Cindy Sherman (1954). . the perfect selfie

 

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It wasn’t to difficult to find a good portrait of Cindy Sherman on Google, because every picture by Cindy Sherman features …Cindy Sherman. So before the craze of the selfie photography , Sherman already made “perfect” selfies, every time staged in a different setting.

She has become world famous with these photographs and had in the Netherlands on several occasions exhibitions, including the retrospective in the Boymans van Beuningen, which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

One exception is that at one time in her career she wasn’t present in het photographs. In 1992 Sherman embarked on a series of photographs now referred to as “Sex Pictures.” For the first time, Sherman is entirely absent from these photographs. Instead, she again uses dolls and prosthetic body parts, this time posed in highly sexual poses. Prosthetic genitalia – both male and female – are used often and photographed in extreme close-up. Photographed exclusively in color, these photographs are meant to shock. Sherman continued to work on these photographs for some time and continued to experiment with the use of dolls and other replacements for what had previously been herself.

 

When i looked closely at these photographs i found a great resemblance with the POUPEE photographs by Hans Bellmer. I might be wrong, but because of this resemblance i find this series much less interesting than the photographs with Sherman in them.

 

 

Nat Finkelstein (1933-2009)..The Warhol/Factory photographer

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His claim to fame was that Nat Finkelstein was the house photographer of the FACTORY. The complex which housed the studios of Andy Warhol.

(The Factory was Andy Warhol’s New York City studio, which had three different locations between 1962 and 1984. The original Factory was on the fifth floor at 231 East 47th Street, in Midtown Manhattan. The rent was one hundred dollars per year.[1] Warhol left in 1967 when the building was scheduled to be torn down to make way for an apartment building. He then relocated his studio to the sixth floor of the Decker Building at 33 Union Square West near the corner of East 16th Street, where he was shot in 1968 by Valerie Solanas. The Factory was revamped and remained there until 1973. It moved to 860 Broadway at the north end of Union Square. Although this space was much larger, not much filmmaking took place there. In 1984 Warhol moved his remaining ventures, no longer including filming, to 22 East 33rd Street, a conventional office building)

In September 1962 Finkelstein was commissioned by Pageant magazine to do an article on the emerging Pop Art movement. The article was titled “What happens at a Happening?” it covered a Claes Oldenburg “happening” in Greenwich Village and was a break that would define his future. Two years later, while attending a party at the Factory, Finkelstein met Warhol, who had seen his photographs of Oldenburg’s “happening” in Pageant. Finkelstein offered his services as a photographer to the artist, and for the next three years he was a constant presence at the Factory. His iconic images of the include subjects such as the Velvet Underground performing live, Marcel Duchamp, Bob Dylan, Edie Sedgwick, Salvador Dalí, and Allen Ginsberg.

There are some nice Finkelstein and Warhol publications available at www.ftn-books.com

Pipilotti Rist (1957)… another great Suisse artist

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Today i realized that there have been so many great Suisse artist during the last 100 years and certainly Pipilotti Rist is one of them a deserves a small blog to draw attention to her works.

As a video and installation artist she has one element which returns in every one of her projects and it is the use of bright colors. The use of color makes them like 60’s halucinations.

During her studies Pipilotti Rist began making super 8 films. Her works generally last only a few minutes, and contained alterations in their colors, speed, and sound. Her works generally treat issues related to gender, sexuality, and the human body.

Her colorful and musical works transmit a sense of happiness and simplicity. Rist’s work is regarded as feminist by some art critics. Her works are held by many important art collections worldwide.

Because of the use of Video in most of het installations it is hard to find good publications on Rist, but there are some on the market and certainly one of them is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Review Gemeentemuseum Den Haag visit 11/12/2017….. CHAOS!

I think i have a right to speak when i say that yesterdays visit at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag for me personally was “complete Chaos” . Yes, it was a busy Sunday afternoon and there must have been well over 1500 visitors that day, making it hard to find a quiet spot within in the museum. But beside that, the collections and all special exhibitions were filled with too many objects and what is even more important there was hardly any connection between the subjects of the exhibitions. First we re-visited the Heyboer exhibition which was during the last visit a real eye opener and with this second visit confirmed its importance, but after that….when you climb the stairs…. there is an Art Deco exhibition. An exhibition which has some great elements and objects but is so crowded with objects and far too many costumes that the important art is lost among all other items. For instance in the first room there is an extremely important Brancusi sculpture and one of the most beautiful Kees van Dongen paintings ( this was new to me) which are lost because there are too many objects in the room. It would have been so much better just to present the photograph with the Brancusi sculpture, the sculpture and the Salome painting by van Dongen and the room would have been perfect.

