Posts Tagged ‘Martin-Gropius Bau’

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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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available 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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Photography | Isolating Thomas Struth

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Periphery,
Max Planck IPP, Garching 2009
Chromogenic print



Thomas Struth. Nature & Politics
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
11 June > 18 September 2016



Aquarium, Atlanta 2013
Chromogenic print



Surprisingly, German photographer Thomas Struth, who is based in Berlin and is – according to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has an unparalleled collection of his work – ‘one of the most important and influential photographers of the last half-century’ hasn’t had a retrospective in the city since 2004.

Having first studied art under Gerhard Richter, then photography under Bernd and Hilla Becher from 1973 to 1980, Struth (b 1954) won a scholarship to New York, where he would produce Streets of New York City, a series of intense, deserted panoramas, that earned him his first solo exhibition there, at MoMA PS1, in 1978.

Catapulted to success, retrospective exhibitions of his work began early in his career –Kunsthalle Bern (1987), Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1994), Carré d’Art, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes (1998), Dallas Museum of Art (2002), Museo de Art de Lima (2005) – and in 2011 London’s Whitechapel Gallery presented Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978 – 2010.

Basilica of the Annunciation,
Nazareth 2014

Inkjet print



Ride, Anaheim 2013
Chromogenic print



Research Vehicle,
Armstrong Flight
Research Center,
Edwards 2014

Inkjet print



But blockbuster retrospectives – as fashionable as they have become – while useful as reminders of the range and chronology of an artist’s development, can be overwhelming affairs that render the viewer, who can at best expect to be left with only an overview, grappling with a surfeit of competing concepts, each vying for their attention, confused and dissatisfied.

Perhaps by not being seen in isolation the work, too, sometimes suffers. Struth’s photographs may appear disarmingly matter-of-fact, but the thought processes behind them is deep and philosophical. Museum Photographs (1989 > 1992) – a large-scale colour series, consisting of voyeuristic observations of crowds of visitors, which reveals how historic paintings exhibited in famous museums are experienced today, requires time and space to be fully appreciated. It can be displayed alongside his earlier black-and-white portraits of individuals and almost unbearably frank depictions of family groups, or with his serene, unpopulated New Pictures from Paradise jungle images of the 1990s, but each of these also deserves proper consideration.

Although it’s only a matter of time before a major retrospective of Struth’s work is shown there, perhaps, for the moment, Berlin is getting it right.

Thomas Struth. Nature & Politics – the photographer’s first exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau – is not a retrospective, but a carefully composed survey of just 37 large-format photographs of work from the years 2005 to 2016. It homes in on the photographer’s more recent and ongoing preoccupation with the creation of images of the highly complex apparatus, structures and constructions that humankind is able to imagine and build that shape our everyday, contemporary, existence.

All images by and © Thomas Struth, courtesy Martin-Gropius-Bau


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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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Art | Totally Crazy, Impossible & Wrong Things

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Nefertiti, 2014
7 plaster busts with glasses, wood,
on wooden pedestals with castors
Variable installation
Courtesy Galerie Buchholz,
Köln / Berlin / New York,
David Zwirner, New York /
London and Hauser & Wirth



Isa Genzken: Make Yourself Pretty!
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
9 April – 26 June 2016



Five Ears (Detail), 1981
Paper
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Collection
Photo Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam



Social Facade, 2002
Metal, plastic, and metal foil
Ringier Collection, Zürich
Photo Galerie Buchholz Köln /
Berlin / New York



X-Ray, 1989 / 2015
Black and white photograph
Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Köln /
Berlin / New York



Actor, 2013
Mannequin, chair, shoes, wig,
wood, fabric, plastic and metal
Dimensions variable
Syz Genf Collection, Courtesy
Galerie Buchholz,
Köln / Berlin / New York



Isa Genzken: Make Yourself Pretty! at Martin Gropius Bau presents a broad spectrum of Genzken’s extraordinary and exceptionally diverse oeuvre, from her early films, drawings, and concrete sculptures to complex collages and everyday items integrated into montages. One of the country’s most important artists – married, incidentally, to Gerhard Richter from 1983 to 1993 – until recently, she was little known outside of Germany.

