Archive for April, 2013

Design | Christopher Farr’s Rug Editions

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Christopher Farr’s Editions:
Contemporary Rugs for Collectors
Somerset House, London, UK
May 2nd – 30 June, 2013

Christopher Farr’s collaborators are many, and they are as varied as the rugs the eponymously-named company produces. The current and ever-growing list includes some of the most famous and highly-respected names around in modern and contemporary British and international design, architecture and fine art, among them: Gillian AyresIlse Crawford, Gary Hume, Rifat Ozbek, John Pawson and Andrée Putman.

Farr, having studied fine art at The Slade, set up shop with Matthew Bourne as a business partner in 1988. Early success came via a collaboration with the Royal College of Art in 1991, which led to a further collaboration with Romeo Gigli, whose collection was launched at the Milan Furniture Fair in 1993, earning the pair’s rugs international acclaim. ‘Up to that point, Farr says, ‘new rugs were a dirty word. People laughed at us.’ No one laughed in 1997, when Farr and Bourne, with Gunta Stöltzl’s family’s blessing, produced rugs that the Bauhaus designer had designed in the 1920s, nor when they opened their gallery in London’s Notting Hill the same year. The company has produced custom made rugs for The Wellcome Trust, and for Oxford and Cambridge universities. TheWall series was commissioned by architect Sir Michael Hopkins as part of a collection of handmade wall pieces for the UK’s parliamentary building, Portcullis House. Other custom wall pieces were made for the Bank of America building in London. Setting up a fabric division in 2000, the company took a natural step into cloth production, utilizing high quality fabrics, from combed Egyptian cottons and Belgian linens for upholstery, curtains and blinds, to acrylic dyed fabrics for outdoor use.

Following the success of their first show of rugs held in Somerset House last year, the Christopher Farr’s Editions: Contemporary Rugs for Collectors exhibition – previewed during the recent Milano Design Week 2013, where the company also showed a new collection of rugs by celebrated US designer David Weeks – marking the company’s 25th anniversary, unveils the first in a series of limited editions (50-200), in hand-tufted 100% wool, ranging in price from £650 to £1000. Designs by Sir Terry Frost RA (1915-2003), by Bauhaus master Josef Albers (1888-1976) and by his wife, Anni Albers (1899-1994) will be included. Penny Falls by Kate Blee, a London-based textile artist who has been collaborating with Farr since 1987, will also be shown. Renowned still-life artist, William Scott (1913-1989) – the centenary of whose birth is being celebrated in an exhibition running at Tate St Ives until 6th May, 2013 – will be represented by Permutation Brown, and Three Squares by leading British abstract colourist, Sandra Blow RA (1925-2006) – an adaptation from an etching printed in 2003 – will be exhibited. Jeweller, Lara Bohinc’s circular rug, Solar, will appear, alongside Sulspice, a flamboyant op-art design created by Farr, himself.

Rugs from top
Christopher Farr
Sulpice
1.22 x 1.83m
Edition of 15
0

Sir Terry Frost RA
Variations (Black on White)
Adapted from a 1973 print
2 x 2.13m
Produced in association with the Stoneman Gallery and the Terry Frost Estate

William Scott
Permutation Brown
Adapted from a 1977 Scott painting
1.4 x 2.3m
Produced in association with the Royal Academy of Arts and the William Scott Foundation
©Estate of William Scott 2013 supporting Alzheimer’s

Josef Albers
Homage to the Square, 1951
1.65 x 1.65m
Produced in association with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation
©2013 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and ARS, New York

All of those illustrated are in editions of 150


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Art | Duchamp Stripped Bare

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Des Gestes de la Pensée / Gesture, and Thought
La Verrière Hermès
Brussels, Belgium
20th April – 13th July, 2013

To think, to dream, to conceive fine works is a delightful occupation…’, wrote Honoré de Balzac, in his novel Cousin Bette, in the first half of the 19th century. Another famous Frenchman, Marcel Duchamp, who signed a urinal he’d picked up from a plumber’s yard and proclaimed it a work of art (Fountain) in 1917 , would at first glance, appear to have agreed with him. Renowned father of object art, from which conceptual art emerged, Duchamp said he liked living and breathing better than working, and that his art was that of living. But his words were never to be taken at face value and far from being a remote thinker and pure intellectual, who turned his back on the ‘artist’s enslavement to manual dexterity’, Duchamp, almost in secret, completed many finely crafted works.

This exhibition at La Verrière Hermès, assembled by the space’s new curator, Guillaume Désanges, who co-wrote and co-directed the play ‘Le Cerveau’ Master Duchamp’, presented at the Centre Pompidou in March, highlights one of the Foundation’s core commitments: the transmission of artistic and expert artisan skills. Taking Duchamp as a figurehead, Des Gestes de la Pensée / Gesture, and Thought brings together the work of 10 international contemporary artists: Elias Crespin, Hubert Duprat, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Michel François, Ann Veronica Janssens, Irene Kopelman, Anna Maria Maiolino, Benoît Maire, Corey McCorkle and Francisco Tropa, exploring this same fascination with ‘finish’ and craftsmanship as an extension of thought.

