Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Photography | Ray K Metzker in Contrast

Friday, January 11th, 2019

Early Philadelphia, 1962



Ray K Metzker:
Black & Light
Howard Greenberg Gallery
New York City | USA
> 2 March 2019



Chicago – Loop, 1958



If there’s a spectral force lurking at the point where darkness and light bang up against one another, Ray K Metzker (1931 > 2014) captured it with his camera, bottled it and used it sparingly to imbue his starkly contrasty images with powerful sculptural form and tantalising depth.

But there was nothing ethereal about his approach. A pragmatist, who was intent on conveying the complex realities of modern, urban life, Metzker met his subject matter head-on, creating virtuoso compositions in which architecture, objects and the human form are afforded parity.

City Whispers, 1982



Pictus Interruptus, 1979



Early Philadelphia, 1963



Metzker studied photography in the late 1950s at Chicago’s Institute of Design under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. When he began his career as a photographer, he rejected abstract expressionism and its preoccupation with feelings, which had dominated art in America for more than a decade, and embraced the objectivity of the emergent minimal art.

Innovative and experimental, in his later work, Metzker created images from assemblages of printed film strips; he cropped and collaged details of his own photographs to create unique and powerful new images, and he waved flimsy pieces of paper in front of his camera lens to produce random effects.

Early Philadelphia, 1969



Metzker had his first solo exhibition at MoMA in 1967. During his 60-year career as a photographer, he had more than 50 solo exhibitions at major museums around the world.

Ray K Metzker: Black & Light at Howard Greenberg Gallery features the photographer’s early street photography from Chicago in the 1950s and Philadelphia in the 1960s. It also includes images from his 1960 > 61 European excursion, photographs from the series Pictus Interruptus from 1976 >1980, from his early 1980s series City Whispers, as well as examples of his collage series Whimsy and Arrestation.

All photographs © Estate of Ray K Metzker, courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York. All prints are gelatin silver prints


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Auction | Art for Change

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Catherine Opie
Surfer for One Drop, 2018
Pigment print.
Estimate $80,000 > 120,000



Art for One Drop
Phillips
New York City | USA
Charity Auction
21 September 2018
7pm EDT / 12 am GMT,
Public Viewing
15 > 21 September



Nate Lowman
Smells Like Water, 2018
Oil on canvas.
Estimate $40,000 > 60,000



Ai Wei Wei
Wave Plate, 2014

Porcelain, from a series
of unique variants.
Estimate $140,000 > 190,000



One Drop founder, Guy Laliberté, who co-founded Cirque du Soleil in 1984, is aiming to transform 200,000 lives via the charity auction Art for One Drop.

‘Art,’ says Laliberté, who has become a major collector and whose wider ambition is to bring positive change to the global water crisis, ‘is very powerful and can be used to change the world in a positive and impactful way.’

The eagerly-awaited sale featuring a diverse selection of specially-created and recent works that Laliberté has persuaded world-renowned contemporary artists, including Ai Weiwei, Gabriel Orozco, Christopher Wool, Jenny Holzer, Olafur Eliasson and Tracey Emin to donate will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars that will be used to provide access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene to vulnerable communities in Latin American.

Nicolas Party, 2018
Sunset

Pastel on canvas.
Estimate $60,000 > 80,000



Olafur Eliasson
Tidal Pool Star, 2018

Coloured glacial-rock-flour
glass (light green),
coloured glass (red, yellow)
and driftwood.
Estimate $40,000 > 60,000



Tracey Emin
I Listen To The Ocean
And All I Hear Is You
, 2018

Neon.
Estimate $150,000 > 200,000



In 2007, moved by the shocking statistic that a child died from a water-borne disease every 8 seconds, Laliberté set up One Drop as a global not-for-profit organisation with a clear objective of delivering long-term impact and sustainability. Over the past decade, it has financed 13 international development projects in the water sector, in the process earning itself world-renowned accolades, including the prestigious UNWater Award for Best Practices and the International Water Association’s Innovation Award.

Collaborating with hundreds of artists across the world, One Drop assists and encourages them to bring about change within their own communities. It is also working with several international and local partners to help enable governments to reach the United Nation’s goal of ensuring access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.

The Art for One Drop charity auction will take place at Phillips in New York, where the works can be viewed in advance but bids can also be placed online.