A short film and biography explain everything you need to know about Isa Genzken and her work.

All works © Isa Genzken, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
All Images courtesy Martin Gropius Bau


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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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Architecture | Merry VKhUTEMAS

Friday, December 5th, 2014

I Leonidov
Lenin Institute, Vorobyovy Gory, Moscow, 1928
Thesis project, a
rchitectural model
Metal, plastic, plywood, thread
Reconstruction, 1981, I Kuzmin




VKhUTEMAS – A Russian Laboratory of Modernity
Architecture designs 1920 > 1930
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
5th December 2014 > 6th April 2015




VKhUTEMAS, often referred to as the ‘Russian Bauhaus’, was a legendary modernist art school established in post-revolution Moskow. It was a hot-house for the creation of designs for the new world that the revolution had opened up for its students to explore and help to build. Their many architectural schemes would not look out of place in 21st century cities.

VKhUTEMAS, or Вхутемас, isn’t an actual Russian word, but is apparently an acronym for Высшие художественно-технические мастерские / Vysshiye Khudozhestvenno-Tekhnicheskiye Masterskiye, which roughly translated, means Higher Art and Technical Studios. Alexander Kudryavtsev, head of the Moskow Architecture Institute – a direct descendant of VKhUTEMAS – has described the school as the ‘boiler where the new art was smelted.’

Having deposed the Tsar and Russia’s wealthy overlords and landowners, and taken over power in 1917, the new Bolshevik government had expressed a desire to divert art training away from the classically-based fine arts toward applied art in industry and manufacturing, with the intention of transforming it into a far more valuable and productive asset to the new communist state. Set up as the result of a decree from Lenin himself, VKhUTEMAS’s brief was ‘to prepare master artists of the highest qualifications for industry, and builders and managers for professional-technical education.’ To this end, the faculties of architecture, painting, and sculpture became art workshops, and were united with the wood- and metalworking, printing, textiles, and ceramics production workshops, as a single autonomous university department.

V Krinsky
Skyscraper VSNKh. Moscow, Lubyanskaya square, 1922 > 1923
Tracing paper, pencil and coloured pencil
Remade, 1966




VKhUTEMAS class, school year 1927 > 1928
Exhibition of student‘s work on ‘Evidence and expression of mass and weight’




V Krinsky
Composition in space, 1921
Experimental-methodic study work in colour and spatial composition
Paper, pencil and gouache




A new curriculum was drawn up, based upon teaching the disciplines: colour, volume, space, and graphic design. The student body, by all accounts, numbered ’several thousands,’ and the 100- strong staff included many who were already revered as leading figures of the Russian avant-garde, as well as others whose names would, on an international level, become synonymous with it. They included El Lissitzky, Naum Gabo, Konstantin Melnikov, Lyubov Popova, Alexander Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, Vladimir Tatlin and Wassily Kandinsky, who would later become a Bauhaus master. Under their tutelage the school quickly developed into a centre for experiments in constructivism, rationalism, and suprematism.

A major achievement of VKhUTEMAS was the three-tiered basic course, in which all students, after first developing their art techniques, went on to incorporate them into vocational, specialised industrial or professional education. Augmenting this basic course were chemistry, physics, mathematics, geometry, scientific colour theory, foreign language studies, art history, as well as classes in the Theory of shadows,’ and military training.

A Rodchenko
Spatial construction No 5, 1918
Reconstruction, 1982, A Lavrentiev
Producers: I Terenin, Y Orlov, L Alekseeva,
N Kapustin




M Korzhev
Abstractive exercise to detect the mass and weight, 1921
Paper, ink, watercolour




In 1925 VKhUTEMAS students, alongside their teachers, Melnikov and Rodchenko, exhibited at the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris. However, in 1927, as a result of a desire amongst the authorities to steer the school away from the fine art direction it was veering off in, and back towards industrial design and manufacturing, it was renamed VKhUTEIN (Higher Artistic-Technical Institute). That same year a group of students was despatched on a visit to the Bauhaus – founded in 1919 in Dessau, and by now relocated to Weimar – and in 1928 Bauhaus students made a return visit to Moskow.

