Posts Tagged ‘Museum of Modern Art’

Art | Bodys Isek Kingelez: Extreme Model World

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Africanisch (detail), 1994
Paper, paperboard, plastic,
various other materials
Private collection
Photo Kleinefenn



Bodys Isek Kingelez:
City Dreams
Museum of Modern Art
New York | USA
26 May 2018 > 1 January 2019



Bodys Isek Kingelez
in Kinshasa, 1990
Photo André Magnin,
courtesy André Magnin



The idea of 21st-century visionaries creating buildings and even whole cities from recycled materials doesn’t seem that strange. In remote Kinshasa however, in 1978, when artist Bodys Isek Kingelez started to make his ‘extreme models’ or ‘extreme maquettes,’ of buildings out of found materials, such as bottle caps, commercial packaging and plastic, the Belgians and French who worked at the National Museum, staggering in confusion and disbelief, accused him of having stolen his technique. Soon after the Museum gave him a job as a restorer and ‘banned’ him from making sculpture.

But Kingelez persevered and although in the early 1980s, he had still never seen any city other than Kinshasa, ‘not even in photos’, the intricately-constructed models he was making began to develop into his vision of a world that he believed could be built and lived in, in the present, or in the future, and represented his hopes of renewal in a de-colonised Africa. ‘I wanted my art to serve the community that is being reborn to create a new world,’ he would say later, his Utopia still to materialise, ‘I created these cities so there would be lasting peace, justice and universal freedom. They will function like small secular states with their own political structure, and will not need policemen or an army.’

Ville de Sète 3009, 2000
Collection Musée International
des Arts Modestes, Sète, France
© Pierre Schwartz ADAGP,
courtesy MIAM



Nippon Tower, 2005
Courtesy Aeroplastics
Contemporary, Brussels
Photo Vincent Everarts



Belle Hollandaise, 1991
Collection Groninger Museum
Photo Marten de Leeuw



Plagued by poverty, mistrust in the country’s banks and a deepening economic crisis Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (previously the Belgian Congo, briefly called Zaire), where bumper to bumper traffic clogs the city while the outskirts are without either roads or electricity, has become one of the world’s worst megacities. Perhaps if its authorities and decision-makers had aligned themselves with Kingelez’s way of thinking, things might have turned out somewhat differently. Referring to himself as a designer, an architect, a sculptor, engineer, [and] artist’, he regarded his work as ‘an irrefutable contribution to life and science’, but remained forever conscious that in Africa, art was new and not yet properly understood and that political leaders were wary of it and unable to grasp its importance.

Kinshasa la Belle (detail), 1991
CAAC – The Pigozzi
Collection, Geneva
© Bodys Isek Kingelez
Photo Maurice Aeschimann,
courtesy CAAC



Having been invited to exhibit at Jean Pigozzi’s Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) in Paris, by 1989, Bodys Isek Kingelez (b Jean Baptiste, 1948) was catapulted to global acclaim. His work has since been featured in numerous international exhibitions and is included in the private collections of both Pigozzi and Agnes B, among others. In 1992 he began assembling entire cities with numerous buildings, avenues, parks, stadiums and monuments and, when his first large-scale imaginary city, Kimbembele Ihunga – named after the village in which he was born and brought up – was shown there in 1995, Kingelez created an homage to Jean Nouvel, architect of the Fondation Cartier building in Paris.

This month over 30 of the 3000 models Kingelez constructed during the course of his career, which ended with his death in 2015, go on show in Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

All works by Bodys Isek Kingelez, made from paper, cardboard, plastic and various other materials. All images courtesy MoMA


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, 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 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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Exhibitions | Josef Albers’ Bauhaus Photocollages

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Untitled (Bullfight, San Sebastian), 1930/1932
Gelatin silver prints mounted on board



El Lissitzky, Dessau, 1930/1932
Gelatin silver prints mounted on board



One and One Is Four:
The Bauhaus Photocollages
of Josef Albers
Museum of Modern Art
NYC | USA
23 November 2016 > 2 April 2017



Anyone interested in the roots of modern graphic design will be aware of the ground-breaking work of Moholy-Nagy and Herbert Bayer at the Bauhaus in the 1920s; the name of their fellow Bauhaus master, Josef Albers (American, born Germany 1888 > 1976, best-known for his signature Homage to the Square series, 1950 > 1976) wouldn’t come immediately to everyone’s mind. A new exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and a new book, however, while demonstrating Albers’ importance as a modernist photographer – an aspect of his work that remained largely hidden until after his death – more importantly, shows how Albers’ dynamic juxtaposing of images, assembled with the object of relating a story in immediate, visual terms, foreshadowed the photojournalistic layouts which would begin to appear in the mid-1930s in magazines such as the legendary and highly-influential VU.

Marli Heimann, All During an Hour, 1931/1932
Gelatin silver prints mounted on board



Paris, Eiffel Tower, 1929/1932
Gelatin silver prints mounted on board



Paul Klee, Dessau, 1929/1932
Gelatin silver prints mounted on board



One and One Is Four: The Bauhaus Photocollages of Josef Albers, a new installation featuring 16 photocollages, is on view at The Museum of Modern Art, while the book of the same title by Sarah Hermanson Meister, with 140 pages and 120 colour and duotone illustrations, is published by MoMA and by Thames & Hudson outside the US and Canada.

