Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Design | Forgotten Swiss Lamm that Roared in Italy

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Fashion 1960, for professional travellers, la Rinascente, 1960
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection



Lora Lamm – La vita è bella
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Zürich | Switzerland
Until 16 August 2015



The garden – the house in the country – the city terrace, la Rinascente, 1956
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection



The celebrated department store chain, La Rinascente, founded in 1917, (in Thai ownership since 2011) remains little known outside of Italy. With the exception of Switzerland, the same can be said of Swiss polymath designer / illustrator / art director, Lora Lamm.

La Rinascente was one of a number of innovative companies, including the tyre manufacturer, Pirelli, that during the post-war period latched on to the idea – pioneered by Olivetti – of establishing in-house advertising and PR departments that would develop a rapport with a new breed of designers with whom they collaborated to produce highly-creative advertising and promotional material.

Lamm, though often previously overlooked – she doesn’t rate a Wikipedia entry – whose work was synonymous with La Rinascente’s success during the period, was a major contributor to Italian design in the 1950s and 1960s. This month, in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of Swiss design both nationally and internationally, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture has awarded her the annual Grand Prix Design Award 2015.

Sales, 1957
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection



Fashion spread, la Rinascente, c 1960
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection



Roles, Pirelli, 1961
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection



Lamm (b 1928), studied graphic design from 1946 to 1951 in Zürich under, among others, the former Bauhaus master Johannes Itten, and was afterwards drawn to flourishing Milan, which was enjoying an economic boom. After gaining a foothold at Studio Boggeri, where well-regarded Swiss designers were already working, she later moved to Panettone Motta Milano as a packaging designer. In 1954, on the recommendation of the Swiss graphic designer Max Huber, who was already an established designer at La Rinascente – he had designed their logo – Lamm was taken on by the company, where she was soon made responsible for the design and production of the store’s in-house magazine, Cronache.

Inspired by the latest graphics produced for international department stores in New York and Tokyo that she mixed freely with the rational, modernist influences she brought from Switzerland, Lamm rapidly imposed her own design vision that served the management’s purpose of attracting female clientele to La Rinascente.

Schools department, la Rinascente, 1958
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection



After Huber left the store in 1958, Lamm was put in sole charge of the creative department, producing the company’s catalogues, posters, advertisements, invitations, mailers, packaging and other publicity, but still found time to carry out freelance work for Pirelli, Elizabeth Arden and Olivetti.

The light, positive feelings embodied in her work for the store characterised by illustrations of charming, child-like simplicity, and by fluid and elegant typography, was carried through to her posters for Pirelli. Here she juxtaposed whimsical illustration against perfectly-drawn black, scraper-board images of tyres, and often used photography.

In 1963, Lamm returned to Zürich, where she still lives and continues to work.

Lora Lamm – La vita è bella, currently showing at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich’s Schaudepot is an exhibition concerned almost exclusively with the designer’s poster work. A limited selection of original Lora Lamm poster designs is available to buy via the Swiss gallery, Artifiche.

All posters designed by Lora Lamm, © the artist, courtesy of Museum für Gestaltung Zürich



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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 which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Books | Linder: Slicing Through the Cheesecake

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Child of the Mantic Stain, 2015
Acrylic on paper



Mouth to Mouth Interview
Dawn Ades, CBE, curator, educationalist, Fellow of the British Academy, former Tate trustee, Professor of History of Art at the Royal Academy, and author of Photomontage (Pantheon, 1976) talks to artist Linder, about her work, and her finely-crafted, fascinating and X-rated monograph, published by Ridinghouse.

Linder, born in Liverpool (1954, aka Linda Sterling) has eight items of early work in the permanent collection at Tate Britain. Exhibited internationally, with solo UK shows at The Hepworth Wakefield, and Tate St Ives, her career spans almost four decades. Once muse to Morrissey, she acknowledges her debt to surrealism, expressionism and punk. Best known for her record sleeves for The Buzzcocks, she creates photomontages, often obscuring the more graphic details of heterosexual and homosexual pornographic images with overlaid flowers, or everyday household commodities. In her latest work (above) she is experimenting with a different medium.

Girls of the World X, 2012
Photomontage



The Myth of the Birth of the Hero II, 2012
Photomontage



Dawn Ades You mentioned that you are including a single work from this new period of experimentation in the book, a kind of endnote (Child of the Mantic Stain, 2015 (above)). And the crucial thing, as you were saying earlier, is that it is no longer a photomontage.

Linder It is definitely not photomontage. I’m not quite sure what it is yet, it feels new and very exciting.

The Berlin dadaists chose to call themselves monteurs rather than artists to distinguish their activity from collage, which was already part of a modernist tradition with cubism.

