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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

Laatste seizoen inv

 

 

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William Leavitt (1941)

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William Leavitt was not known to me. I had seen his name in relation to the Art & Project bulletins, but never had seen works by him, so i had to turn to Wikipedia for some more information and this is what i found. Leavitt , a conceptual artist was not known like his contemporary friends like Baldessari and Kelly, but his work is well worth checking out, since some of his works are fascinating .

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William Leavitt (born 1941) is a conceptual artist known for paintings, photographs, installations, and performance works that examine “the vernacular culture of L.A. through the filter of the entertainment industry…drawing on ‘stock environments’ and designs of films as well as the literature of the place.” A critical figure in the West Coast conceptual art movement of the late 60s, Leavitt himself has managed to maintain a low profile. “Over the last 40 years, William Leavitt has made a name for himself as an influential artist while staying so far out of fame’s spotlight that his hard-to-categorize works have been all but invisible to the public,” wrote the LA Times. While his work is collected by high-profile artists such as John Baldessari and Mike Kelley (who donated Leavitt works to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles), Leavitt himself has eschewed celebrity.

Leavitt received a BFA from Boulder Unviversity and a MFA from Claremont Graduate School. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1965 his work evolved, increasingly referencing themes endemic to the city such as the line between reality and fantasy and the nature of illusion.

Three of the Leavitt bulletins he made for Art & Project are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

 

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Mail Art by Art & Project, 1970

gilbert george uitn 1970 a

Followers of this blog must know by now that i have acquired a large collection of Art & Project Bulletins, publications and invitations. Among these invitations , many are considered to be true Mail Art and Art & project was one of the first galleries to communicate with its subscribers in this way. From the first 100 of exhibitions held at the gallery many are considered to be iconic, but some stood out. One of these exhibitions is still a classic in the history of the gallery. It is the 1970 Gilbert & George exhibition. First there was the bulletin send from Japan. with drawings of Gilbert by George and of George by Gilbert and secondly i must mention the invitation by van Beijeren and Ravesteijn. Handwriting in print to made it as personal as possible. Here is the example i have currently in my inventory which is addressed to Kees Schippers, the dutch conceptual artist.

gilbert george uitn 1970 b

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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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Ger van Elk (1941-2014) and the Art & Project Bulletins

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Ger van Elk was one of the gallery artists from Art & Project and made 7 Bulletins for the gallery. ( all 7 are available at www.ftn-books.com)

over a period of 15 years he published within the series the following numbers Bulletin 19, 55, 65, 74, 100, 132 and 139

elk bulletin 19 b

Each different in its approach of the medium and all very much worth collecting. Her are some examples of the Bulletins.

 

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Alan Charlton ( continued )

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This was a great find … among the bulletins published by Art & Project in the Seventies were 2 by Alan Charlton bulletins and both had a special drawing inside. These drawings I want to share with you. The Bulletins are numbered 81 and 101 and were published in 1974 and 1977 and are available at www.ftn-books.com

charlton bulletin 81

charlton bulletin 81 b

charlton bulletin 101 a

charlton bulletin 101 b

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Two Carl Andre additions

carl andre portret

At the beginning of Minimalism, 3 names rose to fame almost instantly. Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd and Carl Andre. All had their one man shows at the Haags Gemeentemuseum, but i noticed that the appreciation of Andre was not as high as the appreciation of his comrades. 30 years after his last show at the Gemeentemuseum things have changed for the better for Carl Andre. There was a very large retrospective exhibition travelling the US, Germany, Spain and France and the catalogue which was published with this exhibition is by far the the most complete on Andre ever.

Perhaps it is not the best, since i value myself the 1988 by Fuchs and Gracia Lebbink to be the best of all Andre catalogues, but it is a worthy addition to any Minimal Art library and still at a very affordable price. The second addition is the ART & PROJECT Bulletin 85, which is one of the rarest of all Carl Andre publications. Both are now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Charlotte Posenenske (1930-1985)

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The works of Charlotte Posenenske (Wiesbaden, 1930-Frankfurt am Main, 1985) consist of series in an unlimited edition. According to a number 0f rules, they can be made and repeated – also by others – and combined with each other. With her radical and ‘democratic’ ideas about material, production and authorship, Charlotte Posenenske influenced and shaped conceptual and minimalist art of the sixties.

Minimalist series

Charlotte Posenenske began as a painter, but she felt limited by the flat surface and soon moved on to creating spatial works. The forms of Series B (1967) are hung as reliefs on the wall, but also placed as objects in the spatial environment. This is followed in 1968 by Series D and Series DW, whose format and shape are reminiscent of ventilation shafts.

Participation

Although Charlotte Posenenske did not consider herself to be a political artist, she had a clear and strong vision of societal relations, which in her view had to be rational, concrete, accessible and democratic. With her work she wanted to set a standard for this: the materials which she used like cardboard and steel are cheap, the works are sold for a fixed low price and the assembly and installation of her modular systems can be done by ‘everyone’: buyers, exhibition makers, and even the public. Posenenske’s social engagement is also expressed through the installations she created in public spaces, such as airports, train stations, conference rooms and on the street.

Contemporary artists and Posenenske

Disappointed in the social scope of art, Charlotte Posenenske left the art world in 1968 to study sociology. Her work and views remain however points of reference for younger generations of artists. The text above comes from the Museum Kroller Muller site. This Museum has a retrospective exhibition on Posenenske until the 15th of September

www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications in which Posenenske made some contributins. Since there is a longtime connection between the Netherlands  and the artist it happens that some of the most important publications have been published in the Netherlands. Specially the former Art & Project has presented her works on several occasions.

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Gilbert & George, Bulletin 20

gilbert & george bulletin 20 b

In a period of 21 years the Art & Project gallery published 156 Bulletins. Among them several by Gilbert & George and one of these is the iconic BULLETIN 20 which was send from Japan to the subscribers of the Bulletins. This was a select circle of artists, coillectors, fellow gallery owners and museum who were the lucky ones to receive these publications by Art & Project. This BULLETIN 20 was published in AMrch 1970 and contained on the inside the famous drawing of the GILBERT & GEORGE portraits. It is now available at www.ftn-books.com and i am sure this will be the only copy which i will have ever available.

gilbert & george bulletin 20 a