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Flip Bool and Fotografie in Nederland

This is the title of a series of three Exhibitions that Flip Bool curated for the Haags Gemeentemuseum at the end of the Seventies / early Eighties. Flip is a true expert on the subject and because of his expertise these exhibitions have become the standard for all photography exhibitions on dutch photography after. It established the names of Schuitema and Besnyo as being highly important and shone a light on the designers Piet Zwart  and Kiljan as a photographer. Flip Bool and photography is a combination that produced some of the best publications ever on the subject of dutch photography. Many of the Flip Bool written books are available at http://www.ftn-books.com

 

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LIVINUS (van de Bundt) (1909-1979)

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Experimental photo painting and one of the first video artists in the world , Livinus made a name for himself in the mid Seventies with this kind of art and the Haags Gemeentemuseum was one of the first to show this kind of art by a dutch artist in the Netherlands.

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There is a reality that is “more real that what is visible”, in which thinking can only use the abstract formulas of physical science. In contemporary art this reality can be experienced with new methods. The light experiments of Van de Bundt have a special place in this; his light manipulations, (projections or so-called photo paintings) are non-material and provide a picture of a pure energetic world.

Since he received several prestigious art prizes of which the Sikkens price is the most renowned one. http://www.ftn-books.com has some nice LIVINUS publications available including one with some original film.

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Piet Dirkx weekly

The First publication in which i had a contribution. Piet Dirkx was invited by the Haags Gemeentemuseum by the curators Flip Bool and  Gerrit Jan de Rook. A show held together with fellow artists Piet Dieleman, Nikolaus Urban and Jean-Pierre Zoetbrood

publication from 1986

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Lawrence Weiner (1942) + discount

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Lawrence Weiner and the Netherlands is a combination which now exists for almost 50 years. His connections with dutch directors and curators is legendary and he has made several special projects with them in dutch. Weiner is considered as a post minimal artist and one of the founders of Conceptual art and that is the reason why his works blend so well within the collections of the more important dutch museum. The van Abbemuseum, Stedelijk and Gemeentemuseum have all works by Weiner in their collections.

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But Weiner is much more than a conceptual artist. He is a book designer and poet at the same time  and these little sketches with words can be blown up into facades and objects with words. One of the most memorable to me was the facade at the Ljubljana Modern Art museum with a Weiner object on one of the outside museum walls. Impredssive, recognizable. So to celebrate the longtime history that Lawrence Weiner has with the Netherlands there is a discount this week of 10%  on all items at www.ftn-books.com . use the discountcode : LawrenceWeiner10 and receive a 10% discount on all items including some marvelous Lawrence Weiner publications.

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Donald Judd – sculpture, Untitled object

 

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It must have been somewhere around 1985. After a trip to the US and whta must have been a visit to Donald Judd’s studio, Flip Book, curator of the Modern Art department of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag came back with the story of a purchase he had made of a Donald Judd sculpture. I heard that the price paid was around 60.000 guilders and personally i thought it unheard that a sculpture like this would have such an elevated price tag. I thought it much to expensive for a sculpture like this, but as time progresses. i became wiser and it became clear to me that Flip had made a wonderful and very important acquisition for the Gemeentemuseum. The sculpture has been since in the Beeldentuin of the Gemeentemuseum and is still as, or perhaps even more, impressive as it originally was.

I realized that the important purchases for the collections of the Gemeentemuseum were all done from the late Sixties until the first years of the Nineties. It started with Minimal art by LeWitt, Judd and Andre, continued with some Schoonhoven, Weiner in the Eighties and perhaps the last important acquisition is the carrousel by Bruce Nauman. Since very little important acquisitions have been made, with one exception. I think the Paul Thek object will prove to be important in the future.

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On all the mentioned artists, publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Minimal Art at the Haags Gemeentemuseum

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It was in the early Eighties that i learned of the Minimal Art collection and history of the Haags Gemeentemuseum.

Crucial for the collection was the interest of almost all modern art curators in Minimal Art. Starting with Enno Develing who introduced the key artists of the Minimal Art scene for the first time in a large exhibition in 1968. Among them Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and of course Sol LeWitt. Many of them would receive solo prentations in the years to follow, but this first time was a breakthrough for Minimal Art. The catalogue is arare book nowadays and i am lucky to have a copy for sale at www.ftn-books.com

After this first exhibition many exhibitions would follow. Enno Develing, Flip Bool, Rudi Fuchs and Franz Kaiser all took an interest in Minimal Art and because of this interest , exhibitions with LeWitt, Andre and Judd were organized in the decades after this first  1968 Minimal Art exhibition. I doubt that none was as important as this very first one, because after this first one Minimal Art was established as an art form, but another aspect that makes this first ( Develing ) exhibition important is that the relationship between the Gemeentemuseum and these artist was not only an artistic one.  The museum and its curators became friends with practically all Minimal Art artists, resulting in an ever growing collection of Minimal Art.

