backlash. At the end of the same year, the Altamont Free Concert in California, headlined by The Rolling Stones, became notorious for the fatal stabbing of Meredith Hunter by Hells Angel security guards. In London, in 1970, virtuoso experimental guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, who had disbanded The Jimi Hendrix Experience, choked to death on his own vomit. Janis Joplin died the same year – of a heroin overdose. In 1971, heart failure aggravated by heavy drinking brought about the death of another of psychedelia’s iconic figures, Jim Morrison of the Doors – the band named by him after author Aldous Huxley’s account of drug experiences in The Doors of Perception.

The word psychedelic had indeed been coined by British psychiatrist, Humphrey Osmond, in a 1956 letter to Huxley, who had been experimenting with the hallucinogenic drug mescaline. Psychedelic rock was a style of music that was inspired or influenced by the miasmic psychedelic drug culture that had steadily been establishing itself amongst the young in the UK and in America since the late 1950s. It attempted to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. Emerging out of the folk tradition, becoming an international musical movement associated with a widespread counter-culture, psychedelia came to the fore in 1966 and reached its peak between the 1967 so called ‘Summer of Love‘ and 1969’s Woodstock rock festival, reported by the BBC as, ‘Three days and nights of sex, drugs and rock and roll…’.

Peering back now, our vision obscured by time and the various attempts to reincarnate the psychedelic era’s music and culture – notably by British, 1980s bands Echo & The Bunnymen and The Stone Roses and later, Blur – not forgetting Glastonbury and the Burning Man festival in Nevada – through the dark shroud that hung over the music scene at the beginning of the 1970s, Flower Power, guitars that sounded like sitars, LSD, The Byrds’ Eight Miles High, The BeatlesSgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP and the alternative Oz magazine, would seem to merge into a single amorphous whole. And it’s difficult not to lump the phantasmagoria of imagery that psychedelia generated into one. Hathaway and Nadel, Electrical Banana’s authors – I can’t help thinking Electric Banana would have been a better title – set themselves the onerous task of examining the international visual language of psychedelia, via its graphic legacy, with the aim of identifying the most important artists and showing that it was far more innovative, compelling and revolutionary than was previously thought.

Three important contributors to the genre and my own personal favourites, all featured in Electrical Banana, are Martin Sharp, Heinz Edelmann and Tadanori Yokoo. Born in 1942, hailed as Australia’s foremost pop artist, Sharp’s covers, cartoons and illustrations were a central feature of Australian and London’s Oz magazine. Sharp co-wrote Tales of Brave Ulysses, one of Cream’s songs, and created the cover artwork for the group’s Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire albums. Emerging at around the same time as Terry Gilliam – of Monty Python’s Flying Circus fame, film and opera director – and Alan Aldridge – he of the 1973 book, The Butterfly Ball, made into a film in 1977 – Czech-born, Heinz Edelmann (1934-2009) – who had produced work for legendary art director/editor, Willy Fleckhaus, at Twen magazine, and also illustrated the first German edition of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was the multifaceted graphic designer and illustrator who created the comically hallucinogenic landscape of Pepperland for Yellow Submarine, the 1968 animated Beatles film. Japanese graphic artist, and close friend of author Yukio Mishima, Tadanori Yokoo, was born in 1936. As a young man, he became involved in the Japanese avant-garde scene of the 1960s through his designs for dance companies and drew influences from pop art, India and traditional Japanese prints. At New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s 1968 Word & Image exhibition, Yokoo’s 1968 poster for the Tokyo Gekio Theatre Company was named the work best encapsulating the spiritual atmosphere of the decade. Through international exposure, he became acquainted with rock and folk musicians who often asked him to design their posters and album covers. He became especially close to John Lennon and Carlos Santana and produced work for Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Cat Stevens. Interestingly, as Elelectrical Banana reveals, neither Edelmann nor Yokoo took hallucinogenic drugs.

Images from top
Record Sleeve for Cream’s Disraeli Gears, 1967 ©Martin Sharp
Stills from Yellow Submarine, 1969. ©Heinz Edelmann,
Movie Poster for the film The Trip, 1968. ©Tadanori Yokoo

Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art by Norman Hathaway & Dan Nadel is published by Damiani

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Art | West Coast Story

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Pacific Standard Time Art in Los Angeles 1950-1980
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
March 15th – June 10th, 2012

LA has come to the UK in the person of admittedly British-but-based-there, David Hockney whose Ways of Seeing: ‘A Bigger Picture’ – David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts, a major exhibition of his recent landscape paintings, currently running in London – is a sell out. Meanwhile, Ellsworth Kelly, based in New York City but having shared a long and healthy relationship with the City of Angels has gone there – his show, Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings is on at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, while concurrently the new LA branch of New York’s Matthew Marks Gallery are showing Ellsworth Kelly: Los Angeles, as their inaugural exhibition. But that’s not all. Sotheby’s New York are hosting a selling exhibition, Southern California Minimalism: 1960 to the present. All big events in the art calendar. All with a Californian connection. But if you thought that was the end of it, Pacific Standard Time, Art (Kunst) in Los Angeles 1950 -1980, due to make a bigger splash than any of the above, is on at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau – its sole European venue – from the mid-March until 10th June.

