Archive for April, 2015

Auction | Hockney Etched & Aquatinted

Friday, April 24th, 2015

The Enchantress with Baby Rapunzel,
Plate 14, Rapunzel,
Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, 1969
Estimate €500 > 600



Interiors
Christie’s
Paris | France
Exhibition 25 > 28 April 2015
Sale 28 > 29 April 2015



Bizarrely, this sale, taking place over two days in Paris, next week, under the catch-all heading ‘Interiors’, includes ‘fine decorative arts and highlights collectible automobiles’. Ironically, these sorts of events have been described as ‘up-market garage sales’, but, once in a while – this being one of those occasions – the big auction houses – and they all do it – put on a sale that includes a whole heap of items that are almost impossible to categorise or group in any meaningful way.

Cold Water about to hit the Prince,
Plate 28, The Boy who left Home to learn Fear,
Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, 1969
Estimate €700 > 1,000



The Boy hidden in a Fish,
Plate 4, The little Sea Hare,
Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, 1969
Estimate €1,000 > 1,500



The black Cat leaping,
Plate 25, The Boy who left Home to learn Fear,
Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, 1969
Estimate €700 > 1,000



If you have the patience to trawl through the lot lists, however, it’s often possible to find real gems like this cache of 17 David Hockney (b 1937) prints, each being sold separately, and two colour photographs, selling as one lot.

The photographs, Sea view from living room, c1970, and Hollywood Window, April 1974, both share a sombre, empty feel, although a shaded figure appearing in the latter, imbues it with a tentative optimism. The first image probably relates to the break up of Hockney’s relationship with Peter Schlesinger, the second is possibly suggestive of the new boyfriend he took up with in 1974.

The Princess in her Tower,
Plate 2, The little sea hare,
Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, 1969
Estimate €1,500-2,000



Five of the prints are coloured etchings and aquatints from Hockney’s The Blue Guitar series (1976 >1977), while the remaining 12 are from his earlier series, Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (1969), a selection of which are shown here. Their sparseness influenced by the reductive aspects of the minimalism he would have encountered in America, that no doubt struck a chord with his strict methodist upbringing, their subject matter stemming from his studious appetite for literature, they demonstrate a maturity of drawing and mastery of technique that render his 1961 > 1963 reworking of William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress (1733), crude in comparison. Representing some of his finest work in the medium, these prints in Christie’s Paris Interiors auction would certainly sit better on the walls of one’s home than propped up against one in someone else’s garage.

FYI, Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm with Illustrations by David Hockney was first published in book form by the Royal Academy of Arts in 1970, with a later edition appearing in 2012.

All images are etchings with aquatint on wove paper,
published by Petersburg Press, London, 1969.
All images courtesy Christie’s



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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 whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Exhibitions | On Luxury

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Voltage Dress,
Iris van Herpen, 2013, Paris
© M Zoeter x Iris van Herpen




What is Luxury?
A V&A and Crafts Council Exhibition
V&A
London | UK
25 April > 27 September 2015



Fragile Future 3
Concrete Chandelier,
Studio Drift, 2011
© Studio Drift, Courtesy
Carpenters Workshop Gallery



Journalists, photographers and creative directors sometimes get very close to luxury. Wearing these different hats, I’ve stayed in what are regarded as some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, including The Hotel Prince Maurice in Mauritius, Brown’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair, Morgans Hotel, The Royalton and The Roger in New York, the legendary Chateau Marmont in LA, and the Grande Bretagne in Athens, among others. I’ve eaten at many of London, New York and Paris’s most prestigious and luxurious restaurants, and sampled great wines. As a photographer, I’ve handled many items of almost unimaginably expensive and finely-crafted, luxurious jewellery and watches. Although I haven’t been to a luxurious couture event, for a few years I regularly attended the prêt-à-porter fashion shows – Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Versace – of all the major players in Paris, London and New York. Involved in celebrity cover shoots for glamorous magazines, I’ve met film stars, pop stars and royalty, and have visited many luxurious homes. Much of it left me untouched. My ideas of luxury are somewhat simpler.

