Archive for the ‘Websites’ Category

Exhibitions | Moholy-Nagy: Future Present Plus

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Photogram, 1926
Gelatin silver photogram
Los Angeles County Museum of Art,
Ralph M Parsons Fund
Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA



Moholy-Nagy: Future Present
Solomon R Guggenheim Museum
NYC | USA
27 May > September 2016



Construction AL6 (Konstruktion AL6), 1933 > 34
Oil and incised lines on aluminium
IVAM, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Generalitat



We were taking a look at the Bauhaus and specifically the work of MOHOLY-NAGY, whose surname our enthusiastic art teacher spelled out for us in large capital letters on the chalkboard – I know now he didn’t know how to pronounce it properly. He’d also dispensed with his subject’s first name, László, which he was probably on similar uncertain terms with. This was in the late 1960s when detailed information on 20th century avant garde art and artists was relatively sparse, and a few years prior to the last major retrospective of László Moholy-Nagy’s (1895 > 1946) work in the United States.

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, describing their forthcoming Moholy-Nagy: Future Present retrospective, which includes some 300 works by the Hungarian painter, photographer, typographer, film-maker, theorist, Bauhaus professor (1923 > 1928), director of the short-lived New Bauhaus in Chicago, and founder of Chicago’s Institute of Design, gathered from a wide range of international sources, explains that despite his prominence during his lifetime, few previous exhibitions have conveyed the experimental nature of Moholy-Nagy’s work – his enthusiasm for industrial materials, his radical innovations with movement and light. This may be so in the US, but in Germany the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt showed some of the same experimental pieces, albeit a smaller selection, in 2009.

Room of the Present (Raum der Gegenwart),
Constructed in 2009 from plans
and other documentation dated 1930

Mixed media
Installation view: Play Van Abbe – Part 2:
Time Machines,
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven,
April 10 > September 12, 2010
Photo Peter Cox, courtesy Art Resource, New York



B‑10 Space Modulator, 1942
Oil and incised lines on perspex in original frame
Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York



Dual Form with Chromium Rods, 1946
Perspex and chrome-plated brass
Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York
Photo Kristopher McKay
© Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, New York



Exhibitions such as these are important and provide vital opportunities for seeing carefully-curated and well-presented original works in the round and at full scale, and each brings something new that extends our understanding of a particular artist’s oeuvre. Related lectures and films are often presented and extensive catalogues produced that serve to extend the event itself and bring in additional revenue for the venue. It’s also true to say that, since the 1960s, and especially since open-access historical archives have been made available online by many institutions, in recent decades research facilities available to the general public (as well as teachers) have improved beyond measure. As a prelude to visiting a show, or as a post-visit extension of it, whereby we build on our experiences and impressions, each of us – with a little effort – is now in a position to examine complex artists such as Moholy-Nagy – everyone tends only to use his surname and has learn how to pronounce it correctly via the internet – in great detail and with relative ease.

The Moholy-Nagy Foundation was set up in 2003, and has a comprehensive online image database featuring work in every medium he experimented in, as well as dependable biographical details and a photo library. There’s more, too, presented from other viewpoints at Bauhaus Online and elsewhere on the sites of galleries and museums where exhibitions of his have been presented.

By viewing exhibitions, reading publications and looking at website information about the artists who worked before, at the same time, and after the period in which Moholy-Nagy was active, it’s possible to see what influenced him, how he related to and influenced others, and to place him in an accurate and broad historical perspective. For instance, perhaps it was coincidental, but although the Calder Foundation site claims that Alexander Calder, following a visit to Piet Mondrian’s studio made his first wholly abstract compositions and invented the kinetic sculpture in 1930, Moholy-Nagy’s kinetic sculpture Light-Space-Modulator, designed in 1922, was exhibited for the first time in Paris, also in 1930. And, while MoMA’s site explains that Man Ray claimed to have invented the photogram (christening it the Rayogram) in Paris in 1921 – although the practice had existed since the earliest days of photography – less than a year later, Moholy-Nagy was making his own photograms. Argentine-born Italian artist Lucio Fontana founded the Spazialismo (spatialism) movement in 1947, stating in its manifesto that art should embrace science and technology, but it’s not difficult for us to discover elsewhere that this principle, had been the cornerstone of Moholy-Nagy’s practice since he drew his first inspiration from the Russian constructivists in 1918.

In the 21st century exhibitions such as Moholy-Nagy: Future Present at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, once viewed as self-contained events, have come to represent points of both arrival and departure for those wishing to educate themselves about art.

