Archive for March, 2013

Home | Away

Friday, March 29th, 2013

The Blog is away this week, but a selection of images of the the Morgan house are new on our main website. The complete set can be viewed at Arcaid Images.

Image above
South African-born, avid art and book collector, Elizabeth Morgan photographed by Pedro Silmon at her and her family’s home in London’s Notting Hill

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

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Sculpture | Here, There and Somewhere In Between

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Here, There and Somewhere In Between
The Royal Academy at Hatfield House
Hatfield, UK
30th March – 29th September, 2013

Figurative and abstract art can be as distant from one another as points at the opposite ends of a wide horizon, which doesn’t mean that what goes on in the middle ground is any less individual or less interesting. And, as with art exhibited in galleries, context and juxtaposition are just as important considerations for art shown in the open air, where, depending on the light, the materials, the structure and form, relative scale and surroundings, a sculpture can appear near, far off, or just a stroll away.

While the overall context of Here, There and Somewhere In Between, the forthcoming enigmatically titled sculpture exhibition at Hatfield House, was fixed, it fell on curator Bill Woodrow to establish an intuitive flow between the diverse works, all by fellow Royal Academicians and sited in a variety of locations within the neo-Jacobean formal gardens and in the woodland areas, that would feel right to the visitor.

The concept of showing art in the environs of grand country estates isn’t new – Chatsworth and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park are notable precedents – and in fact this is only the latest in a series of sculptural exhibitions at the 17th century house, but this event is significant in that it marks the first time works by Academicians have been exhibited en masse beyond the four walls and courtyard of the Royal Academy, itself founded in 1768.

The work of the selected artists: Ann Christopher, Michael Craig-Martin, Richard Deacon, Gary Hume, Alison Wilding and Bill Woodrow, ranges from figurative to abstract, while some of it occupies a position somewhere in between.

Images from top
Michael Craig Martin RA
Hammer (purple), 2011
Powder coated steel
Image ©the artist. Courtesy New Art Centre, Roche Court Sculpture Park
and Gagosian Gallery

Hatfield House
Image courtesy of Hatfield House

Richard Deacon RA
Congregate, 2011
Stainless steel
Image courtesy of the Lisson Gallery and the artist

Bill Woodrow RA
Endeavour [Cannon Dredged from the First Wreck of the Ship of Fools], 1994
Bronze
Image courtesy of the artist


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

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Photography | Bill Brandt

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light
The Museum of Modern Art
New York City, USA
Until 12th August, 2013

Enormously influential, Bill Brandt’s work was the backbone and beating heart of mid-20th century British photography. His high-contrast, pioneering explorations, ranging across every aspect of the medium from reportage and portraiture to nudes and landscape, are indispensable to the notion of Britishness during that era.

Yet Brandt (1904-83) was German-born and had cut his heels in Man Ray’s Paris studio before moving to the UK in the 1930s, where he quickly became established as a documentary photographer of the extreme social contrasts prevalent in his adopted country. He photographed London’s glitzy West End, the suburbs and the slums. He recorded everything that went on in the life of a wealthy home: cocktail-parties in the garden; formidable parlourmaids laying elaborate dinner tables and preparing baths for the family, then he took his camera a working-class family home, where several children shared the same bed while their mother sat knitting in the corner of the room.

But Brandt has said that by the end of World War II, his main themes had disappeared, that documentary photography had become ‘fashionable’. His reaction was to change his style completely and return to the ‘poetic’ aspect of photography that had inspired him in his Paris days. While the earlier, gritty output would inspire later photographers such as Don McCullin, the new work – nudes, portraits, landscapes – made him an ingredient as essential to the establishment of British modernism as the sculptures of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and the paintings of Ben Nicholson.

Bringing together over 150 works from an artist who sited influences as diverse as Eugène Atget (1857-1927) and Orsen Welles (1915-1985), MoMA’s Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light retrospective exhibition analyses each chapter in Brandt’s 50 year career.

Bill Brandt photographs from top
Jean Dubuffet, 1960
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art
John Parkinson III Fund

Bombed Regency Staircase, Upper Brook Street, Mayfair, c 1942
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art
Acquired through the generosity of Clarissa Alcock Bronfman

London, 1954
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art
Acquired through the generosity of Clarissa Alcock Bronfman
and Richard E Salomon

Evening in Kenwood, c 1934
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art
Acquired through the generosity of David Dechman and Michel Mercure,
and the Committee on Photography Fund
All images © 2012 Bill Brandt Archive Limited


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Architecture | Kultur:Stadt (Culture:City)

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Kultur:Stadt (Culture:City)
Akademie der Künste
Berlin, Germany
15th March – 26th May, 2013

After the Wall fell and reunification followed, the re-establishment of Berlin as a cultural centre, would be a symbolic act as important to the German people as rebuilding its capital. The Altes Museum, inaugurated in 1876, was reopened after substantial renovations in December 2001. The event marked the end of the first stage in the masterplan to renovate the city’s Museumsinsel (Museum Island) – declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The formidable, five-building museum complex, devised in 1841 was finally completed in 1930. A few years later, 70% of it lay in ruin.

The venue for Kultur:Stadt (Culture:City), The Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts), lies elsewhere the city. This ambitious exhibition and associated lectures, film screenings, concerts, sound installations and conferences, will take a critical eye to the relationship between the architecture of culture and the social reality of the 21st century, and aims to show the impact of art and culture on cities from a worldwide perspective.