All images courtesy Phillips, One Drop and the artists


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Sculpture | Brancusi On and Off the Pedestal

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Endless Column,
version 1, 1918
Oak.
Museum of Modern Art,
New York.
Gift of Mary Sisler.
Photo Thomas Griesel



Constantin Brancusi Sculpture
Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
22 July 2018 > 18 February 2019



During the Roman period, when sculpted figures were first elevated on columns, those represented were imbued with ‘untouchable’, divine status, and rendered remote. Albeit his birds are positioned high up, in the early 20th-century, Constantin Brancusi (1876 > 1957) brought sculpture back down to earth; his heads of children and sleeping women are set low down and his portrait pieces are designed for viewing at eye level.

Fish, 1930
Blue-grey marble
on three-part
pedestal of one
marble,
and two
limestone cylinders.
Museum of Modern Art,
New York.
Acquired through
the Lillie P
Bliss Bequest
(by exchange).
Photo Imaging
& Visual
Resources
Department, MoMA



Pedestal design having remained pretty much the same for 2000 years, the arrival of Brancusi’s revolutionary innovations that transformed sculpture’s relationship to the space it inhabits, and how the viewer experiences it, caused a sensation. Serving simultaneously as components of the artwork and as their support, each of his pedestals – made from wood, limestone, or marble – became an integral element of his finished pieces, raising or lowering them to heights that suit their subject matter.

Young Bird, 1928
Bronze on two-part
limestone pedestal.
Museum of Modern Art,
New York.
Gift of Mr and Mrs
William A M Burden



While, Brancusi generally treated the pedestal as a secondary element, in Endless Column, version I, 1918, it became the sculpture itself. It consisted of a single symmetrical element – a pair of truncated pyramids, one upright, the other inverted – repeated to produce a continuous vertical structure that Brancusi called his  ‘column for infinity.’ He would afterwards repeat the concept at larger scales and in different materials, to serve as an architectural element and for free-standing monuments. Endless Column paved the way for future sculptors to relinquish pedestals altogether and facilitated their taking sculpture in a wide variety of different directions.

With his friend Man Ray, who introduced him to the medium, Brancusi made films that stand as a testament to his desire for his work to be experienced in the round, in relation to an environment and to other things. Rarely seen, a number of his films will be shown alongside 11 sculptures by the artist that form part of the Museum’s holdings, displayed together for the first time, in the forthcoming exhibition Constantin Brancusi Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art.

All works by Constantin Brancusi, © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Images courtesy Museum of Modern Art


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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


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Art | Domenico Gnoli: Big Time

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Curl, 1969
Acrylic and sand
on canvas



Domenico Gnoli:
Detail of a Detail

Luxembourg & Dayan
New York City | USA
3 May 14 July 2018



Domenico Gnoli
in his studio,
S’Estaca, Majorca,
October 1969



Handsome, stylish and on the verge of recognition as a major painter due to the success of his first New York show, in 1970, Italian artist, Domenico Gnoli, aged 36, died of cancer.

Soon forgotten, his paintings, for the most part, disappeared into obscure collections. Taschen’s Art of the 20th Century, published in 2000, granted Gnoli little more than a passing mention, however, four decades after his death, visionary fashion figure Miuccia Prada, who had discovered and begun buying up his work, showed some items at the 2011 Venice Biennale and, effectively, brought about his resurrection.

Originally from Rome, where he worked as a theatre set designer, Gnoli had relocated to New York, supporting himself with regular illustration commissions from magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Fortune, while he transformed himself into an artist.

Escarpin vu
de dos
, 1967

Acrylic and sand
on canvas



Scarpa di
fronte
, 1967

Acrylic and sand
on canvas



Characterised by their immediacy and by his precise treatment of their subject matter: everyday items of clothing including shoes, suits, shirts, slippers, household objects, as well as personal details, such as the back of a head or a single ringlet of hair (see top) – always in monumental isolation – Gnoli’s works suggest an anonymous or absent person, and were, apparently, symbolic interpretations of his own feelings about the emptiness and depersonalisation of modern life. Ironically, they could now be seen to symbolise his own short life and truncated career, during which he produced around 145 finished paintings, of which only a few dozen survive.

Chair, 1969
Acrylic and sand
on canvas



His talent notwithstanding, Gnoli’s tragic story, handsome looks and great personal style – not to mention his Prada patronage – guaranteed the success of his second, and posthumous, New York show at Luxembourg & Dayan in 2012, as well as his enduring popularity with the international fashion crowd.

In its new show, Domenico Gnoli: Detail of a Detail, Luxembourg & Dayan is presenting rarely seen works by the artist in an installation designed by opera director Robert Carson.

