Protest! Art+Design 1960-1980
Paris | France
Exhibition 24th > 28th October 2014
Sale 28th October 2014
The Magnum co-operative was founded in Paris, in 1947, by a small group of gifted and sought after documentary photographers, who wanted to continue working independently, but recognised the negotiation advantages of being part of a group. The accepted norm, at the time, was that the copyright for commissioned photography belonged to the clients. Magnum protested vociferously and set out to change all that. Insisting that the copyright of their members must remain their own property, the group triggered a worldwide resistance movement among photographers. Succeeding years saw the re-drafting of international copyright laws that nowadays guarantee statutory protection for the copyright of a photographer’s work.
Who, in the immediate post-WW II years, having lived through a prolonged period of conflict, strife, death and destruction would have imagined that the great expansion of the art market that arrived with the economic boom years of the 1980s, would see contemporary reportage photography – scenes of conflict, of strife, even of death and destruction – become seriously accepted as an art form, and sold as such for substantial sums of money, through galleries and auction houses across the globe? Magnum’s efforts of some three decades before, ensured that a significant part of the money earned from these images was paid to those responsible for their creation, and the same is true now.
Girls of the IRA, Belfast,
Northern Ireland, 1969
Digital print on Hahnemühle paper
Estimate €2000 > 2500
Dominated by sculpture, ceramics, posters and prints, cartoons and drawings, and including magazines, books, and furniture, the 295-item list of lots included in Paris-based PIASA’s forthcoming Protest! Art+Design 1960-1980 auction, also contains a number of documentary photographs from the era.
The 1960s and 1970s were periods of profound political and social change, prompted by a new libertarian élan and a burning desire to change the world. These years saw the rise of the feminist, ecology and anti-militarist movements, as well as the emergence of postmodernist ideas in design and architecture. In what is in essence a curated sale, PIASA have brought together a diverse collection of lots representing French and international political radicalism to anti-design, taking in along the way, punk, the feminist movement, and nouveaux realism.
The beginning of the end, Tehran,
Iran, 11th December, 1978
Digital print on Hahnemühle paper, 2014
Estimate €2000 > 2500
Doàn Tinh Cong
Pathfinders, Vietnam, 1970
Digital print, 2014, on Hahnemühle paper
Estimate €2000 > 2500
Sharing protest as inspiration, but not always immediately recognisable as such, work by artists such as Christo, Christian Boltanski, Yoko Ono, and Joseph Beuys are just a few of those represented. French artist, Annette Message’s Le barbu d’Annette Messager, la femme tatouée, 1975, consists of four photographs of female pubic hair with cartoon-like male faces seemingly tattooed onto the area of the belly above. Tawaraya, is a scaled-down boxing ring designed by Masanori Umeda for the Italian postmodern Memphis group in 1981, estimated price €15,000 > 20,000.
A loose selection of powerful, and almost entirely black and white documentary photographs by, for example, Ian Berry, Gilles Caron and Jean Pierre Laffont, falls somewhere in the middle of the catalogue. Hemmed in by the ironic and the arcane, these images, created by those with a mission to show the world what protest in many of its forms actually looked like, were never produced as art, but are certainly fine, and well worthy of the high prices attached to them by the copyright holders.
Sadly Magnum’s strict copyright policy, prevents us from using any of their photographers’ images with this post.
Images courtesy PIASA
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