Posts Tagged ‘Solomon R Guggenheim Museum’

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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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 | Moholy-Nagy: Future Present Plus

Friday, May 27th, 2016

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



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



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



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

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

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

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



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



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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Art | Seeing Double – SOTO in Paris + New York

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Doble progresión azul y negra, 1975
Paint on metal
View of the work in situ at Galerie Perrotin, 2015
Photo Livia Saavedra



Jesús Rafael Soto
Chronochrome
Galerie Perrotin
Paris | France
Until 28th February 2015

+

Jesús Rafael Soto
Chronochrome
Galerie Perrotin
New York | USA
Until 21st February 2015



s / t, (Mur bleu), 1966
Paint on wood and metal
View of the work in situ at Galerie Perrotin, 2015
Photo Guillaume Ziccarelli



Venezuelan kinetic artist, sculptor and painter Jesús Rafael Soto was born in 1923 and died in 2005. He trained at art school in Caracas and went to Paris in 1950, which remained his base for the rest of his life. A recent retrospective at the the Centre Pompidou (2013), and his inclusion in Dynamo. A Century of Light and Movement in Art 1913-2013 at Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris (2013), as well as his inclusion in the current ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60s at the Guggenheim Museum in NewYork – in the building where Soto had a major retrospective in 1974 – have all contributed to a much-deserved rediscovery of this internationally-important artist and his oeuvre.

In earlier decades, as will undoubtably be the case now, a great deal was written about Soto (1923 >2005), and, throughout his lifetime he was passionately vociferous in extolling and defending the virtues of kinetic art in numerous and insightful press interviews and letters.

‘I have always tried to make art where given forms, even geometric ones, don’t count. My investigations have nothing to do with the objects themselves. My painting tries to represent movement, vibration, light, space, time, things that exist but which do not have a determined form, and the only way I have found to do this is to attempt to represent the relationships between them. Relationships are an entity, they exist and so they can be represented.
Soto in conversation with Pedro Espinoza Troconis, 1960

In Paris he had attended lectures on constructivism, on Mondrian and neoplasticism. He saw work by Kandinsky and came into contact with Sophie Taeuber- Arp, as well as being drawn to the work of the Bauhaus masters, Moholy-Nagy, Klee and Albers. He would say later: ‘There is no need to see White Square on White Background to appreciate it. It is enough to know the proposition. I saw this painting recently in New York. I was no more moved than by the idea I had already formed of it. I had known of its existence since 1949. Wonderful! I said then. That sums it up. By painting white on white, Malevich was saying: Let’s paint light as light. Let’s lay it directly on the canvas. No need for the objects we normally use to capture it.’
Soto, as quoted by Jean Clay, Jesús Rafael Soto, Visages de l’art moderne, Lausanne, Éditions Rencontre, 1969

Soto exhibited with Calder, Duchamp and Vasarely, among others, in 1955, showing several perspex reliefs. Duchamp’s spiral Rotative Demisphère, was to inspire Soto’s Spirale, a perspex relief that, for the first time, demanded the unconscious involvement of the viewer.

Soto was a big fan of Yves Klein finally meeting him in 1958, just after the opening of Klein’s exhibition ‘Le Vide’ (Emptiness). ‘This empty room was clearly characteristic of the monochrome Yves… I warmly embraced the idea of emptiness…’ he is quoted on the official Soto website as having said afterwards.

In the mid-sixties – Soto having initially been friendly with Victor Vasarely – disparaging of op art and keen to distance himself and those who were working in the area of kinetic art from it, Soto stated: ‘Vasarely is an optical painter, who worked in the spirit of the Bauhaus, but who remains a two-dimensional painter. I, on the other hand, consider myself a kinetic painter.
Soto, in conversation with Carlos Diaz Sosa, 1966

In an earlier letter to Kunsthalle Bern, regarding a forthcoming exhibition Light and Motion / Kinetic art / New Trends in Architecture to which kinetic artists had been invited to contribute, Soto made it clear that: ‘Eager to avoid all confusion between our work [the kinetic artists] and the very different work of the so-called ‘optical’ school, we are particularly concerned that the Bern [exhibition] selection be respected – a selection exclusively founded, as its title suggests, on the idea of real movement. It was indeed contrary to our agreement that a large number of so-called ‘optical’ works were added to the kinetic selection we were presenting with our friends at the Brussels exhibition. We are determined henceforth to prevent this kind of confusion as it can only hinder understanding of our work.
Letter, 1965, Soto archive, Paris



Un orange Inférieur, 1984
Paint on wood and metal


Vibración amarilla y blanca, 1994
Paint on wood and metal, nylon


Pénétrable bbl bleu, 1999 – Edition 2007
PVC, métal / PVC, metal
View of the work in situ at Galerie Perrotin, 2015
Photo Livia Saavedra



‘For me, art is a science, a way of knowing the universe… Rather than denying space, I have decided to use it… I gradually realised that modern man could no longer look at an artwork at a single glance, as at the Mona Lisa in the Renaissance. There was a physical problem of perception that forced him to decipher, to look at the work as unfolded, like a film, no longer considering it as a work of art.’
Soto, conversation with Jean-Luc Daval, Journal de Genève, Geneva, 1970

Collaborating closely with the architect Oscar Niemeyer, and, after working on them for over a year in 1975, Soto completed the installation of environments in the foyer and in the entrance to the company canteen at the Renault car factory in the Paris suburb, Boulogne-Billancourt. They comprised of architectural integrations involving grids of vibrating squares covering pillars, a 30 metres long Writing piece, and a ceiling covered with 250,000 hanging stalks set close together. ‘We must interpret the values that, thanks to science, completely change our idea of the universe, and we must propose them in our turn through art…’ Soto said in an interview with Ernesto González Bermejo, in 1979. In the same piece he is quoted as having said that we [mankind] have lost the wonderful idea perpetuated by the Greeks, by Medieval and Renaissance artists, of an art of participation, of monumental art. ‘To make a monumental piece,’ he said, ‘no artist can work alone.’

