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Art, Books, Design, Etc… | See You in September!

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Ferry Journey,
Procida > Naples,
2017
iPhone image
© Pedro Silmon 2017



The Blog
August Break
See You in September!



In the meantime, you might enjoy taking a second look at some of the 350+ topical posts, about art, architecture, books, photography, etc that we’ve published since 2009. Just click on a particular month in our Archive (left), or select one of the Categories (below left)

Photo courtesy Pedro Silmon


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Art | Derain, Balthus, Giacometti: A Reality Check

Friday, July 28th, 2017

King of the Cats, 1935, Balthus
Oil on canvas.
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts
de Lausanne, Suisse.
Gift of la Fondation Balthus
Klossowski de Rola, 2016.
© Balthus © Nora Rupp,
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts
de Lausanne, Suisse



Derain, Balthus, Giacometti:
An Artistic Friendship
Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
Paris | France
Until 29 October 2017



Self-portrait, 1920,
Alberto Giacometti

Oil on canvas.
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel.
Photo Robert Bayer / Beyeler Collection,
© Succession Alberto Giacometti
(Fondation Alberto et Annette
Giacometti, Paris & ADAGP, Paris), 2017



It’s really worthwhile travelling to mainland European cities to see exhibitions such as this one. They don’t usually travel, and at first sight, they might appear parochial but they provide an insight into the lesser-known aspects of the development of modern art, and are of enormous significance when looked at in a broader context.

The rather benign title belies the fascinating story of how much more than ‘friendship’ bound, André Derain (1880 > 1954), Balthus (1908 > 2001) and Alberto Giacometti (1901 > 1966) together. Having developed their talents independently, as artists in 1930s Paris they discovered a shared passion for the realism of the present, but also for figurative tradition, that would inform the work they produced throughout their careers and exert a long-lasting influence on artists outside of France from the 30s right up to the present.

André Derain, born near Paris and the eldest of the trio, is reputed to have been involved with Henri Matisse and Maurice Vlaminck, in the development of Fauvism. Having seen the Negro Sculpture exhibition in London in 1920, Derain was one of the first artists to begin collecting African tribal art and probably inspired Picasso and Braque to introduce primitive elements to Cubism. By the 1920s, however, he had put aside his own pre-war experimentation and, working in a style that reflected his admiration for the Old Masters, was bent on trying to depict modern life more realistically, while imbuing it with symbolic meaning, by using voluptuous colour, poetic allusions and visual wit. In the process, he drew respect from a younger generation of artists that would include Balthus, who he first met in 1933, and Giacometti.

Of Polish aristocratic descent, Balthasar Klossowski, who became known by his childhood nickname ‘Balthus’ (in later life he preferred to be referred to as the Count de Rola) was born in Paris. Typically uncompromising, in a 1998 interview with Le Figaro, a few years before his death, Balthus, described how ‘False art lovers, speculators, buy what they cannot understand…’ and that, ‘This phenomenon has favoured the emergence of the dictatorship of non-figurative art, to which the no less repulsive Expressionist, Surrealist and Minimalist dictatorships are opposed, all making equal promises of unpleasant rebirths… When I paint,’ he told the newspaper’s readers, ‘I don’t seek to express myself but the world.’

Balthus’s cultured upbringing, between France and Switzerland and travels in Germany, brought him into contact with well-known writers and also with the Symbolist painter Pierre Bonnard, whose paintings, along with those of the Renaissance artists, Piero della Francesca, Ucello and Masaccio that he studied in Italy, would significantly influence the work he would go on to produce himself. The series of paintings of scenes of daily indoor and outdoor life, and portraits that first established his reputation as an artist in Paris, contained elements of the fantastic realism practiced by the German Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) artists George Grosz, Otto Dix and Max Beckman, but also revealed a strong appreciation for the values of the Parisian Forces Nouvelles group, which, like Derain, eschewed abstraction and the surrealist tendencies sweeping through Paris in favour of the revival of draughtsmanship and realism.

