Archive for January, 2014

Architecture | Frank Lloyd Wright and the Big City

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s
Broadacre City, 1934–35.
Below, Mile High, Chicago, 1956



Frank Lloyd Wright and the City:
Density versus Dispersal
The Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
1st February > 1st June 2014

China’s residential, hotel, education and office building, Sky City, due for completion this year will, at 838m (2,749ft), replace Dubai’s mixed-use Burji Khalifa as the world’s tallest building. However by 2019 the 1km (3281ft) Kingdom Tower* in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, also mixed-use, will have taken the title. Of remarkable relevance to current debates on urban concentration, Frank Lloyd Wright’s projects, from the San Francisco Call Building (1912), to Manhattan’s St Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie Towers (1927–31), and a controversial and futuristic 1956 scheme for a mile-high (1.6km) skyscraper, engaged questions of urban density and sought to bring light and landscape to the tall building.

In the 1920s and 1930s American cities were already growing at an exponential rate. Architects and city planners like Wright (American, 1867-1959) took it as their responsibility to begin working on how best to tackle the expansion before it got out of hand. Wright was a compelling theorist of both the horizontal and vertical aspects of cities, and, while working on radical forms for new skyscapers, he simultaneously embarked on a comprehensive plan for the urbanisation of the American landscape called Broadacre City. His plan is illustrated in this exhibition with a spectacular 3.7 x 3.7m (12ft x 12ft) model that merges one of the earliest schemes for a highway flyover with an expansive, agricultural domain. Originally displayed at New York City’s Rockefeller Center, the model toured the country for several years in the 1930s, and was constantly updated throughout Wright’s life.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density versus Dispersal celebrates the recent joint acquisition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s archive by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, which are the source for both images included here.
*Source: The Skyscraper Center


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Photography | Phi(Leap!) Halsman

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Like Two Erect Sentries,
My Mustache Defends the Entrance to My Real Self

From Dalí’s Mustache, 1954
©2013 Philippe Halsman Archive / Magnum Photos
Exclusive rights for images of Salvador Dalí:
Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2014




Philippe Halsman, Astonish Me!
Musee de l’Elysee
Lausanne, Switzerland
29th January – 11th May, 2014

Murderer! The anti-semitic Austrian locals shouted at Philippe Halsman falsely accusing the 22-year-old of murdering his father who had accidentally perished while the Jewish pair were on a hiking holiday, far away from their Latvian home, in 1928. He was subsequently sentenced to ten years solitary confinement with hard labour.

Destined to become one of the leading experimental and portrait photographers of the 20th century, born Filips Halsman, aged fifteen he had found his dentist father’s old camera and spoke of ‘a miracle’ happening as he developed his first pictures of family and friends in the bathroom sink. A miracle certainly occurred when, due to the efforts of his sister Liouba, who launched a campaign for his release from prison, gathering support from leading European intellectuals like Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, and Sigmund Freud, he was pardoned in 1930. French minister Paul Painlevé intervened, spiriting Halsman away to asylum in Paris. There the minister’s son, Jean, a scientific filmmaker, immediately gave his new photographer friend the best camera then available, a version of the Kodak 9×12, and began introducing him to the thriving Paris scene. Two years later, Halsman opened his first portrait studio in Montparnasse, where he photographed Marc Chagall, Le Corbusier and other writers and artists, using an innovative twin-lens reflex camera he had designed himself. Staying in the city for ten years, where he worked in fashion for Vogue, he also produced images for the early reportage magazines,Vu and Voilà, in 1940 as Paris was about to fall he fled the Nazis and moved to New York having obtained an emergency visa through the intervention of Albert Einstein.