All artworks created by László Moholy-Nagy
© 2016 Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VG Bild-Kunst,
Bonn/Artists Rights
Society (ARS), New York
All images courtesy © Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, New York


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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us that 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Auction | I Buy & Sell Therefore I Am

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Roberto Capucci
The Butterfly Dress, Haute Couture, 1985
Full-length gown in pleated and
stiffened silk taffeta.
Estimate £3,000 > 5,000



A Visual Odyssey
Selections from LAC
(Lambert Art Collection)
Staged by Jacques Grange
Christie’s, King Street
London | UK



Gordon Coster
Fashion for Marshall Field, c 1934
Gelatin silver print
Estimate £600 > 800



Of collectors, Baroness Marion Lambert once said: ‘[They're] hoarders, and probably fodder for shrinks. I’m no exception, although with the years I have learned to control myself, while weeding out the mediocre and superfluous from the essential and best…’. Doyenne of the art, and particularly photography collecting world, she has also learned exactly when to buy and how best to sell. On Friday 14 October, around 300 items from the Lambert Art Collection, which she amassed with encouragement from her late husband Baron Philippe Lambert of the Belgian banking family, will be sold in London via a groundbreaking sale by Christie’s in association with Simon de Pury.

The baroness achieved certain notoriety in 2004, when, having pioneered the collecting of photography as an art form since the early 1980s, she named her collection Veronica’s Revenge, after the patron saint of photographers (and, incidentally, laundry-workers). Roman Catholics, apparently, believe that a woman called Veronica, later canonised, wiped the face of Jesus when he fell under the weight of the cross on the way to Calvary, leaving an image of his face on the cloth, thus creating the first example of image transfer. Lambert’s intention had been to hang her collection in the new headquarters of the Bank Brussels Lambert Suisse in Geneva. However it contained, among other works deemed perhaps understandably by the bank’s senior executives as too shocking for their clients, Larry Clark’s Tulsa, (1971), a portfolio of ten prints of naked teenagers playing with guns and injecting amphetamine.

Giving up on that idea, shortly afterwards, with the help of Swiss auctioneer de Pury – once described for his flamboyant auctioning style and jet-set lifestyle as ‘the Mick Jagger of art auctions’, then chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company – the 300 works were sold for a total of $9.2m in a record-breaking 100% sell-out, single-owner New York sale that far exceeded the $6.3m estimate. When the last item, Barbara Kruger’s iconic 1983 image, I Shop Therefore I Am, fetched $601,600, spontaneous applause erupted in the saleroom.

Marilyn Minter
Twins, 2005
Chromogenic print
Estimate £20,000 > 30,000



Erwin Blumenfeld
La Pudeur, 1937
Gelatin silver print
Estimate £8,000 > 12,000



It was Baroness Lambert, always keen to try out new ideas, who again and more recently approached de Pury – his having left Phillips in 1997, set up his own company which later merged with Phillips, which he once more had left, now running an art consultancy de Pury & de Pury with his wife – asking him if he would be prepared to embark on an internet-only auction of the collection she had built up in the intervening years. He accepted the challenge, but in the end a hybrid solution was agreed upon, which involved his teaming up with Christie’s.

Not a company to stint on its sale pitch, no less than eleven videos, each an introduction to artists or other aspects of what became the Visual Odyssey event appear on the Christie’s website, the first being an introduction by Simon de Pury and Christie’s Chairman and Head of Postwar and Contemporary, Francis Outred, who talks about this sale as being an evolution of the legendary 2004 auction. Describing the main difference between that and next week’s sale, Outred, who praises Lambert’s ever-restless eye, is that although it contains a good deal of photography, A Visual Odyssey, spanning three centuries, and which includes objects that are as diverse as a wonderfully minimal Donald Judd desk and two chairs from 1989, to a 1953 Fiat 500 C Topolino, is about how to acquire a variety of great things and how you can successfully put them together. To that end, and as if the idea of Simon de Pury teaming up with Christie’s wasn’t going to turn a enough heads, exalted French interior designer Jacques Grange – his customers included Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, Isabelle Adjani, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Alain Ducasse, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld and Paloma Picasso – he owns and lives in Colette’s former Palais Royal home – was invited to stage the exhibition, assembling all of the items together for twelve preview days at Ely House in London’s Dover Street.

A Visual Odyssey: Selections from LAC (Lambert Art Collection), the sale, takes place on 14 October at Christie’s, King Street, London, the first day of Frieze Week 2015. It will be presented on both the de Pury and Christie’s websites.

