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Andres Serrano…A History of Sex

At least you can say that he has a completely different approach to his subjects than any other of his colleagues. Most of the time hechoses a highly controversial subject. This differs from sex to the morgue, but most of the time the result is “shocking”.

Taschen made an excellent book titled AMERICA with Serrano and it is one of the books i keep for my own collection. A little search resulted in enough copies for the collector to add this to his or her collection, but there is another one… a much harder to find book which was published with the Groninger Museum exhibition A History of Andres Serrano/ A HISTORY OF SEX in 1997. The design was done by Swip Stolk ( the house designer at that time ) and blown up pictures from the exhibited collection were used as posters in the street. One of them ( a girl peeing in a mans mouth) hit the street , but was removed a couple of days later , because it was a little bit too shocking. Still the result of this publicity campaign was that the Groninger Museum registered a record number of people, who visited this exhibition. The catalogue sold out within a few weeks, with no reprint and has become one of the most searched for catalogues of the Groninger Museum…..and www.ftn-books.com luckily

has one copy available.

The text in the Taschen book on Serrano is :

Even though I consider myself a conceptual artist, I am a traditionalist when it comes to photography. I like to use film and shoot straight. No technical gimmicks or special effects. What you see is what I saw when I looked though the camera. If I’ve dazzled you with lights and colors, it’s because I’ve dazzled you with lights and colors. Ideas are more important than effects. And effects are always better when they’re real. In Lori And Dori, for instance, the conjoined sisters are dressed like fairy tale princesses evoking a dreamy and surreal landscape of the mind. But they’re real. Other times I have to make things look real, even if they’re not. In White Nigger, a man is made Black through make-up, while a child is “hung” with a harness. Ezra Pound once said, “Make it new.” I do. And make it real, too.

The trick is not so much coming up with ideas, as how to make them work. When I first tried to photograph my ejaculations, for instance, I kept shooting and missing. After about eight times of getting back black film I realized that I needed a motor drive on my camera. I would start shooting film before I felt myself coming, and was able to shoot a roll of film in seconds. Invariably, there would be one shot, and one shot only, of my ejaculate. In Vagina Dentata (Vagina with Teeth) the teeth-they were shark’s teeth-kept falling out. I had to keep pushing them in to keep them from coming out. After a while, they stayed in place. When the shoot was over, I tried to get them out, but they were stuck. I then realized that the glue that kept them in place was dried menstrual blood.

–Andres Serrano, Reprinted from an interview with Julie Ault for “America and other Work by Andres Serrano” published by Taschen.

 

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Alessandro Mendini

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Because of a recent sale , i was reminded that there are so many important designs made by this master of ALCHIMIA. The design group that made the most remarkable designs in the eighties. Beside these designs he made for Alchimia, he also was a gifted architect and book designer. A multi talented artist who made some of the most iconic designs and in the Netherland was partly responsible for the architecture of the Groninger Museum. The Groninger Museum got his new building in 1994. At that time it was one of the most spectacular Museum buildings in the world.

This was possibly the building that paved the way for many more avant garde museum buildings. For instance the Gehry building which was made for the Guggenheim museum was opened in 1997, 3 year after the opening of the Groninger Museum. Since, the Groninger Museum always has had a special interest in design and their own publications have for the greatest part been of the highest possible quality. In many of them Swip Stolk had a role and they always show the influence of Alessandro Mendini .

There are some nice Mendini titles available at www.ftn-books.com

Including the famous Mendini Sketchbook published by the Groninger Museum

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Vera Molnár and computer art

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Yesterday i added a very nice publication on Vera Molnar to my inventory and realized that she was the artist i was most impressed with the time i visited the Vasarely Museum in Budapest. Molnar born 1924 studied with the art school of Budapest and was one of the first artists worldwide to experiment with computers in her art.

In 1968 she began working with computers, where she began to create algorithmic paintings based on simple geometric shapes geometrical themes.

Patterns and compositions were made with help the computer and since, her art developed in something very special.

In the 1960s, Molnar co-founded several artist research groups: GRAV who investigate collaborative approaches to mechanical and kinetic art, and Art et Informatique, with a focus on art and computing. Molnar learned the early programming languages of Fortran and Basic, and gained access to a computer at a research lab in Paris where she began to make computer graphic drawings on a plotter, several of which are included in a 2015 retrospective exhibition in New York called “Regarding the Infinite | Drawings 1950-1987.