The innovative bookbinder Mary Reynolds (1891-1950) was Duchamp’s partner for thirty years. It was Reynolds who, in the 1930s, executed Duchamp’s binding design for Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi/Ubu the King, with cut-out U-shaped front and back covers that when fully opened, either side of the B on the spine, spell out UBU. It is not included in the exhibition, but his binding for Prière de Toucher / Pray Touch, an exhibition catalogue for Le Surréalisme en 1947 was a breast made from foam rubber, with pigment, velvet, and cardboard, adhered to removable cover, is. Also on display will be La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même [Boîte Verte], The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors Even [The Green Box] published by Duchamp in 1934, which is a collection of 94 documents – works on paper, photographs, lithographs and drawings – to explain some of his thinking and to show some of the preliminary works relating to The Large Glass.

Duchamp also produced Box in a Valise (From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy, 1935-41), which is a leather case containing miniature replicas, photographs and colour reproductions of works by Duchamp, and one ‘original’ drawing. An earlier piece Standard Stoppages (1913-14), which he called ‘a joke about the meter’ – the originally French standard of measurement – is a wooden box 11 that house three threads each 100 cm in length, glued to three painted canvas strips, each mounted on a glass panel, and three wood slats , shaped along one edge to match the curves of the threads.

Images from top
Hans-Peter Feldmann
Handprint from Charlotte Wolff (Marcel Duchamp)
Courtesy Hans-Peter Feldmann et galerie Martine Aboucaya

Marcel Duchamp
La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même [Boîte Verte], 1934
Courtesy Association Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp
Prière de Toucher, 1947
Courtesy Galerie Ronny Van de Velde, Anvers

Elias Crespin
Circunconcentricos Inoxidable, 2012
Acier inoxydable, nylon, moteurs, ordinateur, interface électronique 100 cm Ø
©Elias Crespin. Photo Pascal Maillard

Ann Veronica Janssens
IPE 535, 2009
©P Lemmens. Courtesy Galerie M.Szwajcer


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Art | Richard Serra Draws

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Richard Serra: Double Rifts
Gagosian Gallery
Beverly Hills, California, USA
17th April – 1st June 1, 2013

Richard Serra draws. Richard Sera sculpts. He sees each as an autonomous activity. He doesn’t make drawings of the sculptures he intends to create – he makes models. Neither does he make drawings of his finished sculptures.

Serra, born in 1938 and probably the world’s best-known contemporary sculptor, who has produced large-scale, site specific pieces for clients around the globe, and whose work has been celebrated in two retrospectives at The Museum of Modern Art, twenty years apart, whose major recent drawing exhibitions include Richard Serra Drawings: Work Comes Out of Work, Kunsthaus Bregenz (2008); Richard Serra Drawings: A Retrospective, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2010 – travelled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Menil Collection, Houston in 2012) was drawing long before he became a sculptor. In San Francisco where he grew up, his proud mother would introduce her young son, who sketched on pink butchers’ roll paper, as Richard ‘The Artist’.

Richard Serra doesn’t paint. As a student at Yale – where he was accepted on the strength of 12 drawings – he painted, but he paints no more. Paintings, in his opinion, are produced with the viewer in mind, while drawings are for the artist. Drawing every day, Serra insists that the practice is primary to artists and gives them grounding. He would always rather look at someone’s drawings – Van Gogh’s, Rembrandt’s – than at their paintings. Indeed drawing to him, reveals far more than painting about the way an artist thinks and sees.

In his search for an individual way forward in his drawing, Serra says that there came a point quite early on in his career when, faced with the entire history of anyone else who had ever made a mark on a piece of paper, he realised that he needed to adopt a radical approach. Abandoning representation and any anecdotal references to other things, he discovered that by defining the form he was creating in relation to the space around it, relating it to the architecture, to the floor, the walls and to the ceiling, he could draw with space, thus ‘making space palpable’.

It’s only to be expected that Serra, who pushes the concept of drawing to its limits and whose drawings are often almost as monumental as his sculptures, uses unconventional methods to create them. Unwilling to ‘make art out of the art store’, as he puts it, he uses paint-stick – a cheap material made from paraffin with a little oil mixed in – that he has melted, stamped on and even put through a meat grinder, as his medium. Often he draws with a big brick of paint-stick on handmade paper, but has also created series drawings with ink and rollers at the print shop he uses in LA.

In interviews on YouTube Serra talks about how spatial differences have always interested him, about the idea of people ‘entering into the space of a drawing’, and how – citing Cézanne’s paintings of fruit, as an example – he tries to imply gravity within the structure of his drawings. For his installation drawings his object has become to ‘create a space within the space that differs from the architectural container.’ Consequently, as an exhibitor he is extremely hands on – when drawings intended to work in one gallery are transferred to another, he may even alter them to function to his satisfaction within the new context.