Plagued by bitter internal disputes and disagreements with the authorities, VKhUTEMAS never achieved the prominence of the Bauhaus and in 1930, the Russian avant-garde side-lined in favour of social realism and empire-style architecture, it was closed down. Nevertheless, as the 250 works on show in VKhUTEMAS – A Russian Laboratory of Modernity, Architecture designs 1920 – 1930 at Martin-Gropius-Bau, the school played an important role in the early development of European modernism.

The exhibition was organised by Moscow’s Shchusev State Museum of Architecture

All images © The Shchusev State Museum of Architecture Moscow




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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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier




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Photography | History in Black & White and Colour

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Paul Outerbridge (1896 > 1958), Egg on Block, 1923
Platinum print © Paul Outerbridge, Jr.
© 2014 G Ray Hawkins Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA.
Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein eV





Lichtbilder.
Photography at the Städel Museum
From the Beginnings to 1960
Städel Museum
Frankfurt am Main | Germany
Until 5th October 2014

The World c 1914
– Colour Photography Before the Great War
Martin Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
1st August > 2nd November 2014





In just a few minutes but for the first time in history, earlier this week, a 3D scanner / printer was used to generate a model of an important piece of sculpture at Germany’s Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung / Sculpture Collection, in Frankfurt. The event can perhaps be seen as a reminder of just how far photographic techniques have advanced in the 175 years since the announcement of the invention of the medium, in 1839.

In 1845, Frankfürt’s Städel Museum became the first major art institution in the world to exhibit photographic works. Until 5th October, to celebrate the birth of photography, the museum is devoting a comprehensive special exhibition, Lichtbilder. Photography at the Städel Museum from the Beginnings to 1960, to European photographic art. The work of early pioneers, Roger Fenton, Nadar, Gustave Le Gray, and Julia Margaret Cameron will feature, alongside that of twentieth century innovators such as August Sander, Dora Maar, and Man Ray.





Otto Steinert (1915 > 1978), Luminogram, 1952
Gelatin silver print on baryta paper mounted on cardboard
© Nachlass Otto Steinert, Museum Folkwang, Essen.
Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein eV, and Städel Museum

Dora Maar (1907 > 1997), Mannequin With Perm, 1935
Gelatin silver print on baryta paper mounted on cardboard
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014. Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein eV

Lewis Carroll (1832 > 1898), Alexandra ‘Xie’ Kitchin as Chinese ‘
Tea-Merchant’ (on duty)
, 1873

Albumen print. Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein eV.
All photos above, plus top: Städel Museum – Artothek, courtesy Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main





Of course, 2014 also marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, which, because our visual record of that momentous event, and the many other wars that would follow, would have remained obscure without the reality of the images produced by photojournalists, renders the earlier invention of photography even more significant.





Stéphane Passet, Portrait of a Senegalese sniper, January 1913, Fes, Morocco

Stéphane Passet, Group of Armenian women and girls, Istanbul, Türkei, September 1912

Stéphane Passet, Le Moulin Rouge, 18th arrondissement, Boulevard de Clichy, Paris, France, June / July 1914

Stéphane Passet, A buddist lama in ceremonial dress, Palace of Heavenly Peace, fourth court, eastern annexe, China, Peking, 26th May 1913

Four photos above from Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planete.
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Département des Hauts-de-Seine





And, even as the nations of Europe had prepared for war, French banker Albert Kahn (1860-1940), excited by the Lumière Brothers’ colour photography process (patented 1903) and intending to perform an anti-xenophobic mission of peace – bringing the outside world closer to home – sent photographers around France and across the globe, among them Stéphane Passet, a selection of whose work we show above, to develop a unique ethnographic photo archive. 70,000 images have survived, all of them in colour, of which 160 will be on show in Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau in The World c 1914 – Colour Photography Before the Great War.





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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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier





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Photography | Klemm’s ‘Absolute’ Photographic Eye

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Barbara Klemm. Photographs 1968 – 2013
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin, Germany
16th November, 2013 – 9th March, 2014

If you’re not a reportage photographer, have never lived in Germany, nor bought the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), you might not have heard of of this remarkable woman. But since the late 1960s, probably no other German female photographer has followed events in Germany as closely with her camera. Barbara Klemm’s name is synonymous with the FAZ, where she was a staff photographer for 40 years. Her pictures were very much part of the paper’s visual identity, and some of her images, like that of  Willy Brandt and Leonid Breschnev’s 1973 meeting, the politicians surrounded by advisors and journalists, became icons of modern German history.

