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Sol LeWitt….A Tribute …and the Joost Swarte bag

Yesterday, i received an invitation for the opening on the 17th of december 2016 of a Tribute exhibition on Sol LeWitt. There is a long lasting relation between the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and Sol LeWitt, which collaboration first resulted in the very first European Minimal art exhibition in Europe and later the wall sculptures on the Schamhart wing some 20 years ago. In between exhibitions were held , including his drawings exhibition and of course he made several wall drawings on location.

Because of this relation, Sol Lewitt was invited in 1987 to design one of the plastic bags which was used in the shop of the Gemeentemuseum. Sol designed 2 bags, one in color and one in black on transparent polyethyleen. 2 excellent designs and both were executed and used for a couple of years in the shop. Now the black drawing is used for the invitation of the tribute exhibition. What people forget is that the typography is not done by Sol LeWitt , but it was “borrowed” from an earlier bag designed by Joost Swarte, who designed a plastic bag, including the typography, with the different collection parts in mind. This lettering was used for 100% by Sol for his own designs. So the main part is done by LeWitt but the typography was done by Joost Swarte in his very recognizable lettering. A beautiful bag was the result and only a few copies of this bag remain available for sale at www.ftn-books.com

Exhibition Sol LeWitt a Tribute opens on the 17th of december and runs until the 9th of april, 2017

 

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Ed van der Elsken(1925-1990)…an almost complete list of publications.

If there is one dutch sixties photographer who deserves world recognition for his entire oeuvre it certainly is Ed van der Elsken. Over 40 years of work in photography and cinema gives a spectacular list of publications:

Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint Germain des Prés (1956)

Bagara (1958)

Jazz (1959)

Dans Theater (1960)

Nederlands Dans Theater (1960)

de jong & van dam nv 1912-1962 (1962)

Sweet Life (1966)

Wereldreis in foto’s vier delen (1967-1968)

Eye Love you (1977)

Zomaar in een sloot ergens bij Edam (1977)

Hallo! Een nieuwe Ed van der Elsken (1978)

Amsterdam! Oude foto’s 1947-1970 (1979)

Avonturen op het land (1980)

Parijs! Foto’s 1950-1954 (1981)

Amsterdam? (1984)

‘Are you famous?’ (1985)

Elsken: PARIS 1950-1954 (1985)

San-jeruman-de-pure no koi L’Amour à Saint Germain des Près (1986)

Jong Nederland ‘Adorabele rotzakken’ 1947-1987 (1987)

Elsken: JAPAN 1959-1960 Nippon data (1987)

De ontdekking van Japan (1988)

JAZZ Ed van der Elsken 1955-1959.61 (1988)

Natlab (1989)

Africa Ed van der Elsken 1957 (1990)

ONCE UPON A TIME (1991)

Once upon a time (1993)

l’Amour! (1995)

Hong Kong the way it was (1997)

Leve ik! Ed van der Elsken Foto & Film Essays Filmografie (1997)

Nippon data & After Ed van der Elsken (2000)

Fotografie + Film 1949-1990 Ed van der Elsken Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2000)

Eye love you Ed van der Elsken Fotografies + films (1949-1990) (2001)

55 Ed van der Elsken (2002)

My Amsterdam Ed van der Elsken (2005)

 

But there is one which is not on this list published by the official site of Ed van der Elsken. It is the exceptional publication made for the van Abbemuseum in 1961, designed by Wim Crouwel with contributions by Karel Appel ( who made a special inlay) , Schierbeek and Lucebert….photography… YES!, by Ed van der Elsken.

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Like some of the others from the above publications this is available at www.ftn-books.com

and here are some of the others:

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The Jean Tinguely exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

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Jean Tinguely ….one of my art heroes …. he had his first exhibitions in the Netherlands in the Stedelijk in the mid sixties and since, his works have been on show in many theme and group exhibitions, but never again in a large retrospective until now.

But now there is one in the Stedelijk Museum and this one is on show until the 5th of March 2017. What can i tell you about this one….it is a nice show, but…….it never has the impact one experiences when visiting the Tinguely Museum in Basel , because it lacks the space, grandeur, size and number of machines/works to show all aspects of his works. I really missed the extremely large mechanical works. I caught one on a video of his funeral

and beside the one in the collection of the Stedelijk there is only one other one, a wall covered with a very large one, but that is all.

Not that the exhibition is not worth visiting…it really is …. but i was not knocked of my feet. Still i had a chance to make some nice photographs of the (DYLABY documents/ in a blog next week) documents on show and was amazed to see the correspondence Tinguely and Nikki de Saint Phalle had with Edy de Wilde ( the former director of the Stedelijk). On an A4 text, drawings, and illustrations were combined into great works of art.

This is an exhibition to visit for the smaller items like the documents and remember to visit the Tinguely Museum in Basel to get the best overview of his mechanical works.

See the ones in the Stedelijk as an entree to a dinner in which the side dishes steal the show.