I made my early photomontages with the same curiosity as a mechanic lifting up the bonnet of a malfunctioning car. I was already familiar with a lot of the artists – Hannah Höch, John Heartfield, El Lissitzky, Raoul Hausmann and Max Ernst, but your book Photomontage encouraged me to look far more deeply at the connections between each artist. [Books] provided me with a new visual vocabulary, as well as a verbal one, introducing words such as ‘photomontage’, ‘clitoris’ and ‘hegemony’, all of which I use still. When I was eighteen, in 1973, I enrolled at Manchester Polytechnic on a Foundation Course in Art and Design. I thought that I would find like-minded souls with whom I could swap notes about Millet, de Beauvoir and the Brontë sisters – they all seemed equally important at the time. It wasn’t quite what I had hoped for. We studied briefly in each department to experience the courses on offer at degree level: textile design, industrial design, fine art, advertising, etc. I chose to study graphic design. I felt that I stood more chance to

When did you begin cutting images up?

It was only in the summer of 1976, that I began to use the scalpel as a creative instrument. As we began to come of age, musically, sartorially and graphically, we started to cut things up – we cut up our hair, our coats and our magazines. We painted the walls of our bedrooms black, wore bin bags as dresses, our underwear as outerwear, dog collars instead of diamanté and dyed our hair with Crazy Colour, [but] I was far happier sitting in my room on a Saturday night studying Lissitzky’s Wolkenbügel than dancing to [Rod Stewart's] Tonight’s the Night in Rafters nightclub in Manchester. I wanted to make stab incisions into the host culture around me.

Making your incisions in the magazine pictures was pretty aggressive, as an initial move.

Over the years, the cuts made by my scalpel have all had a mood of their own, alternately violent, sensual, cold, premeditated or spontaneous, depending upon my mood and the work that I wanted to create.

With many of the photomontages, the addition is clear. The latest household goods, for example, in one of the sequences in Pretty Girls: hoover, stereo, TV. But in others the relationship is more ambiguous, for instance between bodies and food, the cakes, buns, biscuits. Then with the flowers, the roses in particular, sometimes they’re paired with pornographic images, sometimes with ballet dancers.

I use pornographic imagery variously as a decoy, bait, a lure, a fake aesthetic arrest; I have to stop people in their tracks somehow. The cut-out cakes, buns and biscuits floating on the pornographic pictorial plane simultaneously coax and repel. So, the bun and the breast both vie for our attention; the visual engineering gives equal torque to both engines of desire; the prizes on offer for the winner may be sugar, semen or both. The rose, the iris, the orchids and lilies work in different ways.

Roses have been a strong, sustained part of your iconography…

I love the litany of rose names: Super Star, Peace, Tiffany, Red Radiance, Proud Land, Crimson Glory, Pink Peace, Bewitched, Fragrant Cloud, Europeana, New Dawn, Christian Dior. Somebody, somewhere must have decided that the vermillion petals of their new rose should be christened Super Star. Meanwhile the women in Playboy were only ever given one name: Tania, Carole, Suzy, Lena.

Salad, 1977
Photomontage on paper



Does [the 1970s] period have a more personal meaning for you? You also go back and use magazines from the 1950s and 60s, don’t you?

I often use imagery from the early 1970s. I also went through a phase of making photomontages using 1950s glamour magazines, adding one rose to each. They’re restorative; something blossoms there rather than stasis. As a very young child, my step-grandfather would show me glamour photography. I couldn’t read books very well then but I could read the change in the sexual charge in the air.

Those were pornographic images? This was nudes? Glamour photography?

Yes, these were pornographic images and it happened to me from a very young age – from around three years onwards. My step-grandfather engineered a very incestuous relationship with his granddaughter. I look back at similar images in my archive and try to work out who was trying to cast glamour upon whom in that upstairs bedroom in Liverpool.

Pretty Girls, 1977 / 2007 (detail)
Pigment print of original artwork



Against Interpretation, 2012
Duratrans on lightbox
Edition of 3 + 1 AP



You say you just work on a kitchen table, but you must have an archive of material?

I have a large archive of material that’s very well organised by year and subject. There are rows of storage boxes labelled variously with, ‘Lips: Glossy’, ‘Birds: British’, ‘Gay Porn: Contemporary’, ‘Ballet Books: 1940s’, ‘Cake Decorating Books: 1960s’, etc.

You’ve worked with fashion, with pornography, but also with very ‘domestic’ images. How do these function in your work?

