Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

All Categories | The Blog Team is on Holiday

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Kielder Water from below the Kielder Observatory, Northumberland, UK

Kielder Observatory, by Charles Barclay Architects, completed 2008

Photographs by Pedro Silmon, 2014




Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Art | Blue Riders & The Bridge

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Alexej von Jawlensky Helle Erscheinung, 1916
Oil and pencil on paper laid down on the artist’s board.
Estimate £180,000 > 250,000



Impressionist
& Modern Art Day Sale

Sotheby’s
London | UK
Exhibition 18th > 23rd June 2014
Sale 24th June 2014

August Macke & Franz Marc.
An Artistic Freindship

Lehnbachhaus
Munich | Germany
Exhibition 24th June > 21st July 2014



A German expressionist portrait personified, Renate Rosenthal, fiery editor-in-chief of German ELLE , red in the face, emerald green contact lenses flashing: ‘Macke! You don’t know him?’ she asked in heavily-German-accented English, regarding me querulously, evidently asking herself what sort of an uneducated moron her new English art direktor was.

In terms of art, there was a huge amount of activity in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, of which I came to realise I had scant knowledge prior to moving to Munich, where I stayed for over six years, in the second half of the 1990s and into the new millenium. I had never visited the Courtauld Institute of Art, which has an important collection of German expressionist paintings on long term loan I only discovered on my eventual return to London. They are to be found in the remotest corner, on the top floor, as far as it’s possible to be from the lift and stairs. Works by August Macke and Max Pechstein are on show and the gallery has sixteen paintings and works on paper by Wassily Kandinsky, whose fellow emigré Alexej Jawlensky is represented by six works. Kandinky’s lover, Gabriele Münter’s oeuvre was the subject of an exhibition at the Courtauld in 2005, about which the Independent newspaper said at the time ‘…this small jewel-like exhibition is, in its quiet unobtrusive way, one of the best shows in London.’



Wassily Kandinsky, Ohne Titel, Spring 1916
Brush and ink and wash on paper
Estimate £35,000 > 45,000
Property from the estate of Jan Krugier



Franz Marc, Abstraktes Aquarell I, 1913 > 14
Watercolour and pencil on paper
Estimate £7,000 >10,000
Property from the estate of Jan Krugier



Though they lived in a particularly innovative time for German art, it’s not surprising that some of the German and Germany-based painters of the period aren’t as well-known outside of the country as they might have been. August Macke (1887 > 1914) was one of a number of German artists who died while relatively young in World War 1.

In 1905 the artists’ association ‘Die Brücke‘ (The Bridge) was founded in Dresden by four architecture students – Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff; Max Pechstein, Emil Nolde and Otto Mueller would also become members. Die Brücke’s  aim was to find new ways of artistic expression and to free themselves from the entrenched, traditional academic style of the time. Collectively, they created a style which became known as expressionism that would provide a lasting legacy to 20th century art and artists. Marked by the social and political upheaval which would culminate in the First World War, violence and unpredictability characterized the era, and were potent influences on expressionist artists.



Max Pechstein
Kind auf Dorfstrasse, c 1923
Oil on canvas
Estimate £300,000 > 400,000
Property from a private German collection



In 1910, through his friendship with Franz Marc (1880 >1916) – another highly-talented and influential artist, who also died in the Great War – Macke had met Kandinsky and for a while shared the aesthetic and symbolic interests of their Munich-based Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group, which was experimenting with the idea of fusing together fauvist, cubist and expressionist influences.

In 1911, all the members of Die Brücke moved to Berlin, where, the following year Lyonel Feininger, the German/American painter, who was to become a leading exponent of expressionism, was working, and where by then August Macke had also gravitated. The Macke drawing (shown here) in Sotheby’s forthcoming and wide-ranging Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale, however, was executed after a later meeting with Robert Delauney in Paris, after which his work took another direction.