All images by Josef Albers, from the Museum of Modern Art collection, courtesy MoMA, © 2016 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo John Wronn


Tell us what you think
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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Exhibitions | Reminder: Don’t Miss These…

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

McDermott & McGough, Those Moments, 1955, 2010
Tricolour carbon print. Courtesy the artists and Cheim & Read, New York.
On show at The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, see below



The Blog team return next week.
Whether you’re staying at home or travelling,
here’s our selection of some of the best
of what’s on show this summer >>>



Doug Aitken, Sunset (black and white), 2011
Hand carved foam, epoxy with LED lights and hand silk-screened acrylic.
Courtesy the artist, 303 Gallery, New York, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Victoria Miro Gallery, London and Regen Projects, LA. Photo © Brian Forrest.
On show at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, see below



>>> Until 23 August 2015
Coop Himmelb(l)au
Frankfurt Lyon Dalian

DeutschesArchitekturmuseum (DAM)
Frankfurt | Germany
Vienna-based architectural practice with the long-winded name Coop Himme(l)blau Wolf D Prix & Partner, long-time player on the international architecture scene, founded in 1968 in response to the predominance of rectilinear grids, set out to liberate architecture from its functional confines by rendering space more dynamic and buildings gravity-defying. The exhibition presents three of the studio’s latest projects: the new European Central Bank building (2015) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the Musée des Confluences (2014) in Lyon, France, and the Dalian International Conference Centre in China (2012), see image below.

>>> Auction 28 Aug 2015
Japanese Whisky
Christie’s
Admiralty | Hong Kong
Featuring Hanyu Ichito’s Full Cards Series of 54 bottles of the spirit, each with beautifully-designed individual labels on a playing card theme, which are expected to sell for HK$1.8 m > 2.4 m / £150,000 > 200,000 / US$230,000 > 310,000.

>>> Until 28 August 2015
Joana Vasconcelos:
Material World

Phillips
(Selling exhibition)
London | UK

Forty works representing various periods of sculptor and installation artist Joana Vasconcelos’s career to date, coinciding with the publication of her monograph by Thames & Hudson.

>>> Until 13 September 2015
Perfect Likeness:
Photography and Composition

The Hammer Museum
Los Angeles | USA

Having reached a point when everyone thinks he / she is a photographer, and where photography of every possible style and quality pervades every corner of our daily lives, this exhibition looks at the carefully composed images of fine art photographers such as Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, McDermott & McGough and Jeff Wall.

>>> Until 13 September 2015
Design Derby:
The Netherlands – Belgium (1815 > 2015)

Museum Boijmans
Van Beuningen

Rotterdam | Netherlands

Like for like Dutch and Belgium design objects – from sumptuous and elegant Belgian art nouveau to the more austere Dutch version, and from the contemporary tours de force of Belgium design to the level-headed Dutch design of today – confront one other in friendly competition.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Fast Fashion
The Shadowy Side of Fashion

Museum für Kunst und
Gewerbe Hamburg

Hamburg | Germany
A critical glimpse behind the scenes of fashion – consumerism, economic interests and ecological issues – throwing light upon fashion and its victims; poverty and affluence; global and local effects; wages and profits; garments and chemicals; clothes and ecology; as well as new fibre technologies.

>>> Until 26 September 2015
Larry Bell 2D-3D:
Glass & Vapor

White Cube, Mason’s Yard
London | UK
Larry Bell (b 1939, Chicago) is a leading exponent of the California ‘Light and Space’ movement. The exhibition includes three early glass installations as well as collages on paper and new, kinetic Light Knot sculptures. To coincide with a major presentation of a Standing Wall installation of thirty-two, six foot square glass panels (c1989 >2014) currently on show at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, USA, at White Cube, Bell has installed 6 x 8 An Improvisation.

>>> Until 27 September 2015
Doug Aitken
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
Following on from his Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening extravaganza at London’s Barbican, The Shirn dedicates its entire exhibition space, inside and out, to the impressive work of American multimedia-artist Doug Aitken, in the most comprehensive solo presentation of his film, music, architecture, performance and sculpture in Germany and elsewhere to date, see image above

>>> Until 27 September 2015
Germaine Krull
A Photographer’s Journey

Jeu de Paume
Paris | France
The idea of the female career photographer – rather than dabbler or dilettante – didn’t properly materialise until free-spirited women such as Gertrude Krull (1897 > 1985) thrust herself headlong into the male-dominated mêlée in the 1920s.



One-sheet poster for Sullivan’s Travels, directed by Preston Sturges, 1941
Poster art direction by Maurice Kallis. Courtesy Sikelia Productions.
On show at MoMA in New York, see below

Dalian International Conference Centre, China, by
Coop Himmelb(l)au Wolf D Prix & Partner, in Vienna, Austria

Photo © Duccio Malagamba.
On show at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt, see above



>>> Until 27 September 2015
What is Luxury?
V&A
London | UK
The world’s biggest museum of the decorative arts and design has a permanent, historic collection of over 4.5 million objects. By definition it is a museum of things, many of which are extremely valuable and considered to be luxurious items. With over 100 objects, ‘From a diamond made from roadkill to a vending machine stocked with DNA, a golden crown for ecclesiastical use to traditional military tailoring, this exhibition addresses how luxury is made and understood in a physical, conceptual and cultural capacity.’

>>> Until September 30
Scorsese Collects [film posters]
Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
In celebration of director Martin Scorsese’s enduring commitment to the preservation of international film culture, MoMA presents 34 works from his collection, centred around a rare, billboard-size poster for the 1951 film Tales of Hoffmann. The exhibition will be accompanied by the film series Scorsese Screens throughout August.

