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Pierre Alechinsky…. a perfect publication.

 

The end of this year is near and almost 300 blogs have been published since I started blogging on WordPress. www.ftn-blog.com grew in an excellent way and i am looking forward to keep you informed on my inventory and exploits in art.

And what better way to end this year with a PERFECT publication by Pierre Alechinsky. In the sixties Alechinsky used original lithographs as cover for his exhibition publications and one of these is the no. 391 he made for the Stedelijk Museum in 1966 for his graphic exhibition. Photographs by Suzy Embo ( see earlier blog this month) and designed by Wim Crouwel. (available at www.ftn-books.com)

Arguably this is one of the top 5 publications the Stedelijk Museum made in the sixties, but for me this is perfection. Simple clean Crouwel design. the photographs are all excellent and the lithograph printed by Bramsen & Georges makes this one really stand out.

A perfect catalogue to end this year and start the New Year.

My best wishes to all my readers and followers for the New Year 2017.

wilfried

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Luc Tuymans (1958)

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Luc Tuymans is probably one of the most interesting living artist of our times. Not only his art, but also his views on society are at least as fascinating.

Luc Tuymans (born 1958) is a Belgian contemporary artist, considered one of today’s most influential painters.
Tuymans was born in Mortsel, Belgium. He began to study fine art at the Sint-Lukas instituut in Brussels in 1976, and subsequently also studied art history at Vrije Universiteit in Brussels. He first exhibited in 1985. His first U.S. exhibition was at The Renaissance Society in Chicago in 1995.
Tuymans’ work is figurative and makes extensive use of techniques from photography, television and film, such as cropping, framing, sequencing and (sometimes extreme) close-ups. His palette usually tends toward monochrome. Subjects of his paintings range from the historic, for example covering the Holocaust or colonial politics in Belgian Congo, to the very banal, depicting everyday objects. Some of his paintings represent abstract emotions. For a while he abandoned painting completely to make films. Tuymans lives and works in Antwerp. Recently some of his work has been exhibited in “The Triumph of Painting” exhibition in the Saatchi Gallery in London.
Tuymans is married to a Venezuelan artist, Carla Arocha, recent exhibitions at the Chicago Institute of Art, Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago and Andre Schlechtriem Gallery, New York.

But these are only the facts about Tuymans, Tuymans is much much more… His work was recently being discussed as being copied from another artist, but was this true or is it the interpretation from this artist of a very familiar photograph?.. He is very strongly opposed against the right wing Vlaams Belang and his leader Bart de Wever and makes this his personal crusade, but he also is a great thinker and influencer, because every discussion he starts makes you think about it. The same with his art. His drawings /paintings and graphic art are accessible and realistic, but in many cases they are not complete and one has to fill in the blanks yourself. For me that is what great art is all about.

Some nice Tuymans publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Rodin at the Groninger Museum

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August Rodin…. a legend among sculptors and a sculptor who is appreciated by young and old. The Musee Rodin in Paris receives over 700.000 visitors each year and now some great works from their collection are on loan at the Groninger Museum. In total 140 sculptures and 20 works on paper are in the Rodin exhibition, which makes it the largest Rodin exhibition in the Netherlands ever. So this is a great opportunity to visit the Mendini designed museum in the north of the Netherlands and visit the Rodin exhibition ( until the 30th of April 2017).

Groninger Museum, Museumeiland 1
9711 ME Groningen

What makes me look really forward to this exhibition, is the special part by Erwin Olaf. I know the sculptures by Rodin quit well, because i have visited the Musee Rodin and saw his exhibition in the Museum Het Paleis ( 1995) in The Hague multiple times. But these Olaf photographs are a first. Olaf photographed dancers of the National Ballet in typical Rodin poses, creating an atmosphere as if these photographs are taken in the Rodin studio. Spectacular photographs of these talented dancers with bodies like they were sculpted by Rodin himself.

For more information on Rodin look at these available books at www.ftn-books.com and the site of the Groninger Museum….www.groningermuseum.nl

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Suzy Embo and Louise Nevelson(1899-1988)

The next 3 days will be with short blogs on female artists that i admire very much. Today’s one is on Louise Nevelson who’s portrait by Suzy Embo is for sale at www.ftn-books.com.