All works by Domenico Gnoli: images courtesy Luxembourg & Dayan, New York and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE Rome.

All works are from private collections.
Photo courtesy Luxembourg & Dayan


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Photography | Africa Shines Through

Friday, March 30th, 2018

Zarita Zevallos
Imperium 2, 2017
Archival pigment print



Refraction: New Photography
of Africa and its Diaspora
Steven Kasher Gallery
NYC | USA
19 April 2 June 2018



Keyezua
Fortia (1), 2017
Giclée print on
Hanhemühle paper



Crack it. Smash it. Break it up into little pieces and scatter it. Glass will continue to refract rays of light that pass through it. This show sets out to demonstrate how cultural identity – in this case, African – reacts in a similar way.

Often ripped from their roots and transported many thousands of miles, or forced to flee wars and pogroms, Africans have seen their cultural identity subdued and trampled upon but never entirely transmuted.

Shawn Theodore
All I Ever Wanted Was
A Reason To Be
, 2018

Archival pigment print



Nona Faustine
Over Her Dead Body,
Tweed Courthouse,
Brooklyn, NY
, 2013

Archival pigment print



Stan Squirewell
Afrosaxson, 2017
Mixed media collage



Flying in the face of centuries of adversity, recent decades have seen the emergence of a new generation of photographers of African descent, based in many different locations across the globe, including Africa itself, with a rich diversity of approaches, determined to reclaim and to reassert their cultural heritage.

Eyerusalem Adugna Jirenga
The City of Saints VII, 2017
Digital archival print



Rendered entirely contemporary by its use of modern photography techniques, such as performative self-portraiture, collage, montage and digital manipulation, while their work – captured through fine quality glass camera lenses – makes bold references to traditional African values, rites and rituals, it is nevertheless undoubtedly characterised by the refractive process that African cultural identity has passed through.

Refraction: New Photography of Africa and its Diaspora at Steven Kasher Gallery presents the work of photographers born in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, living in Addis Ababa, Luanda, Paris, New York and beyond.

All images courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York


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Photography | 1968: Pop Goes the News

Friday, January 5th, 2018

2 February 1968
Viet Cong guerrilla
executed by
police chief
AP Wirephoto,
Photo Eddie Adams



Day by Day: 1968
Steven Kasher Gallery
New York City | USA
11 January > 24 February 2018



9 February 1968
Elvis and Priscilla
Presley with
their
newborn daughter

United Press
International, Inc



In February 1968 a prisoner, identified as a Vietcong officer, was presented to police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan, who shot him dead. Eddie Adams’ photograph of the event was voted World Press Photo of the Year and earned him a Pulitzer Prize. The moment of the execution, seen by so many in their newspapers, became the moment Western opinion about the Vietnam war fundamentally shifted.

A leap year, 1968 lasted a day longer than most. But what did another day matter? Brimful with tumultuous events it was one of the most turbulent twelve month periods of the 20th century. New York’s Steven Kasher Gallery is marking its 50th anniversary with an exhibition of vintage black and white news agency photographed – one shot on each of its 366 momentous days. Resembling a series of pop art montages that might have been put together by Richard Hamilton or Andy Warhol, and accompanied by a soundtrack of 1968 pop songs, including bubble-gum and anti-war anthems, the images are arranged in tragic and comic, ironic and histrionic, utopian and dystopian juxtaposition.

The previous year had played host to the summer of love, the first successful human to human heart transplant was performed, the Concorde prototype was shown, Elvis Presley married Priscilla and The Beatles released the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band album, but Israel’s fiercely fought Six-Day War against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, anti-Vietnam War protests around the world, as well as race riots in America that destroyed parts of cities, most notably Detroit, were strong indicators of what was to follow.

4 June 1968
Senator Robert F
Kennedy on the floor
of the ambassador
Hotel shortly after

being shot

UPI Telephoto



9 August 1968
Sammy Davis Jr
and Peter
Lawford
in
Salt and Pepper

SP



21 August 1968
A Soviet tank moves
past Wenceslaus
statue in Prague after
USSR’s invasion
of Czechoslovakia

United Press
International, Inc



1968 began with Alexander Dubcek’s election to first secretary of the Czech Communist Party and his initiation of a programme of liberal reforms causing alarm in Moscow. By August Soviet tanks were rolling into Prague to restore Warsaw Pact discipline. Meanwhile, in February, the world got very excited about Elvis and Priscilla becoming parents to Lisa Marie. On April 5, as looters and roving arsonists wreaked havoc on the streets of Washington DC, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. Nine weeks later, Senator Robert Kennedy met the same fate. In May student riots had thrown the streets of Paris, which on the 31st teemed with 200,000 workers demonstrating against the government, into violent turmoil. Held in the aftermath, however, the French general election in June was won by Gaullists with 72% of the seats. In Northern Ireland Catholics were demanding equal rights with Protestants and the ensuing civil rights riots ushered in a state of emergency. Released that summer, Salt and Pepper starring Sammy Davis Jr and Peter Lawford as Swinging London nightclub owners was a box office sensation.