Cover of the magazine Life with a
portrait of Marilyn Monroe jumping

November 9, 1959
©2013 Philippe Halsman Archive / Magnum Photos

Another image from the Life session
Marilyn Monroe, 1959

©2013 Philippe Halsman Archive / Magnum Photos



Working for Life – for which he shot 101 covers, before the magazine ceased publication in 1972 – and most major magazines in America and elsewhere, including Look, Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post and Paris Match, Halsman came into contact with famous celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Duke Ellington, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Frank Sinatra, and Richard Nixon, to name but a few. His work also appeared in advertisements and publicity for clients like Elizabeth Arden cosmetics, NBC, Simon & Schuster, and Ford. Having been elected as first president of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, he led the fight for photographers’ creative and professional rights, his photographic work winning him international recognition, in 1951 he was invited to join Magnum Photos to join as a ‘contributing member’, allowing the agency to syndicate his work outside the United States. A poll conducted by Popular Photography, in 1958, named Halsman one of the ‘World’s Ten Greatest Photographers’ alongside Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Ernst Haas, Yousuf Karsh, Gjon Mili, Irving Penn, and Eugene Smith.

In Paris, Halsman had studied the work of other artists and photographers, especially the surrealists, from whom he learned to make images that surprised his viewers. On meeting Salvador Dali In New York, in 1941, he embarked on what would become a thirty-seven-year collaboration with the artist that resulted in a continuos flow of highly creative, experimental, and often bizarre images up until the year before his death in 1979. These included some of Halsman’s most celebrated pictures: Dalí Atomicus and the Dalí’s Mustache series – technical masterpieces that not only challenged him, but pushed the boundary of photography to its limits. But often his simplest inventions such as ‘jumpology’ – in the early 1950s, he began asking his subjects to leap in the air for his camera at the conclusion of each sitting – would generate unique and equally surprising pictures. Witty and energetic images, offering a natural, spontaneous portrait of his subjects are an important part of his photographic legacy.

Dalí Atomicus, 1948
©2013 Philippe Halsman Archive / Magnum Photos
Exclusive rights for images of Salvador Dalí:
Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2014



The Versatile Jean Cocteau, 1949
©2013 Philippe Halsman Archive / Magnum Photos



Artists, Dali, Dance, Entertainers / Men, Entertainers / Women, The Frenchman, Jumps, Marilyn Monroe, Musicians, New Year’s Cards, Nudes / Experimental, Paris 1930s, Politicians, Writers… the categories listed on the Halsman website bear witness to the vast range of the photographer’s work. Each image featured is testimony to the thought, the humour, and the hard work he invested in everything he produced. His picture books, among them, Unknown Halsman, Dali’s Moustache, Halsman at work, Portraits, Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas and Jump Book serve to illustrate the photographer’s prodigious output.

The exhibition Philippe Halsman, Astonish Me! retrospective showcases the photographer’s entire career for the first time, from his beginnings in Paris in the 1930s to the tremendous success of his New York studio between 1940 and 1970. It includes 300 images and original documents, and is intended to shed new light on the work of the photographer. Produced by the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, in collaboration with the Philippe Halsman Archive, it will afterwards be installed at Paris’s Jeu de Paume (13th October 13, 2015 – 14th February, 2016), and presented at the Kunsthal Rotterdam (24th February – 5th June , 2016), before being shown in venues in Barcelona and Madrid.

Two versions of the exhibition catalogue are being published: Philippe Halsman, Etonnez-moi!, in French from Editions Photosynthèses, and Philippe Halsman, Astonish Me!, in English version from Prestel Publishing.

All photographs by Philippe Halsman
Courtesy Musée de l’Elysée


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Art | Long Day’s Journey into Night

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Fullmoon@Cape Verde, 2013
C-print



Darren Almond:
To Leave a Light Impression
White Cube
South Galleries, Bermondsey, London, UK
22nd January –13th April, 2014

The White Cube press release for Wigan-born Darren Almond’s forthcoming exhibition at their Bermondsey gallery, tells us he ‘lives and works in London’, which is somewhat misleading. From his London base, Almond travelled back and forth across the globe, visiting every continent over a period of thirteen years to create his Fullmoon series of photographs. These, together with his Present Form series and a group of small bronze sculptures, will be included in the show.