The domestic images ventriloquise the everyday, that with which we are most familiar and which we feel most in control of. A cut-out photograph of a coffee percolator which has migrated from the world of interior design to the claustrophobic world of the glamour model – as in Pretty Girls – immediately presents a sphinx-like conundrum. The objects of desire, the shiny new kettle and the nude, parade before us, each one vying to foreground the other. Something peculiar happens when they both inhabit the foreground at the same time.

There must be a certain amount of glee in the subversion, and deconstruction, of the images.

I sometimes laugh out loud at the work that I make.


This text above is composed of edited excerpts from the complete interview which appears in the Ridinghouse book Linder, from which all of the images are also taken.

Text excerpts © Linder and Dawn Ades, courtesy Ridinghouse, London
All images by Linder, © Linder, courtesy Stuart Shave / Modern Art, London

Linder
Linder in conversation with Dawn Ades
Published by Ridinghouse 2015
Hardback, 270 pp
225 colour images
Available now



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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 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 which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Art | Zhao Zhao: Unbroken Star

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Constellations No 11, 2015
Oil on canvas



Zhao Zhao: Constellations II
Chambers Fine Art / 前 波 画 廊
New York City | USA
15 May > 22 August 2015



Multi-media artist, Zhao Zhao 赵赵



In August 2012, Spiegel Online reported that China was cracking down on Ai Wei Wei protégé, Zhao Zhao. Meanwhile, top British art book publisher Phaidon’s blog, at the head of a post that posed the question ‘Is Zhao Zhao set to become the next Ai Wei Wei?’ showed an installation view of Officer, Zhao’s broken Chinese officer sculpture exhibited at Chambers Fine Art, in 2011. Ai Wei Wei (b 28 August 1957, Beijing, China), although forced to remain in Beijing, and Zhao Zhao – who worked with the latter for seven years – against all odds, and with continuing global support, enjoy phenomenal and well-deserved international success.

Since 2011, as well as featuring in numerous group shows around the world, Zhao Zhao (b Xinjiang, China, 1982), ignored by the Chinese press, has had the following solo exhibitions:

2012 Nothing Inside, Alexander Ochs Gallery, Beijing, China
2013 Zhao Zhao: Constellations, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA
2014 Zhao Zhao: Uncertainty, Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, China
2015 Zhao Zhao: Omnipresent, Roberts & Tilton, California, USA



Constellations No 10, 2015
Oil on canvas



His forthcoming show, Zhao Zhao: Constellations II, is a continuation of the fragments theme, triggered by his involvement in a serious motor accident in 2011, when his head hit the windscreen of a car he was travelling in. Recovering, turning his misfortune around, he rescued the shattered glass and used the pattern of cracks caused by the violent impact as inspiration for his sculpture, Fragments (2007) – a steel slab assembled from numerous irregular pieces radiating from the centre. It appeared again in Untitled (2013), a painting of a possibly dead and probably raped, naked and spreadeagled woman in an exaggeratedly heavy and ornate, gilt frame, in which the glass has been violently broken, cracks spreading out from a point between the woman’s thighs.

For the Constellations series, with difficulty, and great personal risk – in China private ownership of guns is illegal – Zhao experimented with shooting bullets into glass. Having photographed each result, he stacked them, in different combinations, one on top of the other – the exhibition catalogue cover is a digital, composite photograph made up of thirty images – to create an illusion of space and depth. Afterwards, using a severely restricted palette, with Prussian blue as a common ground, against which the bullet holes resemble stars, he painstakingly reproduced a selection of these as finely-detailed, photo-realistic paintings. New works from the series, will be exhibited in Zhao Zhao: Constellations II at Chambers Fine Art.

Images courtesy of the artist and Chambers Fine Art


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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 which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Design | Modernist Posters

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Paul Rand,
Minute Man, 1974
Estimate $1,000 > $1,500



Modernist Posters
Swann Auction Galleries
New York City | USA
Exhibition May 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
Sale 7 May 2015
13.30 EST / 18.30 GMT



Pentagram,
AIA New York
Group of ten posters,
1990s > 2000s
Estimate $2,000 > $3,000



Richard Avedon,
The Beatles
One of four posters
and a banner, 1967
Estimate $2,000 > $3,000



If you punch ‘American posters’ into Google search, and click the Images option, page upon page of disordered, unsifted stuff will come up. There’ll be a few great designs you recognise instantly. Just a few. Much of it will be mediocre. A lot of it will be rubbish. You’ll wonder what some of it is doing there. If you refine your search and put in, say, ‘American film posters’, the first few pages at least will roughly match the subject, but it’ll be a random selection of everything with those key words attached. You could do the same for American music posters, or advertising posters. If you happen to  find a couple of items that you like, even if the colour is reasonably accurate, they’ll probably be in low resolution, so the detail will be fuzzy, which means you won’t get more than a general idea of what the original poster is like. If you feel like buying a poster, you’ll be lucky to find an original, and, if it’s more than a few years old, you’ll most likely have to put up with a copy, having little idea of the quality until it arrives.