There are a great number of Tinguely publications available at www.ftn-books.com

including some original drawings by Meta Matic 10

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Karel Appel and the original litho covers

No….this is not a title for a classic Roald Dahl story, but this is reality. Some museums, but specially the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, had a policy to make affordable catalogues for their visitors to accompany their exhibitions in the 50’s and 60’s.

Designed by the best in the business ( Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel ) they had the task to produce these catalogues at a low price without being cheap looking. They experimented with low cost papers, small editions, number of pages between 24  and 48, most of the time stapled and a scarce use of color. Only one exception was made ….in some cases an original lithograph by the artist was used as a cover. This is why some of these beautiful catalogues are even more desirable…all because of the original lithograph.

Karel Appel was one of those artist who had his peak in the sixties and was able to demand the best possible catalogues with his exhibitions and Sandberg granted this. The Appel catalogues which were published in the late 50’s and early sixties are among the best from the catalogue series of the Stedelijk and should be present in every serious Karel Appel collection.

Just look at this foldout cover and be convinced yourself that this is special.

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For the readers of this blog…i have two of the above 1965 catalogues available at

www.ftn-books.com

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Willem Sandberg exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (until the 8th of January 2017)

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Last Sunday we visited the Stedelijk Museum for the Tinguely exhibition ( see blog in a few days) and the Willem Sandberg exhibition. Sandberg was not only the director for over 2 decades at the Stedelijk ( 1945-1963), but also took care of almost all the design and typography for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which was made during his years as a director. 5 rooms are filled with a multitude of publications. Mostly for the Stedelijk and some for the Israel museum in Tel Aviv.

What struck me most is that his designs are timeless and still belong to the very best designs that were made in last century. The 3rd room was filled with Stedelijk Museum publications and i was proud to find that 100% of the book publications shown in that room was available at www.ftn-books.com.

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This is an exhibition you have to visit when you are a Sandberg admirer and study the publications on show. Beautiful, in many cases handcrafted typography and designs and among the Sandberg designs the very best that were made. It was good to see that so many of these publications still are timeless and of the highest quality and never looked old fashioned. For me Willem Sandberg is still one of the very “greats” in design and typography from the 20th century.

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Daniel Buren

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For this day’s blog i thought of something more colorful. This to compensate for the rather sombre previous ones and i immediately thought about Daniel Buren, who has done some tremendous beautiful projects with light and color. The latest i have seen of him was 1,5 years ago in Strasbourg where he altered the ceiling with colored panes of glas. I have put together some examples of his projects below, so you can see yourself the impact it has on the space.

One of his projects was during the seventies in the Stedelijk Museum, on which occasion a catalogue was published titles “HIER”.

Is this minimal art?…..possibly, but it is highly recognizable and what is more ….the effect on the space where the colored stripes are applied is extremely large.So i agree with what Wikipedia says about him that he is more a conceptual artist. Many of his art can be seen in public places in France , but the largest collection of Buren’s work is still in French museums like the Centre Georges Pompidou.

Some very nice items by Buren are available at www.ftn-books.com

and yes….the one on the left are expresso cups by illy

 

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Museum Voorlinden…first visit

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It took us two months to finally visit the recently opened museum Voorlinden. Why so long….because we agreed to visit this together with friends and have dinner afterwards. The visit was postponed because of other obligations a few weeks earlier, but finally yesterday 11/11 the visit was there. It was late in the afternoon and still quite busy. Both parkings were more than half filled with cars and people were walking the park. We were early and walked around the museum building and saw the plants and garden layout by Piet Oudolf and both of us imagined how this must look like when early summer has arrived. A colorful “painting” of plants which can be admired from within the building, because one of the qualities of the architecture is that the “outside” is brought into the building by huge windows which show the garden by Oudolf as a work of art on its own.

What about the collection and the special exhibition? The museum feels more like an experience than  a thoroughly prepared exhibition which teaches the visitor some aspects of art. Every museum room is such an experience. The Mueck and the Serra are excellent examples of this approach. You can compare yourself with the giant figures by Mueck and the Serra is one of the very best and impressive”mazes” he ever has made. It is like a smalle MATTER OF TIME ( see earlier post) Even the special exhibition with the works by Ellsworth Kelly feels like an experience. These works are extremely large and because of their sheer size you can only look at them thoroughly when you take your distance from them. Still it is almost unbelievable to see so many impressive and beautiful Kelly paintings in one exhibition and it will be a very long time before these will be brought together again.

It was a nice visit. The building is impressive and the architecture is almost as good as the Beyeler Museum in Basel. The Landscape is a highlight, the collection is worth visiting, The Kelly’s are a dream, but i am very curious about the future. This is at the moment one of the very best museums in the Netherlands, situated in arguably the best location and surroundings. Wim Pijbes the former director of the Rijksmuseum made the transfer to this museum, but resigned within 3 months. So this  makes me curious what the next exhibitions will be without the guidance of Pijbes. Joop van Caldenborgh , the initiator of the museum , has a very large modern art collection, but it would be nice to not only show the established names, but to show the “young” in Modern art in relation to this establishment.  I am hoping for exhibitions on Sol LeWitt and Anish Kapoor ( both in the Caldic collection), but also for lesser names like Ossip  and Broszat . This is a quality museum and one of the very best museums in Europe supported by the Caldic collection…one of the most important private collections in the world

Conclusion: A Must visit …and do not skip this one when you come to the Netherlands.