But, defining luxury is not as simple as saying, ‘Your luxury isn’t my luxury. My luxury may not be yours.’ Luxury means different things to different people, and as a concept, it changes over time. Tangled up with concepts of wealth and poverty, of education and ignorance, of culture, of taste, of style, one person’s idea of what constitutes luxury, may be a million miles away from another’s, to the extent that each has a totally different understanding of it. Suffice to say, luxury is an elusive ’something’ people admire and crave for, to one extent or another, while others, who claim to abhor it, may equally be said to possess the luxury of immunity to it. For them, and in the extreme I’m talking about people like the late minimalist artist, Donald Judd, and many others sharing varying degrees of a similar taste, who see luxury as something more than an ostentatious display of wealth, and for who less is infinitely more luxurious than more.

Body 1, Re-materialisation of Systems
El Ultimo Grito, 2014
© Photo POI

Combs, Hair Highway,
Studio Swine, 2014
© Studio Swine

Necklace, Bubble Bath,
Nora Fok, 2001
Photo Heini Schneebeli,
courtesy the Crafts Council



When everything was hunky-dory, in the few years before the worldwide financial crisis of 2007 > 08, when many of us, although we were not exactly rich, might be described as ‘living in a land of milk and honey’, the standard phrases that hitherto had been closely associated with luxury – great comfort, elegance, great expense, opulence, sumptuousness, richness, costliness, grandeur, splendour, magnificence, lavishness, affluence, wealth, prosperity, plenty – began to sound strangely quaint.

Having since been forced into a period of austerity, with extreme implications for many millions of people all over a world, in which only the fortunate few can be said to be ‘living in the lap of luxury’, and having reached a point where technological advances are rapidly changing our lives and values, it is perhaps an appropriate moment to reassess luxury, and to try to decipher what it means to us now. London’s V&A museum is doing just that in its forthcoming exhibition What is Luxury, organised in collaboration with the Crafts Council.

The world’s biggest museum of the decorative arts and design, the V&A houses a permanent, historic collection of over 4.5 million objects. By definition it is a museum of things, many of which are extremely valuable and considered to be luxurious items. And, the appreciation of ‘things’ would seem the best common currency to use as a basis for any discussion about luxury. The exhibition press release informs us, enticingly, that, ‘From a diamond made from roadkill to a vending machine stocked with DNA, a golden crown for ecclesiastical use to traditional military tailoring, over 100 objects will address how luxury is made and understood in a physical, conceptual and cultural capacity.’ It goes on to say that, ‘Essentially, the question of luxury is a personal one,’ which indeed it is, and while the sight of a concrete chandelier featuring real dandelion seeds applied by hand to LED lights (see image above) is unlikely to touch me, couturier Iris van Herpen’s Voltage Dress (see image above), a result of her perpetual collaborations with artists, architects and researchers, which is the manifestation of an experiment with the ability of light and electricity to change states and bodies, and is reproduced using the most innovative technologies, and Time Elapsed, described as ‘a large spirograph designed by Philippe Malouin for the Vienna-based glassware company Lobmeyr – that, incidentally, I’ve also had the privilege of visiting – which rotates to draw patterns made of sand,’ might just do the trick.



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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 whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Art | Jacob Lawrence’s African America

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Panel 48, Housing for the Negroes
was a very difficult problem.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Gift of Mrs David M Levy.
© 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn
Knight Lawrence Foundation,
Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York. Digital image © The
Museum of Modern Art / Licensed
by SCALA / Art Resource, NY



One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s
Migration Series and Other Visions
of
the Great Movement North
The Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
Until 7 September 2015



Panel 1, During the World War
there was a great migration
North by Southern Negroes.

The Phillips Collection, Washington DC.
Acquired 1942. © 2015 The Jacob
and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence
Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights
Society (ARS), New York.
Photograph courtesy The Phillips
Collection, Washington DC



Panel 17, The migration was
spurred on by the treatment of the
tenant farmers by the planter.’

The Phillips Collection, Washington DC
Acquired 1942. © 2015 The Jacob
and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence
Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights
Society (ARS), New York.
Photograph courtesy The Phillips
Collection, Washington DC



Unlike the few white people he includes – the planter, the judge, the passengers in the whites only section at the front of a bus – the skin of Jacob Lawrence’s fellow black African Americans is almost exclusively painted in the same flat, dark brown tone, mostly devoid of facial features. It is as if he painted them through a white man’s eyes, as a single, solid mass of humanity that didn’t really count, and didn’t deserve to be recognised as individuals.

