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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima into Zero art ( Staudt and Leblanc)

HRH King of the Netherlands, Koning Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima collect Zero art. It was yesterday evening that there was a 90 minute interview with King Willem-Alexander on the occasion of his 50th birthday on prime time television.  An open and honest interview in which i learned to appreciate more the person Willem-Alexander is. I am still opposed to a King or Queen as head of state, but this was the first time i admired this King and learned that he and his wife Maxima appreciate Zero art. At the beginning of the interview , where Wilfried de Jong ( interviewer) was received in the entrance hall of the kings home, villa Eikenhorst. Willem- Alexander showed 2 of the works from his collection, the first was a work by Klaus Staudt ( he referred to it as being from a german artist) and the other was not mentioned at all , but i am for 99% sure it was a TORSIONS painting by Walter Leblanc.

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Both great works of art and it makes me curious about the other works in their collection. To celebrate the Kings birthday there will be a 10% discount today on the entire inventory of www.ftn-books.com and an invitation to the King to look at the great books i have in my collection on ZERO art.

We live nearby and it will be an honor to show you some nice ZERO publications.

discount code only the 27th and the 28th of april: Koningsdag2017

 

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Julio Galan (1958-2006)

There are not many publications on this fantastic artist, but www.ftn-books.com has two of them. In 1992 the Stedelijk Museum had a large retrospective exhibition on him and this catalogue is one of the 2 available books on Galan.

Julio Galan Romo was born in Muzquiz, Coahuila, and grew up in Monterrey, attending private schools. He began to paint while studying architecture at the University of Monterrey and received encouragement from the Monterrey art dealer Guillermo Sepúlveda. He had his first exhibition at Mr. Sepúlveda’s gallery in 1980. A precocious talent with a prickly, flamboyant personality, Mr. Galán began showing in Monterrey at age 20. In the late 1980’s and 90’s, he was Mexico’s best-known young artist. Julio was in effect a second generation Neo-Expressionist. He came to New York in 1984, in the heyday of this polymorphous painting style, whose freewheeling strategies of collage, fragmentation, cultural borrowing and dreamlike suspension were formulated by David Salle, Julian Schnabel and Francesco Clemente, who were influenced by Sigmar Polke. Galan, already strongly influenced by the self-scrutiny of Frida Kahlo, filtered Neo-Expressionism’s lessons through a personality and cultural heritage as polymorphous as the style. Throughout an astoundingly varied, often uneven range of images, he laced references to his childhood and his sexual identity with allusions to Catholicism, the Mexican Baroque, pre-Columbian cultures, retablos and folk art. The result was a kind of postmodern Symbolism: overripe, often perverse, yet mesmerizing. Julio Galán’s works often had the heat of colorful circus murals that had been defaced by a very sophisticated vandal. Their torturous dreamlike settings tended to be haunted by a handsome young man or boy-child who strongly resembled the artist. He underscored this preoccupation by frequently having himself photographed in different roles, for example as Jesus wearing the crown of thorns, or as sensitive bohemians, Mexican Indians and women in black gowns or veils.

Although he never exhibited these self-portraits as his art, they were invariably used in his exhibition catalogs to inflammatory effect: it was like Salvador Dalí channeling Cindy Sherman. In 1985, the young painter made his gallery debut at the Art Mart Gallery in the East Village and began to exhibit widely in Europe. In New York, he also exhibited at Anina Nosei, Ramis Barquet and Robert Miller, where he had his last solo show in 2001; he was included in the 1995 Whitney Biennial. A survey of his work was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey in 1994. His work has been exhibited individually in Mexico, Argentina, USA, Holland, Spain, Italy, England and France. He was the recipient of numerous awards, from fine art institutions like the Arvil Gallery in Mexico City, Vitro Art Center in Monterrey, Mexico, Salon de la Plastica of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and the Concurso Nacional de Artes Plasticas in Aguascalientes. Julio Galan died on August 4th 2006 after suffering a brain hemorrhage in Zacatecas, where he spent the last years of his life.

 

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GÜNTER BRUS (1938)

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First of all aq uote by Peter Weibel…GÜNTER BRUS, An observer of the second order, he explored the contexts of body and painting, the body’s social and sexual functions, the social and cultural functions of painting. By treating painting and body as a single system, and by analysis of these media of expression, he ultimately pursued an anatomy of society and its social systems.”

It was one of the first artists Rudi Fuchs introduced to the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and since that occasion , GÜNTER BRUS fascinated me. Specially his drawings are my favorites and 2 years ago i saw some movies by Brus in Vienna in an exhibitions on Aktionismus. Self mutilation does not make this an easy art form, but fascinating it is. You do not have to watch the video, but for those interested know that this is not a pleasing art form and could be shocking to some. There are some more examples to be found on you tube and for those interested in Brus, know that there are some nice publications available at www.ftn-books.com

 

 

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Antoni Tapies (1923-2012)

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It must have been some 12 years ago that i first visited Barcelona and found myself amazed and surprised by this city full of Gaudi and other modernista marvels, but the best find for me was the discovery and first visit of the Fundacio Antoni Tapies.

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The building itself is already worth visiting and the inside is even more spectacular. An old facade houses a very modern museum inside which houses the works donated by Antoni and Theresa Tapies. I loved its collection and it proved to me that Tapies his art is timeless, very spanish and cosmopolitan at the same time. Tapies is possibly , next to Picasso and Dali , the most important spanish name in Modern Art. He often uses large canvasses and on them paints with “earth” colors impressive abstract compositions and uses  matter in them.

In these matter paintings , the materials used are no longer simple media used to express an idea; they are the idea itself. That process produces a complete identification between material and form, between concept and language. Those works become opaque surfaces, walls on which the artist writes his graffiti and attaches the forms of objects or people. His identification with the work through his surname (in Catalan Tàpies means “walls”) expresses a more profound desire to break with Western dualism and blend with the material in a continuous formlessness.
Over the post-war years there was a general interest among artists on both sides of the Atlantic in material. Awareness of the atomic bomb and the new scientific discoveries aroused a strong curiosity in science, the new ideas about space-time and substance, while inventions such as the electronic microscope provided a new view of nature.
At the same time, Tàpies had developed an interest in Eastern philosophy, because of its emphasis on material, the identity between man and nature and its denial of the dualism of our society.

There are some excellent Tapies publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Brice Marden (1938)

It took some while for me to appreciate Brice Marden, that was because the first works i encountered by him where his monochromatic paintings, which i did not like very much at that time ( now i do!),  but influenced by Robert Rauschenberg ( he was his assistant during a couple of years) , multi panelled and more colorful paintings began to emerge from his studio.

That was the same period i became interested in Brice Marden. There was a nice exhibition in 1981 in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which Crouwel designed catalogue is now a true collectors item ( available with other Marden publications at www.ftn-books.com ).

The list of collections in which Brice Marden is present is almost endless and contains all major Modern Art Museums in the world. One has to be mentioned, because The MOMA was the first to present a large retrospective on this young artist. It was in 1975 and this early interest resulted in having one of the largest Marden collections in the world.

 

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Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) ,first retrospective in the Netherlands in April-October 2018

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Ettore Sottsass was one of the founding members of the Memphis group in 1981. He made some iconic designs for Alessi and Artemide and now is announced that a large retrospective will be held in the Stedelijk Museum in the April-October period in 2018 Prepare your self for this exhibition and look at the books available on Sottsass at www.ftn-books.com

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Andries Dirk Copier (1901-1991)

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If there is one glas artist you will probably know the name of, or at least who’s work you encountered once in your life time, it must be A.D. Copier. After studying as an apprentice at the workshops of his father at the Leerdam Glas factory and the vakschool voor Typografie in Utrecht, he became practically the sole designer for the factory for a period of almost 40 years. In these years he made many glas related designs, but one stands out…it is the Gilde glas series which is still being made and copied all over the world.