The Artist and his Family,
1920-21, André Derain

Oil on canvas.
Collection particulière,
© Ted Dillard.
Photo © ADAGP, Paris 2017



Alberto Giacometti’s father, Giovanni was a respected impressionist painter, however symbolist painting would exert a strong influence on the work Alberto began to produce as an adolescent in Switzerland. Having begun studying in Paris in 1922, he would fall under the influence of Fernand Léger. In 1928, having become enveloped by his interest in African and Oceanic artefacts, he embarked on a series of sculptures of women and flat heads. Inspired by the death of his father – his dramatic Head-Skull of 1934 showed strong African and Oceanic influences.

Derain, Balthus and Giacometti moved in Paris’s Surrealist circles (only Giacometti joined the Surrealist group – in 1931: he was expelled in 1935), rubbing shoulders on the city’s Left Bank with the likes of Jean Cocteau and Albert Camus. In 1933, André Breton visited Balthus’ studio but was disappointed by the naturalism in the work he saw. However, the following year, when Balthus had his first Paris show at Pierre Loeb’s eponymous Galerie Pierre, Breton could not remain indifferent to the power of the erotic scenes that Balthus had painted (La Toilette de Cathy was shown behind a curtain at the rear of the gallery) and, while accepting their differences, recognised the formidable strength of Balthus’s artistic spirit and values. It was a watershed moment. Derain and Giacometti had also attended the show, the success of which, along with the recognition it generated served to cement their friendship with Balthus, and to underscore the trio’s conviction to forge ahead with their exploration of realism. Giacometti was especially affected; his African and Oceanic style was soon displaced by a more traditional and realistic approach that would remain present even in the haunted figures of his post World War II works.

Mainly focused on the years 1930 to 1960, Derain, Balthus, Giacometti: An Artistic Friendship at Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris includes 350 works (paintings, sculptures, works on paper and photographs) testifying to the dense criss-crossing of ideas that passed between the three.

All images courtesy Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris


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Exhibition | 1937: Munich’s Degenerate Summer

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Exhibition view,
Entartete Kunst,
Munich, 1937

Stadtarchiv München



Munich, Summer 1937.
The ‘Great German Art Exhibition’
and ‘Degenerate Art’
Haus der Kunst
Munich | Germany
Until 4 September 2017



Exhibition view,
Große Deutsche
Kunstausstellung,
Munich, 1937
Stadtarchiv München



In the summer of 1937, when the Haus der Deutschen Kunst (The House of German Art), opened in Munich – Adolph Hitler’s chosen capital of German culture – over 735,000 sightseers came to the city. As the first representative monumental building of the ‘Third Reich’, the building was intended to play a central role in the Führer’s political vision. Aware of the importance of making big statements to maximise impact, Hitler chose Paul Ludwig Troost, who specialised in building ocean liners, to design it. Impressed, lulled into false calm by Nazi propaganda – the extreme political aggression and murderous racism of the regime having not yet manifested itself – visitors also flocked to see, and to have themselves photographed, alongside other architectural projects such the classical Königsplatz, which Troost had redeveloped as a National Socialist parade ground.

Its name simplified, the Haus der Kunst – which for ten years after the war ended was commandeered for use as a US Army casino, and afterwards played host to a motley array of exhibitions – re-opened in 1990 as a museum of modern art. With no permanent collection of its own, it has been a leading international centre devoted to diversity in contemporary art since 2003.

Mel Bochner’s
The Joys of Yiddish,
Haus der Kunst, 2013,
installation view
Photo Wilfried Petzi



Exhibition view,
Große Deutsche
Kunstausstellung
,
Munich, 1937

Stadtarchiv München



In stark contrast, Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) – the museum’s inaugural exhibition – was part of a propagandist stunt carefully orchestrated by Joseph Goebbels. Consisting of seized modernist works from the collections of 32 German museums, and literally thrown together in such a way as to make the art look worthless, it opened the day before another well-planned and carefully laid out exhibition, the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung (The Great German Art Exhibition) was launched at the adjacent, historic Hofgarten Gallery.

The idea of staging the Entartete Kunst exhibition in this way was not just to mock modern art, but also to encourage the public to view it as part of an evil plot against the German people. Although only six of the 112 artists featured in it were Jewish, the Nazis claimed that modern art was the product of Jews and Bolsheviks. One display of entirely abstract paintings, was labelled ‘the insanity room’. While Entartete Kunst included works by internationally recognised painters, such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Oskar Kokoschka, alongside others by famous German artists of the time such as Max Beckmann, and the expressionists, Emil Nolde and Georg Grosz, the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung showed regime-approved paintings and sculptures of statuesque nudes, idealised soldiers and romantic landscapes.