When Hockney finally took the plunge: leaving Britain in 1966, after having paddled around a bit in the US over the previous couple of years, he dived headlong into an LA arts scene already brimming over with ideas and experimentation. Hockney’s iconic, A Bigger Splash, 1967, is seen by the curators as a key image representing the hedonistic LA lifestyle. However, the aim is to demonstrate that, as well as being home to Hollywood, the city and indeed, the West Coast, had a lot more than surfing, sunshine and palm trees going for it. The exhibition will attempt to make clear, through works by Richard Dinebenkom and Ed Ruscha, that Southern California was one of the leading centres for large-format pop art and abstract painting in the 1960s. When the USA’s Atlantic Coast painters were growing in significance, artists on the West Coast were beginning to extend their notions of traditional painting and sculpture. Experimentation with new processes and materials was taking place; works that arose out of a collision between art and technology, for example, a fibre-glass sculpture by Bruce Nauman will be on show. The German exhibition is an attempt at a comprehensive appraisal – embracing paintings, sculpture, ceramics and photography, as well as exhibition catalogues, books, posters, postcards, invitations and letters – within a specific time band. As a way of demonstrating the strong international networks that linked LA to other artists around the world the inclusion of the flotsam and jetsam: the ephemera associated with artists, for example, their letters to one another and to artists abroad, has been collected together and will be exhibited. Visitors will be introduced to the art dealers and collectors whose backing facilitated the artists’ inevitable rise to the surface. Funded by the Getty Foundation of Los Angeles and organised by the Berliner Festspiele and the Martin-Gropius-Bau, the show will bring the two core exhibitions of the Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute to Europe, however, in all, over 60 galleries and institutions have been involved in providing material.

As well as Hockney’s, a veritable tsunami of work by other artists, all produced on the West Coast, will flood the Berlin gallery: Peter Alexander – his Cloud Box (Large), 1966 is included, John Altoon, John Baldessari, Larry Bell – several of his minimal pieces will be there, while others, including Cube #22 and Cube #16 (Gren), are being shown in the Sotheby’s exhibition. Billy Al Bengston, Karl Benjamin, Ed Bereal, Wallace Berman, Cameron, Vija Celmins, Judy Chicago – her acrylic Big Blue Pink, 1971, will all be represented together with work by Mary Corse, Ronald Davis, the aforementioned Richard Diebenkorn, Melvin Edwards, Frederick Eversley, Lorser Feitelson, Llyn Foulkes, Sam Francis, Joe Goode and Robert Graham. Frederick Hammersley’s sensitive abstract oil painting Up Within, 1957 – 1958 will be there. The curators have selected pieces by George Herms, Stephan von Huene and Craig Kauffman. Edward Kienholz’s mixed media figurative sculpture, Walter Hopps Hopps Hopps, 1959 is one of the early works that can see seen. Helen Lundeberg, John Mason – his glazed ceramic piece, Orange Cross, 1963, Allan McCollum, John McCracken – his yellow, oblong sculpture Galaxy also features in the New York sale, are all being shown. Other work surfing its way into the Martin-Gropius-Bau will be by John McLaughlin, Ron Miyashiro, Ed Moses, Lee Mullican and Bruce Nauman’s installation, Four Corner Piece, executed in 1971 is also being exhibited. There’ll be work by Helen Pashgian, Ken Price and Noah Purifoy. Ed Ruscha’s 1963 pop art piece, Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, will be shown. Betye Saar and Henry Takemoto are included. Red Concave Circle, 1970, executed in polyester by DeWain Valentine will be there, and pieces by Peter Voulkos, Gordon Wagner, Norman Zammitt. Many of these names may seem obscure but the curators feel that these individuals made significant contributions to the West Coast scene between 1950-80 and are worthy of reconsideration.

More than just as a reference point but rather, because he was the most important American architecture photographer of the post-war period and his images of modernist houses built by Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry are artistic icons in their own right, more than 50 photographs by Julius Shulman are included in the exhibition.

Far from being a ’standard’ time on the Pacific coast, the organisers of the Martin-Gropius-Bau show are out to prove that the years between 1950 and 1980 in Southern California were awash with innovative artists producing exceptional art that was equal to, and sometimes more pioneering than, any contemporaneous work going on elsewhere in the world.

Works, from top
Frederick Hammersley, Up Within, 1957–58
Peter Alexander, Cloud Box (Large), 1966
Ed Ruscha, Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, 1963
Bruce Nauman, Four Corner Piece, 1971
David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967
Julius Shulman, Case Study House #22, 1960
De Wain Valentine, Red Concave Circle, 1970
Larry Bell, Untitled, Wall Piece, 1967
Edward Kienholz, Walter Hopps Hopps Hopps, 1959
Frederick Hammersley, Up Within, 1957–58
Peter Alexander, Cloud Box (Large), 1966
Ed Ruscha, Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, 1963
Bruce Nauman, Four Corner Piece, 1971
David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967
Julius Shulman, Case Study House #22, 1960
De Wain Valentine, Red Concave Circle, 1970
Larry Bell, Untitled, Wall Piece, 1967
Edward Kienholz, Walter Hopps Hopps Hopps, 1959

Related shows
David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture
The Royal Academy, London, UK. Until 9 April 2012
Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
Until 22nd April 2012
Ellsworth Kelly: Los Angeles
Matthew Marks Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Until 7th April 2012
Southern California Minimalism: 1960 to the Present
Selling exhibition Sotheby’s New York, 2 – 23rd March, 2012

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