To Almond, who has a deep connection to landscapes – their geology, myth and history – travel is elemental. The Arctic Circle, Siberia, the holy mountains in China and the source of the Nile have all drawn him. Time and duration, place, personal history, and collective memory are the palette from which he creates his sculptures, films, photographs, and works on paper. In terms of execution, sometimes his concepts are relatively simple and at other times far more complex. For Terminus, Almond negotiated the relocation of the original bus shelters of the town of Oswiecim (formerly Auschwitz) to make an emotive installation about historical loss. Tide, in which 600 digital clocks were lined up along a wall, simultaneously registering the relentless passage of time, evoked the ‘clocking in and clocking out’ procedure of factory workers.

Present Form: Ceithir, 2013
C-print



Fullmoon@Cerro Chaltén, 2013
C-print



The works in the Darren Almond: To Leave a Light Impression show at White Cube are the product of Almond’s journeys to Patagonia, Tasmania, the Cape Verde Islands and the Outer Hebrides.

In 1998, Almond began making a series of landscape photographs, which he calls Fullmoons. Each were taken during a full moon in diverse and remote geographical locations. These images, made possible by harnessing the moonlight and using exposures times of 15 minutes or more, appear ghostly, bathed in an unexpectedly brilliant light, as if night has been transformed into day.

His Patagonia pictures – referencing romantic landscape painting – employ classical compositions. Suffused with an apparently supernatural light – the result of the lack of airborne pollution – devoid of any signs of the hand of man, the terrain appears immaculate, timeless.

The passing of time and man’s need to measure it are the subject of Pesent Form, for which Almond photographed 4,000-year-old, ravaged and moss-covered standing stones and circles, on the Isle of Lewis and on the Outer Hebrides. Whereas, the outcrops of black solidified lava, that appear to be still smouldering, in his large-scale photographs taken on the volcanic Cape Verde Islands, off the west coast of Africa, bear witness to their raging, seething birth.

Since his own beginning as an artist, Almond’s work has appeared in countless exhibitions around the world, and has won major art prizes. His films have been shown in biennales from Tel Aviv in Israel to Palm Beach, Florida. Among others, Almond has had one-man shows at London’s Tate Britain, Zürich’s Kunsthalle, the de Appel Centre for Contemporary Art in Amsterdam, at the University of Chicago, at Düsseldorf’s K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, and at SITE Santa Fe. A finalist in the 2005 Turner Prize, Almond also participated in the 2003 Venice Biennale. In 2011 his work was featured on a billboard in New York City overlooking Chelsea’s High Line Park. Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin put on his All Things Pass exhibition in 2012, and his Hemispheres and Continents show at Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, last year, was shown in Madrid and Japan.

All Images © Darren Almond, except portrait ©Richard Dawson
Courtesy White Cub
e


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Interview | Art Criticism in Exile

Friday, January 10th, 2014

mouth2mouth interview | imagined by pedro silmon
dave hickey | art critic (currently in self-imposed exile)


Dave Hickey is regarded as, arguably, one of today’s most astute art critics. Despite their often jocular tone, his latest body of essays, published by Ridinghouse under the collective title Pirates and Farmers, Essays on Taste, are a serious, personal rant against the celebrity-and money-driven culture of the global art establishment in the 21st century.