Legalising the previous year’s seizures – each having been alphabetically indexed by the Propaganda Ministry – the Law on Confiscation of Products of Degenerate Art would be passed in 1938. Some of the expropriated works were sold at auction in Switzerland; others were disposed of through private dealers, while around 5,000 items were secretly burned in Berlin the following year: a phenomenal loss to 20th century art.

Ironically, while many of the amateur snaps and films included in this archive-based exhibition at the Haus der Kunst would have today’s visitor believe it was a season of idyllic pleasures, Munich, Summer 1937 documents a nightmarish, cultural disaster.

All images courtesy Haus der Kunst


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Design | Post Ettore Sottsass Modernism

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Carlton room divider, 1981
Wood, plastic laminate.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
John C Waddell Collection,
Gift of John C Waddell, 1997



Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical
The Met Breuer
NYC | USA
21 July > 8 October 2017



I remember cursing postmodernism in the mid-1990s. Having arrived jet-lagged at the Philippe Starck-designed Royalton hotel in New York, I tripped over the rear leg of the designer’s ‘iconic’ Costes armchair (1984) – which might look elegant, but sticks out way too far – and ended up in a heap on the floor.

Like the art deco architecture and design it often resembled, early postmodernism was showy – in many instances, tacky – and unfit for purpose. What made things worse was that, once it really started to roll in the early 1980s and the requirement for objects and buildings to function was sidelined, postmodernism became a bandwagon that was easy to leap on to. Many did just that, in the process, transforming what had begun a couple of decades earlier as a radical philosophical concept in the minds of respected architecture and design theorists into a widespread and rather frivolous fad. Suddenly, there was a lot of money around and people couldn’t wait to find things to spend it on. Bored with what was currently on offer, desperate to find something exciting, new and different, they lapped it up in whatever form it was presented to them.

By the 1960s, Ettore Sottsass (1917 > 2007) was already bored by the functional. ‘When I was young, all we ever heard about was functionalism, functionalism, functionalism. It’s not enough’ he was heard to complain. His stated aim for the Valentine portable typewriter (1969), one of his most successful achievements for Olivetti, was to create an object that could ‘influence not only physical conditions but also emotions, [that could] touch the nerves, the blood, the muscles, the eyes and the moods of people.’ Born in Austria, educated in Italy, he established his first studio in Milan in 1947. Best known for his work with Olivetti, where for many years he was the company’s design consultant, and for the design collective Memphis, founded in 1981, Sottsass’s work would gradually evolve from modernism into postmodernism. The shift was triggered by the influences he gathered through a trip to the United States, where he worked for a month at the designer George Nelson’s office, and another to India in 1961, after which he began to create objects imbued with symbolism, emotional appeal, and global and traditional references.

Murmansk Fruit Dish, 1982
Silver.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Gift of Ronald S Kane, 1992,
Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art



Meanwhile, in 1966, the American architect Robert Venturi, who wittily countered Mies van der Rohe’s ‘less is more’ axiom with his own ‘less is a bore’, published his influential book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. It called for the return of decoration, symbolism, colour, pattern and references to historic structures in new buildings. As a result, over the course of the next couple of decades, pointed skyscrapers with concrete walls that looked as if they were carved from stone began to pop up in American cities. Because they constituted a reaction to the uncompromisingly modern, glass-and-steel structures that had been built following World War II, they were dubbed ‘postmodern’.

When Memphis made its controversial debut at the 1981 Salone del Mobile, a lot of people who had never appeared to have any interest in design, suddenly became very animated and excited; it was as if they’d been at a rather dull party and had been presented with a new and exotic cocktail. Veneered in colourful and patterned plastic laminates, like those used in 1950s American diners, Memphis design was, however, constructed using the finest cabinetmaking techniques marketed and priced beyond the reach of average consumers, it contributed to the blurring of the art and design markets and the rise of ‘collectible design’. Karl Lagerfeld, an ardent devotee of art deco in the 1970s, fell in love with it. Amassing an important collection of Memphis pieces – with help from interior designer Andrée Putman – he famously furnished an entire apartment in Monaco with them in 1983, only to sell off every item at Sotheby’s only eight years later.