Both Feininger and Emil Nolde exhibited with the Blaue Reiter in 1912, but Nolde, having difficult relationships with any of the groups he became associated with, didn’t linger. In the 1920s, having achieved fame, he was a supporter of the Nazi party. Expressing negative remarks about Jewish artists, he considered expressionist art to be a distinctively Germanic style. However, when Hitler, in 1937, in his infamous radio speech said ‘works of art which cannot be understood in themselves, but need some pretentious instruction book to justify their existence, will never again find their way to the German people’, and rejected all forms of modernist art as ‘degenerate’, 1052 of Nolde’s works were removed from museums throughout Germany. After 1941, he was totally barred from painting. Nolde was only one of many who whose life and work were subjected to the same treatment and worse.



August Macke
Abstrakte Formen XIV, 1913
Coloured wax crayons on paper
Estimate £4,000 > 5,000
Property from the estate of Jan Krugier



Emil Nolde
Weisse Lilien und Dahlien, 1930
Watercolour on paper
Estimate £50,000 > 70,000



Much of the art branded as ‘degenerate’ had been claimed to be the product of Jews and Bolsheviks, but only six of the 112 artists featured in the Nazis’ notorious Entartete Kunst / Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich, later in 1937, were actually Jewish. The show was seen by around 15 million visitors. Afterwards, many of the works and others that had been confiscated were burned or simply disappeared. Last year, however, an enormous cache of early 20th century German modernist art miraculously came to light, when it was discovered that art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, having been given the task of selling them for the Nazis, had acquired a large number of ‘degenerate’ drawings and paintings in the 1930s and 40s. After his father’s death, his son, Cornelius Gurlitt, now 81 years old, had secretly kept around 1,400 works at his apartment in Munich, and a further 60 items were discovered recently in a flat he owned in the Austrian city of Salzburg.

In a moment of calm, Renate kindly suggested I pay a visit to the best place in the world to see Blaue Reiter work, Munich’s jewel-like Lehnbachhaus museum, a late 19th century villa built for Franz von Lenbach (1836 – 1904), a central protagonist in the establishment of Munich as a the major centre of the arts – despite, and maybe because of its turbulent past – it remains today. On her eightieth birthday in 1957, Gabrielle Münter gave over a thousand works by Blaue Reiter artists to the Lenbachhaus, including ninety oil paintings by Kandinsky, as well as around 330 of his watercolors and drawings, his sketchbooks, reverse glass paintings, and his printed work. The gift also included more than twenty-five paintings and numerous works on paper by Münter herself, and works by other prominent artists: Alexej Jawlensky, Paul Klee, August Macke and Franz Marc. In 2013, the Lenbachhaus underwent a general renovation and acquired a new extension based on designs by British architects, Foster + Partners.



Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Sculpture | A Glimpse of Michel Deverne

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Etoile éclatée, 1968
Lacquered stainless steel panel
€8,000 > 12,000


Michel Deverne
Wood, Metal, Paper
PIASA Rive Gauche
Paris | France
Exhibition 19th June > 25th June 2014
Sale 25th June 2014



French artist, Michel Deverne’s giant-size sculpture Les Miroirs (1981) at La Défense – also known as La Grande Mosaïque – formed by ten giant cylinders, at 2.3 m², is considered the largest work, ever produced using the mosaic technique.

Information on Deverne, however, is elusive. An initial trawl of the internet brings little reward – a few images of him in his later years, a couple of pictures of his bass-relief works and some rather dull shots of the aforementioned mosaic sculpture. Wallpaper* ran an obituary just after his death, aged 84 in February 2012, that refers to an interview they did with him in 2011. Unwilling to simply plagiarise the magazine’s articles, or repeat the scant text of the auction house’s press release, I resolved to continue my search elsewhere.

On their site, Paris’s Centre Pomidou, where Deverne’s works have been exhibited, gives only the dates of his birth and death. The city’s Grande Palais, where the artist has also been exhibited, on my having entered his name and clicked the search button on their site, rewarded me with the following advice: ‘Check if your spelling is correct. Remove quotes around phrases to search for each word individually: bike shed will often show more results than “bike shed”. Consider loosening your query with OR. bike OR shed will often show more results than bike shed.’ So I tried Michel OR Deverne and predictably, got nowhere.