Klemm, who works exclusively in stark black and white, often giving short shrift to mid-tones, and whose images are as dynamically composed as an expressionist film still, tell whole stories in a single picture with astonishing clarity and tremendous depth. In German photography circles she is known as the photographer with the ‘Absolute Photographic eye’. Unaffected, uncompromising reportage, her pictures, nevertheless exude a strong sense of natural style.

A great chronicler of German history, Klemm’s assignments often took her abroad to witness and record numerous epoch-defining moments around the globe. She captured Pope John Paul II on his first visit to Poland in the years of Solidarność, and an elated Václav Havel at Prague Castle in 1990. Klemm photographed South Africa during the apartheid era and the dictator Pinochet in Chile. She also visited Calcutta, returning with intensely moving images from the slums. She documented the clash of social contrasts in New York and the loneliness of gamblers in Las Vegas.

For Barbara Klemm. Photographs 1968–2013 at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau, which will cover the whole range of her oeuvre, Klemm has put together a large retrospective of her work, comprising some 300 prints, spanning five decades. The exhibition will include images of important political events, student unrest, scenes from a divided and re-united Germany, everyday situations, and the realities of life in all corners of the earth. Klemm who has a great love for portraiture, also produced many sensitive and compelling pictures of artists, writers and musicians, including, among others: Simone de Beauvoir, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Madonna, and Alfred Hitchcock, many of which will be shown in the exhibition.

Born in Münster, Germany, in 1939, Barbara Klemm lives and works in Frankfurt am Main. Growing up in Karlsruhe, she trained as a photographer in a portrait studio between 1955 and 1958 after which she began working at the newspaper FAZ in 1959, becoming a staff editorial photographer with a focus on the arts and politics from 1970 until 2004. In addition to numerous exhibitions, including at the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin (1999) and at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2009), she has won many prestigious awards, receiving in 2010 the Max Beckmann Prize of the City of Frankfurt. On her winning the Leica Hall of Fame Award, 2012, Dr Andreas Kaufmann, chair of the supervisory board of Leica Camera AG, lauded her ‘unique take on the elements that make up the essential aspects of an image, a talent that few other photographers have’. Her work is in the collections of many museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt, which holds a large collection of her prints. She is a member of the Academy of  Arts, Berlin-Brandenburg, and honorary professor at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt, Germany.

To coincide with last week’s opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Barbara Klemm Fotografien Photographs 1968 – 2013 was published by the Swiss company NIMBUS. Kunst und Bücher.

Images from top
Alfred Hitchcock, Frankfurt am Main, 1972
Demonstration gegen die Startbahn-West, Frankfurt am Main, 1981
Leonid Breschnev, Willy Brandt, Bonn, 1973
Stuttgart, 1972
Joseph Beuys im Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 1982

All photos ©Barbara Klemm

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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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Art | Meret Oppenheim

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Meret Oppenheim Retrospective
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin, Germany
16th August – 1st December, 2013

On a visit to Berlin this spring I went to the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum to see their tremendously well staged Kosmos Farbe exhibition, in which the two Swiss-born Bauhaus masters Johannes Itten and Paul Klee’s work was carefully arranged to allow for comparison and contrast. The same venue will host Meret Oppenheim: Retrospective, the first ever major retrospective of the Berlin-born (1913) artist, brought up in Switzerland.

Oppenheim studied in Basel, where she saw an exhibition of Bauhaus work that included some by Paul Klee that inspired her to produce a series of pen and ink drawings in a school notebook – her own first surrealist work – which proved to be the catalyst for her move to Paris in 1932 to attend the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Meeting André Breton gained her the entré she had sought to the surrealist circle, with whom she would exhibit her own work for the first time the following year; a year which would see Man Ray posing her nude with an etching press, in a famous series of photographs that includes Erotique voilée (1933, above).