Now that bidding online is commonplace, sales like next week’s Modern Posters at New York’s Swann Auction Galleries are open to a worldwide market, which is great for them, but in turn also allows us to look at a vast amount of original, often rare examples of graphic design on our computer monitors, or mobile devices, in fairly decent image resolution. The beauty is that all of the material has been examined by experts, and usually comes from private or corporate collections. These days, the sale catalogues, available in book-form for most auctions that can be ordered in advance on-line, are usually very well-researched and well-produced, and contain detailed information on each item, its provenance and general state. Sometimes the catalogues themselves become, over time, collectable.

Kenneth D Haak & Paul Smith,
Get All The News / And Get It Right /
The New York Times, c 1951
Estimate $1,000 > $1,500



George Maciunas,
USA Surpasses All The
Genocide Records!, 1969
Estimate $400 > $600



Often, just as on eBay, you can bid up to a certain deadline, but taking part in the live sales is more fun. With a bit of savvy and a few deft clicks, you can buy a design classic at a good price and arrange to have it delivered direct to your door. Better still, even if you have no intention of buying, but happen to be in the right place – in this instance, New York – you can stroll around the viewing exhibition inspecting any or all of the lots for free, returning as often as you want before the sale starts.

Swann’s auction includes archive Swiss, Polish, German, French and Japanese posters, as well as many by British artists. There’s a 1907 poster by Munich secessionist artist Franz von Stück, and a Peter Behrens design for the Deutsche Werkbund exhibition, 1914. Swiss polymath Max Bill is represented by an advertising poster (1932) for the modernist furniture company Wohnbedarf. No less than seven Cassandre posters are in this sale, including his famous Dubonnet (c1956) work, estimated at $2,000 – $3,000. Nine single lot Edward McKnight Kauffer posters range in estimated price from $500 > $18,000, while three Abram Games WWII works will also be sold. There’s a Massimo Vignelli (1963) poster for Pirelli, and a square poster by Gerit Rietveld.

Andy Warhol,
Fifth New York Film Festival /
Lincoln Center, 1967

Estimate $1,500 > $2,000



Tomi Ungerer,
The Voice / The Magician, 1968,
for The Village Voice
Estimate $500 > $750



Constantly exposed to a lot of American TV and films, and some American magazines – up until recently, unless we visited America, had access to the Art Director’s Club annuals, or specifically searched for them on the internet, Britons and Europeans rarely had the opportunity to see a representative selection of original American posters, let alone buy them. Comprising roughly 50% of the total number of lots, a small sample of these accompany this post.

The Modern Posters sale at Swann Auction Galleries also includes rare non-poster items, such as Herbert Bayer and Walter Gropius’s Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar 1919 – 1923, bound volume, and Bayer’s Austellung / Europäisches Kunstgewerbe exhibition catalogue (a copy of which is in the MoMA collection), both with bold and uncompromising typographic cover treatments. There’s also a group of 7 copies of bauhaus, the school’s magazine, first published in 1926, with cover designs by Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt and Hannes Meyer, from the 1928-29 period, for which bidding is expected in the $3,000 > 4,000 bracket. A group of 8 issues of the magazine Vanity Fair, published between 1930-35 is estimated at $700 > 1,000.

Images Courtesy Swann Auction Galleries



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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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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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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)



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



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Art | Events Around the Eclipse of Capitalism

Friday, March 20th, 2015

OX, Untitled, 2013
Besançon 2013, Festival Bien Urbain Besançon



OX, Untitled, 2013
Besançon 2013, Festival Bien Urbain Besançon

Acrylic on petrol station



OX Public Posters
Edited by Andreas Ulrich
International Neighborhood Verlag

Text in German + English + French
308 pp, landscape, hardback
Available now

+

Rirkrit Tiravanija.
Berlin Billboards
On view at the following sites:
Messedamm 22, Berlin-Charlottenburg,
Prinzenstrasse 81, Berlin-Kreuzberg,
Wilhelmstrasse 111, Berlin-Tiergarten,
Leipziger Strasse 54, Berlin-Mitte,
Berlin | Germany

Until 18 April 2015

+

Art for All.
Multiples, graphics,
and political campaigns
from the Staeck Collection
Akademie der Künste
Berlin | Germany
Until 7 June 2015

+

Poetry of the Metropolis.
The Affichistes
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany

Until 25 May 2015

+

Peter Liversidge:
Notes on Protesting
Whitechapel Gallery
London | UK

Until 14 June 2014



OX, Untitled, 2004, Paris



OX, Untitled, 2009, Champagne-sur-Seine



OX, Untitled, 2008, Paris



OX, Untitled, 2005, Bagnolet



OX
OX (French, b 1963) finds a lot of graffiti tantamount to visual pollution, ‘plain ugly… badly placed, or just boring.’ He calls himself a painter, but says self-deprecatingly, ‘I am well aware that there is a difference between me and the master painters.