Her works are now found in collections and museums all over the world, but the best museum to see her works is the Vasarely Museum in Budapest.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Molnar publications in its collection. including a signed and original print.

molnar

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James Turrell…a magic place in the dunes

Nearby the city of Den Haag, close by the beach of Kijkduin you can visit one of the most important works of art in the Netherlands. Stroom has commissioned James Turrell some 20 years ago to realize a Turrell masterpiece in the dunes of Kijkduin titles CELESTIAL VAULT. You can enter through a tunnel a beautiful shaped bowl covered with grass , with in the middle a stone bench, which functions as a bed. When laid down, you can experience the serene surroundings and look at the sky, which of course is always different. Dutch landscapes are renowned for their skies and because of the focus on the sky when you are lying down you can experience this for the full 100%

An absolute must for the Turrell admirers and good to know that the CELESTIAL VAULT has been restored to its original splendor some 5 years ago.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on Turrell including the one on this masterpeice in the dunes. This one is signed and from a limited signed edition. Beautiful publication and today for the special price USD 150.00

 

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Josef Koudelka….not only a Magnum photographer.

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Czech nationality and now 78 years of age, spanning a photography career of over 55 years, multiple exhibitions all over the world, Koudelka has become one of the most important photographers in modern photograph. Street scenes and the Romani ( Gypsies from Romany) are subjects he has become famous for. Not only a Magnum photographer but also a photographer who found his subjects among people he cared about. They were not only his subjects. In the photographs you could see that he could come very close by and had become more of  a friend than the photographer who followed his subject.

I thought about Koudelka because i found a very interesting article about Koudelka in which is explained what the 10 most important lessons were Koudelka has taught a fellow photographer.

http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2013/03/28/10-lessons-josef-koudelka-has-taught-me-about-street-photography/

this is what the author Eric Kim says about Koudelka and i totally agree with him.

“To me, Josef Koudelka is one of the most brilliant photographers out there and a true master of black and white. Not only does his work carry a strong sense of composition, form, and geometry but they also carry an emotional impact. His photos are raw, gritty, and show both the hope and melancholy of life”

If you are interested in modern photography you must look at these breathtaking and intriguing photographs and certainly you will agree with me that this is a true master of black and white photography.

wilfried

book below is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Walt Disney in Art

Yesterday, the post on Wim Delvoye made me think about the influence Walt Disney had on art during the last 50 years. The influence must be extremely large because many of the great Modern artists from the last half century used Disney icons for their art. Wim Delvoye made me think about this relation because his signature is crafted after the original Walt Disney signature. But there is also Jeff Koons who uses Snow White and Mickey Mouse.

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The skull that is in the picture is a combination between 2 iconic elements in art. The skull by Damien Hirst and the ears of Mickey Mouse. Kitsch, art and a laugh combined in one work…..beautiful ;-). Andy Warhol began making silkscreened prints of Mickey Mouse , when he realized that beside the celebrities he used for his silkscreens he made in the factory, Mickey Mouse was such a celebrity too and needed to be depicted in a large silkscreen to honor him.

Just about a year ago the art world was surprised with a complete new amusement park. Dismaland…. a Disney inspired park by the famous Banksy in which he uses Disney themes and make these his own by making his own interpretation on these classic Disney themes and gives comments on the world around him.

Finally Keith Haring…..Haring uses the Mickey Mouse ears almost every time he makes a selfportrait. Showing that his art is rooted within the comic art of Walt Disney….great art by great artists and all inspired by the master of animation and comics…Walt Disney.

 

 

wilfried / www. ftn-books.com

 

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Anni Albers

 

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She chose her own way and always has made her art in the shadow of her husband…Josef Albers. When you first see her work, her works are far more complex than those of Josef Albers, but where Josef uses the square and rectangle as his main subjects, Anni choses more complex patterns. They look like patterns in fabric, woven and knitted but all with a regularity and balance. No wonder, because Anni Albers was one of the foremost textile artists from the 20th century. Whenever you visit the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop you can encounter some nice works , but for the larger part of her oeuvre you have to be in the USA where she found many loyal admirers. www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on both, but will focus this time on Anni Albers, because she deserves it for being the original artist she was.

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Irma Boom…the most original and best book designer in the world.

Of course , the title of this blog is my way of thinking about Irma Boom, who  first made a career with SDU publishers before she started her own office in 1991. But without a doubt she is one of the greatest living graphical designers of the world.

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One of the first who had complete faith in the abilities and quality of Irma Boom was Paul Fentener van Vlissingen who commissioned the SVH jubilee publication of over 2000 pages ….. a classic in book design, finished in 1996 and done  in the very special Irma Boom way with no limitations in the execution and with a complete rethinking of the classic book design.