October 17, 1968
Tommie C Smith
and
John Carlos give
the
Black Power
salute at the medal
ceremony at the

Olympic Games in
Mexico City
Associated Press



December 28, 1968
The Beatles line
up behind a flag
Stephen Goldblat,
Camera Press London



As the counterculture era began in the US, on-going Civil Rights Movement, Free Speech Movement and Anti-Vietnam War protests flared up in cities such as Chicago and at the University of California’s Berkley campus. In October, two American athletes caused an uproar by giving the Black Power salute during the medal ceremony at the Olympic Games in Mexico City. In November, The Beatles released The Beatles, also known as The White Album – differences over its production and between the group members would lead to the band’s break-up. After nearly 11 months, North Korea, which had captured the US spy ship Pueblo in January, released the 83-man crew in December.

Day by Day: 1968 at Steven Kasher Gallery is displayed in calendar format – each group encompassing the images appertaining to one month of the year.

All images courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York


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Design | Haute-Tech: Brainy, Fashionable Furniture

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance,
unique Ammonite shelf, 2012
Two-tone patinated steel.
Executed by Stefano Ronchetti
for Meta, London.
Collection of Hana Soukupová
& Drew Aaron
Estimate $1,000 > 15,000



Important Design
Sotheby’s New York
New York City | USA
Exhibition 9 > 12 December 2017
Sale 13 December 2017



Michel Boyer,
sideboard, c1970
Stainless steel with
mahogany interior.

Estimate $18,000 > 24,000



Confirming fashion’s current infatuation with technology, Dutch designer, Joris Laarman has been described by W Magazine as producing an ‘haute-cerebral brand of futurism’. The 37-year-old’s pioneering work is at the intersection of design, art, and science. His aim is to abolish the traditional distinctions between the decorative and the functional, the natural and the machine-made world. Creators of 3D-printed bridges, tables constructed with the aid of industrial robots, and chairs that can be downloaded from the internet, his company’s work is currently the subject of Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in New York. Sitting alongside rare pieces by an array of international, celebrated 20th and 21st-century artists, architects and designers, Laarman’s Bone armchair, below, produced in 2007, is one of the star lots inspired by technological innovation in Sotheby’s forthcoming design sale.

In the 1960s French designer, Michel Boyer (1935 > 2011), became sought after for his ability to combine glass, steel and rare woods to create functional luxury furniture. He oversaw and designed the interior of Baron Elie de Rothschild’s personal office in the de Rothschild Frères bank’s Paris headquarters, in which his unique sideboard, above, (commissioned 1970) with its machine-like finish, was installed. During the 1970s, Boyer gained a worldwide reputation for prestigious commissions such as the French embassies in Washington DC and in Brazil.

Joris Laarman,
Bone armchair, 2007
Carrara marble powder
and casting resin.
Produced by Joris
Laarman Lab, Amsterdam,
The Netherlands.

Estimate $250,000 > 350,000



Zaha Hadid,
Serif 4 shelf, from the
Seamless series, 2006
Polyurethane-lacquered
polyester resin.
Produced by Established
& Sons, London.
Estimate $15,000 > 20,000



Sculptural and intriguing, the spiraling Ammonite shelf (2012), top, inspired by technology as much as by nature, is by contemporary furniture and interior designer, and author, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance (b 1974), also French, whose career took off in 2002 after he served as artistic director for the London restaurant Sketch. Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance’s recent projects have included a private dining room for Chateau d’Yquem in the Parisian hotel, Le Meurice; he has designed a candelabra for Baccarat, as well as a scent bottle in the shape of a gold bar for Paco Rabanne. In collaboration with Brand Image, he created the visual and architectural identity of the Air France business class lounges and has developed retail concepts for clients, such as Yves Saint Laurent. Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance furniture creations include, among others, the Corvo and Chiara chairs for American brand Bernhardt Design, and various products for Ligne Roset.

