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Tiong Ang (1961)

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The work of TIONG ANG spans a wide array of media, from collective performance, experimental film, through video and installation to painting, photography, and the display of objects. His practice across these forms centers around the social, emotional and existential consequences and negotiation of dislocation, disparate identities, and dispersion of imagery. _ Recurring themes are the impact of mass and digital media on individual perspective and collective memory, and the anxieties evoked by mobility and globalization. In these hybrid contexts, Ang addresses multiple modes of human presence and representation, using social intervention and juxtaposition, chance and communality, mockery and disguise. He explores subjective positions in divided, ambivalent, and collective conditions, be it on ethical, ethnic, or sociopolitical grounds. _Initially an object/painting based studio artist, from the mid-1990s Ang has expanded his production including experimental film, performative and relational enactments, interdisciplinary collaborations and curated projects. In a divergent practice, he examines authority and sustainability of images and narratives. The common thread in the work is the conflict between detached objectivity and engaged subjectivity; it demonstrates how universal media not only affect our perceptions of places and events but also denote our concept of reality. Elements of selfhood, cultural meaning, and social absorption have emerged in a diversity of mediated images. Thus, human perception and behaviour converge in complexities of disparate truths. The persona of the artist, distorted by media based projections, is the ultimate body to explore the human experience.

The above text comes from the Tiong Ang site.

www.ftn-books.com has recently added 2 important Tiong Ang publications to its inventory.

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John Baldessari dies at the age of 88

A curious thing happened. This morning i received in my mailbox an article by “Mutual Art”.  I could really understnad why it is important for some to know the development “money wise” of an artist, but it would have been so much more graceful to have remembered Baldessari for the excellent conceptual artist he was:

In Numbers: John Baldessari

The art world lost one of its most beloved characters last week, when John Baldessari passed away on January 2nd at the age of 88. Baldessari can be described in a great many ways— versatile, funny, iconoclastic, influential, pioneering— and his artistic career, which stretched over some six decades, saw some unforgettable moments, such as his Cremation Project (1970), in which he burnt all the paintings he made between 1953 and 1966, subsequently baking the ashes into cookies.

But beneath his humorous surface— he himself said that humor was not his aim— lay great depth and strength of character. It is doubtful whether conceptual art and photography would enjoy their same status as modes of art today without Baldessari. He endured much criticism in the beginning of his career, when abstract art still reigned supreme, but he embraced that criticism to push Conceptualism even further. Time and progress were on his side, however, and questions he posed about meaning and authorship ring as true today, as they did in the ’60s. His death is greatly mourned by the entirety of the art world. 

Change in Total Sales, # of Lots Offered and Sold: John Baldessari

Taking a look at Baldessari’s auction performance, it is likely that his career in the secondary market is only in its beginnings. To date, 2014 was his outstanding year, during which his personal record lot Commissioned Painting: A Painting By Edgar Transue, 1969 sold for 2,517,000 USD at Sotheby’s New York. A drop in offered lots in subsequent years (except 2019 when he sold 72 lots, 7 more than in 2014) didn’t see him approach the 2014 total high of 9,106,891 USD again. Many of his highest grossing works sold in what is now the decade before the last (the 2000s).

Comparison of Artwork Prices Across Price Points: John Baldessari

The lion’s share of his lots appearing at auction, 58.12%, belong to the bottom tier of below $10K, while most of the value which make up his total sales value stems from works valued between $100K – $500K, 69.31%.  Whether we will see some of Baldessari’s works appear at auction to outdo his performance to date or not is irrelevant, however, as his contribution to art will remain much more valuable than can be expressed in monetary terms.

Change in Total Sales, # of Lots Offered and Sold: John Baldessari

Taking a look at Baldessari’s auction performance, it is likely that his career in the secondary market is only in its beginnings. To date, 2014 was his outstanding year, during which his personal record lot Commissioned Painting: A Painting By Edgar Transue, 1969 sold for 2,517,000 USD at Sotheby’s New York. A drop in offered lots in subsequent years (except 2019 when he sold 72 lots, 7 more than in 2014) didn’t see him approach the 2014 total high of 9,106,891 USD again. Many of his highest grossing works sold in what is now the decade before the last (the 2000s).

Comparison of Artwork Prices Across Price Points: John Baldessari

The lion’s share of his lots appearing at auction, 58.12%, belong to the bottom tier of below $10K, while most of the value which make up his total sales value stems from works valued between $100K – $500K, 69.31%.  Whether we will see some of Baldessari’s works appear at auction to outdo his performance to date or not is irrelevant, however, as his contribution to art will remain much more valuable than can be expressed in monetary terms.