All images courtesy Christie’s


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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us that 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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All Categories | Storms, Smoke & Power Cuts

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Apologies!
Due to a combination of wild storms that blew smoke from the wood fire back down the chimney, setting off  alarms in every room, and covered everything in a fine layer of soot, and the power cut that, in amongst all of this, plunged our friends’ isolated, converted corn mill where we were staying into deep, velvety darkness, The Blog isn’t posting this week.

In the meantime, you might like to take a look at our reminder of the diverse range of international visual arts and events-related subjects we posted in 2014.

Best wishes for 2015



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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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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All Categories | Omnipresence 2014 / 2015

Friday, December 26th, 2014

2014 proved to be an exciting year at The Blog.

We published posts relating to exhibitions as diverse as Egon Schiele; The Radical Nude at London’s Courtauld Gallery, and Robert Heinecken: Object Matter at MoMA in New York, to another about VKhUTEMAS – often called the Russian Bauhaus – at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau museum. We admired rare and exotic posters in The Art of Travel, exhibited at Cannes during the annual film festival and auctioned afterwards by Christie’s.

We showed a selection of compelling images from Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent, a glitzy new book – with an introduction by no less a figure than Pierre Bergé – and wrote about Vitra’s more modest new publication Everything is Connected, which relies totally on visual language rather than written text to relate the company’s labyrinthine story.

We loved Korean artist Lee Bul’s captivating installations at the UK’s Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, and the Museum für Gestaltung’s 100 Years of Swiss Design exhibition – as well as the accompanying Lars Müller book – showing selections from the Museum’s consolidated collections, now housed at the Schaudepot in Zürich’s burgeoning New Toni development.

We covered the Saul Steinberg 100th Anniversary Exhibition at Pace MacGill in New York, and we assembled our own photographic tribute to The Years of ‘La Dolce Vita’, from the paparazzi images on show at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, in London.

We published extracts from Christie’s International Head of 20th Century Decorative Art & Design Philippe Garner’s scintillating interview with Zeev Aram, on the subject of Japanese furniture designer Shiro Kuramata. And we salivated over Serge Mouille’s 1950s sculptural lighting included in Phillips Design sale in New York.

We hope the journey so far has been as interesting for you as it has for us.

As the globe – at least in communication terms – continues to shrink, the cultural landscape forever widens and diversifies. What was formerly remote has often become more easily accessible. In response, 2015 will see The Blog extending its reach and venturing into geographical and subject areas we may have so far ignored, exploring and gaining entry for our followers to a broader range of thought-provoking, disparate and topical events in the omnipresent visual arts and associated artistic disciplines.



Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

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



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All Categories | The Blog Will Return Next Week

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Untitled #1, Norfolk, UK

Untitled #2, Norfolk, UK

Untitled #3, Norfolk, UK

Photographs by Pedro Silmon, 2014




Tell us what you think.

The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

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




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All Categories | The Blog Team is on Holiday

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Kielder Water from below the Kielder Observatory, Northumberland, UK

Kielder Observatory, by Charles Barclay Architects, completed 2008

Photographs by Pedro Silmon, 2014




Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

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

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All Categories | The Blog is on Holiday

Friday, September 6th, 2013

This Way, 2012, Pedro Silmon

Our Mapplethorpe Curated by Huppert blog post was published early this week

Watch out for our next post on, or around, September 27th

Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

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

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Photography | A very good year

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011


Season’s Greetings

Most of you who subscribe to The Blog will know me as a writer and critic on a variety of arts-related subjects, from design and architecture to books, fine art auctions and photography shows. I am also a photographer, specialising in gardens and plants. As you might expect however, of a person with diverse interests, my company extends its photographic activities to a wide range of subjects including: still life, interiors, architecture, travel and sometimes people. You can see varied selections of our photographic work on the following sites:

Pedro Silmon Garden Photography
http://www.pedrosilmon.com/gardenphotography/#

The Garden Collection
http://www.garden-collection.com/

Arcaid Images
http://tinyurl.com/cfao6gl

Plainpicture
http://tinyurl.com/d34wrru

Readymade Images
http://www.readymade-images.com/

In 2012, our aim is to expand this list and to place many more images on all the existing sites.

In January 2011 the pedrosilmon.com site had only 525 unique visitors per month. By November that figure grew to 3,461; the year total is certain to be at least 2,100. During the same period, the figure for the number of pages viewed grew from just 3,590 per month to a year total of around 91,000. Last January there were 9,765 hits on the site; December’s total will be close to 55,000, taking the year’s total hits to at least 276,000. So, thank you. We’re very grateful for your interest.

Our tweets cover similar subject areas as those in The Blog but the pace is faster. Interest in our Twitter account, @PedroSilmon, set up this summer, we’re pleased to say is growing steadily too.