Written in first person, the cleverly-edited content, although not chronologically organised, reads like a mini-autobiography. In 1951, aged eleven, Hickey says, he left his mother’s house, ‘and for the next thirty-five years, travelled, wrote and did a lot of drugs’ and dabbled in group sex. Despite these diversions he managed to graduate from Texas Christian University in 1961 and to be awarded a PhD a couple of years later. He fell down a mountain in Peru. He hung out at Andy Warhol’s Factory. He became a rock journalist, ‘a good, slick magazine writer, and relatively punctual’, and lived for a while in Nashville. In the 1980s in his home town of Fort Worth, Texas, where his mother was ‘furiously dying’, it occurred to him that ‘there might be an expiration date on stupid adventures.’ In 1989, a book of his short fiction Prior Convictions, was published. The nascent 1990s saw his relocation to the West Coast, and when it dawned on him that drugs had killed all of his friends, he realised he was a ‘talented’ writer who didn’t need drugs to write. Somewhere along the line he began attending art exhibition openings, writing about art, and was invited to curate shows. In the 1960s he had been owner-director of an art gallery in Austin, Texas: A Clean Well-Lighted Place, and became director of the Reese Palley Gallery in New York. He lived in Las Vegas for 20 years, taking up gambling, which he regarded as a ‘private refuge’. Despite his having vociferously criticised both the concept of biennials as ‘trade shows for curators in search of internationally certified installations to fill out their exhibition schedules,’ Hickey was chosen to curate SITE, Santa Fe’s fourth biennial, Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Cosmopolitanism (2001-2). In 2008, he moved to Santa Fé, New Mexico.

His critical essays have been published in two volumes: The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty (1993, republished with revisions in 2009) and Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (1997). Hickey has written for many American publications, including Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Art News, Art in America – where he was executive editor – Artforum, and Vanity Fair, as well as for The London Review of Books and Frieze in the UK, and Zürich’s Parkett. He currently holds professorships at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the University of New Mexico.


Has art criticism contributed to recent trends in the art market?

I look around me every day and thank the gods of art that no piece of art criticism written by me or anyone else has contributed a single whiff of pheromone to the fragrant panache that has sustained the art world market in luxury goods for nearly two decades.

So, what has changed?
During art’s tenure as a luxury commodity, economic problems have arisen. The vestigial infrastructure of arbiters still exists; it just doesn’t arbitrate. Writers like myself are expensive, and professors will write for free to gain tenure. So writers and talkers like myself, who would rather be right than rich, are out of the value game.

What about the media itself?
The Chinese wall that divided advertising from editorial has disappeared completely. Advertisers can suppress coverage. They can even buy coverage with a back cover ad, a nice lunch, and a little schmooze.

What else was different when you were a young art dealer?
My Mentors, Leo Castelli, [et al], believed a dealer’s job was to build great collections and create an art market in which price and value maintained some magnetic attraction. Maybe we aesthetes were wrong. Maybe everything we liked was crap, and art is nothing but decorative fodder that costs too much or too little depending on your disposable income.

Can the art market, as a market in art, tolerate this situation?
Unlike precious stones, rare metal, and Fabergé cloisoneé, works have no intrinsic value. You can’t break art down and sell it for parts, with the exception of Damien Hirst’s diamond skull.

Are today’s arbiters different from those of earlier times?
Back in the day, serious players invested art with value in public. They were willing to put their reputations on the line, take chances, and make public bets on the value and longevity of problematic artworks. This coterie of arbiters included gallerists, collectors, critics, scholars, magazine editors, auction houses, curators and acquisition committees. The ongoing public quarrel over ‘quality’ raged for nearly a century, and generated a fairly stable constellation of relative value among players. Now these arbiters have fallen into disgrace.

What effect has this had on contemporary artists?
There are generations of artists for whom a consensus of professional respect could carry them through times of no money better than money could carry them through times of no respect. A few museum shows and a nice essay during a lull meant that your prices would still be there when the spotlight swooped back.
Ellsworth Kelly, Bruce Nauman, and Ed Ruscha have had moments of eclipse. A non-pecuniary consensus of esteem among honest professionals carried them through the valley of the shadow. Gossip and slick magazine ink doesn’t offer the same fallback support. There are artists out there now who came into public vogue in the mid-1980s, after honest judgement was suppressed. They are still wondering where the help was when they needed it. Numerous contemporary luminaries will soon be wondering the same thing.


