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Natasja Kensmil (1973)

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Natasja Kensmil is one of those talents that emerged in the last 10 years and proved tobe highly important for modern art. Her art is personal and her style can not be compared to anyone else’s. If any….. i immediately though of Basquiat, but these paintings and drawings by Kensmil practically all tell a story or contain a message for the viewer. Her series of REGENTEN PORTRAITS  is a tribute to women who held a position in boards and committees who took care of the old and sick. It was not possible for women to hold a position within a company or government , but these woman made charity in these years possible and took care of the old and sick in society.Schermafbeelding 2021-08-16 om 14.07.56

Another multi panelled work is the “HUWELIJKS PORTRET VAN JOHANDE WITT AND WENDELA BICKER “. Natasja Kensmill forces us to look at our (not so nice) history and beside the importance of the art itself it makes us aware of the message too.

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The book i now have for sale at http://www.ftn-books.com is different. Personal, horror like drawings bound and published by Boekhandel Broekhuis in 2003. Edition of only 500 copies, this book already shows the attraction of Kensmil’s drawing. They attract and repel at the same time. This is the kind of art one must admire and i will be on thelook out for work by Kensmil for our collection.

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John Szarkowski (1925-2007)

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Perhaps Szarkowski was more know for being curator at MOMA then for being one of the greatest photographers from last century.  Here is part of the text the Guardian place shortly after he had passed away.

Szarkowski was a good photographer, a great critic and an extraordinary curator. One could argue that he was the single most important force in American post-war photography.

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Like all good critics and curators, Szarkowski was both visionary and catalyst. When he succeeded the esteemed photographer Edward Steichen as director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1962, he was just 36, and must have been acutely aware of the long shadow cast by his predecessor. Steichen had curated the monumental group exhibition, The Family of Man, at Moma in 1955, which he described as ‘the culmination of his career”. Featuring 503 images by 273 photographers, famous and unknown, it had aimed to show the universality of human experience: death, love, childhood. The show had drawn huge crowds to the gallery and then toured the world, attracting an estimated 9 million viewers.

It was, as Steichen had no doubt intended, a hard act to follow. “We were different people”, Szarkowski later said, “with different talents, characters, limitations, histories, problems and axes to grind. We held the same job at very different times, which means that it was not really the same job.”

More revealingly, Szarkowski also said that Steichen and his predecessor, Beaumont Newhall, “consciously or otherwise, felt more compelled than I to be advocates for photography, whereas I – largely because of their work – could assume a more analytic, less apostolic attitude.” That difference in approach would prove to be a crucial one, and it underpinned a new photographic aesthetic that continues to shape our view of the world to this day.

When Szarkowski took over at Moma, there was not a single commercial gallery exhibiting photography in New York and, despite Steichen and Newhall’s pioneering work, the form had still not been accepted by most curators or critics. Szarkowski changed all that. He was the right person in the right place at the right time: a forward thinker who was given control of a major art institution at a moment when his democratic vision chimed with the rapidly changing cultural tastes of the time.

Szarkowski insisted on the democracy of the image, whether it be a formally composed Ansel Adams landscape, a snatched shot that caught the frenetic cut-and-thrust of a modern city or a vernacular subject like a road sign or a parking lot. “A skillful photographer can photograph anything well,” he once insisted.

In his still-challenging book, The Photographer’s Eye (1964), Szarkowski included snapshots alongside images by great photographers, and argued – brilliantly – that photography differed from any other art form because its history had been “less a journey than a growth”. “Its movement has not been linear and consecutive but centrifugal,” he suggested. “Photography, and our understanding of it, has spread from a centre; it has, by infusion, penetrated our consciousness. Like an organism, photography was born whole. It is in our progressive discovery of it that its history lies.”

szarkowski a

www.ftn-books.com has the Szarkowski /Josef Albers Museum available

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A Willem Sandberg Xmas card

I found this picture at the Herb Lubalin center who has this in its collection. A very nice and typical Willem Sandberg card to wish you a Merry Christmas in 1958.