OX doesn’t like to talk much about his work. Nor does he title any of it. He prefers to let it speak for itself. ‘It isn’t interesting to watch me paint, either… I produce, I do colouring… watching me paint is very [tiring].’

OX’s medium is, for the most part, collage, albeit using paper he has first painted in his studio. A former member of the Paris-based 1980s art school guerilla collagist group Les Fréres Ripoulin, he and his associates were never certain whether gluing their work on to advertising billboards around Paris was illegal, but got an adrenalin rush from the idea that it might be. They even risked scribbling contact telephone numbers on their finished pieces and, never bothered by the police, were rung up by journalists and invited to exhibit at Paris’s recently-opened Agnes B gallery. However, after an unsuccessful New York show the group disintegrated in 1994.

OX used much of the next 10 years for quiet reflection. The work he began producing in 2004 – based around his cutting away all of the photographs on magazine pages but preserving the remaining fragments – was ‘like the opposite of pop art… Instead of using the most visible symbols of the visual commercial realm, I used only the outlines, the backgrounds, the most visually weak elements.’ For source material, he collected pictures from the discarded magazines he found in rubbish bins. These days he searches the internet for images to add to his archive, and increasingly uses Google Street View to find locations. Either the billboard itself gives rise to the idea, or its location.

OX, Untitled, 2009, Paris



OX, Untitled, 2013, Dammerie-les-lys



OX likes to take his time. After deciding on a site, he will observe it often for long periods and in different weather conditions, waiting sometimes several months, or even years, before choosing a billboard on which to execute the idea he has formulated. He likes the temporary nature of his ’signs’, which he documents by photographing them, and claims he is not attached to the originals that can be gone within a few days. However, he might return at a later date to revise a ’sign’, if it’s still there.

OX is prolific. Except for a few earlier examples, the photographs shown in the new book OX Public Posters, published by International Neighborhood Verlag and distributed by Gestalten, are selected from the three hundred or so paintings he has placed on public billboards around the world from 2004 to 2014. Those shown, together with many other images of his work can be found on OX’s Blog.

+ Rirkrit Tiravanija. Berlin Billboards
Inspired by economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin’s book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: the Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism, Open Source: Art at the Eclipse of Capitalism is a series of connected events occurring at the Max Hetzler galleries in Berlin and Paris, plus a theatre performance at the New Theater in Berlin, as well as a lecture by Jeremy Rifkin at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, which will be followed by an interview with Rifkin by Hans Ulrich Obrist, to appear both online and in a forthcoming book based on the exhibition. The object of the series is to consider artworks made since 1990 to the present which reflect economic transition. Exhibitor Rirkrit Tiravanija (b Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1961) is a contemporary artist living between New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai. In his video Ghost Reader, 2013, Tiravanija uses the manga character Annlee – who appears on the artist’s Berlin billboards – to explore the complex issues of copyright, identity, status and emotion in our rapidly changing society.

+ Art for All. Multiples, graphics, and political campaigns
Beginning in the 1960s, when artists sought independence from existing institutions, and wanted to create affordable art for as wide an audience as possible, the Art for All movement, which is still active today and has included international figures, such as Joseph Beuys, Christo, Sigmar Polke and Rosemarie Trockel, began producing multiples – original works of art reproduced in large quantities that circumvented the rules of traditional art, making it accessible to everyone. Art for All: Multiples, graphics, and political campaigns exhibition at the Akademie der Künste presents graphics, objects and art books from the Staeck Collection, by numerous artists working in a diverse variety of styles and aesthetic approaches, and offers insights into a non-conformist creative generation. During a period of profound social upheaval, these artists put their trust in the critical, enlightening and utopian powers of art, while permanently contributing to the shape of its formal language.

+ Poetry of the Metropolis. The Affichistes
Pioneers of new realism, early pop artists, street art trailblazers – on their rambles through postwar Paris, the artists who would become known as the Affichistes collected fragments of the weathered and tattered posters, they came across that were often peeling and several layers deep, carried them back to their studios and created original artworks from them, in doing so elevating this ubiquitous aspect of everyday urban life to the status of a fine art. Poetry of the Metropolis: The Affichistes, is an extensive exhibition at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, which shines a light on the special role of the subversive and poetic Affichistes within the avant-garde of the 1950s and1960s.

