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Rudolf Steiner …. art & architecture

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Yesterday my wife an i visited the ‘ DE PARADE ” a cultural fair with music and performances. a great evening and great fun on the fairground and at the time we left it was still light enough to distinguish the buildings in the surroundings. We took a shortcut to the tramstop and ….there it was …. a great building used nowadays as a care home for older people. architecture by J.W.E. Buijs en J.B. Lursen from 1924, commissioned by the dutch anthroposophic society and heavily inspired by the architecture of Rudolf Steiner.

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This was a great building and for me a total surprise, because i never had seen it before nor heard about it. It brought back memories and i remembered the large inventory we had during the Spiritual in Art exhibition which was organized by the Haags Gemeentemuseum together with the Los Angeles County Museum which catalogues are still available at www.ftn-books.com. The exhibition showed the importance of the iedeas of rudolf Steiner and the influence these ideas had on the art and artist of the Interbellum and shortly after.

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Ben Vautier / Fluxus and Basel

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People who follow this blog , know of my love for Ben Vautier. Not only because he is one of the most original and consistent artists from the last 100 years, but also because there is always some humor just around the corner. Unfortunately  I have missed the most important Vautier exhibition from the last 10 years. It was held at the Tinguely Museum in Basel :

Ben Vautier. Is everything art?

21.10.2015 – 22.01.2016

Ben Vautier has been on the scene since the late 1950s as an artist, performer, organizer, linguistic inventor, and re-thinker of art. He is one of the pioneers of the Fluxus movement in Europe and, as a comrade-in-arms of the École de Nice, a close friend of artists such as Arman, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, and others. He is known for his text images, which, using brief, pithy phrases, equally question and challenge life and art. Ben Vautier has the first comprehensive retrospective in Switzerland dedicated to him at the Museum Tinguely. Alongside an overview of the first 20 years of his creativity, Ben sets up in Basel more than 30 rooms as he comments on various social, artistic, and political topics and takes a stance. In total, the show exhibits far in excess of 400 works by the artist, who is still very active to this day.

Still what remains is one of the best and certainly one of the most beautiful books on Vautier’s art. It has a simple brown cover, but is filled with iconic Ben “paintings” from hs first 20 years as an artist and published as only the Suisse can publish art /museum catalogues. The print is exceptionally good, the lay out superb and the contents…..well all BEN, making this one of the most collectable books i recently offered on www.ftn-books.com

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Narcisse Tordoir (1954) …painting as an act

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A key figure in the Antwerp art scene and also very well known in the dutch art scene because he is an advisor to the Rijksakademie Amsterdam.

But besides his presence in the art scenes of both the Low Countries, he has become world famous because of his approach to painting. Tordoir considers painting as an act and with this he has had performances in France, the UK, USA , Austria and many more countries, thus introducing his very personal approach to the art of painting to a new art scene each tine he had a performance or an exhibition outside Belgium or the Netherlands.

It is hard to find a reasonable priced work by Tordoir, but about 10 years ago i got lucky and bought a tetralogy at a local auction. It is a work typical for the works Tordoir produced during the eighties on which he combined several smaller ” paintings into a unique work of art. This work consists of 4 framed works of abstract figures forming together a unique Narcisse Tordoir. This work is now for sale at FTN art together with the books www.ftn-books.com has on Narcisse Tordoir.

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Pjeroo Robjee (1945)

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The Flemmish Pjeroo Robjee is first of all a writer and secondly a painter. As a writer he is considered to be the Flemmish James Joyce. This is not what i want to write about, but i want to introduce Robjee as a painter to you. Robjee has followed some day courses in painting and started to paint in a very personal way, inventing his own style . What does it look like?… i can not describe it , but i encounter something of illustrations in his paintings. The use of Pop Art colors combined with the simplicity of Botero. Shake it and the result is Robjee.

This mix of styles resulted in an invitation by the Belgian gallery Lens Fine art , where he had at least 2 exhibitions in 1975 and 1977. Both publications with these Robjee shows are available at www.ftn-books.com.

I really do not know what to think about these Robjee paintings, but somehow they fascinate me and must be considered as an important cultural heritage for Belgium since Robjee is an important writer who had also another quality…. he made some great timeless paintings that still fascinate.

 

 

 

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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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Annely Juda Fine art in London 57 years of Modern art

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Annely Juda CBE (born Anneliese Emily Brauer; September 23, 1914 – August 13, 2006) was a German art dealer known for founding the Annely Juda Fine Arts gallery in London. Notable artists represented have included Anthony Caro, David Hockney and Leon Kossoff. Juda introduced several Japanese artists to the London art market.

Since i have become an art book dealer who specializes in art and museum publications i frequently encountered publications by the Annely Juda gallery. When you look at their histoy of gallery presentations you encounter many of the great names in Modern Art. Klee, Bellmer, Christo, Honnegger and many others. As with other galleries that started in the sixties, they have build a loyal following of visitors, collectors and admirers. Not only because their gallery presentations are among the very best, but also because of their publications which are published to accompagny their exhibitions. These publications are a “niche” in the art book collectors world, but hard to find and certainly well worth searching for becauzse they are among the best art publications from the last few decades. www.ftn-books.co has some of them available.

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Pedro Xisto (1901-1987) and Concrete Poetry

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A not likely combination. Concrete Poetry and Brasil, but still there was a faithful group among the Brasilian artist who made Concrete Poetry and held exhibitions with them. One of them and perhaps the most famous among them, was Pedro Xisto. By chance i have bought a very nice publication by Xisto some 10 years ago and this is for sale at www.ftn-books.com. The books is in excellent condition and a typical artist book. Published in a limited edition and signed/dedicated by the artist and i believe this is the only one available on the internet at this moment. A rare chance to add this excellent publication to your collection.

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Just a thought….

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Are there any works of art that justify an auction result/price as much as the recently sold “assumed” Leonardo da Vinci painting?

Imagine what you could do with an amount as large as 450 million USD. There are so many within the world of arts that are suffering financial problems. Starting artists, experimental theater companies, dance companies and of course orchestras all over the world, not all…., but many could be helped with a substantial sum and if you do not like the arts, what about hunger, water projects and small micro finance projects? I can think about dozens of projects other and far better than buying an ugly painting like the “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci.

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Robert Mangold ….SEVEN MAXIMS (1996)

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This is one of the highlights in my inventory. Not because it is expensive, but i think this is outright beautiful and has everything what a great art limited edition should be. Slipcase, loose sheets. prints spread over double pages , best possible print quality, very limited edition, signed and numbered. This is really superb and needs to be presented in this blog on SEVEN MAXIMS by Mangold.

You can find the publication over here:

https://ftnbooks.myshopify.com/admin/products/443439185

and to give an impression here are the pictures