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an old wish, but a new one from me….. a Merry Christmas 2021

 

Many Sandberg and Lubalin items are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Martijn Sandberg (1967)

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Just a simple blog on a great artist and his ideas . I admire Martijn Sandberg for his art. Every few month i look at his site and find some new works that fascinate me . Just take a dive into Martijn’s ideas and visit the link below. An internet related project by Martijn Sandberg. An art work he exclusively made available on the internet

http://www.msandberg.nl/noimageavailable/

Martijn Sandberg ‘Image Messages’The work of Amsterdam based visual artist Martijn Sandberg (1967) constantly explores border areas, such as the tension between text and image, illegible into legible, the private and the public domain. ”I make Image Messages, image is message is image.” The image hides the message.
In the cut paintings, such as ‘Sorry No Image Yet’ and ‘Im Westen Nichts Neues’, there is a subtle play between the language of the image and the significance of the image, and this gives rise to questions. Here, even the lack of image seems to be elevated to an image by the artist.


The direct relationship between the image, the material bearing the image and the environment is also expressed in his site-specific works in public space and architecture. As in the ‘De Oude Weg Naar De Nieuwe Tijd’ artwork, integrated as a brick relief in the walls of the gates and the pavement of the Spaarndammerhart building, Amsterdam. Or in the sculpture ‘I Will Survive’ located at the border of a burial ground in Hardenberg, The Netherlands.

BTW. For those interested in the editions by Martijn Sandberg please visit his shop at :

http://www.msandberg.nl/shop.php?shop=yes

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Helvetica (1957)

Max MIedinger

Here is in short the story on one of the greatest and most popular typefaces from the last 100 years….HELVETICA by Max Miedinger.
Helvetica is one of the most famous and popular typefaces in the world. It lends an air of lucid efficiency to any typographic message with its clean, no-nonsense shapes. The original typeface was called Neue Haas Grotesk, and was designed in 1957 by Max Miedinger for the Haas’sche Schriftgiesserei (Haas Type Foundry) in Switzerland. In 1960 the name was changed to Helvetica (an adaptation of Helvetia”, the Latin name for Switzerland).

Over the years, the original Helvetica family was expanded to include many different weights, but these were not as well coordinated with each other as they might have been. In 1983, D. Stempel AG and Linotype re-designed and digitized Neue Helvetica and updated it into a cohesive font family. At the beginning of the 21st Century, Linotype again released an updated design of Helvetica, the Helvetica World typeface family. This family is much smaller in terms of its number of fonts, but each font makes up for this in terms of language support. Helvetica World supports a number of languages and writing systems from all over the globe.

Helvetica World, an update to the classic Helvetica design using the OpenType font format, contains the following Microsoft code pages:
1252 Latin 1,
1250 Latin 2 Eastern,
1251 Cyrillic,
1253 Greek,
1254 Turk,
1255 Hebrew,
1256 Arabic,
1257 Windows Baltic,
1258 Windows Vietnamese,
as well as a mixture of box drawing element glyphs and mathematical symbols & operators.
In total, each weight of Helvetica World contains 1866 different glyph characters!

Many customers ask us what good non-Latin typefaces can be mixed with Helvetica World. Fortunately, Helvetica World already includes Greek, Cyrillic and a specially-designed Hebrew in its OpenType character set. But Linotype also offers a number of CJK fonts that can be matched with Helvetica World.

Helvetica didn’t start out with that name. The story of Helvetica began in the fall of 1956 in the small Swiss town of Münchenstein. This is where Eduard Hoffmann, managing director of the Haas Type Foundry, commissioned Max Miedinger to draw a typeface that would unseat a popular family offered by one his company’s competitors.

Miedinger, who was an artist and graphic designer before training as a typesetter, came up with a design based on Hoffmann’s instructions, and by the summer or 1957, produced a new sans serif typeface which was given the name “Neue Haas Grotesk.” Simply translated this meant “New Haas Sans Serif.”

 

The Stempel type foundry, the parent company of Haas, decided to offer the design to its customers in Germany, where Stempel was based. The company, however, felt it would be too difficult to market a new face under another foundry’s name and looked for one that would embody the spirit and heritage of the face. The two companies settled on “Helvetica,” which was a close approximation of “Helvetia,” the Latin name for Switzerland. (“Helvetia” was not chosen because a Swiss sewing machine company and an insurance firm had already taken the name.)

Over the years, the Helvetica family was expanded to encompass an extensive selection of weights and proportions and has been adapted for every typesetting technology.

Helvetica is among the most widely used sans serif typefaces and has been a popular choice for corporate logos, including those for 3M, American Airlines, American Apparel, BMW, Jeep, JCPenney, Lufthansa, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Electric, Orange, Target, Toyota, Panasonic, Motorola, Kawasaki and Verizon Wireless. Apple has incorporated Helvetica in the iOS® platform and the iPod® device. Helvetica is widely used by the U.S. government, most notably on federal income tax forms, and NASA selected the type for the space shuttle orbiters.