Nuage
Draft of sculpture for a stretch of water, 1982

Cardboard
€2,000 > 3,000



Obelisque no 6
Study for Togo’s Monument of Independence, 1976

Cardboard
€2,000 > 3,000



Table, 1970
Pine wood and stainless steel
€3,000 > 4,000



Deverne’s sculptures have been installed in many public places in France and also around the world – in cities like Rotterdam and Tel Aviv, as well as in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Canada, Senegal, Belgium, Cameroon and the United States – but a search via New York’s MoMA site brought zero results, as did another at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tate Modern’s site has nothing on him.

Aware that Deverne drew much of his artistic inspiration from architecture and the city, I thought London’s Design Museum might have something. Nothing. The Vitra Museum perhaps? – No. Deverne was French, but I thought the Royal Institute of British Architecture, could be worth trying, but again, zero results.

Michel Deverne became a Professor at the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1977 – I drew a blank on their website, too – and was awarded a silver medal in Arts Plastiques by France’s Académie d’Architecture in 1983. Here I struck lucky – 20 articles in which he is mentioned – Wow! – but they were only available in French, and sadly, I don’t speak French. Should you be equally handicapped but want to learn more about Deverne go to the Wallpaper* link. There, amongst a lot of very interesting detail about his life and his remarkable creations you’ll find a link to the Paris gallery, RCM, which, when the feature was created, apparently represented him. However, Deverne’s name, if it ever did, doesn’t appear on their list of artists.

Michel Deverne: Wood, Metal, Paper, PIASA’s final sale of the season at the Espace Rive Gauche will be held on June 25, when sixty works will be sold. The company’s design department will be staging a dialogue between the works of Michel Deverne and Paul Kingma – another French artist inspired by architecture – in a setting created by Dorothée Meilichzon.

All object images © PIASA
Portrait by Christophe Rouffio



Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Art | Erwin Wurm in Sixty Seconds

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

One Minute Sculpture, 1997
C-print

Courtesy Centre Pompidou, Paris
and FRAC Limousin, Limoges



Erwin Wurm:
One Minute Sculptures

Städel Museum
Frankfurt am Mein | Germany
7th May > 13 July 2014

How many minutes have passed since the instant in 1997 when Austrian artist Erwin Wurm (1954 >) began producing the works in this series? The mind boggles… Seven years ago he was probably wondering himself how long the idea of inviting gallery / museum visitors to become sculptures themselves, albeit for only 60 seconds – that’s 840 seconds (14 minutes) less than Andy Warhol allegedly promised us all that we could be famous for – would endure. But, like Christian Marclay’s audiovisual work, The Clock, lasting 24 hours – on view at Paris’s Centre Pompidou from 17th May > 2nd July, where it was first shown in 2011 – Wurm’s concept has remained fresh and stood the test of time.


Fat Car (Convertible), 2005
Polystyrene / styrofoam and polyester


Of course, audience partition in art isn’t new. It was an integral part of Futurism (key dates 1909 > 1944) which both celebrated and derided the crowd as a force for the future and as representative of the primitive past. In 1920, at the reading of the Dadaist manifestos by, among others, Francis Picabia, André Breton and Tristan Tzara, which ended in uproar – exactly as they intended – the audience pelted the stage with rubbish. Yves Klein in France and Yoko Ono in New York City were pioneers of performance based art, and part of a broad movement originating in the 1950s and 60s, when artists began pushing the boundaries of contemporary art, sometimes combining elements of music, dance and sculpture in their attempts to create new forms of artistic expression, for which audience participation was often integral. While Wurm’s creations are nowhere near as epic as the cast of thousands, human nude art installations that New York based photographer Spencer Tunick has been creating all over the world for the past 20 years. As an artist he is no less serious, questioning the role of galleries / museums in contemporary society, his work no less sophisticated for appearing – at least superficially – fun and sometimes funny.