>>> Until 4 October 2015
From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires:
Grete Stern & Horacio Coppola

Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
The first major exhibition of the German-born Grete Stern and the Argentinean Horacio Coppola, two leading figures of avant-garde photography who, in the 1930s, established themselves on both sides of the Atlantic.

>>> Until 18 October 2015
The 80s. Figurative
Painting in West Germany

Städel Museum
Frankfurt | Germany
Shedding light on the new and dynamic figurative painting that developed in the 1980s almost simultaneously in Berlin, Hamburg and the Rhineland. Works by among many other artists, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, and Salomé.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture
for a Modern World

Tate Britain
London | UK
Retrospective of one of Britain’s greatest artists, Barbara Hepworth (1903 > 1975), one of the few women artists to achieve widespread recognition and international prominence, featuring many of her most significant sculptures in wood, stone and bronze alongside her rarely seen works that exemplified modernism from the 1920s onwards.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Gilbert & George:
The Early Years

Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
‘It’s not a collaboration. . . We are two people, but one artist,’ say the inseparable British artists, Gilbert and George, who have been creating art together for almost fifty years. This exhibition focuses on their early years, from 1969 to 1975, when the art world around them was largely engaged in pop, minimal, and conceptual work, while the pair developed a wholly unique vision.

>>> Until 26 October 2015
Radikal Moderne Planen
und Bauen im Berlin
der Sechziger Jahre

/ Planning and Building
in Berlin in the 1960s

Berlinische Galerie
Berlin | Germany
Via 300 known works and recently rediscovered material representing 30 architects, planners, photographers and artists, this is the first detailed examination of a decade in architecture and urban planning that shaped a city divided not only by a wall, but also by political ideologies.

>>> Until 31 October 2015
Stone Fenoyl (1945 > 1987).
An Imaginary Geography.
A Documentary Record

Château de Tours
(in association with Jeu de Paume)
Tours | France

Famous for his ability to discover and nurture new photographers, and for his admiration of anonymous 19th century photographs, iconographer, curator, art buyer, gallery and Vu agency (now Viva) founder, Pierre de Fenoyl was the first director of France’s National Foundation Photography in 1976. Champion of the work of Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Duane Michals and André Kertész, alongside prints, documents, films and publications, this retrospective also shows the black and white landscape photography he created himself from 1984.

>>> Until 1 November 2015
Fotografia Futurista
Galleria Carla Sozzani
Milan | Italy
With over one hundred original photographs, representing the work of over thirty photographers, this exhibition demonstrates how, over a fifty-year period, the futurists took possession of the photographic language and used it as a medium to capture the pulse of early 20th century life. In so doing, they transformed photography into the dynamic, potent and multifaceted force it became in both art and commerce in the twentieth century.

>>> Until 31 January 2016
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
V&A
London | UK
Exploring the euphoria and obsession they can inspire, more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes from the V&A’s unrivalled international collection, worn by or associated with high profile figures including Marilyn Monroe, Queen Victoria, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Hon Daphne Guinness are on display. Famous shoes, such as the ballet slippers designed for Moira Shearer in the 1948 film The Red Shoes, are exhibited alongside footwear by 70 named designers including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Miuccia Prada.



Tell us what you think
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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Exhibitions | This Summer, Don’t Miss These…

Friday, July 24th, 2015

McDermott & McGough, Those Moments, 1955, 2010
Tricolour carbon print. Courtesy the artists and Cheim & Read, New York.
On show at The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, see below



The Blog team is away.
Whether you stay at
home or go travelling,
h
ere’s our selection of
some of the best of what’s
on show this summer >>>



Doug Aitken, Sunset (black and white), 2011
Hand carved foam, epoxy with LED lights and hand silk-screened acrylic.
Courtesy the artist, 303 Gallery, New York, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Victoria Miro Gallery, London and Regen Projects, LA. Photo © Brian Forrest.
On show at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, see below



>>> Until 23 August 2015
Coop Himmelb(l)au
Frankfurt Lyon Dalian
DeutschesArchitekturmuseum (DAM)
Frankfurt | Germany
Vienna-based architectural practice with the long-winded name Coop Himme(l)blau Wolf D Prix & Partner, long-time player on the international architecture scene, founded in 1968 in response to the predominance of rectilinear grids, set out to liberate architecture from its functional confines by rendering space more dynamic and buildings gravity-defying. The exhibition presents three of the studio’s latest projects: the new European Central Bank building (2015) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the Musée des Confluences (2014) in Lyon, France, and the Dalian International Conference Centre in China (2012), see image below.

>>> Auction 28 Aug 2015
Japanese Whisky
Christie’s
Admiralty | Hong Kong
Featuring Hanyu Ichito’s Full Cards Series of 54 bottles of the spirit, each with beautifully-designed individual labels on a playing card theme, which are expected to sell for HK$1.8 m > 2.4 m / £150,000 > 200,000 / US$230,000 > 310,000.

>>> Until 28 August 2015
Joana Vasconcelos:
Material World
Phillips
(Selling exhibition)
London | UK
Forty works representing various periods of sculptor and installation artist Joana Vasconcelos’s career to date, coinciding with the publication of her monograph by Thames & Hudson.