+ Peter Liversidge: Notes on Protesting
Inspired by demonstration and protest, British artist Peter Liversidge (b1973) worked closely with sixty London schoolchildren, to produce a performance staged at the Whitechapel Gallery, on May Day (01 May 2014). Creating songs, choreography, banners and placards, they expressed their views on everything from ‘No More Homework’ to ‘Less trucks and cars. More chocolate bars!’ Peter Liversidge: Notes on Protesting at the Whitechapel Gallery includes a film of the performance, alongside documentation of the workshops and rehearsals.

All images from OX Public Posters / Affichage Libre / Public Posters
All images courtesy Gestalten
All images © OX and Wildsmile Studios, Dresden





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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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Illustration | Comic Art @ Serious Prices

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Nat Neujean, Tin Tin et Milou, 1976
Bronze, 180 cm
Estimate €140,000 > 180,000



Bande Dessinée / Comic Strip Art
Sotheby’s
Paris | France
Exhibition until 6pm today
Auction 7 March 2015



Blutch, Vous n’avez encore rien vu, 2012.
Poster for the film by Alain Resnais, 2012

Pastel on paper
Estimate €3,000 > 3,500



Gabriele del’Otto,
Amazing Spiderman 682,
Arc Ends of the Earth
, 2012.

Alternative cover illustration
Mixed media on paper
Estimate €4,800 > 5,000



Floc’h, Michelle Obama’s Fashion Show
Cover of The New Yorker’s
The Style Issue, 16 March 2009

Mixed media
Estimate €2,200 > 2,500



Like many of my peers during the latter years of the 1960s, in my teens I collected American comics. And I suppose because he was supposed to be a teenager too, DC Comics‘ Superboy was a particular favourite. Naturally I also liked Superman, Batman, and The Flash. I admired the Marvel Comics’ superhero Daredevil, who, even though he had been blinded by radiation – in the process gaining super powers – managed to look great and perform amazing feats. The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Spiderman and Thor were more Marvel favourites, and I used to scare myself half to death with DC Comics’ Tales from the Crypt.

They had no connection to DC Comics, but I had grown up with DC Thomson & Co Limited’s children’s weeklies, The Beano, Topper and The Dandy, and later, The Victor and The Hotspur, and when I delivered newspapers, I always looked forward to reading the Oor Wullie strip in the Scottish paper The Sunday Post, before pushing it through one of my regular letterboxes. Oor Wullie means Our Willie. Originally created by DC Thompson editor R D Low in 1936, it was drawn for many years by Dudley D Watkins (1907 > 1969). Our Wullie’s trademarks are spiky hair, dungarees and an upturned bucket, which he often uses as a seat. When our own kids reached the right age, my wife and I regularly bought them Oor Wullie, and The Broons annuals for Christmas, which they – and we – read over and over again, and which their friends were always keen to borrow.

Hergé, Le petit vingtiéme.
Recto: Tintin, honneur au jubilaire.
Cover illustration, Le petit vingtième,
#49, 15 December 1938
Indian ink and white gouache on paper
Verso: Tintin, Fifth Anniversary
Journal Tintin Belgian #39,
26 September 1951.
Cover illustration rough
Pencil on paper
© Hergé-Moulinsart
Estimate €450,000 > 480,000



On trips to Paris, we always made a bee-line to FNAC in the rue de Rennes, spending hours leafing through the illustrated books, especially the Barbar stories, begun originally in 1931 by Jean de Brunhoff, who died in 1937, and continued from 1946 by his son Laurent (b 1925). Although they weren’t actually in comic book form, each story was constructed with lots of sequential, situational drawings. It was possible to ‘get’ the story, even without reading the French text – which neither of us could. Our other favourites were The Adventures of Tin Tin, created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name Hergé. I, at least knew these illustrators’ names and work, but there was a huge raft of contemporary illustrated comics and comic books available in the shop, full of the most amazing work, that wasn’t, to my knowledge at the time, to be got anywhere in the UK, except for a single, poky shop called Forbidden Planet, off Tottenham Court Road in central London. There had been others – Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed, started in 1969, which had followed another called Weird Fantasy, but Forbidden Planet, founded in 1975, outlived them and today claims to be the world’s biggest chain of comic shops, with massive online sales. Now, as the Japanese manga phenomenon proliferates and the graphic novel becomes ever more popular, Sotheby’s Bande Dessinée / Comic Strip Art sale, tomorrow, is a timely opportunity to sample a broad, international cross section of the genre, via the exhibition, the sale, the online catalogue or the printed version, available via their website.