 

instead, read the article which was

published a few days ago in the New York Times, much better and certainly more graceful to remember this great artist.

http://www.ftn-books.com has some very importnat Baldessari publications available

 

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Marie-Jo Lafontaine (1950)

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An artist who’s works i encounter regularly whenever i visit a European museum is Marie-Jo Lafontaine. Hardly known outside Europe but one of the better known contemporary artists since her Documenta appearance in 1987. The famous Kassel exhibition was at that time curated by Rudi Fuchs and Lafontaine made a name for herself with Larmes d’Acier

This does not mean that her works before 1987 were not interesting. They certainly were , but Video related art is not the most accessible kind of art and these installations by Lafontaine . are no exception. Still the importance of her works is recognized by many and one hopes that a retrospective will be held in the near future. Showing the true quality of her poetic video art.

there are some Marie-Jo Lafontaine books available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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Albert Van Der Weide ( 1949 )

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A good way to start the New Year.

ALLE MACHT AAN DE KUNST

A happy and healthy 2020

 The art item ” ALLE MACHT AAN DE KUNST ” ( all power to art ) is available at http://www.ftn-books.com

weide macht

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A classic Christmas Card by Bill Hurtz, ca. 1940

This year a classic Christmas Card for all blog readers. It is a card by one of Walt Disney’s 1940 studio employees…Bill Hurtz. he made a true Disney “classic” with this card.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS,

wilfried

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Black Friday at FTN books

Not just a 3 days discount but a total of 11 days, a one period discount of 10% on all your FTN books purchases. Valid from the early hours  of Friday the 22nd of November until midnight on the 1st of December 2019. Use the special Black Friday 10% discount code:

                                                               B2019F

 

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Larry Clark (1943)

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In many ways the US audience thinks his works a controversial, but in the Netherlands were there is a much more liberal approach to art, Larry Clark’s his works are considered as important and progressive. The result….some excellent gallery exhibitions over here and the spectacular Larry Clark exhibition at the Groninger Museum in 1999. The catalogue design was done by Swip Stolk, who designed the catalogue in the shape of a book containing postcard/photographs and some Clark designed (real) stickers.. Making this one of the most collectible Larry Clark items worldwide ( now available at http://www.ftn-books.com.

clark groninger a

Larry Clark was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1943. While a teenager Clark developed his photography skills working as an assistant to his mother, a door-to-door baby photographer. He later spent two years at a commercial photography school. Larry Clark achieved both fame and notoriety with the publication of his first book Tulsa in 1971. Although drug use, sex and violence are the main themes, the images are often beautifully composed and his subjects are sympathetically presented. Tulsa demonstrated a new style of photography that was subjective, alienated and completely detached from any social agenda. Clark raised the ante for engaged photography; his work offered a lived experience rather than a merely observed one.

In his collages and videos of the late 1980s and early 1990s, he broadened this investigation into revealing the ways that mass media alternately creates, rejects, and eroticizes young people. In 1995, Clark released his first feature film, Kids, which premiered at that year’s Sundance Film Festival and was hailed as “an instant classic” and “a wake-up call.” Kids was followed by such works as Another Day in Paradise (1998), Bully (2001), Ken Park (2003), WASSUP ROCKERS (2005), and the autobiographical installation and publication punk Picasso (2003). Marfa Girl (2012) was released independently on his website (www.larryclark.com) and won the Marcus Aurelius Award for Best Film at the 2012 Rome Film Festival. Marfa Girl 2, Clark’s first sequel, premiered in New York City in 2018.

Clark has been the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Photographers’ Fellowship in 1973 and the Creative Arts Public Service Photographers’ Grant in 1980. His work is included in important museum and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; and the Frankfurt Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany. In 2010, a retrospective of Clark’s work, Kiss the past hello, was held at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He lives and works in New York.

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Patricia Steur (1948)

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Patricia Steur is practicing photography as a professional since 1980. She followed the life and career of Mink Deville / Willy Deville from up close. She made photographs of my all time favorite artist Willy Deville,for over 3 decades and has published a beautiful book on Willy, which i recently acquired after being on the search for it for many many years. In the book a DVD with some nice, never published Video’s. Here are the ones that are currently available on Youtube . The first i want to share with you is the very intimate Carmelita song he played for his friend Jack Nitzsche, who would die shortly after this recording (2000).

and in my opinion the second is even better: Willy playing “Heaven stood still”

Willy Deville and his acoustic trio live in Berlin 2002.

