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Jean-Michel Basquiat and Fashion

 

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This blog is how i experience books and art and what i read about them and this is certainly an article i want to share with you. The guardian did an excellent article on Basquiat and his Fahion style/ A style which looks random , but was a well thought out way of dressing… Hooray for the Guardian. Here is the article and do not forget that www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on Jean-Michel Basquiat.

There’s an image of Jean-Michel Basquiat on the cover of the New York Times magazine from 1985. The photo is by Lizzie Himmel; the headline New Art, New Money. The artist, wearing a dark Giorgio Armani suit, white shirt and tie, leans back in a chair, one bare foot on the floor, the other up on a chair. The combination of the suit and the bare feet is typical of the way Basquiat defined his own image; always with an unconventional bent.

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I’ve obsessed over his style when standing in front of Hollywood Africans, a 1983 work from a series where the images relate to stereotypes of African Americans in the entertainment business. It is a banger of a painting and will form part of Basquiat: Boom for Real, a retrospective opening at the Barbican in London this month.

I have a longstanding interest in the way artists dress, from Picasso to Hockney, Georgia O’Keeffe to Robert Rauschenberg, and I think their wardrobes exert as powerful an influence on mainstream fashion as those of any rock or Hollywood stars. These artists carved out instantly recognisable uniforms: clothes that symbolise the same singular point of view as their greatest works, usually with the sense of complete ease that is the holy grail of true style.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled 1982, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. On show at the Barbican in London in 2017.
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 Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled 1982, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. On show at the Barbican in London in 2017. Photograph: Jean-Michel Basquiat/Barbican

Basquiat’s wardrobe was distinctive, whether he was in mismatched blazer and trousers with striped shirt and clashing tie, or patterned shirt with a leather jacket pushed off his shoulders. He was perhaps most recognisable in his paint-splattered Armani suits. “I loved the fact that he chose to wear Armani. And loved even more that he painted in my suits,” Giorgio Armani says. “I design clothes to be worn, for people to live in, and he certainly did!”

In many ways, this bricolage approach to clothing is akin to the way he created his art. “His work was a mysterious combination of elements – text and colour, historical reference, abstraction and figurative techniques,” Armani says. “In his life, he also mashed up creative activities – he was a graffiti artist, a musician, an actor, a maker of great artworks. This eclecticism made him a mysterious and unconventional man. That mix made him stand out.”

Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat and classmate Al Diaz graffitied statements across New York as SAMO© in the late 70s, before he went on to become one of the biggest stars of the 80s art scene with his unique and brilliantly chaotic paintings. He died in 1988 at just 27, but is still regarded as one of the most influential painters of his generation. A painting from 1982, Untitled, sold this year for £85m, putting him in a unique club alongside the likes of Picasso in terms of record-breaking sales.

“He was an incredibly stylish artist,” says Barbican curator Eleanor Nairne. “He was very playful about the performative aspects of identity.” He was also aware of the “renewed fixation on celebrity” that coincided with the art boom of the 80s, particularly in New York. He famously appeared in Blondie’s Rapture video, dated Madonna and befriended Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, September 1985.
 Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, September 1985. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

Cathleen McGuigan, who wrote that 1985 New York Times feature, recounts Basquiat at the hip Manhattan hangout Mr Chow’s, drinking kir royal and chatting to Keith Haring while Warhol dined with Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran nearby. “He attracted the attention of Warhol and Bowie, so was endorsed by those who had already achieved that rare style-icon status,” Armani says. “And he had a very unique look – he had hair as distinctive as Warhol’s and wore suits in a way as stylish and relaxed as Bowie.”

Basquiat’s interest in clothing was not just something he explored or exploited at the height of his fame. In Basquiat: A Quick Killing In Art, by Phoebe Hoban, clothes are an important part of his life story. His mother had at one point designed them, while one of his teachers noted he had pencils sticking out of his hair from an early age. Soon after he killed off SAMO© he was painting sweatshirts, lab coats and jumpsuits for Patricia Field, who gave him one of his first shows at her East Eighth Street boutique. Descriptions of his stirring appearance include this by American curator Diego Cortez: “I remember on the dancefloor seeing this black kid with a blond Mohawk. He had nothing to do with black culture. He was this Kraftwerkian technocreature … He looked like a Bowery bum and a fashion model at the same time.”

Basquiat went on to model in a 1987 Comme des Garçons show wearing a pale blue suit, black buckle sandals, white shirt and white bow tie. Robert Johnston, style director at British GQ, describes Basquiat’s style as “a work of art in itself” and adds: “While meaning no disrespect to his talent, it is hard to imagine he would have taken New York so much by storm if he’d looked more like Francis Bacon.”