Admitting that his primary influence was not so much French art, as the shapes and colours of Harlem, Lawrence referred to his style as ‘dynamic cubism.’ And, although superficially his work would appear to fall into the category that in fine art terms is referred to as ‘primitive’, he received art training and there is great sophistication in his power to convey his ideas via sharply-edited, direct images that show influences from film and photographic composition, and cropping. Indeed, Lawrence’s paintings of what has come to be called ‘The Great Migration‘ – the diaspora of 6 million African Americans from the rural southern USA to the urban north east, the midwest, and west, between 1916 and 1970 – are, in their way, equal in impact to the documentary photographs of the likes of Dorothea Lange and Gordon Parks.

Panel 52, One of the largest race
riots occurred in East St Louis.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Gift of Mrs David M Levy.
© 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn
Knight Lawrence Foundation,
Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York. Digital image © The
Museum of Modern Art / Licensed
by SCALA / Art Resource, NY



Panel 14, Among the social
conditions that existed which was
partly the cause of the migration
was the injustice done to the
Negroes in the courts.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Gift of Mrs David M Levy.
© 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn
Knight Lawrence Foundation,
Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York. Digital image © The
Museum of Modern Art / Licensed
by SCALA / Art Resource, NY



The large-scale immigration of Europeans to the USA, came to an end in 1914 at the outbreak of World War I, and as factory production in the northern states grew, a new source of cheap labour was needed. Descendants of slaves, southern blacks had their freedom, but saw little opportunity to improve their lot. Tired of the sharecropping system, in which they worked the land with little hope of economic gain, they were easy targets for newspaper advertisements that promised wages in the north that averaged three times their earnings in the rural south. Travelling by train, boat, bus, or even horse-drawn cart, hundreds, thousands, then millions of them made their way north.

In the decade between 1910 and 1920, the black population of New York grew by 66 per cent, while in Chicago it was 148 per cent. But these statistics were nothing in comparison to those for Philadelphia, where the influx of blacks reached 500 per cent. Detroit recorded a massive 611 per cent rise. But, in the increasingly crowded conditions of these northern cities, racism and prejudice would become widespread, race riots would flare up, and segregated housing led to the establishment of black ghettos.

Panel 58, In the North the Negro
had better educational facilities.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Gift of Mrs David M Levy.
© 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn
Knight Lawrence Foundation,
Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York. Digital image © The
Museum of Modern Art / Licensed
by SCALA / Art Resource, NY



Born of migrant parents and having lived in Harlem since 1913, in 1941, the 23-year-old Jacob Lawrence created a series of 60 small paintings each of which he gave caption-like titles. They were the result of his immersion in debates about African American history, and how it ought to be recorded in art and writing. He spent months studying historical documents, books, photographs and journals, before embarking on his series of paintings – his aim, to create a body of work that would provide the world with an accurate and new vision of how black Americans experienced the era.

For the first time in 20 years, all 60 panels of Lawrence’s Migration Series are reunited for the MoMA exhibition One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North. Accompanied by a book, Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series, co-published with The Phillips Collection, Washington DC. The exhibition is organised by The Museum of Modern Art and The Phillips Collection, in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library.

All works from The Migration Series,
1940-41, by Jacob Lawrence, executed
in Casein tempera on hardboard,
18 x 12 ins (45.7 x 30.5 cm)



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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 whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Books | Go Dutch. Lendeert Blok + Marie-José Jongerius

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Narcissus ‘Polar Ice’, ‘St Agnes’, ‘Mount Hood’, ‘La Riante’, and ‘President Lebrun’



Lendeert Blok.
Les Extravagantes
Éditions Xavier Barral
Photographs Lendeert Blok
Text (in French) Gilles Clément
Cloth-bound hardcover
176 pp, 85 colour and
b/w photographs

+

Marie-José Jongerius
– Edges of the Experiment
Published by Fw:Books
Designed and edited
by Hans Gremmen
Texts (in English) by various
authors, including Jongerius
2 x softcover volumes in slipcase
340 pp



Remarkable plant photographer Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932), who would have been 27 years in old in 1892 when the first practical and commercially available colour process became available, and would live for another 40, evidently never used colour. Thirty years his junior, the Dutch plant photographer, Lendeert Blok (1895-1986), who took inspiration from Blossfeldt, but was passionate about photographic innovation, would, eventually become famous for his pioneering use of colour.