The Richard Serra: Double Rifts show at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills is an exhibition of Richard Serra’s recent drawings.

Drawings from top
Double Rift #5, 2012, Richard Serra
Paintstick on handmade paper
289.6 x 537.2 cm (114 x 211 1/2 ins)

Double Rift #9, 2013, Richard Serra
Paintstick on handmade paper
214 x 611.5 cm (84 1/4 x 240 3/4 ins)
Images ©Richard Serra. Courtesy the artist & Gagosian Gallery


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Sculpture | Early Oldenburg

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store
Claes Oldenburg: Mouse Museum/Ray Gun Wing

14th April – 5th August, 2013
Museum of Modern Art
New York City, USA

Claes Oldenburg
Typewriter Eraser
14th April – 5th August, 2013
Christie’s Sculpture Garden
New York City, USA

Claes Oldenburg’s early work, The Street (1960) – an installation that conjures the gritty and chaotic atmosphere of downtown New York City – and The Store (1961-64) – a large group of handmade, brightly painted sculptures depicting a myriad of commercial products and foodstuffs – redefined the concept of sculpture, putting him on the road to establishing himself as one of the 20th century’s most important artists. Both pieces, along with Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing, created in the 1970s as self-contained ‘museums’ to house careful arrangements of the artist’s personal archives of American popular culture, and tests and experiments from his studio, are being put on view, simultaneously, at the Museum of Modern Art.

Born in 1929, in Stockholm, Sweden, the infant Oldenburg was shuttled back and forth between Scandinavia and the US until his parents finally settled in Chicago in 1936. After studying literature at Yale he took art courses in Chicago. In 1953 he became a US citizen and moved to New York City three years later. He soon came into contact with Jim Dine and Tom Wesselman and found himself part of a new group of artists, who were challenging the might of abstract expressionism. The pop artists, as they were later christened, produced figurative and representational images, and used found objects, to create art that was a visual commentary on consumerism.

Produced in 1960, Oldenburg’s The Street is an installation made of bits of newspaper, scraps of sacking, cardboard objects and papier-mâché, cut, torn, crumpled then assembled to create a fragmented panorama of the contemporary metropolis, inspired by New York’s Lower East Side of the 1950s.

Shifting focus the following year, Oldenburg began creating The Store, an environment first presented in a group show at New York’s Martha Jackson Gallery, and afterwards in a real rented storefront on East Second Street, which was filled with sculptures – objects made from plaster soaked canvas painted in layers of enamel paint – representing the products on sale in shops throughout the neighborhood.

He continued to develop The Store up until 1964, creating further versions of it and producing a large selection of Store sculptures and drawing, many of which have been brought together for the Museum of Modern Art show. However, during 1962-63 – a time of experimentation for Oldenburg – he became interested in reinterpreting commonplace objects like light switches, hamburgers, lipsticks and typewriters. He transformed hard things to soft (and vice versa), radically changed scale, and played around with erotic analogies to body parts.

Following on from this, Oldenburg started his fantastic monument projects in 1965. Coinciding with MoMA’s exhibition, Christie’s Private Sales is exhibiting and offering Typewriter Eraser – the once-ubiquitous US office accessory wittily transformed into a large monumental sculpture – executed in 1976 in painted aluminum, stainless steel, ferroconcrete and bronze. In 2009 the same item was sold at Christie’s New York for the world auction record price of £1,460,000/$2,210,500.

Claes Oldenburg sculptures from top
7-Up, 1961
Enamel on plaster-soaked cloth on wire.
140.7 x 99.7 x 14cm (55 3/8 x 39 1/4 x 5 1/2ins)
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase & Bequest Funds, 1994
©Claes Oldenburg, 1961
Photo Lee Stalsworth

Floor Cone, 1962
Photographed in front of Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, 1963
Oldenburg van Bruggen Studio
©Claes Oldenburg

Floor Burger, 1962
Canvas filled with foam rubber and cardboard boxes,
painted with acrylic paint
132.1 x 213.4 x 213.4 cm (52 x 84 x 84ins)
Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Purchase, 1967
©Claes Oldenburg, 1962
Photo Sean Weaver

Pastry Case, I, 1961-62
Painted plaster sculptures on ceramic plates, metal platter and
cups in glass and metal case
52.7 x 76.5 x 37.3 cm (20 3/4 x 30 1/8 x 14 3/4ins)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection
©Claes Oldenburg, 1961-62
Photo MoMA Imaging Services

Typewriter Eraser, 1976
Painted aluminum, stainless steel, ferroconcrete and bronze
227.3 x 203.2 x 177.8 cm (89 1/2 x 80 x 70 ins)
Number three from an edition of three
Photo Christie’s Image 2013

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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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