We’re looking forward to 2012 and send you our best wishes for a Very Happy New Year.

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Look out for The Blog’s posts on art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that interests me and I think might interest you

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New Book & Exhibition | Heroes Unbound

Friday, November 11th, 2011


We Can Be Heroes by Graham Smith.
Punks, Poseurs, Peacocks and People of a Particular Persuasion
London Clubland 1976 – 84
Exhibition: The Society Club, London, until 23rd December 2011.
Book: Published by Unbound, 8th December 2011

You could be anybody. If you were there. You were somebody.

Graham Smith just happened to be there and knew how to use a camera. 450 of his previously unseen images of the heroes for whom he became the house photographer: Sade, Boy George, Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, Robert Elms and Steve Strange, among many others from London’s vital and legendary club scene – Billy’s, The Blitz, Le Beat Route, Mud Club, Dirt Box and The Wag – of the late 70s and early 80s grace the pages of We Can be Heroes. Researcher, film critic and writer, Chris Sullivan supplies the main text and there are personal accounts and quotes from many of the main players.

We can be heroes is being published via the Unbound.co.uk publishing platform founded by writers John Mitchinson, Justin Pollard and Dan Kieran. It’s an interesting and novel concept in book publishing wherein well-known and new authors pitch their book ideas directly to their potential readers via a website. If you like a certain book you can pledge your support by donating towards the set target figure deemed necessary to bring it to fruition. When an idea has enough support the book is produced as a cloth-bound limited edition; if it doesn’t get enough support, it doesn’t get published, in which case supporters receive a full refund. All pre-target supporters get their name printed in every edition of each book and, at every level, each receives the e-book. Those who have pledged more money, depending on the amount, may receive a personally dedicated copy or, as in this case, a deluxe copy with two signed prints from the photographer, or be invited to the book launch and perhaps to meet the author. There are also many ways you can follow the book’s progress, for example, all supporters gain access to the author’s shed.

Graham Smith, in the Unbound pitch video, looks as if he might have been more comfortable behind the camera rather than before it. There’s a shot of him in the book, taken at the time he was engaged in photographing the peacocks and birds of paradise who frequented the clubs that would seem to bear this theory out: avoiding eye-contact with the photographer Swift looks down at the camera in his hands, as if longing for the moment when he can put it back in front of his face. Smith was not a paparazzo. His reticence may well have been the key to the intimacy he was able to achieve with the flamboyant subjects in his pictures.

Images from top
Steve Strange outside Club for Heroes, 1981
Sade, 1983
Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) at Warren Street Squat, 1981
All photographs ©Graham Smith, courtesy of the photographer

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and anything else that interests me and I think might interest you

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Typography | No Qualitative Easing

Friday, October 7th, 2011


Letter Fountain
Website companion to Taschen’s book Letter Fountain by Joep Pohlen

Designers born after 1980 have a total [sic] different view on visual culture, on aesthetic products, visions and history than the people born before the eighties – Extracted from Everyone is a Designer in the Age of Social Media, edited by dutch pair Geert Lovink and Mieke Gerritzen – first published in 2001, substantially revised and republished in summer 2010 by BIS publishers.

Until I began composing this blog post, I wasn’t aware of Everyone is a designer… but agree – with some reservations – to the authors’ sentiment regarding the democratisation of design for publishing and that nowadays anyone who wants to can turn their hand to layout or graphic design and even design typefaces.

Born well before the 1980s, classically trained in the use of typography, my peers and I at art college even set metal type and printed from it. Modernist that I’ve turned out to be, I make no apologies in admitting to being one of those designers who struggled (and continue to struggle) with what used to be called new technology. New technology – aka design on computer, arrived rather late, in 1990, at The Sunday Times Magazine where I had recently been made Art Director. Interestingly, Joep Polen and graphic designer Geert Setola’s first version of Letterfontein (Letter fountain) was published, only a short time later, in 1994, but rather unhelpfully, only in dutch and french. The 2011 manifestation is more international, with editions in english and spanish.

Aesthetically pleasing as the typography and design of Pohlen’s book and the website are, and although in their blurb Taschen claim that Letter Fountain will be useful for a new group of people interested in typography and typefaces, the very clear and classical presentation might easily be construed as dry, possibly patronising and rather academic to today’s snowboarding, crowd-surfing and web-surfing generation. For silver surfers, though, this book/website combo, might turn out to be a godsend.

Please leave a comment
Look out for The Blog’s posts on art, architecture, gardens, books, design
and anything else that interests me and I think might interest you

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