>>> Until 13 September 2015
Perfect Likeness:
Photography and
Composition
The Hammer Museum
Los Angeles | USA

Having reached a point when everyone thinks he / she is a photographer, and where photography of every possible style and quality pervades every corner of our daily lives, this exhibition looks at the carefully composed images of fine art photographers such as Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, McDermott & McGough and Jeff Wall.

>>> Until 13 September 2015
Design Derby:
The Netherlands – Belgium (1815 > 2015)
Museum Boijmans
Van Beuningen
Rotterdam | Netherlands

Like for like Dutch and Belgium design objects – from sumptuous and elegant Belgian art nouveau to the more austere Dutch version, and from the contemporary tours de force of Belgium design to the level-headed Dutch design of today – confront one other in friendly competition.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Fast Fashion
The Shadowy Side of Fashion
Museum für Kunst und
Gewerbe Hamburg

Hamburg | Germany
A critical glimpse behind the scenes of fashion – consumerism, economic interests and ecological issues – throwing light upon fashion and its victims; poverty and affluence; global and local effects; wages and profits; garments and chemicals; clothes and ecology; as well as new fibre technologies.

>>> Until 26 September 2015
Larry Bell 2D-3D:
Glass & Vapor

White Cube, Mason’s Yard
London | UK
Larry Bell (b 1939, Chicago) is a leading exponent of the California ‘Light and Space’ movement. The exhibition includes three early glass installations as well as collages on paper and new, kinetic Light Knot sculptures. To coincide with a major presentation of a Standing Wall installation of thirty-two, six foot square glass panels (c1989 >2014) currently on show at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, USA, at White Cube, Bell has installed 6 x 8 An Improvisation.

>>> Until 27 September 2015
Doug Aitken
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
Following on from his Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening extravaganza at London’s Barbican, The Shirn dedicates its entire exhibition space, inside and out, to the impressive work of American multimedia-artist Doug Aitken, in the most comprehensive solo presentation of his film, music, architecture, performance and sculpture in Germany and elsewhere to date, see image above

>>> Until 27 September 2015
Germaine Krull
A Photographer’s Journey
Jeu de Paume
Paris | France
The idea of the female career photographer – rather than dabbler or dilettante – didn’t properly materialise until free-spirited women such as Gertrude Krull (1897 > 1985) thrust herself headlong into the male-dominated mêlée in the 1920s.



One-sheet poster for Sullivan’s Travels, directed by Preston Sturges, 1941
Poster art direction by Maurice Kallis. Courtesy Sikelia Productions.
On show at MoMA in New York, see below

Dalian International Conference Centre, China, by
Coop Himmelb(l)au Wolf D Prix & Partner, in Vienna, Austria
Photo © Duccio Malagamba.
On show at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt, see above



>>> Until 27 September 2015
What is Luxury?
V&A
London | UK
The world’s biggest museum of the decorative arts and design has a permanent, historic collection of over 4.5 million objects. By definition it is a museum of things, many of which are extremely valuable and considered to be luxurious items. With over 100 objects, ‘From a diamond made from roadkill to a vending machine stocked with DNA, a golden crown for ecclesiastical use to traditional military tailoring, this exhibition addresses how luxury is made and understood in a physical, conceptual and cultural capacity.’

>>> Until September 30
Scorsese Collects [film posters]
Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
In celebration of director Martin Scorsese’s enduring commitment to the preservation of international film culture, MoMA presents 34 works from his collection, centred around a rare, billboard-size poster for the 1951 film Tales of Hoffmann. The exhibition will be accompanied by the film series Scorsese Screens throughout August.

>>> Until 4 October 2015
From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires:
Grete Stern & Horacio Coppola

Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
The first major exhibition of the German-born Grete Stern and the Argentinean Horacio Coppola, two leading figures of avant-garde photography who, in the 1930s, established themselves on both sides of the Atlantic.

>>> Until 18 October 2015
The 80s. Figurative
Painting in West Germany

Städel Museum
Frankfurt | Germany
Shedding light on the new and dynamic figurative painting that developed in the 1980s almost simultaneously in Berlin, Hamburg and the Rhineland. Works by among many other artists, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, and Salomé.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture
for a Modern World

Tate Britain
London | UK
Retrospective of one of Britain’s greatest artists, Barbara Hepworth (1903 > 1975), one of the few women artists to achieve widespread recognition and international prominence, featuring many of her most significant sculptures in wood, stone and bronze alongside her rarely seen works that exemplified modernism from the 1920s onwards.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Gilbert & George:
The Early Years

Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
‘It’s not a collaboration. . . We are two people, but one artist,’ say the inseparable British artists, Gilbert and George, who have been creating art together for almost fifty years. This exhibition focuses on their early years, from 1969 to 1975, when the art world around them was largely engaged in pop, minimal, and conceptual work, while the pair developed a wholly unique vision.

>>> Until 26 October 2015
Radikal Moderne Planen
und Bauen im Berlin
der Sechziger Jahre
/
Planning and Building
in Berlin in the 1960s

Berlinische Galerie
Berlin | Germany
Via 300 known works and recently rediscovered material representing 30 architects, planners, photographers and artists, this is the first detailed examination of a decade in architecture and urban planning that shaped a city divided not only by a wall, but also by political ideologies.