Named after Meretlein, a wild child who lives in the woods in Gottfried Keller’s novel Der Grüne Heinrich (The Green Henry), Oppenheim was quickly adopted by the group whose members, including Alberto Giacometti, (Jean) Hans Arp, Max Ernst, Francis Picabia and Dora Maar, identified her as the perfect embodiment of the surrealist woman, the femme-enfant through whose youth, naivety and charm, they believed had direct access to the world of dreams and the unconscious. Produced decades later her self-portrait, Skull and Ornament (1964) – an x-ray image of her head in profile, complete with large, ringed earrings – might be interpreted as the artist allowing us a glimpse of this mythical inner persona.

Oppenheim returned to Basel in 1937, entering a period of personal and artistic crisis, during which she worked sporadically, destroyed much and even went back to art school. When she began working in earnest again in the 1950s, she produced works based mainly on earlier sketches. Her painting Schwarze Strich-Figur vor Gelb, (above), produced between 1960 and 1981, is a clear reference to her original inspiration, Paul Klee’s work.

Linking her firmly to her surrealist friends, her humorous treatments of everyday materials in odd combinations, often suggestive of metamorphosis, would become some of the distinctive features of her work. However, Oppenheim wasn’t in it just for laughs. She became well-known for her emancipatory, non-conformist attitude and her critical approach to gender stereotyping, making her a central role model for 20th century women artists. ‘Freedom isn’t given to you – you have to take it’, she said, summing up her stance in 1975. And, right up to her death in Basel in 1985, the artist’s work courted controversy. When the city of Bern, famous for its traditional fountains commissioned her to design her Tour-fontaine (in Waisenhausplatz), inaugurated in 1983, and produced when she was already entering her seventies, residents queued up to sign petitions demanding its removal.

Celebrated by the surrealists as ‘the fairy woman whom all men desire’, much of Meret Oppenheim’s better known pieces are loaded with latent erotic content, which might provide some explanation as to why, when I was at the tender age of 15, in 1970, perhaps unsure of whether he should be showing us it, our very bright and progressive art teacher, closed the door firmly and pulled down the window blinds – it was a winter evening and already dark outside – prior to projecting Oppenheim’s iconic Objet (1936), the fur cup, saucer and spoon, on to a wall, introducing our single sex class to surrealism. Art critic Robert Hughes called it ‘the most intense and abrupt image of lesbian sex in the history of art.’ Years later, when I was studying graphics at London’s Royal College of Art, in a clever and poignant reminder of Objet, my contemporary, the late John Hind – who began working at British Vogue before he’d even finished the course, and would within a few short years become the magazine’s art director – in homage to the artist, made a fur purse as a container for a lipstick, the bright red tip provocatively poking out.

Images from top
Man Ray photograph f
rom the series Erotique voilée  mit handschriftlich
markierten Ausschnitten des Künstlers
, 1933
Galerie 1900–2000, Paris
©Man Ray Trust, Paris / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2013

Meret Oppenheim, Pelzhandschuhe, 1936
Ursula Hauser Collection, Switzerland
Photo Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zürich
©VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2013

Meret Oppenheim, Schwarze Strich-Figur vor Gelb, 1960–1981
Private collection, Bern
Photo Peter Lauri, Bern
©VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2013

Margrit Baumann photograph,
M.O. mit Sechs Wolken auf einer Brücke, 1977, Bern 1982
©Photo Margrit Baumann
Archiv Christiane Meyer-Thoss, Frankfurt am Main

Meret Oppenheim, Eichhörnchen, 1969
Private collection, Montagnola
Photo Peter Lauri, Bern

©VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2013

Catalogue
Meret Oppenheim. Retrospective
Hatje Cantz Verlag
Editors: Heike Eipeldauer, Ingried Brugger, Gereon Sievernich
312 pages, 364 images
Museum edition €25


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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, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Photography | Dennis Hopper’s 1960s

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Dennis Hopper – The Lost Album
Vintage Photographs of the 1960s
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
Until 17th December, 2012

Dennis Hopper’s first major exhibition of 400 photographs from the thousands he took between the years 1961 and 1967, was at Fort Worth Museum, Texas in 1970 – one year after the release of the counterculture film, Easy Rider, which he directed, co-starred in and also co-wrote. Mounted on cardboard, without frames or glass, the small prints that he sometimes numbered on the back and to which he added brief notes were attached directly to the wall and kept in place by thin strips of wood. When the show finished everything was put into storage, tucked away in five large crates that lay forgotten and were only re-discovered after his death in 2010.

In Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel by Peter L Winkler, (Barricade Books, 2011), the author reveals how Hopper, who came from Kansas, told James Dean, while on the set of Rebel without a Cause, in which he had small role: ‘I hated my home life, the rules, the regimentation… everybody neurotic because they weren’t doing what they wanted to do, and yelling at me when I wanted to be creative, because creative people end up in bars.’ Born in 1936, Hopper would have been in his mid to late twenties when he took the images that form the exhibition at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau: Dennis Hopper – The Lost Album, none of which have been exhibited in Europe before. In the late 1950s he had left home and gone to San Diego, California to study acting. Having achieved early success, his acting career in Hollywood stalled in 1958, as the result of a serious spat with the director of From Hell to Texas, whereupon Hopper left for New York to study method acting with the legendary Lee Strasberg at the Actors’ Studio. Aside from acting, he wrote poetry and produced paintings and after receiving his first camera as a gift in 1961, took up photography.

Hopper’s photographs reflect the atmosphere of an exciting and turbulent era in the USA when America, via photographers like Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Gary Winogrand and Diane Arbus, was re-inventing the documentary tradition. And while perhaps his work at this stage is not quite so recognisably individual or always as accomplished as that of these esteemed contemporaries, like theirs, Hopper’s is spontaneous, intimate and keenly observed: it captures an epoch, its protagonists and milieus. Many of the pictures on show are of the icons to whom he was attracted: including James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol, Paul Newman and Jane Fonda but Hopper exercised an intense enthusiasm and curiosity for everything he encountered, from street life in Harlem to bullfights in Tijuana and cemeteries in Mexico. His relentless thirst for photographic subjects led from his family to musicians, Hell’s Angels and hippies, and to his accompanying Martin Luther King on a civil rights march through Alabama, capturing the essential moments of their lives in the prints that are a fascinating album of just a few years of his own.

Dennis Hopper images from top
Paul Newman, 1964
Malibu, California, USA

James Rosenquist, 1964
Billboard Factory, Los Angeles, California, USA

Double Standard, 1961
Los Angeles, California, USA

Andy Warhol, Henry Geldzahler, David Hockney, and Jeff Goodman, 1963
USA

Martin Luther King, Jr, 1965
Montgomery, Alabama, USA

All photographs © The Dennis Hopper Trust
All photographs courtesy of The Dennis Hopper Trust

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Art | West Coast Story

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Pacific Standard Time Art in Los Angeles 1950-1980
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
March 15th – June 10th, 2012

LA has come to the UK in the person of admittedly British-but-based-there, David Hockney whose Ways of Seeing: ‘A Bigger Picture’ – David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts, a major exhibition of his recent landscape paintings, currently running in London – is a sell out. Meanwhile, Ellsworth Kelly, based in New York City but having shared a long and healthy relationship with the City of Angels has gone there – his show, Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings is on at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, while concurrently the new LA branch of New York’s Matthew Marks Gallery are showing Ellsworth Kelly: Los Angeles, as their inaugural exhibition. But that’s not all. Sotheby’s New York are hosting a selling exhibition, Southern California Minimalism: 1960 to the present. All big events in the art calendar. All with a Californian connection. But if you thought that was the end of it, Pacific Standard Time, Art (Kunst) in Los Angeles 1950 -1980, due to make a bigger splash than any of the above, is on at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau – its sole European venue – from the mid-March until 10th June.