By the 1980s, totally sure of himself and the direction his art was proceeding in, Soto told one author that, ‘If art is to reflect its time it must be at the very forefront of its own concerns, it must reflect avant-garde thought and not limit itself to bearing immediate witness to everyday things.
Marcel Joray, Soto, Neuchâtel, Éditions du Griffon, 1984

‘What is a Pénétrable? It’s the idea of swallowing up the viewer in the artwork.’
Soto, in an interview with Daniel Abadie, Banque Bruxelles Lambert, 1999

Some sixty pieces, produced between 1957 and 2003, from Soto’s estate and various institutions are on show in the Galerie Perrotin Chronochrome exhibitions, taking place simultaneously in its Paris and New York spaces.

Works by Jésus Rafael Soto are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, both in New York, USA; Tate, London, UK; Stadelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, both in The Netherlands; Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Jésus Rafael Soto Museum of Modern Art, Ciudad Bolívar, and Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, both in Venezuela; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; and Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan.

All works shown by Jesús Rafael Soto
All images © Jesús Rafael Soto / DACS, London / ADAGP, Paris, 2015,
courtesy Galerie Perrotin
Selected quotes from the official SOTO site



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



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Art | James Turrell – Shining Light

Friday, June 14th, 2013

James Turrell
Solomon R Guggenheim Museum
New York City, USA
21st June – 25th September, 2013

‘I like to work with [light] so that you feel it physically, so you feel the presence of light inhabiting a space,’ says American installation artist James Turrell. ‘My desire is to set up a situation to which I take you and let you see.’ What he has called his ‘thingness of light’ becomes your experience, and it can be an unnerving one. Turrell gives light volume. The result is awe-inspiring and so compelling that walking away from one of his works is a struggle; having left it the urge to return can be almost insuperable.

Fittingly, Turrell’s first solo show since 1980 in a major New York venue, in which his new site-specific work, Aten Reign (2013) – six years in the planning – will transform the rotunda of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic building into one of his luminous and immersive Skyspaces, opens at the Guggenheim Museum on the summer solstice.

Turrell (born, 1943) already had a degree in perceptual psychology when, in 1966, he embarked on a master’s degree at the University of California and started playing around with the idea of creating 3D sculptures using only light as his medium. He was and isn’t the only late 20th/early 21st Century artist to see creative possibilities in the phenomenon of light; Wedgework V (1975), part of a series Turrell began in 1969, in which he caused light to fall across spaces so as to divide them diagonally, creating seemingly palpable planes and surfaces, was installed in the recent Light Show at London’s Hayward Gallery alongside light-based works by a group of international artists that included Olafur Eliasson, Jenny Holzer and Dan Flavin. But while the others have their moments Turrell’s body of work is perhaps more consistent, single-minded and unique – the result of sustained and endless research, begun while he was still a student and became involved with Edward Wortz at the Los Angeles County Museum. Wortz, a psychologist, was investigating states of sensory deprivation, especially in relation to the disorientation and hallucinatory effects on humans that result from immersion in uniform fields of light and colour, once reference points such as objects and horizons have been removed. The early experiments they did together formed the foundation of Turrell’s approach to his very personal, minimal form of art which probes the limits of perception, and have informed it throughout his career.

Turrell’s work prompts self-awareness and meditation, influences drawn from his Quaker faith, with its ’straightforward, strict presentation of the sublime.’ An avid pilot with over twelve thousand hours of flying experience: he doesn’t do it just for fun but considers the sky an abundant source of ideas, as a studio, material and canvas. He admires Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, and the Mayan and Egyptian pyramids – places and structures that have influenced his thinking. This is the man who, in order to extend his explorations of light and space from the studio into the landscape, conceived the idea, in 1974, of transforming an extinct volcano, roughly 400,000 years old and 600 feet high (Roden Crater, near Arizona’s Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon) into a monumental art statement. Work on the volcano continues. Meanwhile, Turrell has installed art pieces in twenty-two countries across the globe, from Yucatán to Tasmania, and in fourteen US states.

James Turrell is one of three concurrent, independently curated exhibitions of the artist’s work taking place this summer in the USA. Together, the exhibitions at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, form a three-part retrospective.

James Turrell works from top
Rendering for Aten Reign, 2013
Daylight and LED light
Site-specific installation, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York
©James Turrell
Rendering Andreas Tjeldflaat, 2012 ©SRGF

Rendering for Aten Reign, 2013 (x3)
Daylight and LED light
Site-specific installation, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York
©James Turrell
Rendering Andreas Tjeldflaat, 2012 ©SRGF

Meeting (from the portfolio First Light), 1989–90
Aquatint, 108 x 75.6 cm
Peter Blum Edition, New York
©James Turrell
Photo Courtesy Peter Blum Edition, New York

Afrum I (White), 1967
Projected light, dimensions variable
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Panza Collection, Gift 92.4175
©James Turrell
Installation view: Singular Forms (sometimes repeated), Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, March 5–May 19, 2004
Photo David Heald ©Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, New York


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

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


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