>>> Until 31 October 2015
Stone Fenoyl (1945 > 1987).
An Imaginary Geography.
A Documentary Record
Château de Tours
(in association with Jeu de Paume)
Tours | France
Famous for his ability to discover and nurture new photographers, and for his admiration of anonymous 19th century photographs, iconographer, curator, art buyer, gallery and Vu agency (now Viva) founder, Pierre de Fenoyl was the first director of France’s National Foundation Photography in 1976. Champion of the work of Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Duane Michals and André Kertész, alongside prints, documents, films and publications, this retrospective also shows the black and white landscape photography he created himself from 1984.

>>> Until 1 November 2015
Fotografia Futurista
Galleria Carla Sozzani
Milan | Italy
With over one hundred original photographs, representing the work of over thirty photographers, this exhibition demonstrates how, over a fifty-year period, the futurists took possession of the photographic language and used it as a medium to capture the pulse of early 20th century life. In so doing, they transformed photography into the dynamic, potent and multifaceted force it became in both art and commerce in the twentieth century.

>>> Until 31 January 2016
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
V&A
London | UK
Exploring the euphoria and obsession they can inspire, more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes from the V&A’s unrivalled international collection, worn by or associated with high profile figures including Marilyn Monroe, Queen Victoria, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Hon Daphne Guinness are on display. Famous shoes, such as the ballet slippers designed for Moira Shearer in the 1948 film The Red Shoes, are exhibited alongside footwear by 70 named designers including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Miuccia Prada.


Tell us what you think
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



Share this post
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Art | Jacob Lawrence’s African America

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Panel 48, Housing for the Negroes
was a very difficult problem.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Gift of Mrs David M Levy.
© 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn
Knight Lawrence Foundation,
Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York. Digital image © The
Museum of Modern Art / Licensed
by SCALA / Art Resource, NY



One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s
Migration Series and Other Visions
of
the Great Movement North
The Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
Until 7 September 2015



Panel 1, During the World War
there was a great migration
North by Southern Negroes.

The Phillips Collection, Washington DC.
Acquired 1942. © 2015 The Jacob
and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence
Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights
Society (ARS), New York.
Photograph courtesy The Phillips
Collection, Washington DC



Panel 17, The migration was
spurred on by the treatment of the
tenant farmers by the planter.’

The Phillips Collection, Washington DC
Acquired 1942. © 2015 The Jacob
and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence
Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights
Society (ARS), New York.
Photograph courtesy The Phillips
Collection, Washington DC



Unlike the few white people he includes – the planter, the judge, the passengers in the whites only section at the front of a bus – the skin of Jacob Lawrence’s fellow black African Americans is almost exclusively painted in the same flat, dark brown tone, mostly devoid of facial features. It is as if he painted them through a white man’s eyes, as a single, solid mass of humanity that didn’t really count, and didn’t deserve to be recognised as individuals.

Admitting that his primary influence was not so much French art, as the shapes and colours of Harlem, Lawrence referred to his style as ‘dynamic cubism.’ And, although superficially his work would appear to fall into the category that in fine art terms is referred to as ‘primitive’, he received art training and there is great sophistication in his power to convey his ideas via sharply-edited, direct images that show influences from film and photographic composition, and cropping. Indeed, Lawrence’s paintings of what has come to be called ‘The Great Migration‘ – the diaspora of 6 million African Americans from the rural southern USA to the urban north east, the midwest, and west, between 1916 and 1970 – are, in their way, equal in impact to the documentary photographs of the likes of Dorothea Lange and Gordon Parks.

Panel 52, One of the largest race
riots occurred in East St Louis.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Gift of Mrs David M Levy.
© 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn
Knight Lawrence Foundation,
Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York. Digital image © The
Museum of Modern Art / Licensed
by SCALA / Art Resource, NY



Panel 14, Among the social
conditions that existed which was
partly the cause of the migration
was the injustice done to the
Negroes in the courts.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Gift of Mrs David M Levy.
© 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn
Knight Lawrence Foundation,
Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York. Digital image © The
Museum of Modern Art / Licensed
by SCALA / Art Resource, NY



The large-scale immigration of Europeans to the USA, came to an end in 1914 at the outbreak of World War I, and as factory production in the northern states grew, a new source of cheap labour was needed. Descendants of slaves, southern blacks had their freedom, but saw little opportunity to improve their lot. Tired of the sharecropping system, in which they worked the land with little hope of economic gain, they were easy targets for newspaper advertisements that promised wages in the north that averaged three times their earnings in the rural south. Travelling by train, boat, bus, or even horse-drawn cart, hundreds, thousands, then millions of them made their way north.

In the decade between 1910 and 1920, the black population of New York grew by 66 per cent, while in Chicago it was 148 per cent. But these statistics were nothing in comparison to those for Philadelphia, where the influx of blacks reached 500 per cent. Detroit recorded a massive 611 per cent rise. But, in the increasingly crowded conditions of these northern cities, racism and prejudice would become widespread, race riots would flare up, and segregated housing led to the establishment of black ghettos.

Panel 58, In the North the Negro
had better educational facilities.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Gift of Mrs David M Levy.
© 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn
Knight Lawrence Foundation,
Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York. Digital image © The
Museum of Modern Art / Licensed
by SCALA / Art Resource, NY



Born of migrant parents and having lived in Harlem since 1913, in 1941, the 23-year-old Jacob Lawrence created a series of 60 small paintings each of which he gave caption-like titles. They were the result of his immersion in debates about African American history, and how it ought to be recorded in art and writing. He spent months studying historical documents, books, photographs and journals, before embarking on his series of paintings – his aim, to create a body of work that would provide the world with an accurate and new vision of how black Americans experienced the era.