Some of the most spectacular and innovative building projects of our age: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, 1993-1997, by Frank Gehry; Tate Modern, London, 1994-2000 and The Tate Modern Project, 2004-2016, by Herzog & de Meuron, and the Guangzhou Opera House, 2002-2010 by Zaha Hadid Architects, will be put under scrutiny. In an effort to determine what lessons have been learned, their historic predecessors: Sydney Opera House, 1957-1973 by Jørn Utzon; Kulturhuset, Stockholm, 1965-1974 by Peter Celsing Arkitektkontor; Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1971-1977 by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, will be studied closely. In contrast, the inspection of community-generated projects, at the opposite end of the financial scale, like Detroit Soup also forms part of the agenda. Set up three years ago by Kate Daughdrill and Jessica Hernandez, Soup describes itself as a public dinner and collaborative situation. A democratic experiment in micro-funding, it functions as a hub bringing together various creative communities in Detroit. Around 40 people sat down at the first dinner – numbers now average 225 per month. The project has moved from funding artists in need of a little money to get a project underway, to a wide variety of community activities that have included cleaning up public parks. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to study initiatives such as The Centre Pompidou Mobile, launched in 2011, a touring exhibition that uses an adaptable, collapsible, tent-like structure to bring the experience of visiting a national collection of art to those remote from cultural centres.

The often criticised European Capital of Culture scheme was started in 1985 with the idea of creating opportunities for cities to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits, to help foster urban regeneration, and to change their image by raising their visibility and international profile. More than 40 cities from Stockholm to Genoa, Athens to Glasgow and Cracow to Porto have so far been designated. The effectiveness of the scheme will be discussed and evaluated, via examples such as Kunsthaus Graz, built in 2003 by Peter Cook and Colin Fournier.

The architecture of libraries as ‘Spaces of Information’ will also be considered, amongst them the Seattle Central Library, Washington, USA, designed by a team led by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus. Described by the influential Arch Daily website, as ‘more than a mere library, but an enhaced public space around knowledge,’ SCL represents an attempt at re-defining the traditional concept of a library by organizing itself into spatial compartments each dedicated to, and equipped for, specific duties. In an age where information is accessible anywhere, it makes curatorship of content the key component to making the library vital.

Ironically, by 2025, when renovations are due for completion, unless those responsible keep a very close eye on developments and adapt accordingly, the debates raised by events such as Kultur:Stadt (Culture:City) may have transformed our ideas about the form our cultural institutions should take to such a degree that the Museumsinsel will already be moribund.

Images from top
Seattle Central Library, USA, 2004
Architects OMA/LMN
Office for Metropolitan Architecture in joint venture with LMN
Photo Philippe Ruault

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1977
Architects Studio Piano & Rogers
Architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers
Photo courtesy RPBW, Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Kunsthaus Graz, Austria, 2003
Architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier
Photo Universalmuseum Joanneum/Christian Plach

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain,1997
Architect Frank O Gehry
Photo David Heald
©The Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Centre Pompidou Mobile, France
Architects Patrick Bouchain and Loïc Julienne
Photo Loïc Julienne


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

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Design | Mucha to Manga

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Mucha Manga Mystery:
Alphonse Mucha’s Pioneering Graphic Art
Museum Bellerive
Zürich, Switzerland
11th March – 14th July, 2013

Belle Époque Paris was awash with money. And master of seduction, Alphonse Mucha’s art nouveau posters helped those who had it, spend it. His illustrations of dreamily gazing, scantily clad young women were a vehicle for advertising anything from champagne and perfume to fashionable events, holidays and JOB cigarette papers. Summoned by theatre actress Sarah Bernhardt to rework her image, Mucha transformed and elevated her to goddess status.

This exhibition at Zürich’s Museum Bellerive, part of the city’s Museum für Gestaltung, doesn’t just dwell on Mucha’s original work but traces its massive influence on the flower power era of the 1960s in San Francisco, where a new genre of poster and album cover art was created, with kaleidoscopically bright colors, flowing forms and strongly ornamented lettering to represent often drug-influenced, psychedelic music.

Examples demonstrating how Marvel and DC comics borrowed heavily from Mucha from the 1990s onwards are also included. Mucha himself drew inspiration from the flood of Japanese prints that had begun arriving in Paris in the late 19th century and the exhibition shows work by contemporary mangaka – Japanese comic-book illustrators – who, returning the compliment, draw on Mucha’s stylistic vocabulary.

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s 20th Century Design sale on 6th March in New York, includes a pair of Alphonse Mucha lithographs, estimated at $6-8,000.

Images from top
JOB, advertising poster for cigarette papers, 1896, Alphonse Mucha
Museum of Design Zurich, Poster Collection
Photo Museum of Design Zurich, FX Jaggy/U Romito ©ZHdK

Advertising for a concert in the Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, 1966,
Mouse Studios/Alton Kelley
Museum of Design Zurich, Poster Collection
Photo Museum of Design Zurich, FX Jaggy/U Romito ©ZHdK

Clamp, Wish 3, manga cover, 1997, Kadokawa Shoten
Photo ©Clamp/Carlsen Verlag, Hamburg 1999

La Dame aux Camélias, poster for Sarah Bernhardt, 1896, Alphonse Mucha
Museum of Design Zurich, Poster Collection
Photo Museum of Design Zurich, FX Jaggy/U Romito ©ZHdK


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

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

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