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Chaim Levano ( 1928-2016)

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Chaim Levano was born on January 1, 1928 in Heerlen, Limburg, Netherlands. He was an actor, known for Warum Ulli sich am Weihnachtsabend umbringen wollte (2005), De zwarte meteoor (2000) and Baantjer (1995). He died on February 17, 2016 in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands.

This in short all that i found on Levano, but there must be much more, since a very impressive publication, including a DVD on his career was published by Huis Clos. Everything is done with the utmost tastte. design by Piet Gerards, photography by Koos Breukel and a movie by Kees hin. This is a AAA production and now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Art & Project final season 1998

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People following this blog know that i have acquired a large collection with Bulletins and invitations of the Art & Project gallery. Geert van Beijeren and Adriaan van Ravesteijn have published in nearly 30 years numerous publications. Bulletins, Catalogues, invitations, multiples and letters. Here is the final announcement of all their activities. In dutch they announce the ending of their gallery activities by the end of August 1998. This final announcement is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Stedelijk Museum 2009 … a cotton bag

 

During the renovation of the Stedelijk Museum in 2009. There were only 5 special opening days of the museum. These days were on the occasion of the Amsterdam art fair to let the public see the progress and possibilities of the “new” building and get acqainted with it

The museum had a completely different approach in showing its colection since the rooms were filled for a period of only 5 days. The result a truly different museum filled with surprising and fantastic art and this bag is proof that there were these opening days in May 2009. There were 4 different versions and all versions are available. The bag is made of cotton and contained a newspaper on the museum and had a special button on the outside. These bags have now become highly collectable items and are now for sale at www.ftn-books.com. An important Stedelijk Museum collectible.

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Vrouwen van Amsterdam, 1970

This is the title of a publication which is since a few weeks available at www.ftn-books.com. Inspired by the Ed van der Elsken exhibition at the Nederlands Fotomuseum which recently closed, i was looking for publications that were special and depicted the era of Sixties and early Seventies. This is one of the first of i hope many discoveries. “Vrouwen van Amsterdam” was published by Fototribune in 1970 and contains photographs of Amsterdam Women by the vey best . Ed van der Elsken, Cor Jaring, Koen Wessing and Claud van Heye. These are just a few names who had their input in this great publication. Typical Late Sixties photography, the age of Love & Peace depicted by great dutch photographers.

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The Living Room (1981-1993)

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The gallery was founded by Bart van de Ven and Peer Veneman. In the beginning of its existence the gallery revolved around a tight-knit group of artists who worked closely together, both professionally and socially. A group of young Dutch artists in the postmodern 1980s, including Rob Scholte, Henk Visch and Fortuijn O’Brien, were part of the scene around the gallery and they became very well known. At that time, they stood at the center of the Dutch art world.

The Living Room was launched in a small third-floor apartment in East Amsterdam in 1981 by art history student Bart van de Ven and artist Peer Veneman. The gallery’s focus was on painting and sculpture, most often from a select group of Dutch artists working in the typically anti-academic, ‘wild’ style of the early 1980s. After moving to Amsterdam’s city centre in 1983, and up until its closure in 1993, the activity of the gallery became increasingly formalised. The gallery’s production of catalogues and its participation in several international art fairs, underlined The Living Room’s professional acclaim and secured their influence well beyond the borders of the Netherlands.

The Living Room is now closed for a very long time, But when you look at their list of exhibitions you realize that here is a “classic” among dutch galleries and their publications are well worth collecting. Some of these are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ans Hey (1932-2010)

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A typical career of a dutch artist. an artist who has had her share of admirers during her life but who never has reached true “stardom” in the dutch art scene.

This is changing rapidly. Since a few years her works are offered at auction. Affordable auctions which prove that her works are better than average since the auction results pass their estimates by a fair percentage. Ans Hey is foremost a sculptor who loved to work with stone. She sculpted and modelled and polished her stones sculptures until the result reached a level of perfection. Het inspiration was nature and the human body, making these sculptures understandable for practically all/ www.ftn-books.com has a nice etching by Ans Hey and of course the very best publication which was acquired recently at a local book market.

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A tribute to Cor Rosbeek ( 1944-2019 )

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Recently one of the driving forces in the dutch museum publications world died. I remember Cor Rosbeek as one of the most gifted of all printers in Europe. On those occasions that we met professionally he came up with practical solutions and had always in mind the quality of the finished product.

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He made the impossible possible with a printing press and found solutions for the product that were thought to be impossible to realize. One of his best publications was the Diary of Anne Frank for which he made the facsimile reprint. Cor Rosbeek was a printing genius and realized many beautiful publications with the greatest of practically all (dutch) designers. His series of Rosbeek publications is known all over the world. In these publications everything comes together….great design, typography, layout, choice of papers and subject make these publications a monument for Cor Rosbeek. Some of these highly collectable publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

 

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Wim Crouwel (1928-2019)

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This morning i heard that one of the most influential designers from our time, Wim Crouwel, has died. The last years of his life he suffered Parkinson disease, but he was still going strong and must have looked forward to the retrospective of his works being opened later this  month at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. What better way to commemorate this great artist than to show a selection of the many items designed by him. www.ftn-books.com

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And to finish one of my personal favorites. Wim Crouwel will be an example for many designers in the decades to comewerkman crouwel aa.

 

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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 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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Dirk de Herder ( 1914-2003)

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On the site of the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Dirk de Herder is described as the poet among dutch photographers from his age. His photographs have a dreamlike poetic quality ( see the portrait above). De Herder considered himself as a master of light. His classic black & white photographs have been popular ever since 1946, when his first book about Amsterdam was published (now a classic at photobook auctions by itself). His images of the old centre of Amsterdam and later, in the same style, Stockholm and Paris were influenced by Brassaï, with whom he corresponded, exchanged books and prints. As a photographer he was also acquinted with COBRA, whose members he regulary photographed (and published in another book). For VARA television, a Dutch broadcasting company, he photographed many celebrities for the television programguides. But his hart was always with his free work. He made many more books, ‘Never travel without a Suitcase full of Dreams’ (80 photographs, for his 80th birthday) and ‘Flashback’ (about his life), were among the last.

There are several Dirk de Herder titles vailable at www.ftn-books.com