For the first time in 20 years, all 60 panels of Lawrence’s Migration Series are reunited for the MoMA exhibition One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North. Accompanied by a book, Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series, co-published with The Phillips Collection, Washington DC. The exhibition is organised by The Museum of Modern Art and The Phillips Collection, in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library.

All works from The Migration Series,
1940-41, by Jacob Lawrence, executed
in Casein tempera on hardboard,
18 x 12 ins (45.7 x 30.5 cm)



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Exhibition | Ear (+ Eye) Music

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Radio – Rural Electrification
Administration poster,

Lester Beall, 1937

Silkscreen print
Gift of the designer
© 2014 Lester Beall Estate /
Licensed by VAGA




Making Modern Music: Design for Eye and Ear
Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
Until 15th November, 2015




iPod, Jonathan Ive,
Apple Industrial
Design Group, 2001

Polycarbonate plastic
and stainless steel
Manufactured by Apple, Inc.
Gift of the manufacturer

Radio poster
Hiroshi Ohchi, 1954
Silkscreen print
Gift of the designer




Don’t you wonder sometimes,
‘Bout sound and vision…

… David Bowie asked rhetorically on his album Low in 1977. The unbidden response was encrypted somewhere within the 300+ archived objects, including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, videos, set designs and his own instruments, on show at the retrospective exhibition David Bowie is, at London’s V&A in 2013, that is touring the world’s most prestigious museums. A sequel to the show, the eponymously titled film, was released this month and is currently being screened in over 40 countries across the globe.

This post, and the new exhibition at MoMA, Making Modern Music: Design for Eye and Ear, around which it is based, is not about David Bowie, nor is it about musicians, per se, but it is about the way in which – especially in the 20th and 21st centuries – music, design and technology, combined to produce objects and experiences that greatly altered our perception of what music is.

Sound and Vision is notable for its juxtaposition of electric guitar and synthesiser-led instrumental, overlaid with Bowie’s introverted lyrics. The exact origins of the electric guitar are obscure, but the idea was being played around with as early as the 1920s, and it’s fair to say that it became and remains the most important and popular instrument of the last sixty years. Its introduction signalled a major change in musical technology and has shaped the sound and direction of modern musical styles, as well as the look, presence and body language of guitarists – from Les Paul to Jimi Hendrix, to Slash and Synyster Gates – and the composition of bands, across the world; similar claims can be made for the synthesiser.

Radio-Phonograph (model SK 4/10),
Dieter Rams, Hans Gugelot, 1956

Painted metal, wood, and plastic
Manufactured by Braun AG
Gift of the manufacturer

Théâtrophone poster,
Jules Chéret, 1890
Lithograph
Printer Chaix (Ateliers Chéret), Paris
Given anonymously
© 2014 Jules Chéret /
Artists Rights Society (ARS)




With limited success, the concept of creating synthetic music was experimented with in the latter years of the 19th century. In the 20s, when the term ’synthesiser’ was born, people began to develop instruments that combined electronic sound generators and sequencers. Some four decades later, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1962) had an un conventional soundtrack that featured bird calls and the noise of beating wings, all produced on the Mixturtrautonium, invented by German, Oskar Sala in 1952.

Later German electronic music pioneers, Kraftwerk, were formed in Düsseldorf in 1968, where the original line-up featured keyboards, including an early synthesiser, an electric flute and electric violin. In January, 2013, with reference to the group’s February concerts, Kraftwerk – The Catalogue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, in Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall, Neil McCormick, writing in The Telegraph, under the headline, Kraftwerk: the most influential group in pop history? explained that ‘the group’s style was driven by strong aesthetic choices, and a shift towards minimalism.In the same piece he described them as, A four-piece dressed in sober business suits, standing immobile at their technology stations, making synthetic music that was sparse, linear and rhythmic, yet decorated with enticing melody, writing songs that implied an almost mystical reverence for the ordinary objects of an industrial world,‘ an entirely new method of presenting music to an audience, complete with the most advanced technology available. Their first single, Autobahn (1974), however, was met with a mixed response. Nevertheless, Kraftwerk became quickly established as the pre-eminent electronic band of our times. Their ’sound painting’, musical compositions, using innovative looping techniques and computerised rhythms, had a major international influence across a wide range of music genres, paving the way for the DJs, who began to dominate nightclubs in the late 1980s. Meanwhile, the ‘bubble-machines’ that were used to create the immersive light projections of the psychedelic era, were superseded by strobe lighting and later by the mesmeric computer-synchronised laser shows commonly used to create atmosphere for live music events in the 21st century.

I will sit right down,
Waiting for the gift of sound and vision
And I will sing, waiting for the gift of sound and vision
Drifting into my solitude,
Over my head…

The combined gift of sound and vision was delivered, via the avant-garde ideas of furniture and interiors designers, product designers, graphic designers and architects, who made significant contributions in their respective eras to how we experience music, among them Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Serge Chermayeff, Dieter Rams, Saul Bass, Jonathan Ive, Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind. Its content drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection, Making Music Modern: Design for Eye and Ear gathers designs for auditoriums, instruments, and equipment for listening to music, along with posters, record sleeves, sheet music, and animation.