When Hockney finally took the plunge: leaving Britain in 1966, after having paddled around a bit in the US over the previous couple of years, he dived headlong into an LA arts scene already brimming over with ideas and experimentation. Hockney’s iconic, A Bigger Splash, 1967, is seen by the curators as a key image representing the hedonistic LA lifestyle. However, the aim is to demonstrate that, as well as being home to Hollywood, the city and indeed, the West Coast, had a lot more than surfing, sunshine and palm trees going for it. The exhibition will attempt to make clear, through works by Richard Dinebenkom and Ed Ruscha, that Southern California was one of the leading centres for large-format pop art and abstract painting in the 1960s. When the USA’s Atlantic Coast painters were growing in significance, artists on the West Coast were beginning to extend their notions of traditional painting and sculpture. Experimentation with new processes and materials was taking place; works that arose out of a collision between art and technology, for example, a fibre-glass sculpture by Bruce Nauman will be on show. The German exhibition is an attempt at a comprehensive appraisal – embracing paintings, sculpture, ceramics and photography, as well as exhibition catalogues, books, posters, postcards, invitations and letters – within a specific time band. As a way of demonstrating the strong international networks that linked LA to other artists around the world the inclusion of the flotsam and jetsam: the ephemera associated with artists, for example, their letters to one another and to artists abroad, has been collected together and will be exhibited. Visitors will be introduced to the art dealers and collectors whose backing facilitated the artists’ inevitable rise to the surface. Funded by the Getty Foundation of Los Angeles and organised by the Berliner Festspiele and the Martin-Gropius-Bau, the show will bring the two core exhibitions of the Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute to Europe, however, in all, over 60 galleries and institutions have been involved in providing material.

As well as Hockney’s, a veritable tsunami of work by other artists, all produced on the West Coast, will flood the Berlin gallery: Peter Alexander – his Cloud Box (Large), 1966 is included, John Altoon, John Baldessari, Larry Bell – several of his minimal pieces will be there, while others, including Cube #22 and Cube #16 (Gren), are being shown in the Sotheby’s exhibition. Billy Al Bengston, Karl Benjamin, Ed Bereal, Wallace Berman, Cameron, Vija Celmins, Judy Chicago – her acrylic Big Blue Pink, 1971, will all be represented together with work by Mary Corse, Ronald Davis, the aforementioned Richard Diebenkorn, Melvin Edwards, Frederick Eversley, Lorser Feitelson, Llyn Foulkes, Sam Francis, Joe Goode and Robert Graham. Frederick Hammersley’s sensitive abstract oil painting Up Within, 1957 – 1958 will be there. The curators have selected pieces by George Herms, Stephan von Huene and Craig Kauffman. Edward Kienholz’s mixed media figurative sculpture, Walter Hopps Hopps Hopps, 1959 is one of the early works that can see seen. Helen Lundeberg, John Mason – his glazed ceramic piece, Orange Cross, 1963, Allan McCollum, John McCracken – his yellow, oblong sculpture Galaxy also features in the New York sale, are all being shown. Other work surfing its way into the Martin-Gropius-Bau will be by John McLaughlin, Ron Miyashiro, Ed Moses, Lee Mullican and Bruce Nauman’s installation, Four Corner Piece, executed in 1971 is also being exhibited. There’ll be work by Helen Pashgian, Ken Price and Noah Purifoy. Ed Ruscha’s 1963 pop art piece, Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, will be shown. Betye Saar and Henry Takemoto are included. Red Concave Circle, 1970, executed in polyester by DeWain Valentine will be there, and pieces by Peter Voulkos, Gordon Wagner, Norman Zammitt. Many of these names may seem obscure but the curators feel that these individuals made significant contributions to the West Coast scene between 1950-80 and are worthy of reconsideration.

More than just as a reference point but rather, because he was the most important American architecture photographer of the post-war period and his images of modernist houses built by Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry are artistic icons in their own right, more than 50 photographs by Julius Shulman are included in the exhibition.

Far from being a ’standard’ time on the Pacific coast, the organisers of the Martin-Gropius-Bau show are out to prove that the years between 1950 and 1980 in Southern California were awash with innovative artists producing exceptional art that was equal to, and sometimes more pioneering than, any contemporaneous work going on elsewhere in the world.