Mathieu Mategot,
magazine rack, circa 1955
Lacquered metal.
Collection of Hana
Soukupová & Drew Aaron
Estimate $2,000 > 3,000



Hungarian, Mathieu Matégot, (1919 > 2001), having spent time in America and Italy, settled in Paris in 1931 and began working as a set designer for the Folies Bergère and window-dresser for the Galerie Lafayette department store, where he also created dresses and tapestries. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Matégot became involved in furniture design. Exploring a variety of materials, including metal, glass, Formica, wood, textiles, and leather, he would later become famous for innovative furniture and accessories incorporating metal tubing and perforated sheet metal, such as the magazine rack, above.

Uncompromising and elegant – although at first sight its function may only be guessed at – the limited edition, Serif 4 shelf (2006), above, by Pritzker Prize- and Sterling prize-winner, Iraqi-British architect, Zaha Hadid (1950 > 2016), who had been practising her own haute-cerebral brand of futurism since the 1980s, is also included in Important Design at Sotheby’s New York. The sale features a total of 165 items, many of which derive from renowned, international collections.

All images courtesy Sotheby’s


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Exhibitions | Josef (& Anni) Albers’ Homage to Mexico

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Detail of stonework,
Mitla, c1937
Gelatin silver print.
The Josef and Anni
Albers Foundation



Josef Albers in Mexico
Solomon R Guggenheim Museum
New York City | USA
3 November 2017
> 18 February 2018



Study for Homage to
the Square: Consent, 1971
Oil on Masonite.
Solomon R Guggenheim
Museum, New York.
Gift, The Josef
Albers Foundation, Inc,
91.3895



Josef and Anni Albers liked to travel. Between 1927 and 1933 when the Bauhaus – where he was professor of art and design and she taught weaving – was officially closed and their move to the USA, the pair had visited Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Barcelona in Spain, Avignon, Biarritz, and Paris in France, and Geneva and Ascona in Switzerland. No sooner had they arrived in America than they took a trip to Cuba, before, in 1935, they packed their bags for the first of their eventual fourteen visits to Mexico and Latin America.

In truth the German-born duo had known far more about Central and South America than they did about the United States, having fallen in love with the pre-Columbian art they saw in the collections of German museums. Once Josef was established in a teaching post at the newly founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina, they took advantage of their first opportunity – he even learned to drive just so they could make the journey – to go to Mexico.

Untitled (Great Pyramid,
Tenayuca, Mexico), c1940
Gelatin silver print.
Solomon R Guggenheim
Museum, New York.
Gift, The Josef and
Anni Albers Foundation



Prismatic II, 1936
Oil on wood
composition panel.
The Josef and Anni
Albers Foundation



‘For the Albers, art and the visual had to be everywhere in your life, and in Mexico, art was everywhere,’ Josef & Anni Albers Foundation director Nicholas Fox Weber, who knew the couple, was quoted as saying in a fascinating article on the Artsy website in January of this year, ‘They felt that people there were living with visual flair, even if they were living in simple huts – the jewellery that women wore, the serapes, the blankets, the earthenware pottery. They just felt that it was the most natural thing in the world in Mexico to make the visual environment beautiful, which was the dream of the Bauhaus.’

Over the years, the couple amassed a collection of around 1,400 objects, some dating back as far as 1200 BC, including 16th century Aztec pottery as well as ancient and modern Mexican textiles.

In its forthcoming show the Guggenheim has chosen to focus exclusively on the influence Mexico exerted on Josef Albers’ (1888 > 1976) work.

Variant / Adobe,
Orange Front, 1948–58
Oil on Masonite.
Solomon R Guggenheim
Foundation, Gift,
The Josef and Anni Albers
Foundation in honour
of Philip Rylands for his
continued commitment
to the Peggy Guggenheim
Collection 97.4555



Untitled (Uxmal,
Mexico), c1940
Gelatin silver print.
Solomon R Guggenheim
Museum, New York,
Gift, The Josef and
Anni Albers Foundation



‘Mexico is truly the promised land of abstract art,’ Josef wrote to his former Bauhaus colleague Wassily Kandinsky. Although he never simply appropriated what he saw, the influence Josef derived from pre-Columbian art, objects and architecture is clear in the spirit in which he arranged the geometric shapes in his paintings and also in his photographs. The same can be said of Anni’s fabric and jewellery designs. The colours Josef saw while travelling around Latin America had a big impact on his palette too, just as they did on Anni’s.