 

I had to share these because Willy’s music is beautiful , timeless and an almost everyday joy to listen. I hope you enjoy these too.  I know, these are not books , but to return to the books…..i have a very nice book by Patricia Steur available on the many famous peoples she photographed available at http://www.ftn-books.com and Willy’s music is definitely great art.

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Martin Maloney (1923)

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I did not know anything about Maloney and stumbled upon an article by Elena Filipovic and it is a great introduction to this conceptual artist . I recently added the Bulletin 34, from 1971 to my inventory which is now for sale at http://www.ftn-books.com

The history of art is an ocean with many wrecks . Some floating on the surface, most almost inaccessible submerged on the seabed. As an art historian, you can surf the waves, and pick up the supernatant oeuvres, or you can go deep sea diving in the hope of discovering less known, less  obvious artists.
Today you must scrape the bottom to find literature mentioning the name Martin Maloney (1938 – 2003), and even then you will find only loose fragments and faint traces of an oeuvre .

However, this American artist once was amongst the founders of conceptual art. He had close contacts with the, now classical, conceptual artists and took part in a number of key exhibitions in the late sixties and early seventies.

During this period he was represented by the top galleries of the avant garde , such as Seth Siegelaub in New York, Konrad Fischer in Düsseldorf and Art & Project in Amsterdam. 
But the man did not refrain from criticizing the art establishment and his fellow artists , and even used criticism explicitly as the starting point for a number of postcard sized ” language pieces ” (”Designation Deposits” and ”Reject Deposits” , 1967-2001 ). This unruly and polemical art practice, coupled with his radical views and his particular temperament, isolated the artist more and more from the artistic context . 
By the time Martin Maloney, at the age of 65, died in Antwerp, he was materially impoverished and maintained only sporadic contacts with the art world .Maloney’s stubborn attitude obviously had other consequences too: because of his own (largely) chosen isolation, he cut himself off from the various channels that art history constructs: gallerists, collectors, critics ,curators ,conservators, art historians, fellow artists. Moreover, he himself destroyed much of his own work. All this results in his absence from the major, canonizing, publications since the seventies devoted to conceptual art .

By putting his radical critique in relation to the art world down on paper, Martin Maloney literally wrote himself out of art history.

After dropping out of university, in 1962, Maloney settled as an artist in New York. Initiall he had a special interest in the work of the postwar New York School painters like Ad Reinhardt , Barnett Newman , Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, but gradually shifted his attention away from the pictorial to the textual and non-material forms of art which from the mid- sixties began to emerge. He shared a studio with Lawrence Weiner and maintained relations with artists such as Carl Andre, Joseph Kosuth and Dan Graham.

In 1966, Maloney took part in the infamous ’25’ group exhibition, organized by the young art dealer Seth Siegelaub,who was to become the great promoter of conceptual art a few years later.

Maloney exhibited at Siegelaub several times and also had shows in several major European galleries. By this time, Maloney was  looking for alternatives to the traditional gallery exhibition. In many cases, his solo exhibitions would be accompanied with, or even take the form of an artist’s book. Examples are ‘Interguments’ (1969), ‘Fractionals’ (1970) ‘Reject Objects’ (1971) and ‘Five days and five nights’ (1970). The latter book was published in an edition of 500 copies in the framework of Maloney’s one man show at the MTL gallery in Brussels. Maloney locked himself for five days and five nights in the gallery to work on the resulting booklet of poetic statements. The conventional presentation of objects in a gallery made room for the direct communication of ideas in print .

For his next exhibition at London’s Lisson Gallery (1971), Maloney takes things even a step further. After distributing a poster designed by the artist, Maloney takes residence in the gallery and throughout the whole duration of the event goes into direct confrontation with his audience. The resulting insights and frustrations he wrote in white chalk on the black painted walls of the basement. After a short sojourn in London, Maloney moved to Amsterdam in 1973 and leaves behind the hardcore minimalist concept to include wood sculptures and painted text works. Four years later he returned to New York, to gradually retreat in the privacy of his studio, now serving as a laboratory for numerous installations and presentations.

 
From 1995 until his death he resided in Antwerp, where in 2000 he was invited by Flor Bex to realize a mural for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MUHKA). 

Maloney occupied a studio in a dilapidated building on the Jordaenskaai 13 .