Omaggio 3, 2007
Corian and wood.
Courtesy Gallery Mourmans



In retrospect, it would seem, postmodernism turned out to be a fad with substance. The work of its founders, including Sottsass and Venturi, who recognised the need for applying a broader range of thought processes to design and architecture, were important catalysts that provoked profound changes in the mindsets of architects and designers. Postmodernist thinking stimulated the impetus behind the surge of diverse creativity and innovation on which the modern world depends, and indeed, functions.

In its forthcoming exhibition, Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical, The Met Breuer attempts to re-evaluate Sottsass’s exceptionally productive career that spanned more than six decades, via a presentation of his key works in a wide range of media. Including architectural drawings, interiors, furniture, machines, ceramics, glass, jewellery, textiles, painting, and photography, it will offer new insights into his designs. Placing him within a broader design discourse, Sottsass’s work will be juxtaposed against ancient and contemporaneous objects that influenced his practice.

All objects © Ettore Sottsass, images courtesy The Met Breuer


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Photography | Regina Schmeken on Bloody Ground

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Theodoros Boulgarides (41)
15.06.2005 München Trappentreustraße
, 2013



Regina Schmeken
Bloody Ground. Scenes of NSU Crimes
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
29 July > 29 October 2017



Halit Yozgat (21)
06.04.2006 Kassel Holländische Straße
, 2015



Enver Şimşek (38)
09.09.2000 Nürnberg
, 2015



Much of the work of conveying the oppressive atmosphere of a Nazi arena is done for photographers by the overblown architecture that stands as a stark reminder of the misplaced ideals of the sinister powers responsible for their construction. The barbed wire and lookout towers of death camps, such as Buchenwald, prompt vivid recollections of the atrocities perpetrated there. An old man in a flat cap sitting at a bus stop in an ordinary street lined with apartment buildings; a couple on a scooter riding past a forlorn flower stall beside a rainwater puddle; the chequered, tiled floor of a bike shop – were not much for German photographer Regina Schmeken to go on.

The dead bodies and the blood were long gone, however, in 2013 when Schmeken returned to the crime scenes where ten people were executed by right-wing National Socialist Underground extremists in Dortmund, Hamburg, Heilbronn, Kassel, Cologne, Munich, Nuremberg and Rostock between 2000 and 2007. Schmeken worked with what she found. Other than choosing to shoot in contrasty black and white – which she always does, anyway – and using a wide-angle lens, she employed no special tricks to successfully evoke the carnage that had taken place in these very nondescript locations.

Mehmet Turgut (25)
25.02.2004 Rostock Neudierkower Weg
, 2013



Süleyman Taşköprü (31)
27.06.2001 Hamburg Schützenstraße
, 2015




Born in 1955, Schmeken has been an editorial photographer for the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper since 1986 and is well known in Germany for her sport, dance, political reportage, and portrait photography.

Through her photographs – simply captioned with only the names of the dead, their ages, the dates and locations of the crimes – in the exhibition Regina Schmeken: Bloody Ground. Scenes of NSU Crimes at Martin-Gropius-Bau, the photographer seeks only to commemorate the victims of the murders, but the underlying message powerfully conveyed is that these abhorrent events could have happened on any German doorstep.

The dead numbered eight male victims of Turkish origin, another was Greek and one was a German policewoman. The trial of Beate Zschäpe, Ralf Wohlleben and the five others allegedly involved in their murders began in 2013 in Munich; the verdict is yet to be delivered.

All photographs © Regina Schmeken, courtesy Martin-Gropius-Bau


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Design | Paul McCobb: America’s Decorator

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

E7 table lamp,
Excelsior Art Studios,
USA, 1954
Brass, enamelled aluminium,
lacquered wood.
Estimate $2,000 > 3,000



Paul McCobb
Wright
Chicago | Illinois | USA
Sale 29 June 2017
Exhibition until 1600



Predictor Group armchair,
O’Hearn Furniture, USA, 1951
Maple, upholstery.
Estimate $1,500 > 2,000



During the 1950s, Paul McCobb became known as ‘America’s decorator’. His spare designs, produced with affordable materials, that freely mixed material materials and techniques derived from the very latest developments in the aeronautical industry, with shaker and ethnic influences, transformed the look of thousands of American domestic interiors. A close contemporary of world famous American furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames, despite his prolific output, McCobb’s comparatively early death at 52 in 1969 cut short his career. He is virtually unknown in Europe.