All images from the archives of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.
Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art




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Sculpture | Tony Smith / Suburban Monumental

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Generation, 1965
Cast bronze, black patina
30 x 35 1/2 x 35 1/2 in / 76 x 90 x 90 cm


Tony Smith
Sculpture and Painting
Timothy Taylor Gallery
London | UK
3rd September > 4th October 2014


Emerging from a New Jersey suburb, taught by László Moholy-Nagy, employed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Tennessee Williams his best man, best friends with Jackson Pollock, father of Kiki Smith, and featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1967, the American sculptor, Tony Smith (1912-1980), rose to dizzying heights of international fame. But, through it all, his early background remained with him, because he liked it that way.

As a child, Smith was a frequent visitor at his family’s nearby factory that manufactured, among other things, the ubiquitous American, O’Brien fire hydrants – as featured in photographer Leonard Freed’s famous image. It was perhaps his early experiences there that gave him, in the early 1960s, the confidence to hand over the paper and cardboard maquettes, that were the result of his complex mathematical calculations – his studies of the construction of crystals, and of how octahedrons and tetrahedrons fitted together – to skilled crews of metalworkers, whom he would direct to construct his mammoth sculptures. He would later famously say that he never touched his own sculptures unless photographers asked him to lay a hand on them.

Smith briefly attended painting, drawing and anatomy classes in New York, when, in 1932, after visiting the International Style exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, which had a such a profound effect upon him, he decided to study architecture in Chicago, where he would be taught by, among other, László Moholy-Nagy. Staying just one year, he left to join Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio in 1938. Starting his own architectural business a few years later, despite receiving several prominent commissions, he became disillusioned with the industry, and returned home, ostensibly – although at one stage he opened a bookstore in Newark – to concentrate on art.


Source, 1967
Cast bronze, black patina
12 1/2 x 31 x 30 1/2 in / 32 x 79 x 77

Light Box, 1961
Cast bronze, black patina
26 1/4 x 20 x 22 in / 67 x 51 56 cm

The Fourth Sign, 1974
Cast bronze, black patina
22 1/2 x 55 1/2 x 38 in / 57 x 141 x 96 cm


He would spend most of his remaining adult life in New Jersey, bringing up three daughters with his wife, Jane, two of whom, Kiki and Seton, would become artists in their own right. There were profound lessons to be learnt in banal suburbia, from the repetition of housing styles and the concrete shapes of elevated freeways, that Smith absorbed and took along with him when commuting into New York City, and which would later manifest themselves powerfully in his art. Meanwhile, in the late 1940s and 50s, he would consort with the writer Tennessee Williams and befriend the abstract expressionists, Mark Rothko and Barnet Newman, becoming especially close to Jackson Pollock – the two born in the same year – who would visit Smith’s studio and make his own small sculptures there. Earlier, in 1945, Smith had designed a chapel in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and, in 1951-52, he and Pollack collaborated on the concept for a church that was to house some of Pollock’s abstract paintings and stained glass, however the project fell through.

Smith switched from painting to sculpture in the early sixties. His rarely seen paintings, some of which will be included in the forthcoming show, Tony Smith: Sculpture and Painting – his first solo exhibition in the UK, since 2004 – at London’s Timothy Taylor Gallery, that precede his sculptural work, anticipate the latter with their instinctive arrangements of form in space. However, he was to abandon their organic and bright shapes for clean geometric lines and the signature, uniform, black finish of his large-scale, steel, three-dimensional pieces, first exhibited in 1964. His first one-man show was in 1966. The same year, his work was included in Primary Structures, one of the most important American exhibitions of the 1960s, at the Jewish Museum, New York City. In 1967, Time magazine called Smith ‘Master of the Monumentalists’, springboarding him to global fame.


Untitled, 1960
Oil on canvas
30 1/8 x 24 in. / 77 x 61 cm


Throughout his career, Smith taught at colleges and universities, including New York University, Cooper Union, and Pratt Institute. Kiki Smith, has said that her father’s work contained deep emotion, and that it was he who opened up the eyes of her and her sister to using whatever they wanted to use, to create their art. And, as intensely personal as his work was, there was something human and inclusive about the way he wished viewers to participate in his works – by moving around them, or passing through the spaces he created under and within them. The same was true of the artist’s attitude to the naming of his pieces. Tau, 1961-1962, for example, looked at from one angle suggests a giant letter ‘T’ – Smith himself was often called ‘T’ by friends and those that worked with him – so the title he gave it is the Greek for ‘T’. Although his sculpture work is often seen to have figurative associations, it presaged and was influential upon the minimal art that followed in the wake of abstract expressionism, with artists such as Donald Judd – incidentally, from the same New Jersey suburban area as Smith – adopting similar industrial manufacturing techniques.

In 1998, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, mounted a major retrospective of Tony Smith’s sculpture, architecture, and painting, which was followed by a European retrospective in 2002, in Valencia, Spain. Later, in 2010, Houston’s Menil Collection, hosted a show of his works on paper. In 2012, marking what would have been Smith’s 100th birthday an outdoor installation was installed in New York’s Bryant Park. His work is included in major international collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Menil Collection, Houston; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and the Kröller-Müller Museum, Netherlands.

All sculptures © Tony Smith, courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London and Matthew Marks Gallery, which represents the Tony Smith estate.