One Minute Sculptures, 1997
C-prints

Courtesy Centre Pompidou,
Paris and FRAC Limousin, Limoges


From his early minimalist clothing sculptures that he began producing in the 1980s, throughout his many exhibitions at a range of international venues that include the Vitra Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, Dallas Contemporary, USA, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France, and the Albertina in Vienna, Austria, through the ephemeral One Minute Sculptures to the grotesquely bloated objects such as Fat Car (2000 / 2001) and Fat House (2003), Wurm has concentrated consistently on expanding the concept of what a sculpture, when it is no longer cast in bronze or chiselled from marble, could be.

The main thrust of Erwin Wurm: One Minute Sculptures at the Städel Museum is built on the dynamic between the artist and the audience. Visitors to previous One Minute Sculpture events have been invited, by means of the artist’s sketches suggesting nothing more than a hint or starting point, among other things, to balance their bodies on oranges, to insert a range of desktop items into every orifice in their heads, and to create a sculpture using only their own bodies and a folding sunbed, but always only for one minute.

In addition to the living sculptures with which the visitors can interact and temporarily become part of the Städel collection, some twenty selected photographs and films from the series will also be on show.

All images except* © Studio Wurm / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014


Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier




Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Art | Sigmar Polke in or at Another Place

Friday, April 18th, 2014
Modern Art (Moderne Kunst), 1968
Acrylic and lacquer on canvas
Froehlich Collection, Stuttgart





Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963 > 2010
Museum of Modern Art
New York | USA
19th April > 3rd August 2014

The Blog is on holiday this week. If we were in New York, we’d be going to this retrospective exhibition at MoMA, covering the five decade career of German experimental artist, Sigmar Polke (1941-2010). As it is, we’re in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and will be going to see Eduardo Paolozzi’s Bunk! at the city’s Hatton Gallery.


Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Art | Surfing Over Manhattan

Friday, March 28th, 2014

No Title (Here and there), 1995
Pen and ink on paper
Private Collection, New York




Are Your Motives Pure?
Raymond Pettibon Surfers 1985 > 2013
Venus Over Manhattan
980 Madison Avenue
New York City | USA
3rd April > 17th May 2014

Stylistically, Raymond Pettibon’s work stems from comic book art, but has little in common with that of Roy Lichtenstein. Besides, much of its content: American history, literature, sports, religion, politics, and sexuality, doesn’t celebrate the images thrown up by capitalism, but rather, is his very personal critique of contemporary life, through which, according to his biography on the Tate’s website, he [seeks] to redefine attitudes toward values in art and culture. He does, however, have super-heroes: the sea is one of them, of which across the top of No Title (The sea, the), 2005, in uncompromising capital letters he writes:

‘THE SEA, THE MOUNTAIN-RIDGE, NIAGARA, AND EVERY FLOWERBED PRE-EXIST, OR SUPER EXIST, IN PRE-CANTATIONS, WHICH SAIL LIKE ODORS IN THE AIR, AND WHEN ANY MAN GOES BY WITH AN EAR SUFFICIENTLY FINE, HE OVERHEARS THEM, AND ENDEAVORS TO WRITE DOWN THE NOTES, WITHOUT DILUTING OR DEPRAVING THEM.’

and the lone surfer is another, of whom on the same painting, below, he scrawls:

‘He is the person in whom all these powers are in the balance, the man without impendiment [sic], who sees and handles that which others dream of, traverses the whole scale of experience, in virtue of being the largest power to receive and impart it.’

No Title (When the surf), 2008
Private Collection via CFA Berlin, Armonk, NY


Akin to the rantings of some Bible-belt preacher, Pettibon’s enigmatic messages often appear almost biblical in tone – and, in presentation, the word / picture ensembles are reminiscent of the work of English painter, engraver and mystic William Blake (1757>1827), who claimed that most of his work as a writer and artist was done under the direct inspiration of spiritual guides. Could Pettibon’s inspiration rise from a similar source? Well, no, the press release for this exhibition, informs us that his prolific output of drawings and paintings stem from the ‘do-it-yourself’ aesthetic of Southern California punk rock album-covers, concert flyers, and fanzines. His brother, Greg Ginn – Pettibon is a pseudonym– was a founder member of West Coast punk band Black Flag, founded in the late 70s. Pettibon, himself, who briefly played bass in the band, came up with its name and designed its logo. However, feeling that the negativity of punk ruined a lot of people’s lives, his heart was never in it, but he retained his links with the music world, designing the cover of Sonic Youth’s album Goo, in 1990.