Works, from top
Frederick Hammersley, Up Within, 1957–58
Peter Alexander, Cloud Box (Large), 1966
Ed Ruscha, Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, 1963
Bruce Nauman, Four Corner Piece, 1971
David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967
Julius Shulman, Case Study House #22, 1960
De Wain Valentine, Red Concave Circle, 1970
Larry Bell, Untitled, Wall Piece, 1967
Edward Kienholz, Walter Hopps Hopps Hopps, 1959
Frederick Hammersley, Up Within, 1957–58
Peter Alexander, Cloud Box (Large), 1966
Ed Ruscha, Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, 1963
Bruce Nauman, Four Corner Piece, 1971
David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967
Julius Shulman, Case Study House #22, 1960
De Wain Valentine, Red Concave Circle, 1970
Larry Bell, Untitled, Wall Piece, 1967
Edward Kienholz, Walter Hopps Hopps Hopps, 1959

Related shows
David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture
The Royal Academy, London, UK. Until 9 April 2012
Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
Until 22nd April 2012
Ellsworth Kelly: Los Angeles
Matthew Marks Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Until 7th April 2012
Southern California Minimalism: 1960 to the Present
Selling exhibition Sotheby’s New York, 2 – 23rd March, 2012

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Photography | Hollywood & Berlin in Detail

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Hollywood in Style: a homage to the icons of film
Camera Work, Berlin, Germany. Until 4th March, 2012
Robert Polidori
CWC Gallery, Berlin, Germany. Until 21st April, 2012

Based in the well-to-do Charlottenburg area of Berlin – one of the most galleried cities in the world – Camera Work is regarded as one of the world’s top 10 photography galleries. Named after the legendary, quarterly photographic journal published in New York by Alfred Stieglitz from 1903 to 1917, the gallery opened its doors in 1997 and has a well-earned reputation for presenting the work of many photography greats: Man Ray, Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Peter Beard, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus and Helmut Newton, but also for exhibiting young, up-and-coming artists.

The Kennedys archive, part of Camera Work’s permanent collection is a wide-ranging compilation of photographic work, official documents, private documents, and memorabilia of the Kennedy family. First put on show at the Camera Work building in 2004, it now has its own premises where, on the occasion of The 62nd Berlin International Film Biennale, Camera Work is exhibiting Hollywood in Style – much of the content also belonging to the gallery’s collection –  a photographic homage to the icons of film. Archive images by Edward Steichen and Horst P Horst that testify to the glamour of the screen legends of Hollywood’s Golden Age: Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly striking characteristicly elegant poses, are juxtaposed against more ballsy shots of 1950s bad boys James Dean and Marlon Brando. A sexy Sophia Lauren exemplifies the free spirit of 1960s movies; Jack Nicholson, the characterful 70s and 80s, while the distinctly sensual, provocative and style conscious stars of today: Angeline Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Christian Bale and Johnny Depp, are captured by contemporary photographers: Nadev Kander, Annie Leibovitz and Anton Corbijn.

Emerging from the same stable, a second gallery CWC – Camera Work Contemporary, housed in a former Jewish girls’ school – opened last week in Berlin’s Mitte district, home to the city’s major internationally famous art galleries and will, alongside contemporary photography, exhibit large-scale retrospectives in painting and sculpture, as well as conceptual group exhibitions. As its debut, CWC presents Polidori, a major showing of the work – including some seen here for the first time – of the substantial oeuvre of the Canadian-born photographer, Robert Polidori, born in 1951, who lives in New York and Paris and has achieved international success via substantial photo stories in magazines such as The New Yorker, Architectural Digest, Geo and Vanity Fair. His work has been shown by numerous galleries and is also featured in the collections of several museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal and the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. Famous for the extremely high level of detail in his photographs – literally nothing is left unsharp – the selected images, which on the surface appear as straightforward architectural and urban scenes – Gallery of the Battles, Chateau de Versailles, 1985 – Unit 4 Control Room, Chernobyl, 2001 – View of Central Park from the East, New York City, 2004 – possess the unnerving quality of drawing the viewer ever further in to examine and question each detail in turn and to puzzle endlessly over their relationship to one another and to the whole.

Images from top
Jeremy Irons with Monicle, London, 1990
© Michel Comte

Michel Anguir by Jacques D’Agar, 1675. Salle la Surintendance de Colbert,
Salles du XVII, Aile du Nord – RDC, Chateau de Versailles, 1984
© Robert Polidori

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