 

One of the greatest books. Published in Japan on the Helvetica is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Paul Blanca (1958-2021)

Paul Blanca

Last Saturday dutch photographer Paul Blaca died. His body was worn out after years of drug and alcohol abuse. Without Blanca dutch photography would have been half as interesting as it is now. He was self taught and discovered and explored portrait photography in a very special and own way, transforming it and perfecting it into his preferred form of photography.

the following text comes from the Paul Blanca site:

Paul Blanca (1958) is a Dutch self-taught photographer who started with a Canon F1 and later switched to a 6×6 cm Haselblad camera. In the 80s he created a series of violent self-portraits inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 – 1989) and Andres Serrano. Mapplethorpe introduced Blanca into the art world to artists like Grace Jones and Keith Haring stating “Paul Blanca is my only competitor”. Mapplethorpe’s favourite was Blanca’s self-portrait ‘Mother and Son’.

Hans van Maanen and Erwin Olaf call Paul Blanca the photographer of emotion. That ties in with his work. His self-portraits run like a thread through his overall work. For some things you can’t ask a model. For example, to hit a nail through someone’s hand. And like the self-portrait Mickey Mouse. In which a smiling Mickey Mouse is carved into his back with a thumb up.

For his series ‘Par la Pluie des Femmes’ women were captured in tears by thinking of their most traumatic experience. When he lived in Spain for 2 years, he stood with his camera at the front of the Spanish bullfighting arena. This resulted in the portfolio Sangre de Toro (Blood of the Bull): silk-screen prints with Bull’s blood.

In the beginning of the 90s he photographed the facial expression of speedball hookers for the series ‘Wit en Bruin’. Speedball is a very dangerous mixture of cocaine with heroin or morphine and has a substantial risk of overdose.

In the series ‘Deformation’ he was inspired by Rob Leer‘s SM scene. Models mutulated by fishline and hanging in the air, supported by the same fishline. This series was made for Amsterdam International Fashion Week (AIFW), in collaboration with fashion designer Hester Slaman, and exposed in Apart Gallery Amsterdam.

With the series ‘Kristal’ and ‘Mi Matties’ he had a double exhibition at Witzenhausen Gallery in 2008. Kristal is a series about the sweet and the bitter in relation with women. Presented in Witzenhausen Gallery Amsterdam in 2008. Mi Matties (my friends) is a series made in one of the neighborhoods of old Amsterdam. The portraits show young men who are presenting themselves as a group, sort of a gang.

In 2014 he created a self-portrait ‘Mother and Son’, 32 years after the first self-portrait, where he carries his mother, just like he carried her to bed for 4 years because she couldn‘t walk.

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Robert Combas (1957) (continued)

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I know of many artist who at one time in their lives were invited to decorate a church or execute stained windows. In the Netherlands it is Marc Mulders who is the best example. Acroos the border many other names like Matisse, Rothko, Foujita and Chagall and recently i discovered that Robert Combas made his own contribution to this kind of art. The exhibition was held at the Vieille Église Saint-Vincet in Merigmac / France.

Impressive paintings of arguably the best of all Figuration artists. Catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com.

combas eglise

The French artist Robert Combas has become known as one of the protagonists of “Figuration Libre”, the French form of new figuration in the 1980s. Robert Combas was born at Lyon in 1957, he grew up in Sète, where he also began to study at the “École des Beaux-Arts” in 1974. Between 1975 and 1980 he completed his studies at the DNSAP in Montpellier. In those years the Punkrock movement had decisive influence on Robert Combas. In 1978 he even founded a band, together with Hervé di Rosa and Richard di Rosa. In 1979 Robert Combas, Hervé di Rosa and Ketty Brindel published the art magazine “Bato”. From those days on, Robert Combas was able to establish himself as painter and graphic artist in the style of “Figuration Libre”. Along with Rémi Blanchard, François Boisrond and Hervé di Rosa, Robert Combas was a founding father of the artist group of the same name. Comics and graffiti inspired his works, Pop Art and Arabian art can be named as additional sources of influences. Strong and striking colors with black contour lines increase the effect of his images. As of the late 1980s an increasingly mystical tendency can be observed, Robert Combas’ works are darker and gloomier. In the 1990s Combas expanded his field of artistic activity: He writes poetry and works photographs over with felt tip pen, assemblages are also part of his oeuvre. After the turn of the millennium music became a great source of inspiration for Robert Combas once again, and he made large paintings in cooperation with rock bands. “Ma peinture c’est du rock”, my painting is rock music, said the artist about his work.

combas eglise a

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DADA en Drachten ( Dr8888 )

Most people do not know it and personally i did not realise the relationship between Drachten/ Dr8888 and the Dada and Merz mouvements until recently.