 

btw. Dinner we had afterwards was great;-)

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Gustav Mahler and Willem Mengelberg

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Mahler pioneer Willem Mengelberg

Willem Mengelberg, conductor of  the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, was grasped by Mahler’s music when he attended  the first performance of his Third Symphony in Krefeld (G) in 1902. Right from that moment, he vigorously took on promoting Mahler’s music, claiming Mahler to be  “the Beethoven of his time”.  In his persistent efforts to introduce Mahler’s music, Mengelberg gradually acquired an outstanding position  both  in The Netherlands and  in Europe,  in this respect  leaving behind  other contemporary conductors.

Time and again, Mengelberg tried to persuade Mahler to conduct his own works in Amsterdam. This materialized   in 1903, 1904, 1906 and 1909. During these visits, the composer was staying with the  Mengelbergs at their home. However, because of his numerous engagements elsewhere, Mahler was often compelled to decline Mengelberg’s  invitations for conducting.

Mengelberg’s commitment to promote Mahler’s music should not be underestimated. At the time, a substantial part of the public would leave the concert hall to demonstrate their disapproval of Mahler’s music, which was, on top of that, often ridiculed by the critics. Mengelberg  was convinced  of Mahler’s genius, which inspired him to persist in his dogged endeavours, taking for granted  that this implied  rowing against the stream . Only after years of sustained perseverance, a ‘Mahler community’ came into existence in The Netherlands, which formed the basis of the unprecedented success of the ‘Mahler Feest’ in 1920, drawing worldwide attention. In the 1920’s,  Mengelberg,  who had  by then also become conductor of the New York Phiharmonic, repeated his efforts to promote Mahler’s music to the American  public.

Mengelberg was one of the most important Mahler pioneers who deserves a special place of honour in our remembrance.  His tireless efforts to make  Mahler’s music better known to a greater public contributed  greatly to the international Mahler culture of this era.

The Willem Mengelberg’s archives in the Netherlands Music Institute contain, amongst other things, his conducting scores, which are characterized by his colourful  annotations that clearly indicate  his conductors interpretation of  the work concerned.  In addition, many of these scores also contain instructions and  remarks of Mahler himself: tangible and visible evidence of the close ties between Mengelberg and Mahler.

the above text is from willemmengelberg.nl

Why this blog on Mengelberg? It was about 20 years ago that well before the “craze” of huge and impressive publications ( Newton, Araki) that this tremendous large publication was published on the occasion of the Mengelberg Festival 1995. It is indeed a huge publication. Weight being well over 5 kg and published in a cardbox blue linnen covered container with a text plublication and in a different volume the musical score by Mengelberg with his annotations . This is the perfect facsimile.

Best of all: designed by one of my heroes ….Wim Crouwel. This is such a publication that will be in demand for a very long time and very hard to find. Now i have two copies available from a remainder stock and both in “new” condition at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Panamarenko

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In the beginning i did not take the work by Panamarenko serious, however times and perspectives change. It took some years ( 20 years) but now  i consider Panamarenko as one of the greatest living modern artist. Panamarenko stayed true to his inventions, flying machines, submarines and all other vehicles and objects he invented, but what makes Panamarenko for me special is the way he designs them and executes the “real thing”

His sketches and drawings show detail and from the drawing itself one gets the immediate impression that it will work if it is executed properly. The way he invents makes one think about the possibilities of many items. He not only is an inventor but a truly original artist.

A future world made by Panamarenko could well be not too far away. Panamarenko is here now, but will be present with his machines in the future too. This is an artist who does not looks behind him, but Panamarenko designs the future for us.

soon we will be wearing, flying and driving, machines with the logo’s “copyright by” or “designed by”…PANAMARENKO.

For more publications on Panamarenko visit www.ftn-books.com

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Roman Cieslewicz

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Another great artist who i forgot to mention in my blog on Topor is Roman Cieslewicz. Cieslewicz was a long time friend of Topor , lived in Paris too and rose to fame in the sixties with his graphic design for Vogue and Elle and the posters he designed for several other events.

For the dutch his work was presented for the first time in the Stedelijk Museum in 1973 . An excellent catalogue designed by Wim Crouwel was published on that occasion. The exhibition showed the strength of this artist, because the main part of the exhibition consisted of poster designs he had made in the previous 20 years.

Cieslewicz is one of those rare artist, who in his life was far less appreciated than in these days. Graphic art students from all over the world have inquired about his books in the last few years, which shows to me his star is on the rise and soon the books on Cieslewicz will become rare collectable items.

catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com