Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

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 | Olivia Locher Fights Back

Friday, September 8th, 2017

I Fought the Law (Ohio), 2014
In Ohio it’s illegal to disrobe in front of a man’s portrait



Olivia Locher: I Fought the Law
Steven Kasher Gallery
New York City | USA
14 September > 21 October 2017



I Fought the Law (Nevada), 2016
In Nevada it’s illegal to put an American flag on a bar of soap



While it may seem reasonable for Massachusetts to impose a ban on upskirt photos or for a man to be seen to be sexually aroused in public, why has a small town in Texas barred children from wearing unusual haircuts? Why is riding a bike in a swimming pool illegal in California? And, why is it against the law in Kansas to serve wine in teacups?

I Fought the Law (Kentucky), 2016
In Kentucky it’s illegal for anyone to lick a toad



I Fought the Law (Pennsylvania), 2015
In Pennsylvania it’s illegal to tie a dollar bill to a string
and pull it away when someone tries to pick it up



Artist Olivia Locher, who scoured the statute books of all 50 states in America, discovering these peculiar eccentricities and many others, doesn’t have the answers to these questions, but has created a series of striking photographic images lampooning some of the hundreds of decisions, big and small, made every year by local and state lawmakers.

I Fought the Law (Hawaii), 2015
In Hawaii one isn’t allowed to place coins in one’s ears



But Locher, whose work has been exhibited internationally, including at Aperture Foundation / New York, Le Dictateur / Milan, and Fashion Space Gallery / London, and has appeared in numerous magazines such as the New York Times Magazine, W, Neon, and Interview hasn’t just done it for fun; sometimes confrontational, often amusing, her photographs are intended to raise serious points about politics and social conventions.

Olivia Locher: I Fought the Law at Steven Kasher Gallery is the artist’s first New York solo exhibition and marks the publication of her first monograph which bears the same title (Chronicle Books, September 2017).

All images by Olivia Locher, courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.


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Design | Post Ettore Sottsass Modernism

Friday, July 14th, 2017

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



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



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

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

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

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



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

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

Omaggio 3, 2007
Corian and wood.
Courtesy Gallery Mourmans



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

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

All objects © Ettore Sottsass, images courtesy The Met Breuer


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Art | Idle Moments with Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Friday, April 28th, 2017



Vigil For A Horseman, 2017
Oil on linen, three parts



Lynette Yiadom-Boakye:
Under-Song For A Cipher
New Museum
New York City | USA
03 May > 03 September 2017



Ever The Women Watchful, 2017
Oil on linen



Last year Artsy, the art collecting and education website, observed that ‘a critical mass of female painters are embracing figuration [figurative art], diversifying it, and pushing the conversation around it forward.’ British painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (b 1977) didn’t appear on the list of 20 international names cited. Nevertheless, the artist, who was shortlisted for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2013, has a solo exhibition opening at the New Museum in New York next week.

Vigil For A Horseman, Willow Strip, Mercy Over Matter, Ever The Women Watchful, the names Yiadom-Boakye gives her paintings read like book titles. Before she even thought about painting – she told Serpentine Galleries’ artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist in a 2015 interview – she read a lot and her imagination was inspired by what she discovered in books. One of these, Redback, by Howard Jacobson, she said, described a man who was bitten by a spider, dancing in moonlight; the paintings she would go on to produce have a narrative feel and often feature animals and dancers. She liked Chaucer; she liked Shakespeare, but she was also keen on Patricia Highsmith’s psychological thrillers and cited James Baldwin’s writing as a ‘really big’ influence. She sees her own writing as an extension to her painting, and her etchings as a way of developing her drawing, which, if this show is anything to go by, has become a lot more confident over the past couple of years.

Willow Strip, 2017
Oil on linen



This month the black American painter Barkley L Hendricks (1945 > 2017), whose bold portrayal of his urban black subjects’ attitude and style seemed to imbue them with celebrity-like status, died. Cool, empowering, and sometimes confrontational, it has been said that his work paved the way for today’s generation of black artists. Hendricks was represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery, which has had Yiadom-Boakye on its books since her first solo show, Essays and Documents, was held there in 2010, however she speaks a more gentle and dreamlike visual language in comparison to his. Asked by Obrist about race as a feature of her work, she said, cryptically, that it is important, but that ‘the importance is almost its unimportance’.

Much of Yiadom-Boakye’s work might like portraiture, but she says that it isn’t – that it never is – and that her subjects can’t exist outside of her paintings of their idle, private moments. Set against neutral backgrounds, they provoke the imagination and are open to a range of viewer interpretations. Inspired by photography, and by the portraits of artists she admires – Sickert and Sargent, among others – her characters are based on found images from a variety of sources, and on memories.

Mercy Over Matter, 2017
Oil on linen



Of Ghanaian descent, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, lives and works in London, UK. Her recent solo shows include A Passion To A Principle, at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2016–17); Capsule 03: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, at Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2015), and Verses After Dusk at The Serpentine Galleries, London, UK (2015). Her work was included in, among other group shows, British Art Show 8 (2015–17); The Encyclopedic Palace at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); and the second New Museum Triennial, The Ungovernables (2012).

She is prolific, finishing the majority of her works in a single sitting; almost all of the paintings in Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Under-Song For A Cipher at the New Museum, were produced in the first few months of this year.

All works by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, courtesy the artist, Corvi-Mora, London, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, and the New Museum


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

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


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