Today’s eponymously titled Paul McCobb auction at Wright in Chicago including over 300 lots, amounts to a triumphal one-man show of his diverse and innovative achievements.

Pavilion Collection
room divider, Model 6000,
Arbuck, USA, 1952
Wrought iron, milk glass, wicker.
Estimate $4,000 > 5,000



Faceted Form armchairs,
Model 161, set of two
St John’s Seating, USA, 1959
Moulded fibreglass, steel.
Estimate $1,500 > 2,000



Having studied fine art in his home town of Boston, McCobb became a product developer in the new medium of plastics in New York, where, in 1945, with the aim of capitalising on the enormous post-war demand for simple, affordable, and stylish furniture, but without any formal design training, he established Paul McCobb Design Associates. Usually designed as collections, rather than in terms of one-off items, his designs were inexpensive, flexible, and practical. McCobb introduced the concept of modular furniture – the Planner Group asymmetrical storage unit illustrated is composed of three pieces: a cabinet, a drawer, and a table – which, along with his moveable room dividers and storage systems, were perfectly suited to the informal and changing lifestyles of the period. Best known for his furniture creations, he also designed wallpapers, fabrics, lighting, glassware and ceramics, but also more technical items, initially intended for home use, such as typewriters, radios, televisions, and hi-fi consoles. As his reputation grew, McCobb was taken on as a design consultant to many leading corporations, including Singer, Goodyear, Columbia Records, and Remington Rand.

Planner Group storage,
Winchendon, USA, 1952
Birch, lacquered fibreboard,
aluminium.
Estimate $1,000 > 1,500



Pavilion Collection trolley,
Model 6500, Arbuck, USA, 1952
Wrought iron, glass, fabric.
Estimate $1,000 > 1,500



McCobb received MoMA’s Good Design Award five times between 1950 and 1955 as well as of the Philadelphia Museum of Arts’ Contribution to Better Design Award in 1959. Examples of his work are included in the collections of the Copper Hewitt Design Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and in many others.

The Paul McCobb sale page on the Wright website features fascinating examples of period documentation relating directly to many of the items included in the sale.

All items shown designed by Paul McCobb
Images courtesy Wright


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Art | John Minton: Demon Painter

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Portrait of John Minton,
Soho, 1952, John Deakin

Gelatin silver print,
Image courtesy
Michael Hoppen Gallery,
© The Condé Nast
Publications Limited



John Minton:
A Centenary
Pallant House Gallery
Chichester | UK
1 July > 1 October 2017



‘Being fatally drawn to the human race, what I want to do when I photograph it is to make a revelation about it. So my sitters,’ – who included, among many others, the painters Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, and John Minton – all members of the Soho-based neo-romanticist circle of artists – ‘turn into my victims. But I would like to add that it is only those with a demon, whose faces lend themselves to be victimised at all.’ John Deakin (1912 > 1972), photographer

Sadly, within a few years of his sitting with Deakin, Minton (1917 > 1957), overwhelmed by his demons, would take his own life. In the 1940s and early 50s, he had been regarded as one of the most talented of his generation, particularly for his figurative drawing skills.

Portrait of Kevin Maybury, 1956
Oil on canvas,
© Tate, London 2017 /
Royal College of Art



Children by the Sea, 1945
Oil on canvas,
Tate, London,
© Tate, London 2015 /
Royal College of Art



From 1948 up until his death, Minton taught at London’s Royal College of Art. Charismatic – he attracted a crowd of student followers, who became known as ‘Johnny’s Circus’ – he nevertheless possessed a self destructive character and despite personal advances, such as the new colour palette he developed after travels to Corsica, Jamaica, and Spain, was constantly plagued by self-doubt. While his early work was clearly influenced by European modernist ideas, when the abstract expressionist trend that arrived from New York in the 1950s swept through the London art scene and his fellow neo-romanticists, Freud and Bacon, found ways of moving on that increased the relevance of their work, Minton, feeling threatened and sidelined, his commitment to figurative art seemingly outmoded, fell into deep depression. Composition: The Death of James Dean (1957), was his last ambitious picture, and it’s possible that he identified with the ill-fated Hollywood film star, killed in a car accident, aged twenty-four, in 1955.