Basquiat’s influence on menswear is still felt today. While other icons have referenced his style – Kanye West sported a T-shirt bearing his portrait, Frank Ocean namechecked him in lyrics by Jay-Z, who dressed as him for a Halloween party – there is a more direct effect on fashion. There have been collaborations, via his estate, with the likes of Reebok and Supreme. There’s a photo of Basquiat wearing an Adidas T-shirt with a pinstripe suit which is a template for how the younger generation approach the idea of tailoring. At the S/S 18 shows in Milan, wonky ties with suiting at Marni made me jot down “Basquiat” in my notebook. And with the Barbican show his influence will spread. “The way Basquiat mixed classic tailoring with a downtown nonchalance fits the mood in menswear,” says Jason Hughes, fashion editor of Wallpaper*. “A refined suit worn with an unironed shirt, skewwhiff tie and beaten-up sneakers. The fact that he painted in those suits feels slightly anarchic and nonconformist. I want to wear a suit like that.”

This article appears in the autumn/winter 2017 edition of The Fashion, the Guardian and the Observer’s biannual fashion supplement

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Gianfredo Camesi (1940)

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A Swiss born artist who had at the age of 30 a solo exhibition in 1970 in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Catalogue and poster were designed by Wim Crouwel.

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Camesi painter/sculptor who operates as an avant garde artist pur sang deserved at that time a presentation in the Stedelijk Museum. His works intrigue and it is a pity that he has not become as famous as some of the others from his generation. Still the catalogue published with the exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum is one of the very best designed one from the early Seventies and the art by Camesi within it is still fresh and contemporary and of course available at www.ftn-books.com

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Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) an Iittala visionary.

Like Andries Copier in Netherlands, you probably have seen and perhaps are even using the designs by Tapio Wirkkala. Born in Finland his designs are certainly influenced by Scandinavia design. They are without any unnecessary details , clean and clear. Most of them have been published by Iittala and among them there are such iconic designs like the Thule and Tapio glass series .

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But he also had his free projects in which he developed beautiful ceramics. Wirkkala had a solo exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1976 for which Wim Crouwel designed the exquisite catalogue. The catalogue itself has become rare since there have been a worldwide recognition of Wirkkala as a truly original designer and artist, but www.ftn-books.com has this catalogue available together with other catalogues on Finnish designs and art.

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Joost Baljeu ( 1925-1991 )

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Here is a short text that you can find on Wikipedia on Baljeu:

Joost Baljeu was born in Middelburg on 1 November 1925. During World War II (1939–45) he began painting in an expressionist, realistic and semi-abstract idiom. After Cubism he evolved to constructivism. He made his first reliefs in 1954-55. From 1957 to 1972 he was a professor at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in the Hague.[1] The Canadian artist Eli Bornstein began to make three-dimensional “structurist” reliefs during a sabbatical in Italy and the Netherlands in 1957.[ He met and was influenced by artists such as Jean Gorin, Joost Baljeu, Anthony Hill, Kenneth Martin, Mary Martin, Victor Pasmore and Georges Vantongerloo.

I truly began to appreciate his works just some 10 years ago at the time i first visited a gallery on dutch Modern Art. The art dealer had at that time 2 large wall sculptures by Baljeu, which were not only very impressive, but unfortunately much too expensive to acquire.

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Because i had seen these, i was spoiled and never wanted to focus at something much smaller. The admiration remained , but no additions were made to our collection of Modern Art. Still www.ftn-books.com has some excellent and highly collectable Baljeu publications for sale.

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A new look and feel for the daily FTN blog and FTN art.

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These pages with the daily blogs on “books and art” needed some changes. I had to give the “Piet Dirkx daily” a more prominent spot, the place it deserves and made a new and better focus on FTN art . I found a better template and layout and because of that the items which are for sale are far more easy to access. A search option for blog and art is now included in a much better place.

The new blog site will be changed and adjusted in the coming weeks. I have to find out what works best and how to make it better, but for the moment ….enjoy!

PS. I am sorry if i published some test versions and you were wrongly notified for the new blogs published.

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Benno Wissing (1923-2008)

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In the dutch museum and art scene there are some classical partnerships regarding the design of museumpublications. There are Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel who bot worked in different decades for the Stedelijk Museum. There is again Wim Crouwel and Walter Nikkels who worked for the van Abbemuseum. There are Donald Janssen and Gracia Lebbink who had their designs published by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and there is Benno Wissing ( one of the founders of Total Designs) who worked almost exclusively for the Boymans Van Beuningen Museum Rotterdam during 3 decades.

Bernard (Benno) Wissing was a Dutch designer, painter, graphic artist and architect. He trained as a painter at the Art Academy in Rotterdam.