Josef Albers in Mexico at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum will feature a selection of rarely seen early paintings from Albers’ Homage to the Square and Variant / Adobe series, as well as a selection of works on paper, photographs and photo-collages, many of which have not been on public display.

All images artwork and photographs by Josef Albers, © 2017 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, courtesy Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York


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Art | Jimmie Durham’s Confusing World

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Self-Portrait Pretending to
Be a Stone Statue of Myself
, 2006

Colour photograph.
Collection of fluid archives,
Karlsruhe,
Courtesy
ZKM Center for Art and
Media, Karlsruhe



Jimmie Durham:
At the Center of the World
Whitney Museum of American Art
New York City | USA
3 November 2017 > 28 January 2018



Tlunh Datsi, 1984
Puma skull, shells,
turquoise, turkey feathers,
metal, sheep and deer
fur, pine, acrylic paint.
Private collection, Belgium



Duchampian appropriation or cultural theft? No one, including the artist, evidently, seems very sure. Nevertheless, blazing an inexorable trail of controversy in its wake – the retrospective exhibition was originally shown at the Hammer Museum, in Los Angeles, before travelling to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis – Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World, is scheduled to open early next month at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Central to the debate is that Durham, who has been described as having ‘made a career out of being Cherokee’, and, allegedly, once claimed to be Cherokee, has no known ties to any Cherokee or other Native American community. The Native American newspaper Indian Country Today has even gone so far as to publish an editorial with the title Dear Unsuspecting Public, Jimmie Durham Is a Trickster categorically stating: ‘Durham is not a Cherokee in any legal or cultural sense… [He] has no Cherokee relatives; he does not live in or spend time in Cherokee communities; he does not participate in dances and does not belong to a ceremonial ground.’

Head, 2006
Wood, papier-mâché,
hair, seashell, turquoise,
metal tray.
Fondazione Morra Greco,
Naples, Italy.
Image courtesy
kurimanzutto, Mexico City



Sculptor, performance artist, essayist and poet, American- born, Durham (age 77), has actually been based in Europe since 1994, where, in art circles and galleries his name is spoken with great reverence and he has been honoured with solo exhibitions at many major venues including: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin and Fondazione Querino Stampalia, Venice, (both 2015), MuHKA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp (2012), Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2009), Kunstverein Munich (1998), ICA, London and Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (both 1993). On London’s Serpentine Gallery website – the exhibition Jimmie Durham: Various Items and Complaints was shown there in 2015 – the introductory write-up explains: ‘His work addresses the political and cultural forces, eg, the forces of colonialism that construct our contemporary discourses and challenges our understanding of authenticity in art.’ In the press release for their impending exhibition, the Whitney says that it does not attempt to resolve the current controversy and, more cautiously, contends that ‘Durham’s work offers a crucial perspective on the history of American art and life.’

Malinche, 1988 >1992
Guava, pine branches,
oak, snakeskin, polyester
bra soaked in acrylic
resin and painted gold,
watercolour, cactus leaf,
canvas, cotton cloth,
metal, rope, feathers,
plastic jewellery, glass eye.
Stedelijk Museum voor
Actuele Kunst (SMAK),
Ghent, Belgium
Image © SMAK/Dirk Pauwels



Starting out as an artist in Texas in the 1960s, by the 70s, Durham was heavily involved in civil rights activism in the United States for African Americans and Native Americans, and served on the central council of the American Indian Movement (AIM). After a major falling out with them, Durham turned back to art, basing himself in New York, where he achieved moderate success. Becoming disillusioned with the art market, however, he left the city in the 1980s then, after deciding that he ‘didn’t want to be a part of the American dream,’ departed the country altogether, relocating to Mexico. Having since lived and worked in Dublin, Brussels and Marseilles, he is now based between Berlin and Naples. By all accounts he hasn’t set foot in America since 1995, and, claiming that his doctor advised him against the journey, didn’t turn up for the Hammer opening.

‘There is no true history,’ says Durham in a video on the Hammer website, while the artist recently explained, albeit somewhat confusingly, to the New York Times, ‘I am perfectly willing to be called Cherokee, but I’m not a Cherokee artist or Indian artist, no more than Brancusi was a Romanian artist.’ Even more confusingly, bearing in mind the aforementioned Indian Country Today editorial, the New York Times themselves inform us, in their same article, that Durham was ‘Born to a Cherokee family in rural Arkansas’.

Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World at Whitney Museum of American Art, features around 120 works – drawings, collage, printmaking, photography, and video – from 1970 to the present.

All work by Jimmie Durham, © The artist.
All images courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art


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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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