Dave Hickey: Pirates and Farmers, Essays on Taste
Edited by Karsten Schubert and Doro Globus
Softback, 192pp
Published by Ridinghouse, 2013

All imaginary interview answers extracted in part or in full from the essay Some Things Are Better than Others – of which an edited version (Revision Number Five: Quality) was first published in Art in America, vol 97, no 2, February 2009 – amongst the collection of essays, written between 2000-2012, which appear in:

Photo of Dave Hickey by Christine Taylor


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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 | Harry Callahan in the City

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Chicago, 1961
Gelatin silver print


Harry Callahan: City
Pace/MacGill Gallery
32 East 57th Street, New York City, USA
9th January – 8th March, 2014

Every bit the committed educationalist he was for much of his working life: ‘Wanting to see more makes you grow as a person and growing makes you want to show more of life around you…’ Callahan (1912-1999) wrote in the monograph, Harry Callahan: Photographs, published by El Mochuelo Gallery, Santa Barbara in 1964.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, as a young man he worked at Chrysler, before leaving to study engineering, but, in 1938, began to teach himself photography. Attending an inspirational talk by Ansel Adams in 1941, and meeting Alfred Stieglitz the following year, he made up his mind to be a full-time photography. By 1946, Callahan, at 34, his talent having been noticed by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was invited to put on his first solo exhibition there – seen by László Moholy-Nagy, who asked him to teach at the Institute of Design in Chicago (formerly known as the New Bauhaus). Staying until 1961 he moved on to establish a photography programme at the Rhode Island School of Design, teaching there until his retirement in 1977.

Moholy-Nagy had spotted that Callahan, like himself, was a modernist unafraid of using individual and intuitive methods to create his photographic images. Experimentalist, Callahan used both large and small format cameras and film, exploring double and triple exposure, as well as blurring. The exceptional creative breadth and investigative depth of his artistic process, paired with his rigorous devotion to craftsmanship, distinguish his works as masterpieces of modern photography.

Callahan’s photography was a deeply personal response to his own life. From 1948 to 1953 his wife Eleanor, and sometimes his daughter, Barbara – both of whom figured as the prime subject matter for a large number of his portraits and studies – appeared in his city and landscape photography, populating it and providing apparently incidental counterpoints to large expanses of parkland, skyline or water. The photographer’s other great theme was nature, which he shot without sentimentality, typically capturing the essence of the seasons and of plant forms in clean, stripped down, almost zen-like compositions.

Untitled, c 1954
Vintage gelatin silver print


Chicago, 1950
Vintage gelatin silver print


New York, 1974
Vintage gelatin silver print


His photographic method, woven in around his teaching commitments, was to leave home almost in the mornings, walk the streets of whichever city he was living in, and take numerous pictures. He would spend his afternoons editing and making proof prints of the day’s best shots. Other than his 100,000 negatives and over 10,000 proof prints (reported elsewhere as 40,000 negatives and 800 ‘pictures’) Callahan, in his own estimation, he is said to have claimed that he produced no more than half a dozen final images per year. He left few written records – no diaries, letters, scrapbooks or teaching notes, however, The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, maintains his photographic archives. His estate is represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York City – who also represent the work of masters of photography such as Diane Arbus, Chuck Close, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Hiro, Irving Penn, Paolo Roversi, Hiroshi Sugimoto, William Wegman and Garry Winogrand – which is presenting the forthcoming exhibition Harry Callahan: City.

Callahan’s city pictures present the everyday urban environment from unexpected points of view. At a time when descriptive realism was the dominant aesthetic in American photography, his quest for conceptual expression went beyond the cityscape to express the urban state of mind. His series of faces of ‘women lost in thought’ on the streets of Chicago from 1950, for example, are psychological portraits of the city, amongst its physical architectural space.

A recipient of many distinctions, Callahan was the first photographer chosen to represent the United States at the 1978 Venice Biennial. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions at institutions such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and Center for Creative Photography, Arizona. Examples of his oeuvre are included in the collections of major museums worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

All images ©The Estate of Harry Callahan
Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York


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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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