Archive for June, 2016

Exhibition | Comic Strip Originals

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Charles Forbell, Naughty Pete,
The New York Herald, 23 October, 1913
Private collection



Pioneers of the Comic Strip
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
Until 18 September 2016



Lyonel Feininger, The Kin-der-Kids,
Sunday page, Chicago Tribune, 29 April 1906
Collection Achim Moeller, New York,
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016



It was the mass-produced, throwaway quality of comic book art that first attracted the interest of pop artists in the 1950s, who set about reproducing carefully selected details from them as large paintings. In consequence, wider attention was drawn toward the exceptional qualities of the original source of this inspiration: the newspaper comic strip. Countless millions of these were printed, and many more produced, but few from the trailblazing, early years have survived.

Cliff Sterrett, Polly and Her Pals, detail
13 November 1927
Private collection



Frank King, Gasoline Alley,
The Denver Post, 24 August, 1930
Private collection,
© Estate of Frank King



Although the format had existed in Britain since the early 1880s – Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday, first published on 3 May 1884 is regarded as the first comic strip magazine to feature a recurring character – comic strips first began to appear in American newspapers in 1897, immediately captivating the middle and working classes, as well as fascinating newly arrived immigrants. Their success there in the early 20th century was integral to the meteoric rise of newspapers as mass media that, due to the development of high-performance printing presses and decreasing paper costs, became affordable for all US citizens.

Comic strips would gain such importance that the growth or decline of a newspaper became dependent on their popularity, and they became tactical weapons in the war between American media barons, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.

Winsor McCay, Little Nemo in Slumberland,
The New York Herald, 23 September, 1906
Private collection



Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt’s new exhibition, Pioneers of the Comic Strip, presents around 230 rare examples produced between 1905 and the 1940s, including original drawings, and features six outstanding, primarily American illustrators, who shaped the genre’s early history: Winsor McCay, Lyonel Feininger, Charles Forbell, Cliff Sterrett, George Herriman, and Frank King.

All images courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt


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The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Photography | J.H. Lartigue / On Holiday

Friday, June 10th, 2016

‘Renée Biarritz, August 1930′



J.H.Lartigue ‘The Blink of an Eye’
Michael Hoppen Gallery
London | UK
8 June > 9 August 2016



‘Véra et Arlette, Cannes, Mai, 1927’



‘Florette, Monte Carlo beach, août 1953′



‘Bibi, Arlette and Irène. Cannes, 1929′



‘Coco on the terrace, Neuilly, June 1938’



The Blog team is on holiday.

If you’re in London, we recommend you try to see J.H.Lartigue ‘The Blink of an Eye’ at the Michael Hoppen Gallery. The exhibition is curated by Hoppen himself, together with author and Lartigue enthusiast William Boyd, who recently wrote an excellent piece – that we also recommend you read – about the great master of the snapshot, on The Guardian’s website

All photographs by JH Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture, France / AAJHL
All images courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery


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The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Photography | Isolating Thomas Struth

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Periphery,
Max Planck IPP, Garching 2009
Chromogenic print



Thomas Struth. Nature & Politics
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
11 June > 18 September 2016



Aquarium, Atlanta 2013
Chromogenic print



Surprisingly, German photographer Thomas Struth, who is based in Berlin and is – according to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has an unparalleled collection of his work – ‘one of the most important and influential photographers of the last half-century’ hasn’t had a retrospective in the city since 2004.

Having first studied art under Gerhard Richter, then photography under Bernd and Hilla Becher from 1973 to 1980, Struth (b 1954) won a scholarship to New York, where he would produce Streets of New York City, a series of intense, deserted panoramas, that earned him his first solo exhibition there, at MoMA PS1, in 1978.

Catapulted to success, retrospective exhibitions of his work began early in his career –Kunsthalle Bern (1987), Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1994), Carré d’Art, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes (1998), Dallas Museum of Art (2002), Museo de Art de Lima (2005) – and in 2011 London’s Whitechapel Gallery presented Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978 – 2010.

Basilica of the Annunciation,
Nazareth 2014

Inkjet print



Ride, Anaheim 2013
Chromogenic print



Research Vehicle,
Armstrong Flight
Research Center,
Edwards 2014

Inkjet print



But blockbuster retrospectives – as fashionable as they have become – while useful as reminders of the range and chronology of an artist’s development, can be overwhelming affairs that render the viewer, who can at best expect to be left with only an overview, grappling with a surfeit of competing concepts, each vying for their attention, confused and dissatisfied.

Perhaps by not being seen in isolation the work, too, sometimes suffers. Struth’s photographs may appear disarmingly matter-of-fact, but the thought processes behind them is deep and philosophical. Museum Photographs (1989 > 1992) – a large-scale colour series, consisting of voyeuristic observations of crowds of visitors, which reveals how historic paintings exhibited in famous museums are experienced today, requires time and space to be fully appreciated. It can be displayed alongside his earlier black-and-white portraits of individuals and almost unbearably frank depictions of family groups, or with his serene, unpopulated New Pictures from Paradise jungle images of the 1990s, but each of these also deserves proper consideration.

Although it’s only a matter of time before a major retrospective of Struth’s work is shown there, perhaps, for the moment, Berlin is getting it right.

Thomas Struth. Nature & Politics – the photographer’s first exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau – is not a retrospective, but a carefully composed survey of just 37 large-format photographs of work from the years 2005 to 2016. It homes in on the photographer’s more recent and ongoing preoccupation with the creation of images of the highly complex apparatus, structures and constructions that humankind is able to imagine and build that shape our everyday, contemporary, existence.

All images by and © Thomas Struth, courtesy Martin-Gropius-Bau


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The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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