Bridge from Cannon
Street Station
, 1946

Oil on canvas,
Pembroke College
Oxford JCR Art Collection,
© Royal College of Art



Neville Wallis, 1952
Brighton and Hove Museum,
Royal Pavilion & Museums,
Brighton & Hove
© Royal College of Art



Significantly, 2017 is not only the centenary of the artist’s birth and the 60th anniversary of Minton’s tragic death, but this year also marks 50 years since the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. Minton was homosexual as was his close associate, the artist Keith Vaughan (1912 > 1977). While Minton tormented himself over his sexuality, Vaughan filled his journals with philosophical musings around the problems facing a gay, figurative painter in the 1950s, whose primary subject was the male nude. Vaughan’s works becoming increasingly abstract: Minton stuck doggedly to producing uncompromising, figurative portraits of young male students and friends.

John Minton: A Centenary, at Pallant House Gallery, will present a substantial number of paintings, many of them drawn from the collection of the Royal College of Art, and also includes book illustrations – among them, those for Elizabeth David’s A Book of Mediterranean Food (1950) – posters and lithographs that demonstrate his status as a leading post-war illustrator. As contextual aids, a display of paintings by William Coldstream, who taught at the RCA alongside Minton, will also be on show, together with an exhibition of the work of Minton’s neo-romantic contemporaries.

All painting images courtesy Pallant House Gallery


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Exhibition | Hella Jongerius: Lost in Colour

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Hella Jongerius prepares
for Breathing Colour
at the Jongeriuslab



Breathing Colour
by Hella Jongerius
Design Museum
London | UK
28 June > 24 September 2017



A grey ‘colour catcher’
destined for the Noon
section of the show



Although she claims to feel like an absolute beginner with it, Berlin-based, Dutch designer, Helen Jongerius lives and breathes (and probably eats and sleeps) colour. In March this year, she received the 2017 Sikkens Prize. One of the Netherlands’ oldest independent art prizes, it was established in 1960 – three years before the designer’s birth – and is awarded to individuals or institutions that are considered to have made a special contribution to the field of colour. Previous winners include Gerrit Rietveld (1960), Le Corbusier (1963), Donald Judd (1993) and Bridget Riley (2013). However, her Woven Movie that is a continuation of German textile designer Anni Albers’ pioneering work at the Bauhaus, which focussed on finding new, mass-production weaving techniques, will run the length of her forthcoming show at the Design Museum.

To label Jongerius, who founded the aptly-named Jongeriuslab design studio in 1993, where she has pursued independent, experimental projects with polyurethane, ceramics and textiles, while simultaneously creating products for clients such as Maharam, Danskina, IKEA and KLM, and has earned respect for her skill at fusing industrial and crafts methods, high- with low-tech, and traditional with contemporary, simply as an industrial designer, would be an injustice.

Jongerius has earned
respect for her skill
at fusing industrial and
crafts methods



Everyday life at the studio



Mixing quirky with classic, Jongerius has also designed furniture and household accessories for Vitra. At CasaVitra during Salone del Mobile Milano 2016, visitors were met with giant, twirling spinning tops and colour wheels, representing the past ten years of collaboration between Jongeriuslab and Vitra on the company’s colour and material library. Pitting the power of colour against that of form, the Breathing Colour exhibition will also be an installation – a natural extension of the free-flowing investigative work that is part of the everyday life of the studio – exploring the behaviour of colour and light. Like Plato, Jongerius says, she has become convinced that people can only observe a colour if they can observe the light, the reflection and absorption, and the shadow of it, ‘No wonder then, that people can get lost in colour.’ A series of three-dimensional objects she describes as colour catchers – the faceted surfaces of which are designed to absorb and reflect nearby colours – will be positioned throughout the exhibition space that will be divided into three areas, with simulated daylight conditions for morning, noon and evening.

Semi-translucent
beads mimic the
crisp colours of cold
morning light



The Morning section of the exhibition will explore the differences between lightness and brightness and the hazy feeling of waking up, via a series of illuminated hanging, translucent and semi-translucent beads, whose fragmented reflections mimic the intense and crisp colours created by cold morning light. In the Noon section, projected light will create an illusion of the transition of early morning haze to the intensity of midday, causing the facets of grey catchers displayed on bright surfaces show sharp, bright reflections. Evening will use examples of Eames, Jean Prouve and Verner Panton furniture, to explore the nature and colour of shadows.