Jacques de Loustal,
Le Gardien 2013

Oil on canvas



Frank Miller, Sin City,
Volume 3, The Big Fat Kill
,
Vertige Graphic, 1996

Indian ink on paper
Estimate €15,000 > 18,000



Ana Miralles, Djinn
Novel illustration
Mixed techniques on paper
Estimate €12,000 > 15,000



On leaving university, my first job had been at The Sunday Times – at that point, incidentally, owned by DC Thompson. In my thirties and early forties, as Art Editor of The Sunday Times Magazine – a weekly supplement to the newspaper – I was probably commissioning more illustration than anyone else in magazines (except, perhaps the art editor at The Radio Times) in London. The Sunday Times Magazine didn’t run a cartoon strip, but when I was asked to redesign Watchword the children’s magazine of the Royal Society for Nature Conservation (which The Sunday Times supported) its editor was keen to have one in it. We settled on the idea of a girl and a boy who would make discoveries in the natural world together. I came up with their names: Flora & Fauna which became the strip’s title. I believe it ran for around five years. It was my first and only involvement with the commissioning of comic strip illustration.

All images courtesy Sotheby’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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Sculpture | Robots à la Fonssagrives

Friday, February 27th, 2015

SLS, 2012
46 x 21in / 117 x 53cm
Bronze



Mia Fonssagrives-Solow: Robots
Kasher Potamkin
New York City | USA
Until 4 April 2015



KA, 2009
36 x 16in / 91 x 41cm
Aluminium


CQ2, 2014
16 x 10in / 91 x 25cm
Bronze


Rhodes, 2012
24 x 12in / 61 x 30in
Aluminium


The words SOLD OUT shout proudly from beneath a picture of a cute silver robot ring on the Gagosian’s on-line shopping page. The rings are from an edition made in 2010 by sculptor and jewellery designer, Mia Fonssagrives-Solow. If you’re interested in seeing something more substantial, over twenty of her bronze and aluminium sculptures of robots, fembots and aliens that she created over the last seven years, are being exhibited for the first time in Mia Fonssagrives-Solow: Robots at New York’s Kasher Potamkin gallery.

Should the surname Fonssagrives sound familiar – born Lisa Bernstone in 1911, Mia’s mother was a Swede, who studied painting, sculpture and dancing in Berlin, before moving to Paris, where she met and married Fernand Fonssagrives and became a model. Before the couple moved to the United States in 1939, she had already achieved international modelling stardom and was recognisable from the covers of magazines such as Town & Country, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. Working with fashion photographers including George Hoyningen-Huene, Man Ray, Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld and Richard Avedon, it was reported that she was the ‘highest paid, highest praised, high fashion model in the business.’ Meanwhile, Fernand became a fashion photographer himself, whose career also took off to the point where he was, reportedly, the highest paid photographer in New York. But, sadly, by 1950 things had gone awry between the golden couple and they divorced. Shortly after Lisa married another very famous photographer, Irving Penn. ‘She was the inspiration and subject of some of Penn’s greatest photographs,’ said Alexander Liberman, editorial director of Condé Nast , which publishes Vogue. In later life, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn would become a fashion designer and also a sculptor, producing unremarkable, semi- abstract, figurative work in marble, bronze and fibreglass, and represented by the Marlborough Gallery in New York.

Growing up on the farm the family bought at Huntington on Long Island, Mia was nevertheless constantly immersed in her parents’ world of fashion and art. She says that Penn proved irresistible. Ultimately, she considered him to be her second father. But as she grew and was sent to a progressive, mixed-sex senior school in the city, she struggled, caused trouble, and after being banned from one class, ended up doing woodwork instead. The processes of working with wood, the odours of the freshly cut raw material, the glues, and the resinous finishes, all left a strong impression on her that would influence her future creativity. After attending New York’s famous design school, Parsons, Mia and a friend decided to move to Paris to create a fashion collection together. Things were going remarkably well, but after a time Mia had become restless. However, a timely stroke of luck got them a contract to design clothes for a new Woody Allen film, What’s New Pussycat? (1965) that was filmed in Paris, and they went on to great success designing for Hollywood stars and other films, including the James Bond classic, Thunderball. Ten years later, Mia gave it all up to refine her woodworking skills, afterwards becoming a sculptor and jewellery-maker. She was later to marry self made New York property developer Sheldon Solow, who, according to Forbes magazine has a current net worth of $3.6 billion.

Her sculptures have graced Asprey and the windows of Cartier and Bergdorf Goodman, but not everyone would refer to Mia Fonssagrives-Solow’s robots – ranging in height from young child size to small adult – as high art. However, in an art world dominated by ’serious’ work that a lot is written about and sells for ever-increasing amounts of ’serious’ money, sculpture that is capable of putting a smile on the otherwise mean-mouthed face of a ’serious’ critic is not too bad a thing.