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Now room after room is filled with too many objects and it is the same with the Steltman special exhibition. Too little space and too many objects and more important, it clashes with the Ceramic exhibition of the Ceramics by Hans de Jong ( a nice selection but again no space enough). The 3 screens with Uta Eisenreich are lost in between the two exhibition parts on the 1st floor in the Projectenzaal are not fascinating enough to stay any longer period in the room than 1 minute or so. There is no cohesion between the presentations and it makes a visit tiring and not interesting enough. But ….there are 2 exceptions  . First there is the mentioned Heyboer exhibition which is a must see and a great chance to discover Heyboer as a painter and certainly one of the most fascinating exhibitions i have seen last year…… It is the Marthe Wery / works on paper exhibition in the Berlage room.

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Over many years, Wéry was inspired by paper to create a variety of unique forms of artistic expression, in which the visual experience is always paramount. She used Indian ink to inscribe serene straight lines on handmade paper, the various types and sizes of which contribute to the expressive power of the work. It may be smooth, formal and rational in appearance or, on the contrary, lumpy, tactile and sensually appealing. Wéry used folds in the paper to accentuate or interrupt the drawn lines or, in other works, soaked the paper in acrylic paint and carefully controlled the resulting colour gradient. She frequently created works on two, three or even more panels, installing them in such a way as to create a rhythmic harmony with the surrounding architectural space.

Around 1980, the lines gave way to letters or text. Wéry took texts by people like French artist Henri Matisse or American author Gertrude Stein as the points of departure for what she called her écritures. She also produced aquatints featuring compositions in which coloured geometrical planes interact with the white of the paper. When she began to stack drawings, placing them in bundles on a shelf, hanging them on the wall or standing them on the floor, they functioned as three-dimensional works. (Wery text by Gemeentemuseum Den Haag)

www.ftn-books.com has the very important Marthe Wery catalogue from 1986 available.

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Alex Vermeulen (1954).. a smile 4 a smile SOH

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Alex Vermeulen is a dutch multi-media rtist who has had several museum presentations in the Netherlands. In 1993 Vermeulen moved to Amsterdam and founded in 1995 “SOH-States of Humanity” and the Syndicaat foundation. A year later he presented his final film-book, as part of a large installation, Fuga Futuri,[4] at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum (1996). The chief character introduced in this show for the first time, was the stylized humanoid “Eggy”, named after his egg-like shape. In the following fifteen years sculptures of various forms of the enigmatic Eggy would appear in a number of projects mounted in public places around the world including New York (1996) where Vermeulen asked those who passed to select their favorite Eggy and relate it to their personal life.

There is an excellent piece to be foumnd on Wikipedia, but to show something of his qualities as an artist here is the  A SMILE FOR A SMILE video

there are some publications by Vermeulen availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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Robert Capa (1913-1954)… a war photographer

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Only 41 years of age , but with an iconic oeuvre he left us.. Some examples of photographs we all have encountered for more than once in your lives. Foremost Capa was a war photographer and left us some iconic photographs. but when you study the Magmum site   (https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL535353 ) you discover that beside his war photographs there are some tremendous other photographs to be found within the Magnum archives, but that his most important subject was WAR in all its aspects and cruelties. A true journalist photographer who showed us the cruelties of war . No polished photographs but a raw image of the reality.

 

What i stumbled upon when searching for material on Capa is that he had an affair with the famous Ingrid bergman. In 1945 after the fall of Nazi Germany, Capa was staying at the Hotel Ritz on Place Vendôme where he met Hollywood actress, Ingrid Bergman. Bergman was traveling around Europe to see the devastation caused by the war, and entertaining the troops. When they met, Bergman was still married to Petter Lindström who she had a baby with. Capa asked Bergman for dinner, and soon after they started to have an affair. In 1946, Bergman asked Capa to come to Hollywood with her, and he did. While Capa was in Hollywood, he visited her at a studio where she was filming, Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Notorious’. Capa had shot some still photos for the film which he was given no credit for when they were published Hitchcock later made a film with James Stewart and Grace Kelly in 1954, called ‘Rear Window’, loosely based on Capa and Bergman. Bergman wanted to marry Capa and also tried to convince him to quit his job to work in Hollywood. Capa knew that he wouldn’t fit in, and told Bergman that he can’t have a wife and kids because of his duties of work. Their affair ended when Capa left Hollywood for an assignment in Turkey.

There is a great Capa and Magnum publication available at www.ftn-books.com

 

Joan Jonas (1936)….only one book

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Joan Jonas was born in 1936 in New York. A pioneer of performance and video art, Jonas works in video, installation, sculpture, and drawing, often collaborating with musicians and dancers to realize improvisational works that are equally at home in the museum gallery and on the theatrical stage. Drawing on mythic stories from various cultures, Jonas invests texts from the past with the politics of the present.

Just a short biography which can be found everywhere on the internet, but a visual example of her work says more than a thousand words.

and the interview she has done with Art21

 

www.ftn-books.com has only one book available by Joan Jonas. It is the exhibition catalogue for her Stedelijk Museum exhibition in 1994.

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