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Mario Merz (1925-2003)

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This was the first photograph i encountered on the Net of Mario Merz and i instantly was frightened. Here is an angry man if ever there was one. Mario Merz works are on show in the van Abbemuseum and the Stedelijk Museum and at the time Rudi Fuchs was director of the Haags Gemeentemuseum , there was one work on loan. What struck me at that time was the lightness and transparency of the works. Larger sized and as a work of art these works were changing the rooms in which they were shown and interacting with the space they were presented in. There is a nice example of such a presentation in the Castello de Rivoli in Torino which first exhibitions were also curated by Rudi Fuchs.

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These works take time for an art lover to be appreciated, but when you do so. There is no artist equal to Mario Merz and you forget about the “angry” old man in the photographs , but only see the sheer beauty of the works he created.

There ares ome nice examples of Mario Merz catalogues availabel at www.ftn-books.com including the first series of catalogues on the Castello di Rivoli project by Rudi Fuchs.

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John Wesley (1928)

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Pop artist John Wesley is one of the lesser known Pop Art artist for us Europeans. There was of course this great 1993 exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum, but since few other exhibitions were being held in this part of the world. Still, Wesley is a much more famous in the US, but has never reached the popularity of the other Pop art artist like Warhol and Lichtenstein.

The spareness of his technique often seems more akin to the school known as Minimalism, however, and indeed his closest personal associations were with artists such as Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, the latter of whom wrote a laudatory essay on Wesley’s early work and later set aside a space for him at his complex in Marfa, Texas. Wesley himself considers his work to be aligned with Surrealism, and many of his paintings since the 1960s have taken this dimension yet further, while retaining an extremely limited range of colors and a sign-like flatness. Several retrospectives of his work have been held, the most recent at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 2000, but since it is quiet except for some gallery presentations. This artist deserves much more , because his works really stand out from the other Pop Art artist and have a quality of their own. www.ftn-books.com has beside some very nice Pop art books, the famous and rare Stedelijk Museum catalogue from 1993 available.

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John Wesdley is represented by the David Kordansky gallery who has some nice examples of his works on their site :

http://davidkordanskygallery.com/artist/john-wesley/

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Erotic Art . Kronhausen collection ao

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First springday in the Netherlands and a very nice 18 degrees celsius made me clean our terrace with the high pressure cleaner….away wth the green algae and a four hour job. It is like meditation….always the same movement from left to right and my mind thought about the blog i had to make today. What is the subject which always attracts the most readers…yes it still i sex. so i decided to devote the blog to erotic art. All great artist from the middle ages until today always have at one time made their own interpretation of the female body and the act of intercourse. Picasso, Dali, Bellmer, Ernst, Mapplethorpe, Wesselman, Rodin and Ramos…just to name a few. From the mid sixties there were even some collectors who collected erotic art. The most famous ones were the Kronhausens. Their collection travelled the world and made erotic art  more acceptable. Nowadays one is not surprised nor shocked when seeing a highly erotic subject from an artist , but in those days these exhibitions were a first. www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on this subject and other publication throughout the years  prove that the subject is still a very popular one.

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Dennis Hopper (1932-2010)

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First time i saw Dennis Hopper in a movie was in Easy Rider. Together with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson he made this movie stand out from the rest in those days. A first class road movie which has become a cult classic since. I saw this movie in the Leidseplein Movie theatre in Amsterdam and the fact that i still can remember the theater in which i saw this movie, makes this one stand out for me . It makes a part of my cultural youth together with the Dali exhibition in the Boymans van Beuningen and the movies MORE and IF. I forgot about Hopper, but as soon as i saw his maniac appearance in BLUE VELVET, i was impressed again and started to read about him and saw his Photographs for the first time and noticed that he was a a painter / sculptor too. This man is a multi talented person in which his photographs stand out for me and are even more interesting than his acting. Highly personal photographs, a unique way of seeing things and the reason why an exhibition of his photographs was brought to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com).

hopper keen a

 

In 2010 , to early, advanced prostate cancer was diagnosed and soon after he died at the age of 78 and left us some great movies and art works which can be admired up to the length of days.

A great interview ( 45 min) on his career can be found on Youtube .

 

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Malevich…the black square(1915)

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The Black square painting by Malevich is considered to be one of the key paintings in Modern Art and possibly the first suprematist painting in the world. Non-object art was a first in those days (1915).

 

If one looks at the picture of the Petrograd exhibition of 1915, you can not imagine that these paintings were made as early as 1915!. Place them between the “hard edge” paintings of the late sixties and seventies and there is hardly any difference except their size. Who was this artist who made such a stir with his Paintings? It was Kasimir Malevich, who is recognized as one of the founders of abstract art as it is known today. Constructivists paintings in a loose way. Critics called them Suprematist paintings. The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam has the largest collection of suprematist paintings outside Russia and because they were so fortunate to have them in their collection, almost every 10 years an exhibition on them is held and with it a beautiful catalogue. (Some available at www.ftn-books.com) is published. Worldwide, painters were influenced by Kasimir Malevich, for instance in the Netherlands in the works by Willem Hussem and Siep van den Berg, you can recognize the influence of Malevich, but also great names in the art world like Ellsworth Kelly must know their art history. If you look at his paintings there certainly is a piece of Malevich in them.

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Dutch art …Klaas Gubbels (1934)

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Many Many people in the Netherlands know the art by Klaas Gubbels. Because his art is abstract in its execution, but realistic in its subject. Coffee and Tea pots and of course chairs are in 99% percent his subjects. Because of this popularity his works and sculptures can be found all over the Netherlands. Even in my hometown of Leidschendam, one of these blue coffee pots is executed as a large blue sculpture.

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Do i like his art….no….do i consider Gubbels one of the great artists in the Netherlands…YES, because Gubbels has developed an art language of his own. Popular, recognizable and accessible. www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on Gubbbels and a very special table with a still life of wooden apples.

 

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Lawrence Weiner (1942)

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Lawrence Weiner is one the the leading artists within  Conceptual Art .

The first time i daily encountered a work by Lawrence Weiner was when curator Flip Bool of the Gemeentemuseum had bought a magnificent large one for the entrance hall. I noticed the forms and strong meaning of the sentences used and learned to appreciate it.

Since, i have been collecting books on Weiner in every possible way . Other museum publications, abroad art locations, galleries and auctions all had some in them, so over the years a small collection was formed and some are available at www.ftn-books.com

Later i realized that so many publications were published in the Netherlands, because he frequently stayed over here and made contributions to many other museums in the Netherlands. Notably tothe van Abbemuseum and the Stedelijk Museum have. Both have several works by Weiner in their collections.

The last time i encountered a work by Weiner (unexpectedly) was in Ljubljana, where at the facade of the Modern Art Museum a large Weiner was fixed. It gave me the same feeling as the one in the Gemeentemuseum. It changes the way you look at something and makes you think about its text…..it is great art.

 

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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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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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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