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The glas has excellent drinking and tasting qualities holds extremely well in you hand and is one of the icons in dutch design. Since he left the Leerdam factory in  1971 he made unica and glas objects after his own designs .

Andries Dirk Copier is considered as one of the great true talented artists in the world of glas, the difference between him and for example Lino Tagliapietra is that Copier always has the usability and the aesthetics of the object in mind, where as others loose themselves in experiments. www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on Copier in its inventory.

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Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)

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For me , he is one of the greatest from Last century. Lucio Fontana has had a long career in art and joined several groups, before he became part of the ZERO mouvement.

After ZERO he stayed true to his new found form of art in which monochrome paintings were slashed with a sharp Stanley knife or manipulated with his fingers,thus altering the surface with other materials and objects. Glass was one of his favorites to use. Fontana did not become very old, but in his art career of over 40 years he was one of the front runners in Modern Art. Willem Sandberg admired him very much and because of the importance of Zero and this admiration for Fontana, Fontana received his first Amsterdam monographic exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1967. Catalogue design by Wim Crouwel makes this the perfect combination for a great publication. Sandberg/Crouwel and Fontana combined in one publication is hard to beat. Since 1967 , Fontana featured in many group exhibitions on Zero and had solo exhibitions all over the world. Art collectors must pay huge sums of money to acquire a Fontana ( if ever there is one for sale/ there was one at Dorotheum and Sothebys last year, they made  specials on youtube  on these paintings)

and Museums that have one in their collection are lucky, because his paintings are nowadays “hors catagorie”. What can be had at reasonable prices? Of course some great publication at www.ftn-books.com and whenever you find a MUSEUMJOURNAAL with the special Fontana cover, do not hesitate and ….BUY IT!!!.

 

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the prints of Frank Stella (1936)

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Two reasons to devote a blog to Frank Stella. First there is an acquisition by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag which i do not understand. For me it is a “stand alone” work of art with no relation with other works within the collection and at the time i saw it , i recognized it as a Stella, but was not very impressed by it. I would have thought the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam would have bought a work by Stella, because it fits in….but at the Gemeentemuseum it looks to be “a stranger at our midst”. Still Frank Stella is a great print maker and one of the reasons for this blog is to point out a very fine publication the Stedelijk Museum has published in 1970. The design was done by Wim Crouwel, but the best is there is a highly original “blind print” used as cover for this great catalogue.

It is one of the most spectacular catalogues from the 70’s with its embossed cover. A special artist cover which relates to one of the first “shaped canvases” use of multiple papers and ink colors. Typical Crouwel design. Book measures 10.8 x 8.2 inches, contains 78 pages plus cover. text in dutch and english.

Frank Stella is an important artist, has made some great works of art, but especially his minimal early works are for me among his best, including this great 1970 catalogue.

The Wim Crouwel / Stella catalogue from 1970 and other Frank Stella publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

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Arguably the greatest architect of all time is Frank Lloyd Wright and the villa Fallingwater in Pennsylviania is one of the “must see” buildings i still have on my wish list. The Guggenheim Museum in NY i already visited but Fallingwater not.

FLW was a visionary architect. His designs were the very first modernist designs in architecture and very much based on constructivist principles. I just learned that as a child he build buildngs with FROBEL blocks and these wooden blocks must have been an endless source of inspiration. FLW was an architect whose designs were practically all executed in the USA, but that does not mean that one can not find FLW inspired buildings elsewhere. For instance, in the Netherlands his designs were admired by the DE STIJL mouvement and Dudok and van ‘t Hoff made buildings inspired by FLW.

A great architect and fortunately we had in the past decades several large exhibitions on his architecture and projects . One of the first was the exhibition in the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam in 1952. What makes it even more special is that it was one of the first designs Benno Wissing made for the Boymans museum.

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Wissing since 1952 has had a tremendous career and is, together with Sandberg and Crouwel one of the absolute great designers from the last century. So visit www.ftn-books.com and search for Frank Lloyd Wright or Benno Wissing and discover the many beautiful books both these great artist have made over the years.