But it appears that some of the artists from Friesland had strong relationships with Dada artists and even were influenced by them . In the same way Dada artists freed themselves from the bourgeois morality, Werkman tried to do the same, although freedom in morality was less important than having a free spirit, searching freedom in his art. The Museum in Drachten finally realized some decade ago that their true importance was this heritage. Dada in the Netherlands is nothing else than Dada in Friesland and Drachten. They made a choice and exploited this heritage since and with one of these exhibition a magnificent catalogue was published, which is now available at www.ftn-books.com

holland dada aa

 

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Klaus Staeck (1938)

 

I always thought that Klaus Staeck was just a publisher, but now i have learned him not only being an art publisher but also a graphic artist and lawyer. His bond with Joseph Beuys and a political engagemnet is well know, but him being an artist by himself not. It is always nice to encounter a Staeck publiction. Always on the border of being an artist multiple. http://www.ftn-books.com has several Klaus Staeck publications available

Klaus Staeck grew up in the East German city of Bitterfeld. After passing the abitur in 1956 he moved to the West German city of Heidelberg where he lives down to the present day.

From 1957 until 1962 Mr Staeck studied law at Heidelberg, Hamburg, and Berlin before taking both state exams. He was admitted to the German bar in 1969.

Klaus Staeck is probably best known for his political poster art. He began to teach himself how to work as a graphic designer while pursuing his legal studies, creating posters, postcards, and flyers. In 1960, Mr Staeck became a member of Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the late 1960s he took part in local politics in Heidelberg. Over the years he created three hundred different motifs, drawing from current political discussions. He took sides for the poor, the environment, and for peace, urging his countrymen to join him and to interfere in political affairs. In his campaigns he employed claims such as, e.g., Deutsche Arbeiter – die SPD will euch eure Villen im Tessin wegnehmen (“German workers: the SPD seeks to take away your villas in Tessin from you”), or Die Reichen müssen noch reicher werden – deshalb CDU (“The rich must become richer yet, therefore vote CDU”).

First he made woodcut prints, while from 1967 onward he changed to screen printing. Mr Staeck managed to finance his political actions by selling his artwork in Edition Tangente publishing house which later came to be known as Edition Staeck. He worked together with other political artists and writers, most notably Joseph Beuys, Panamarenko, Dieter Roth, Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, Daniel Spoerri, Günter Grass, Walter Jens, and Heinrich Böll who publicly spoke out in his favour. At the beginning of the 1970´s Staeck began his long time collaboration with Gerhard Steidl. So far, Klaus Staeck was sued in 41 cases for his artwork to be banned from public, to no avail.[2]

Since 1986 Mr Staeck has been visiting professor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. In April 2006 he was elected president of Berlin Akademie der Künste, succeeding to Adolf Muschg who had stepped down from this position late in 2005.

Klaus Staeck was awarded the first Zille prize for political graphic design in 1970, and the Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz in 2007.

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Sorel Etrog (1933-2014)

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For us in Europe this is a lesser known artist/sculptor. But it appears that Etrog had his exhibitions at the Marlborough gallery and Galerie d’Eendt in the mid Seventies.

In 2000, a Toronto newspaper dubbed artist Sorel Etrog the “Grand Old Man of Canadian Sculpture.” It was an apt description, after a career spanning five decades including the installation of outdoor sculptures across Toronto, Canada and beyond. Yet Etrog was much more – a painter, draughtsman, film maker and not least, a literary man. He was keen to collaborate with the great thinkers of his generation, including playwrights Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, Toronto media guru Marshall McLuhan and composer John Cage.

Etrog was born into a Jewish family in Romania in 1933. After a childhood spent in flight from the Nazis and Soviets, he immigrated with his family to Israel in 1950 where he began to study art and exhibit. In 1958 he won a scholarship to the Brooklyn Museum of Art School and moved to New York City. There, he had a chance encounter with Toronto collector and AGO patron Sam Zacks, who invited him to Canada.

Etrog permanently settled in Toronto in 1963. Recognition came quickly with museum purchases, international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale (1966), and a commission to design the Canadian Film Award statue, now known as the Genie (1968). Etrog resided in our city until his death in early 2014.

www,ftn-books.com has the Marlborough publication available