Alongside other, existing works from the Jongeriuslab Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius at the Design Museum will include a circular display of 100 of the designer’s Colour Vases (series 3), from 2010.

All photos Roel van Tour, courtesy the Design Museum


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Design | Art You Can Sit On?

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Wendell Castle (b 1932).
Chair with Sport Coat, 1978
Carved cherry,
Estimate $12,000 > 18,000




Design
Christie’s | Rockefeller Center
New York City | USA
Exhibition > 6 June 2017
Sale 7 June  2017



Marc Newson (b 1963).
A Diode Lamp (large),
Designed 2006

Lacquered steel, carbon
fibre, aluminium,
moulded glass bulb.
Estimate $10,000 > $15,000



The Marc Newson-designed Diode Lamp (above) is produced by the world-renowned Gagosian Gallery and bears a tag inscribed with the designer’s signature and an indication that it is number 3 in an edition of 10. It begs the question: is the art world appropriating design, or is design infiltrating the art world?

The crossover between art and design is nothing new. Late 19th century artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec regularly produced theatre posters in order to provide an income that would allow them to continue to paint. Harry Bertoia, most famous for his Diamond Chair (1952) design, made over 50 commissioned public sculptures, as well as countless Sonambient sound sculptures that he used to create music with, but which were clearly conceived as art pieces. Marc Newson, one of the most influential designers of his generation, has designed furniture and useful household objects such as a mass-produced kettle and a toaster, as well as yachts, and private and commercial aircraft. He also produces handmade functional furniture, such as his Pod of Drawers (1987), for private clients. Perhaps objects such as the latter could fall under the banner of crafts, but surely not of art.

Ivan da Silva-Bruhns (1881 > 1980).
Carpet from the palace of the Maharaja of Indore, c 1930
Hand-knotted wool pile.
Estimate $300,000 > $500,000



Paul Evans (1931-1987).
A Cityscape console table, c 1974
Burl walnut, chrome-plated
steel, later glass top.
Estimate $12,000 > $18,000



In an evidently unsuccessful attempt to clarify the distinction between design and art, shortly before his death in 1994, Donald Judd, who famously made furniture that looked like art, and art that looked like furniture, wrote: ‘The configuration and the scale of art cannot be transposed into furniture… The intent of art is different from that of the latter, which must be functional. If a chair… is not functional, if it appears to be only art, it is ridiculous.’

Harry Bertoia (1915-1978).
A Willow sculpture, 1968
Stainless steel, retrofitted with
stainless steel stand.
Estimate $80,000 > $100,000



It might easily have, but none of Judd’s work features in Christie’s Design sale of over 100 items that prominently includes Wendell Castle’s Magritte-inspired, Chair with Sport Coat, 1978 (top), which, at a push you could sit on. Somewhat confusingly, in his Wikipedia profile, Castle is described as an American furniture artist.

All images courtesy Christie’s


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Design | A Tribute to Willy Fleckhaus

Friday, May 19th, 2017

twen, No 2, 1962, cover.
Art direction Willy Fleckhaus
Photography Christa Peters
© MAKK



Willy Fleckhaus.
Design, Revolt, Rainbow
Museum Villa Stuck
Munich | Germany
1 June > 10 September 2017



Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin,
No 28, 1980, cover.
Art direction Willy Fleckhaus
Photographer unknown
© Hans Döring


Edition Suhrkamp,
Suhrkamp Verlag
Book series, 1963.
Design Willy Fleckhaus
© Carsten Wolff,
Fine German Design,
Frankfurt am Main

xxx



David Hillman: ‘In terms of design, twen was the most admired magazine of the sixties… [Fleckaus’s] utterly uncompromising attitude allowed his outrageous and defiant vision to be translated on to the page… No art director has had such power before or since.’

Willy Fleckhaus was born in 1925, and died in 1983. Willy Fleckhaus. Design, Revolt, Rainbow, at Museum Villa Stuck includes over 350 examples of work spanning his entire career in design, magazines and book publishing.

All images courtesy Museum Villa Stuck


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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