A true DUTCH DESIGN classic which was the starting point of the Irma Boom designs as we know them. Other clients followed . Vitra , Chanel and Ferrari among them, but…..not only the larger companies and brand names wanted to use the design qualities of Irma Boom. There were smaller ones like dutch museums and the Siewe gallery , who presented a solo exhibition of her earlier this year with which they published a special Irma Boom limited edition.

http://www.slewe.nl/exhibitions/2016#irmaboomundercover.

and beside this special exhibition they commissioned some of their gallery publication to mrs Boom. My personal favorite Irma Boom publication is a small book on Tomas Rajlich which was published some 15 year ago and which has all the subtleties of a great book design. Now is the time to start collecting Irma Boom publications…wait another couple of years and none are there to be found. Irma Boom her designs and publications are collected by practically all of the large dutch museums and of course the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Irma Boom publications available

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Jesus Rafael Soto and the Josef Albers Museum

A few years ago we went to the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop. An excellent museum with a small museum shop. Small but with a very interesting inventory. The shop sells catalogues and prints from over 20 years of Josef Albers Museum exhibitions and some of them are rare and collectable. Beside the books they have a publishing program of A0 posters for each of the exhibitions they organize. Inside these editions they have the artist sign about 10 copies and sell these separately at a higher price plus……….they publish their own special editions.

On my first visit i bought a very nice silkscreened poster by Jesus Rafael Soto, signed and one of the 3 available. Half a year ago we went again for a visit and i had hopes for 2 more of these beauties , but too late…they had sold out. However i was lucky, because the special edition of the Soto print , signed and numbered by Soto was still available. Unfortunately at a much higher price than anticipated, but  still too good to be true, so i bought it. It now is for sale at www.ftn-books.com  (inquire for more pictures).

The Soto is one of those prints that will be in high demand in the next 10 years, but beside this Soto, there are many more extremely nice posters published by the Josef Albers Museum. If you live outside Germany they can not/ will not sell you because they only sell within Germany, but there is a selection of these posters/prints available in my shop , because i chose some for my stock. Search for Quadrat / Bottrop or Josef Albers Museum and you will find about 35 of them for sale……and the signed SOTO sccreenprint.

 

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Edward Kienholz and the Beanery

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At the time the Stedelijk Museum reopened again after its long time restoration, I noticed the return of one of my favorites within its collection…..the Beanery. The Beanery is a one on one replica of the local bar Kienholz visited frequently and stands out for me, because of its originality.  It is almost like a surrealist environment in which heads are replaced with clocks.

Kienholz makes environments which you can enter and experience and this Beanery from 1965 is one of his best. Because of the regular wear and tear over the years it had to be restored. There is a nice video on You Tube which gives information on the restauration and shows the importance of this Kienholz work. Lately Kienholz made another project in the Netherlands called HOERENGRACHT of which the catalogue is also available at www.ftn-books.com

 

This is the text the Stedelijk Museum published on the Beanery:

ABOUT THE BEANERY

Edward Kienholz (1927–1994) made The Beanery in 1965, basing it on his local bar, The Original Beanery on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. It took Kienholz six months to consolidate and replicate the bar’s content in an artwork. Everything in the installation is life size: from the figures –  inspired by Kienholz’s friends and acquaintances – to the bar, bottles of beer and spirits, ash trays, cash register, telephone book, and jukebox. Even the photos on the wall duplicate those of The Original Beanery.

Remarkably, Kienholz gave each person in his bar a clock for a face, a reference to his fascination with time. Only the barman, modeled after Barney, the bar-owner at that time, has a face. Smelling and sounding like an actual bar, the installation is an evocative sensory experience that visitors are allowed to enter. The typical bar smell is characteristic for the way Kienholz work. The artist made a special recipe: the smell has to be assembled from beer, rancid fat, urine, mothballs and cigarette ash. The scent paste has been made multiple times by the restoration team of the Stedelijk Museum (the urine has been replaced by ammoniac). By coating the work with a synthetic resin the artist instills a sense of mortality and transience, which is amplified by the brown color of the interior, with its evocations of age and decay.

The Beanery is also something of a time capsule. The sign warning “faggots stay out” clearly conveys the intolerant attitudes of American society at the time, while the headlines of the 1964 newspaper in a newspaper dispenser at the door indicate that the United States is on the brink of war with Vietnam. Kienholz came up with the idea of creating his own version of the Beanery in 1958 but commenced work on August 28, 1964, upon reading the headline Children Kill Children in Vietnam Riots while visiting the real bar. The harsh contrast between the “real time” represented by the newspaper headline and the “surreal time” of the bar’s customers impelled Kienholz to start work on the tableau.

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com