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He began his career in 1949 as a designer for the Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam under VP Ebbinge Wubbe. He designed catalogs and posters and established exhibitions. He was one of the founders of Total Design which he worked from 1964 to 1972.

Benno Wissing is for me one of the greatest names in dutch design, but still stands in the shadow of Crouwel and Sandberg. Undeservedly, because his designs are true ” classics”. Just search for Wissing at www.ftn-books.com and find some excellent examples of his truly great designs.

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Gilbert & George …The Paintings, 1971

 

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If you ask me…what is the rarest of all Stedelijk Museum catalogues?…the answer probably will be the 1971 THE PAINTINGS catalogue by Gilbert & George, which is published with no. 511. It is only an 8 page catalogue, measuring 8.3 x 5.9 inches, but this one is really a rare collectable artist book. I finally found one for my inventory and it is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

 

 

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John van ‘t Slot ( 1949)

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We have met, but mr.van ‘t Slot does not remember and neither do i have any remembrance of our meeting, because it was at the beginning of my career with the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and i was a rookie in the art world. Exhibitions were held with promising artists and John van ‘t Slot was one them. Gerrit Jan de Rook curated the cycle of exhibitions called KEUS VAN DE KUNSTENAAR. Three of these were held in the early eighties with artists like Maarten Ploeg, Piet Dieleman, Panamarenko, Piet Dirkx and of course John van ‘t Slot. My first impression…. his works looked strange with horses and figures in a landscape , but over the years they grow upon you and eventually you admire these paintings and in the end i was fortunate to finally acquire a large early painting for FTN art which is now up for sale.

Van ‘t Slot is part of a mouvement called in the Netherlands the NIEUWE WILDEN. The same as their counterparts in Germany DIE NEUE WILDEN. In the eighties he was one of the artists that emerged and rose above others. Together with Rene Daniels and Marlene Dumas he was one of the chosen artists for the exhibition STOP MAKING SENSE, which showed the highlights in painting in the eighties and was presented in the Dordrechts Museum

www.ftn-books.com has excellent publications on John van ‘t Slot

and please take a look at the impressive painting by John van ‘t Slot FTN art has for sale.

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Juul Kraijer ( 1970 )… depicted unease

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It was about 20 year ago i first saw work by Juul Kraijer. Kraijer was presented with a small exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum and  as soon as i saw her works i was convinced of the quality of her art. Many years later, i Think it was the UNSEEN fair 2014 i encountered her photographs and had the same feeling about them.

They created an unease within me, but at the same time they were fascinating. I discovered for this blog that Kraijer has a very loyal and active following on Pinterest, but maybe the best way to discover her works is by visiting her site http://www.juulkraijer.com on which she gives a.o. an extensive text on her Hydra series of drawings. The HYDRA book is available at www.ftn-books.com

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An exhibition curated by Queen Beatrix in 2000

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The year is 2000 and Queen Beatrix is invited as a guest curator for the exhibition DE VOORSTELLING to be held in the Stedelijk Paleis op de Dam . The place where each year the Koninklijke Subsidie voor de Vrije Schilderkunst is presented . Her “right hand” is no less than Rudi Fuchs the director at the Stedelijk Museum who helps the Queen with her choices and presentation.

I am not a great fan of our Royals, but i always have had great respect for Queen Beatrix and her love for the arts and i am convinced that she is very knowledgable about art, art techniques and with that background could make some  great choices for her collection. ( a.o. Eja Siepman van den Berg and Andre Volten ). This time it was for real and one could see her personal dutch favorites  within the exhibition. To accompany the exhibition a more than nice catalogue was published which is available at www.ftn-books.com.

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the attraction of Robert Zandvliet (1970)

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I can not add more than the short documentary the fantastic HOLLANDSE MEESTERS series made on this artist. Unfortunately it is in dutch, but the images tell more than a 1000 words.

books available at www.ftn-books.com on Robert Zandvliet

 

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Willem Hussem (1900-1974) and the “Posthoorngroep”

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What about these glasses!….it is the first thing you see when you look at this portrait of Willem Hussem, a dutch painter from the Hague who formed together with Nanninga , Roede and Bohemen the core of the “Posthoorngroep”. The met weekly in the famous cafe de Posthoorn where they discussed art and everything else, but most of all inspired each other to some of the greatest art found in the Netherlands in those days, Among them Willem Hussem was perhaps the most diverse ( painting , sculpture and poetry), but certainly one of the most outspoken member of the group. Willem Hussem his works are spread all over the Netherlands in Museums ( Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Stedelijk Museum, Dordrechts museum) and many private collections. If you are searching to add a beautiful Hussem to your collection, let me know because i know of the whereabouts of some excellent paintings that are for sale by this great artist and of course www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications available.

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