All photos courtesy Kasher Potamkin



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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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Design | Lino (Murano Maestro) Tagliapietra

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Coronato, Murano, 2000
Estimate $10,000 > $15,000
Sculptural vessel in blown
and battuto glass
36 x 12 ins / 91.4 x 30.5 cm



Lino Tagliapietra
Modern Ceramics and Glass
Rago Arts and Auction Center
Lambertville, New Jersey, USA
Exhibition until 13th February 2015
Sale 14th February 2015



A long way from the island of Murano in the beautiful Venetian Lagoon, Lambertville can be found, as it says on the Rago website, ’midway between Philadelphia and New York City.’ In the production of fine glass objects, Murano has led the world since the 14th century. Lambertville was a thriving 19th century factory town where great quantities of a diverse range of goods – from underwear to rubber bands – were made in vast quantities. But while Murano continued to develop or refine a wide range of glass-making technologies that include crystalline glass, enamelled glass (smalto), gold-threaded glass (aventurine), multicoloured glass (millefiori), and milk glass (lattimo), in Lambertville, which had previously grown up around a once important crossing on the Delaware river, by the 1970s, commerce had waned considerably. Unsurprisingly, its quality so consistently high, Murano’s art glass and glass figurines, glass chandeliers, wine stoppers and hundreds of thousands of tourist souvenirs found their way to every corner of the world. In the meantime, once Lambertville’s factories disappeared and the town was cleaned up, its fortunes improved to such an extent that it also became a tourist destination.

Test Piece, Murano, 1984
Blown glass vase
9 x 6 ins / 22.8 x 15.2 cm



Venetian glass artist, Lino Tagliapietra was born in Murano in 1934 and, when little more than a boy, was sent to work in the island’s glass factories. Aged 21, he was granted the title Maestro (Master glass blower) and made fine items for some of the most prestigious glassworks on the island. At the Venice Biennales, which he regularly attended, Tagliapietra was fascinated by the work of Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, and Ellsworth Kelly. In the 1960s, with supreme technical and aesthetic standards that earned him significant commercial success, he started to create his own modern artistic forms. Renowned American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly (b 1941) visited Murano in 1968, where he taught Tagliapietra the techniques he had developed, which Tagliapietra passed on to the other maestri. In return Tagliapietra taught Chihuly, the Venetians’ glassworkers secrets.


Bilbao, Murano, 2001
(Shown from three angles)
Sculptural vessel in blown
and battuto glass
23.5 x 13 in / 59.6 x 33 cm



Tagliapietra’s material of choice is effetre glass, or F3 – an abbreviated form of fratelli tre, ‘three brothers’ – is a variety of soda-lime glass. This type of material is usually used for making lamps, and is worked by using a torch to melt and shape it at 945°C. It is considered a medium-soft glass and is popular because of its wide colour range and the ease with which it is moulded and shaped. Genuine glass of this type is made by the Effetre International Company on Murano, where Tagliapieta was artistic and technical director from 1976 to 1989. But teaching has defined the artist, who first visited the United States in 1979. He has since led workshops and taught in glass programmes around the world, but especially in America – the Haystack School of Crafts, Deer Isle ME, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood WA, Rhode Island School of Design RI, MIT Glass Lab, Cambridge MA – but also at the Toyama Art School, Toyama, Japan, and the University of Sydney, Australia, and in many more education establishments. He set up on his own in 1990 and dedicated himself to creating unique pieces, which soon became sought after, and many of which are now in the permanent collections of some of the most eminent museums in the world, including, among many others, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland. He is also represented in numerous galleries and private collections. In 2009, the Museum of Tacoma dedicated a major travelling retrospective exhibition to Tagliapietra’s work, which was also hosted by other American museums including: The Smithsonian, Washington DC, and the Palm Springs Art Museum, California.

Stellato glass vase,
Marseilles, 1991
12 x 6.5 x 3 ins /
30.5 x 16.5 x 7.6 cm



Aged sixteen, David Rago began dealing in American decorative ceramics at a flea market in his home state of New Jersey. Over the years, his business grew and grew, so that today, with two partners, one of whom is his wife Suzanne Perrault, he oversees Lambertville’s prestigious Rago Arts and Auction Center, dealing exclusively in 20th and 21st century antiques and collectibles. Suzanne, who is in charge of contemporary glass at Rago, and David have both visited Murano, but have yet to enjoy the pleasure of hosting Lino Tagliapietra in Lambertville. However his work has often been sold there, and on Saturday afternoon, the Modern Ceramics and Glass auction, features six of the Maestro’s key pieces.



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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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