Much of Pettibon’s visual output looks like the work of someone who never went near an art college, nor sketched a nude in a studio, which is a correct assumption to make – self-trained, he graduated from UCLA in 1977 with a degree in economics, beginning his working life as a maths teacher, before launching his career as an artist – but then you’re taken aback because the drawing, while not on a par with Leonardo da Vinci’s dexterity, exactly, is often fluid and well-observed. On the other hand, the execution can verge on the primitive, and so perhaps Pettibon’s is a kind of idiosyncratic folk art like graffiti – you can almost imagine it appearing overnight scrawled across the walls of an underpass, or the previously pristine screening erected around the construction site of some shiny new high-rise development.

No Title (This left was), 2012
Pen, ink, colored pencil, acrylic, gouache and collage on paper
Courtesy Venus Over Manhattan, New York


It’s unsurprising to find that Pettibon is a serial tweeter (@RaymondPettibon), and here the themes that are integral to his paintings, continue. Unsupported by visuals, his splurge of cryptic, political and sexual statements take on a curious life of their own, and might constitute an ongoing separate body of work. Recent Pettibon tweets include:

My liiver’s fine.How’s yr concience?Fine.Bcuzz u are a sociopath.Swell.
I’m patriotic.I jerked Obama off.
Teach yr children to disrespect cops,stand up to the pussies.They are wicked.
See the Pandas.
!0.5K followers?More than Jim Jones had at Jonestown.
My elbow tube sock.Easy access.Call the shots.

Venus Over Manhattan’s show is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on Raymond Pettibon’s surfer paintings. Are Your Motives Pure? Raymond Pettibon Surfers 1985-2013, brings together forty works spanning a quarter century of the artist’s career. Somewhat contradictorily, it takes its title from the earliest work on view, painted in 1987, but who, in what might be Pettibon’s parlance, gives a f*ck! The artist, born in 1957 in Tucson, Arizona, who lives and works in the beach town of Venice, California, is, however, not a surfer, nor does he consider his paintings ’surfer art’ – as typified by much of the very much slicker examples to be seen on websites such as Club of the Waves.

No Title (The sea, the), 2005
Ink, oil and watercolor on paper
Courtesy Venus Over Manhattan


Since Pettibon’s emergence as an artist in the 1980s his work has been exhibited widely in the USA and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include David Zwirner Gallery, New York (2013), the Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne (2012), Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2006), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2005). His first American museum presentation, organized by The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1998, travelled to The Drawing Center, New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

A participant in numerous group exhibitions worldwide, including at the Istanbul Biennial (2011), Liverpool Biennial (2010), SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico (2010 and 2004), Venice Biennale (2007 and 1999), Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2004, 1997, 1993, and 1991), and documenta XI, Kassel, Germany (2002), his work is held in the permanent collections of, among others, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris,Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Pettibon is represented by Regen Projects in LA, and Sadie Coles in London.


Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Photography | Multi-media as Message

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Figure in Six Sections, 1965
Gelatin silver prints on wood blocks
Collection Kathe Heinecken
Courtesy Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago


Robert Heinecken: Object Matter
Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
15th March > 7th September 2014

If Robert Heinecken’s early work was to be pigeonholed along with the pop artists – because he graduated from college in 1960 – then rather than squashing it in with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein’s, it would perhaps be more appropriate to put it alongside that of the British artist Richard Hamilton – aka The Father of Pop. Hamilton had produced his shocking and enormously influential Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? a collaged poster image for an exhibition at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, in 1956. In it a picture of a naked woman cut from a pornographic magazine poses on a sofa, while a bodybuilder holds an oversized ‘Pop’ lollipop close to his genitals, the unlikely scene set in the artist’s depiction of a modern, urban living room filled with domestic gadgets included a TV, and the cover of a comic framed and hung on the wall like a painting. It’s possible, though, that Heinecken, who studied for his BA and MA at the University of California (UCLA) had never heard of Hamilton, but like him he was a multi-medium artist who used photography, sculpture, printmaking, and collage to create his works.