There is a nice link to a tribute to Sol LeWitt to be found over here:

http://www.gem-online.nl/files/media/gem/2016/sol_lewitt._a_tribute/ebook_sollewitt_web.pdf

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Alice Aycock (1946)

1983, Just 3 years after i started my career at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, the museum made an exhibition with Alice Aycock. Within the Schamhart buidling the complete floor was covered with large kinetic sculptures by Aycock and at that time i could not appreciate them at all. Now 35 year later i wished i had the same knowledge at that time that i have know, because recently i leafed through the catalogue and it struck met that these works were not only great in dimensions, but even after 35 years fascinating. Where Tinguely made his kinetic sculptures in the Sixties. Aycock made them in much more modern and industrialized/high tech versions in the Eighties and after. Alice Aycock has received international fame with her sculptures.

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What remains to me is a wonderful catalogue ( available at http://www.ftn-books.com) and the memory of meeting a great artist and beautiful woman back in 1983.

To give an impression of her more recent works here is a video on her 2010 presentation:

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the Analogy between Jan Saudek and Katharina Behrend

When you literally strip all from your subject and leave her standing in front of a chosen background there is not much difference.

There is 70 years between these 2 photographs but when you tell me it is only 10 years i would believe it too. Katharina Eleonore Behrend made her photographs between 1904 and 1928 and the entire series which was still within her family was left to the Stichting Nederlands Fotoarchief in Leiden. The series shows an artistic point of view on daily life in the beginning of the 20th century and gives a perfect impression of the Netherlands around 1910. The art nude is somehow different….. it is classic in its pose and shows why photography can be great art too. Beautiful light and the perfect intriguing picture.

The Katharina Eleonore Behrend 1904-1928 book is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Paul Schuitema (1897-1973) and dutch design.

Just a screenshot from my computer when i searched for some information on Paul Schuitema and instantly you see the importance of Schuitema for dutch design.

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Here it is the ultimate combination between a spectacular lay out, great typography and photo montage resulting in a highly recognizable style….this is Paul Schuitema. Schuitema a contemporary of Piet Zwart, was not as well known as Piet Zwart , but both did their ground breaking work in the Interbellum and can be considered as extremely important for graphic design. Schuitema differs from Piet Zwart.

Where Piet Zwart excels in Typography and lay-out, the photo montage is the part in which Schuitema excels. Both are important, not only because they are essential in the development of dutch design, but more and more they are recognized as being important for graphic design all over the world in general and their influence can be found everywhere. This imporance is underlined by orderes on these 2 artists from all over the world.

The Gemeentemuseum has both artists in its collection and because of the former curator Flip Bool , these collections are possibly the most important in the world.

When you come to the Netherland check the exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, maybe you are lucky and there is a special exhibition on one of them. If not know that www.ftn-books.com has some nice books available on both these graphic designers.

 

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Piet Zwart (1885-1977)…dutch design

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There is so much to be told about Piet Zwart, but a short blog on him can only indicate his importance to the world of design and typography. If ever there was a designer who’s influence is of worldwide importance, it is Piet Zwart. I wish my friend David took care of this blog, because he is far more knowledgable on Zwart than any other person i know of. About 40 years ago, shortly after Piet Zwart died, he received some major exhibitions in the Netherlands. Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Boijmans van Beuningen museum all had their Piet Zwart retrospectives  of which the one curated by Flip Bool for the Gemeentemuseum was probably the most important one. There was a long relationship between the Gemeentemuseum and Piet Zwart, which resulted in an extensive gift from the Zwart family and several exhibitions on Piet Zwart and his designs in the Gemeentemuseum of which some publications are still available at www.ftn-books.com. For all collectors of Zwart… i want to inform you that there are some very nice catalogues of Piet Zwart items still available at Bubb Kuyper in Haarlem. Bubb Kuyper held special Piet Zwart auctions during the last 3 years in which they auctioned many rare Piet Zwart items.

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One more things on Piet Zwart that you possibly did not know of. Because of the relationship with Piet Zwart , the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag placed a bench in its garden. design?….yes, Piet Zwart and to memorate his 80th Birthday , Willem Sandberg designed a special publication which is also available at ftn-books.

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PS.

I almost forgot. The street lightning in some of the older parts of Den Haag…yes , also Piet Zwart’s design.

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