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Next year , starting at 23rd of june 2017 a large retrospective on Embo’s photographs will be organized at the FOMU /FotoMuseum Antwerpen. The photograph i have for sale was a lucky find , because it was hidden in one of the great Nevelson catalogues i bought years ago. Excellent condition of the photograph and the strong image of Louise Nevelson makes this one of my favorite artists photographs i have ever seen.

Louise Nevelson is in European undervalued artist, who made assemblages from left over materials and who was not that well known some 30 years ago. She had her exhibitions and retrospectives, but only since a few decades her works appear at auctions and in group exhibitions by Abstract expressionists. Stil she had a loyal following of admirers in the Netherlands and Belgium. In Belgium she even had a solo exhibition in the Paleis voor Schone Kunsten in 197 and you can visit one of the large works at the Centre Pompidou museum in Metz, but for the most of us in Europe this artist was a mystery….(and still is). The case in the US was a total different one. She was recognized as one of the most important sculptors from the 20th century from the early 60’s and onwards.

Major museums began purchasing Nevelson’s wall sculptures in the late 1950s, and she was included in the landmark “Sixteen Americans” exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1959. In the following decades she earned commissions for large-scale sculptures from institutions such as Princeton University (Atmosphere and Environment X, 1969), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Transparent Horizon, 1975), and the Philadelphia Federal Courthouse (Bicentennial Dawn, 1976). In 1967 the first major retrospective of her work was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. During the 1970s and ’80s Nevelson expanded the variety of materials used in her sculptures, incorporating objects made of aluminum, Plexiglas, and Lucite. Not until she was in her 60s did Nevelson win recognition as one of the foremost sculptors of the 20th century.

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Gemeentemseum Den Haag..From Rodin to Bourgeois

It was an exhibition i was really looking forward to. I know the collection of sculptures the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has very well and thought they would make a superb exhibition with them. Last weekend we visited the exhibition and….i must say i was disappointed. The statues and sculptures were grouped  and i could distinguish themes and periods within the groups, but what struck me most is that there were too many sculptures on too little space. For me sculptures must have space around them. That is the reason sculptures outside work so well. In the Gemeentemuseum there were too many on too little space and on top of it, the epic spider by Louise Bourgeois was not shown within the exhibition, but was squeezed into one of the smallest cabinets of the museum.

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This sculpture exhibition competes with too many other exhibitions at the same time and far too many objects within the exhibitions, made the museum visit one of the least attractive ones of the last years.

I love the museum, but this collection deserves far better than the way it now is exposed to the public. Far too many objects. No space between them….no air to breathe at all . The SCHATKAMER in which the STIJL period is exhibited on the ground floor is one of the worst museum spaces i know of in the Netherlands and now that the inner garden is (unfortunately) covered( see photos), because they wanted a space to drink coffee ( beside the restaurant), read some magazines and sell some books( beside the museumstore), the beautiful Bourgeois sculpture is now squeezed into a cabinet and is no longer a part of the sculpture exhibition FROM RODIN TO BOURGEOIS, because it is placed out of the exhibition on the other side of the building. So please free the inner garden space from everything in it and make this an exhibition space and put the Bourgeois, Nauman, Carl Andre in it or better…. use it for the Sol LeWitt,Serieel project nr. 1: Groep B (1966-1970). These sculptures really deserve some space and a better exposure. That would be a real “tribute to Sol LeWitt”. Go and see what space can do for a beautiful sculpture. Visit the Serra in the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Giacometti in the Beyeler and see how it must be done to present them in the best way possible. Space and air is what these great sculptures need.

A last remark, the Museum shop is turning into a souvenir shop. If that is what they feel the museum needs, the museum certainly must follow that path, but i feel strongly that it is nice to learn something about the great art which is shown in  a museum and for that you need other products than scarves, cups, pencils and the occasional postcard. For books on the Gemeentemuseum and its collection and exhibitions there is still another place to visit ….please visit www.ftn-books.com and find here the publications this great museum has published over the last 60 years.

One positive thing about the current exhibitions. The Tomas Rajlich exhibition is exquisite ( blog next week) and the Ravesteyn room with the Givenchy dresses and the Audrey Hepburn filmclips in the background is great.