MANSMAG: Homage to Werkman
and Cavalcade, 1969
Offset lithography on bound paper
Courtesy Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago

Recto / Verso #2, 1988
Silver dye bleach print
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Mr & Mrs Clark Winter Fund




If pop art was characterised by the portrayal of aspects of popular culture and its powerful impact on contemporary life, its iconography – sourced from television, comic books, film and magazines, and advertising – presented without praise or condemnation – Heinecken, who also had little in common with his West Coast contemporary artist Ed Ruscha – sometimes grouped with the pop artists – viewed commercial photography as an emblem of the corruptible values of contemporary life. His works explore this theme along with kitsch, sex, pornography (sometimes hard core – related images were not made available to the press for this exhibition), and gender.

Heinecken, however, did have much in common with Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), and was similarly unclassifiable. Rauschenberg’s New York Times obituary explained that: ‘Building on the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he thereby helped to obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art – not to mention between art and life.’ It could almost have been Heinecken’s.

Cybill Shepherd / Phone Sex, 1992
Dye bleach print on foamcore
Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago
Courtesy Petzel Gallery, New York

Typographic Nude, 1965
Gelatin silver print
Collection Geofrey & Laura Wyatt,
Montecito, California



Establishing the photography program at UCLA in 1964, where he taught until 1991, he styled himself as a ‘paraphotographer’ because he rarely used a camera, however, Heineken (1931-2006), radically expanded the range of possibilities for photography and art. Like Rauschenberg and Duchamp before him, he was a precursor of appropriationist artists such as Richard Prince, who at the end of the 1970s, along with Barbara Kruger in the 80s, began borrowing existing photographic images from printed reproductions and bringing them into an artistic context, thereby altering their original meaning. Seen by many as a printmaker rather than a de facto artist, the worldwide fame that came to Rauschenburg and Ruscha, and later to Prince and Kruger, eluded Heinecken. That said, since 1964, he has had over sixty one-man shows, at, for example: the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, and a 35-year retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1998). His work is in many private and public collections. Robert Heinecken: Object Matter, MoMA’s forthcoming exhibition, is the first retrospective of the artist’s work since his death in 2006, and covers fifty years of his extraordinary career, from the early 1960s to the late 1990s.


Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Books | The Op-Art of the Invisible

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Singular Point


Poemotion 2
Takahiro Kurashima
Designed by Takahiro Kurashima
Lars Müller Publishers / 2013
64 pp / 30 images / hardback
170 x 230 mm / 6 3/4 x 9 ins
ISBN 978-3-03778-351-1
English text

Red Square


When this beautiful, finely-crafted little book arrived we thought ‘Yes, isn’t it nice,’ but we’ve been looking at op-art since Josef Albers started playing around with it at the Bauhaus, closely followed by Victor Vasarely. In the 1960s and 70s Bridget Riley’s mind-bending compositions made us woozy and weak at the knees. So what’s so special about these images?

Covers of Poemotion 1 and Poemotion 2


Had we seen Japanese advertising art director Takahiro Kurashima’s black and white bestselling Poemotion 1, prequal to the all colour Poemotion 2, we would immediately have realised that something was missing. As it happened, the all important sheet of etched black film – required to make the images interactive – that must be laid over the graphic abstract patterns to create the moiré effects that set them wildly spinning and vibrating, was accidently left out of the package.

Untitled

Penrose Triangle


For all its small proportions and lightness of touch, the concept of Poemotion 2 is based in philosophy. Kurashima quotes Galileo, who in 1623 wrote: ‘The universe cannot be read until we have learned the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language. The letters are triangles, circles and other geometric figures, without which it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word.’ The design of the book is both minimal and warm, which makes it feel very much of the moment, but Kurashima was strongly influenced by Hans Knuckel and Jurg Nanni’s Seesaw (1994), also produced by Swiss masters of the modern book, Lars Müller Publishers, which he says taught him about the sense of invisibility.

All images © 2014 Takahiro Kurashima & Lars Müller Publishers


Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

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


Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

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


Tell us what you think
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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin