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Piet Dirkx daily …201

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Piet Dirkx cigarbox 201

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Carl Andre (1935)

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Carl Andre (born September 16, 1935) is an American minimalist artist recognized for his ordered linear format and grid format sculptures. His sculptures range from large public artworks (such as Stone Field Sculpture, 1977 in Hartford, CT and Lament for the Children, 1976 in Long Island City, NY) to more intimate tile patterns arranged on the floor of an exhibition space (such as 144 Lead Square, 1969 or Twenty-fifth Steel Cardinal, 1974). In 1988, Andre was tried and acquitted in the death of his wife, artist Ana Mendieta.

This is how the text on Wikipedia starts on this great artist. Together with Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd he is recognized as being one of the artists who started the Minimal Art mouvement. Specially in the late sixties these three names were presented in group exhibitions on Minimal Art. In 1968 the Haags Gemeentemuseum was the first museum in Europe to hold an exhibition on Minimal Art, curated by Enno Develing who later became one of the authorities on Minimal Art and was a long life friend of Sol LeWitt after the exhibition was held.

Just a small story on some of the great art which was sold through the shop of the Gemeentemuseum. In 1986 the museum held its 50 years birthday celebration and together with this event some special art works were produced by famous artists….among them Carl Andre…he made some unique small copper plate pieces together with a drawing. If i remember correctly there were 8 of them. All sold instantly…..and i did NOT buy one…what a pitty ;-(

The most crucial event in his career is the death of his wife Ana Mendieta

In 1979 Andre first met Ana Mendieta through a mutual friendship with artists Leon Golub and Nancy Spero at AIR Gallery in New York City. Andre and Mendieta eventually married in 1985, but the relationship ended in tragedy. Mendieta fell to her death from Andre’s 34th story apartment window in 1985 after an argument with Andre. There were no eyewitnesses. A doorman in the street below had heard a woman screaming “No, no, no, no,” before Mendieta’s body landed on the roof of a building below. Andre had what appeared to be fresh scratches on his nose and forearm, and his story to the police differed from his recorded statements to the 911 operator an hour or so earlier. The police arrested him. Andre was charged with second degree murder. He elected to be tried before a judge with no jury. In 1988 Andre was acquitted of all charges related to Mendieta’s death

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The works by Andre are still very much visible in the collection of the Gemeentemuseum and the last addition of ‘WEIR”  was done by Rudi Fuchs in 1988/1989 after the Carl Andre exhibition of 1987. The catalogue and other Carl Andre books are available at www.ftn-books.com

The 1968 Minimal Art / Enno Develing catalogue was published in PDF as a reprint and because i still have this available in my personal collection i can offer all purchasers of a Carl Andre item a copy of this in PDF file. Please let me know with your order that you want the PDF file sent by email.

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Piet Dirkx daily …200

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Piet Dirkx cigarbox 200

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Sigmar Polke (1941-2010)

It took a long time for me to finally appreciate the art by Sigmar Polke, but once i did i became a fan and realized that he must be one of the true great artists from last century. Born in the middle of WWII he soon became in the early sixties one of the leading German artists that started their career after this terrible war. The trademark of his works became the use of polka dots in grids as an overlay and he stayed with the use of these polka dots technique throughout his entire career. Side stepping to photography and almost monochrome paintings his oeuvre became very diversified, but always recognizable. Turning point for me was the Polke i saw within a Beyeler Museum exhibition. I do not remember which show it was, but i remember the technique of the polka dots as an overlay to the picture, which reminded me to Marcel van Eeden. Where van Eeden uses small intimate sizes, Polke uses large canvasses. Magnified pictures within a different context are part of his works and sometimes even lean towards surrealism. There is one work i have to see sometime in my life. It is the work he created for the reopening of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1999. When i visit Berlin this will be a must see for me.

There are some nice publications in the inventory of www.ftn-books.com

 

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Piet Dirkx daily …199

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Piet Dirkx cigarbox 199

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Erik Andriesse (1957-1993)

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Exceptional talent, a great dutch artist and one of the greats in Dutch Modern Art. Andriesse died at the age of 35 in 1993 and left us some very impressive works of art. His most important themes were flowers and skulls. The equivalent for him of life and death. Admirer of Salvador  Dali, educated at the Ateliers 63, he soon became one of the most talented young artists in the Netherlands. He did not want to paint abstract paintings and chose for realism instead. Flowers and skulls being the centre of his works but also, lobsters, shells and apes. All his subjects were related to nature around us and he made wonderful paintings out of them. A large archive can be found on the internet at http://www.erikandriesse.nl

One of his techniques was to paint animals and use dead models to paint/draw them as accurately as possible. There is a nice video on YouTube  in which Marc Mulders and Erik Andriesse discuss this technique and some footage is shown while Erik is at work. A tremendous artist of whom some books are available at www.ftn-books.com

On the Andriesse site there is a nice text by Marlene Dumas in which she describes the works by Andriesse and concludes that not all of his works are naturalistic:

Nightmares of Beauty

Once upon a time there lived a boy called Erik Andriesse, who distinguished himself from the passionless people around him by glowing in the dark. Now the country he lived in was a quite dark. Artists however would talk about the extraordinary light in that country.

During the 80’s all the artists were interested in the artificiality of life. A picture of a flower was much more interesting than the flower itself. Very few people still believed that everything that existed was part of nature itself. People lived in cities. Artists lived in their studios. Places filled with books, bottles and talk about art and artists and what was relevant and what was not.

And they forgot to love…

But Erik was aware of the fire that eats at the heart, while the clock ticks at night. The shortage of time, the repetitive movements of desire, the energy of the body watched by death. Flowers larger than life, dreams larger than life.

Nightmares of beauty.

He was ignored by the calculators, whose blood did not rise, when they saw his exotic death-dances on paper, but he continued on his own impatient way. Erik is not a conceptual artist. Erik is not an associative artist. He is not interested in displaying the cultural-historical aspects of his subject-matter. But Erik is also not the naturalist he seems to be. He even shows similarities (at times) to Spiderman, the comic-strip hero. Erik is not a cultural barbarian or a primitive. He reflects on the good, the bad and the ugly of the artworld and the synthetic problems of painting.

MARLENE DUMAS, 1986

 

 

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Piet Dirkx daily …198

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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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Piet Dirkx daily …198

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Piet Dirkx cigarbox 197 bis

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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