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Alexander Calder (1898-1976)

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Born in the 19th century . Calder has become for me one of the pioneers in Modern Art. The public knows Calder by name for his mobiles, but for me Calder is the first artist who explored the extreme sizes in sculpture. Later, this was followed by Serra, but Calder must have been one of the very first to make sculptures bigger than a building. A few of these can be found in STORM KING, but these are not the only ones. These very large sculptures are scattered all over the world.

From Denmark to Brazil, the Calder statues are the highlights among other statues in sculpture parks all over the world. It is a pity there is only one large sized Calder in dutch collections. It is the “anteater” from the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

So do not miss them when you are abroad or there is a special exhibition on Calder because they are among the very best in Modern sculpture. I am fortunate to have some great classic Calder publications within the inventory of www.ftn-books.com

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Barcelona and Antonio Gaudi

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In the next 2 weeks many people will visit the city of Barcelona. 2 instant tips…first if you like cigars, go to Gimeno on the Ramblas, secondly beware of pickpockets. They operate in groups in the crowded streets like the Ramblas but also in the Subway. They group around you, press against your body without no reason and somebody within the group of pickpockets, steals your wallet. But that said, this blog is not about the negatives of Barcelona, but the great places you can visit. 2 absolute musts are the Fundacio Antoni Tapies and the Fundacio Joan Miro. These are two of the smaller sized museum in Barcelona. Both you can visit within a visit  of 1,5 hours and then you have seen the best Museums in Barcelona ( my opinion) and most importantly on the same location you can see the magnificent Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Pavilion.

But Barcelona is much much more and one of the highlights you will encounter every time you turn a corner in the city center is the great architecture. Of course there is Gaudi , but also Jujol. Musts are the casa Mila,the Park Güell and the ver going on project of the Sagrada Familia and by Jujol there is his famous Centre Jujol Can Negere.

If you want to prepare your visit there are some nice publications at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Jan Hoet (1936-2014) and Chambres d’Amis.

(drawing by Marlene Dumas )

It has been already almost 3 years that Jan Hoet died, but since his death no one has taken his place. He was truly innovative with his exhibitions and next to Rudi Fuchs , they probably were the best from their generation of curators of Contemporary Art.

His international reputation was first established by “Chambres d’Amis,” an innovative exhibition he organized in Ghent in 1986. In that show, about 50 American and European artists were invited to create works for 50 private homes in Ghent, which were then opened to the public for several weeks. Followed a few years later by Open Mind and his Documenta IX in which he performed as a boxer established his name as one of the very best in his field. His last great project was over the edges. 4 giant exhibitions spread over 2 decades made him one of the absolute best.

The Museum in Gent , his long lasting love SMAK, which he served as a curator and director from 1975 until 2003 was his laboratory for the greater projects he organized outside this Museum rooms. www.ftn-books.com is fortunate to have some very nice titles of his exhibitions. including the Chambres d’Amis which is getting scarce these days.

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Stanley Brouwn (1935)

Stanley Brouwn….Autodidact artist, born in Paramaribo/ Suriname and a conceptual artist for his entire artistic life began to fascinate me some 20 years ago when i bought an artist book in which the exact measurements of 1 meter were repeated for over 50 pages . Most of his conceptual works were published in books and because of this, his books are considered as the actual work of art. Small publications, in many cases far less than 500 copies make these highly collectable items. This is work from an artist who is as a conceptual artist closely related to ZERO, but also to FLUXUS . Original in his own way i would say he is not ZERO and not FLUXUS….no he is Stanley Brouwn and very much worth collecting.

some of the Brouwn publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jan Groover (1943-2012) and the Tabletop still life

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Jan Groover, one of those photographers that have a cult following but are hardly known with the large public. The post of some months ago on Henk Tas and his staged photography reminded me of Jan Groover and her still life photography. The Smithsonian made a wonderful catalogue on the subject of her Tabletop photo’s and it deserves to be better known. That is the reason for this blog, because Groover is a great photographer.

Pictures tell a far better story than i can, but there is a great short biography over here:

www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/arts/design/jan-groover-postmodern-photographer-dies-at-68.html

Groover publications that are available at www.ftn-books.com