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Art | Sigmar Polke in or at Another Place

Friday, April 18th, 2014
Modern Art (Moderne Kunst), 1968
Acrylic and lacquer on canvas
Froehlich Collection, Stuttgart





Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963 > 2010
Museum of Modern Art
New York | USA
19th April > 3rd August 2014

The Blog is on holiday this week. If we were in New York, we’d be going to this retrospective exhibition at MoMA, covering the five decade career of German experimental artist, Sigmar Polke (1941-2010). As it is, we’re in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and will be going to see Eduardo Paolozzi’s Bunk! at the city’s Hatton Gallery.


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Photography | Multi-media as Message

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Figure in Six Sections, 1965
Gelatin silver prints on wood blocks
Collection Kathe Heinecken
Courtesy Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago


Robert Heinecken: Object Matter
Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
15th March > 7th September 2014

If Robert Heinecken’s early work was to be pigeonholed along with the pop artists – because he graduated from college in 1960 – then rather than squashing it in with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein’s, it would perhaps be more appropriate to put it alongside that of the British artist Richard Hamilton – aka The Father of Pop. Hamilton had produced his shocking and enormously influential Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? a collaged poster image for an exhibition at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, in 1956. In it a picture of a naked woman cut from a pornographic magazine poses on a sofa, while a bodybuilder holds an oversized ‘Pop’ lollipop close to his genitals, the unlikely scene set in the artist’s depiction of a modern, urban living room filled with domestic gadgets included a TV, and the cover of a comic framed and hung on the wall like a painting. It’s possible, though, that Heinecken, who studied for his BA and MA at the University of California (UCLA) had never heard of Hamilton, but like him he was a multi-medium artist who used photography, sculpture, printmaking, and collage to create his works.

MANSMAG: Homage to Werkman
and Cavalcade, 1969
Offset lithography on bound paper
Courtesy Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago

Recto / Verso #2, 1988
Silver dye bleach print
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Mr & Mrs Clark Winter Fund




If pop art was characterised by the portrayal of aspects of popular culture and its powerful impact on contemporary life, its iconography – sourced from television, comic books, film and magazines, and advertising – presented without praise or condemnation – Heinecken, who also had little in common with his West Coast contemporary artist Ed Ruscha – sometimes grouped with the pop artists – viewed commercial photography as an emblem of the corruptible values of contemporary life. His works explore this theme along with kitsch, sex, pornography (sometimes hard core – related images were not made available to the press for this exhibition), and gender.

Heinecken, however, did have much in common with Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), and was similarly unclassifiable. Rauschenberg’s New York Times obituary explained that: ‘Building on the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he thereby helped to obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art – not to mention between art and life.’ It could almost have been Heinecken’s.

Cybill Shepherd / Phone Sex, 1992
Dye bleach print on foamcore
Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago
Courtesy Petzel Gallery, New York

Typographic Nude, 1965
Gelatin silver print
Collection Geofrey & Laura Wyatt,
Montecito, California



Establishing the photography program at UCLA in 1964, where he taught until 1991, he styled himself as a ‘paraphotographer’ because he rarely used a camera, however, Heineken (1931-2006), radically expanded the range of possibilities for photography and art. Like Rauschenberg and Duchamp before him, he was a precursor of appropriationist artists such as Richard Prince, who at the end of the 1970s, along with Barbara Kruger in the 80s, began borrowing existing photographic images from printed reproductions and bringing them into an artistic context, thereby altering their original meaning. Seen by many as a printmaker rather than a de facto artist, the worldwide fame that came to Rauschenburg and Ruscha, and later to Prince and Kruger, eluded Heinecken. That said, since 1964, he has had over sixty one-man shows, at, for example: the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, and a 35-year retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1998). His work is in many private and public collections. Robert Heinecken: Object Matter, MoMA’s forthcoming exhibition, is the first retrospective of the artist’s work since his death in 2006, and covers fifty years of his extraordinary career, from the early 1960s to the late 1990s.


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Architecture | Frank Lloyd Wright and the Big City

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s
Broadacre City, 1934–35.
Below, Mile High, Chicago, 1956



Frank Lloyd Wright and the City:
Density versus Dispersal
The Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
1st February > 1st June 2014

China’s residential, hotel, education and office building, Sky City, due for completion this year will, at 838m (2,749ft), replace Dubai’s mixed-use Burji Khalifa as the world’s tallest building. However by 2019 the 1km (3281ft) Kingdom Tower* in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, also mixed-use, will have taken the title. Of remarkable relevance to current debates on urban concentration, Frank Lloyd Wright’s projects, from the San Francisco Call Building (1912), to Manhattan’s St Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie Towers (1927–31), and a controversial and futuristic 1956 scheme for a mile-high (1.6km) skyscraper, engaged questions of urban density and sought to bring light and landscape to the tall building.

In the 1920s and 1930s American cities were already growing at an exponential rate. Architects and city planners like Wright (American, 1867-1959) took it as their responsibility to begin working on how best to tackle the expansion before it got out of hand. Wright was a compelling theorist of both the horizontal and vertical aspects of cities, and, while working on radical forms for new skyscapers, he simultaneously embarked on a comprehensive plan for the urbanisation of the American landscape called Broadacre City. His plan is illustrated in this exhibition with a spectacular 3.7 x 3.7m (12ft x 12ft) model that merges one of the earliest schemes for a highway flyover with an expansive, agricultural domain. Originally displayed at New York City’s Rockefeller Center, the model toured the country for several years in the 1930s, and was constantly updated throughout Wright’s life.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density versus Dispersal celebrates the recent joint acquisition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s archive by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, which are the source for both images included here.
*Source: The Skyscraper Center


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