Blok had studied journalism in South Africa before returning to Lisse, near Amsterdam, and establishing his Photo Technischbureau company, for which he procured work from nearby horticulturalists, producing their display catalogues while experimenting with panoramic formats and colour photography. From 1925, when the use of colour photography remained relatively rare, he began using the autochrome technique, which involved making composite colour images from three colour separations – blue, red and green – on glass plates with potato starches. The resulting images were unique, and could not be duplicated.

Tulipa ‘Fantasy’



Iris ‘Ismene’



Whereas Blossfeldt celebrated the wonder of plants as nature created them, the pioneering Blok was drawn toward horticultural invention and manipulation. And, just as softness and radiance were anathema to the former’s painstakingly detailed and ultimately static, scientific approach, Blok’s images – shot, like Blossfeldt’s, in the studio against plain backgrounds – are strongly redolent of the outdoors. Remaining true to the original flowers, they suggest movement, shifting light and painterly romance, values that harp back to the 19th century aesthetic.

Gilles Clément, who wrote the text for Lendeert Blok: Les Extravagantes, is a French landscape designer, botanist and ecological theorist. He created the André-Citroën Park in Paris (1999), and designed the vast public gardens at the Musée du Quai Branly (2006) in Paris in collaboration with architect, Jean Nouvel.

As the publishers were unable to send The Blog a review copy, we are unable to comment on its design or printing quality.




In stark contrast to Les Extravagantes, Marie-José Jongerius – Edges of the Experiment is, at first sight, a bleak, two-book, boxed set about a bleak subject – America’s ruination of its western landscape, via its unquenchable thirst for water and development in areas where it is naturally scarce. However, somewhat contradictorily, the matter-of-fact images, the non-precious layout treatment and spare packaging contrive to deliver a washed-out, grungy kind of beauty.

Eschewing luxury, the books and slipcase are in various grades of recycled paper or board, while foil-blocking is used as an ironic gesture on both covers.

The opening spread of
volume 1: an arid smog-ridden
shot of Los Angeles,
photographed in 2007 by
Marie-José Jongerius

Hans Gremmen’s Cactus
Desert Scenes: Playmobil
Western, cactus from
the 5251 set
(2 variations)



The project’s editor and ‘curator’, Hans Gremmen, who received a Gold Medal in the Dutch Design Awards for his work on the book Cette Montagne C’est Moi (2012), was also responsible for the design of the complete package. Its feel – the way it is assembled, the layout and typography – has the mainland Northern European design aesthetic, literally, written all over it. More mood-board than structured non-fiction publication, this is collaborative collage, or printmaking in book form. It’s a publishing project, but also an art event and a design project, in which photography, design, journalism, history, and ecological protest, all form a part, and to which 17 international writers and artists, a curator, two architects, a translator, two photographers and an editor/designer have contributed.

Spread within a section
by Taco Hidde Bakker
and Felix van de Vorst,
illustrated with a Krazy Kat
comic strip, stills from
John Ford’s Cheyenne
Autumn
, 1964, and classic
1950s desert scene
photographs by Josef Muench

One of a series of
diagrammatic spreads by
Hans Gremmen, this one
illustrating lakes and
surface water in California



Photographer and researcher, Marie-José Jongerius, is based in Amsterdam. In her studiously calm, simple documentary landscape pictures, over 60 of which, produced over a 10 year period, appear in volume one of Edges of the Experiment, she ‘looks for boundaries, limits and edges between nature and the man-made world.’ Volume two is a collection of essays about the making of the American landscape, illustrated with a wide variety of diverse imagery that includes simple, and beautifully-drawn food production and surface water diagrams, stills from Roman Polanski’s film Chinatown (1974) and westerns, Playmobil cactus scenes, maps, ariel survey photographs, and a portrait of musician Captain Beefheart, among many others.

Lendeert Blok: Les
Extravagantes
images
courtesy Éditions
Xavier Barral,
© Leendert
Blok / Stichting
Spaarnestad Photo

Marie-José Jongerius
– Edges of the Experiment

images,
courtesy Fw:Books



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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, 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 whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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