What remained in the six rooms of Maloney’s Antwerp working and living environment were, in addition to a number of ”language pieces” and works on paper, the results of his latest artistic experiments: minimalist ‘floor pieces’ and corner stacks, composed of pieces of fallen ceiling plaster, wallpaper, fabric scraps, canvas and wooden beams from the solid oak doors in the building.

Like an architectural archivist Maloney recycled and ordered materials of the decaying building into geometric compositions. It is as if these material traces of a precise and time-consuming labor, the quiet, repetitive activity of the hands were a necessary remedy for the chronic anxiety of the mind .

Johan Pas , Ekeren , January 2004
pace Works”

“To live,” Walter Benjamin once famously wrote, “is to leave traces.” But one could almost say that the recently deceased artist Martin Maloney (1938-2003) lived to efface his. Largely forgotten and omitted from art history, the American artist is all but invisible in institutional collections of the conceptual art he participated in from an early stage.

Thus the title of Maloney’s first posthumous exposition, “Here to Stay”, captures all of the ambiguity of the artist’s oeuvre. The exhibition fills the vast decrepit spaces where the artist lived and worked in solitude for the last 8 years of his life while the Antwerp building was waiting to be demolished.

The works, like the space they occupy, are not there ‘to stay’ at all. Immanent destruction is a ghost that has haunted the building for years. And even though his arrival in this space was relatively recent, Maloney’s works made from the recycling of building detritus have evoked architecture and entropy since the late ‘60s.

He made floor-bound geometric ensembles, each composed of thousands of pieces of any one element: neat piles of fallen ceiling plaster, pyramids of broken bricks, layers of split timber from his studio’s oak doors, or thousands of identical maniacally cut squares of carpet. In his work, the ceiling sat on the floor and wall elements became precarious rubble in the corner. In short, boundaries were elided between architectural elements and sculpture, between object and installation.

These ensembles made infinitely mutable, fragile works—more often than not with nothing holding the components together. They could change form a hundred times… or simply be swept away. ‘Structure’, ‘edge’, ‘edged’, ‘angle’, ‘cut’, ‘split’, ‘split space’: these words line Maloney’s texts, canvases and painted brick-works. Even a sampling of his exhibition titles, “Up Against the Wall” (at Konrad Fischer, Dusseldorf 1971) or “White Walls are Animals” (at Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp, 1980), give the sense that the constraints of architecture and space — particularly the exhibition space — were never far from Maloney’s thoughts.

For him, the gallery’s symbolic ‘white walls’ needed to be fought, resisted and shown for what they were. In 1971, he locked himself in the confines of the MTL gallery in Brussels for five days and nights. His solitary act and refusal to allow the gallery space its role in visual presentation was the ‘exhibition’, with only a published version of the texts he wrote during his stay in the gallery as material trace.

Martin Maloney’s contribution to David Lamelas’ Publication, Nigel Greenwood Gallery, London, 1970.

For his exhibition at the Lisson Gallery in London that same year, he painted the walls black and wrote lines of conversation and provocation on them during the gallery’s opening hours to incite the visitors who came to communicate with him. Little, if anything, is left of these meetings of the conceptual, the textual and the architectural, and one has the sense that this is somehow as Maloney wanted it.

Maloney was active as a conceptual artist in the ‘60s close to the likes of Lawrence Weiner, Carl Andre, Joseph Kosuth and Dan Graham. He made his material pile sculptures and conceptual projects alongside a vast body of intricately shaped canvases, highly structured language pieces, box sculptures, and painted statements on canvas.

Poster “Here To Stay”
 

To see some of what remains of this work on exhibit is to feel a ricochet of influences, references, and dialogues (with Weiner and Andre, of course, but also Frank Stella, Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta-Clark, Arte Povera…). Over time, however, he managed to alienate himself from his fellow artists, galleries, collectors, curators and art history alike. With the exhibition’s end, the works on show will travel to museum spaces that share little of the precariousness that make a building in ruin a fitting context for the artist’s complex, volatile work.

The form of the works and their dialogue with space will necessarily change, and Maloney would probably never have accepted such an exhibition at all. As he knew too well, white walls are animals indeed

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Paul de Nooijer (1946)

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Paul de Nooijer , filmaker and photograph announced his retirement in 2012. He did not want to repeat himself. So he focussed on his cooperation with his son Menno de Nooijer who is an artist too. De Nooijer is/was a pioneer in dutch staged photography and he even made some video clips for MTV. You can consider his photography and films like short stories in images in which he often uses stop-motion techniques.

This medium is hard to translate into a printed publication, but some efforts have been made and these are available at www.ftn-books.com