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Lawrence Weiner at Konrad Fischer, 1989

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Readers of this blog know of my admiration for Lawrence Weiner and this is the reason i want to share this very special invitation that i recently added to my inventory. It is the invitation for the Weiner exhibition from 1989 at Konrad Fischer . The invitation by the artist is a piece of art by itself. Making this a true collectable multiple by the artist.

WEINER HYDRO A

weiner hydro b

weiner hydro c

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Allen Ruppersberg (1944)

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Allen Ruppersberg and the Netherlands is a combination which feels natural. It is a little bit the same like with Lawrence Weiner. Both were supported by Willem Sandberg and had their first major exhibitions outside the US in the Stedelijk Museum and after?……they kept a strong link with the Netherlands since both were represented by the Art & Project gallery who published with both important Bulletins within their series of Bulletins. Both these artists are considered by many as the next worldwide greatest, since Conceptual Art is becoming more and more important in time and admiration for these two is growing significantly.

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I like both , but perhaps i more have a weakness for Weiner since his work at the Gemeentemuseum was present all the time i was working there and it never stopped impressing me. But Ruppersberg….. certainly a close second and perhaps in the long run i will like him even more. www.ftn-books.com has soem of the mentioned Ruppersberg items still available.

 

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Stephen Prina a Post Conceptual artist (1954)

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Stephen Prina is an American artist whose work has been categorized as post-conceptualism. Prina is a professor at the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.

He was born in 1954 in Galesburg, Illinois.

This is probably one of the shortest introductions i found on an artist on the internet. I like Prina’s art very much. Crates, monochrome paintings , ladders and the decoration of an entire space/ room are the elements that Piet Dirkx uses too. Both are from my generation and perhaps that is also one of the reasons i understand their art and like it so much. Where i have followed Dirkx for over 3 decades now, Prina is a discovery from the last 10 years. His exhibitions are true events but rare to be found in Europe. Still there was one held at the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in 1992 and to accompany that exhibition an artist book was published . The only color used for all pages is a bright yellow. A scarce book and now available at www.ftn-books.com

prina a

 

 

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New Business Card FTN books & Art

visitekaartje ftn

Some recent changes made it necessary to translate these changes into a new business card. The most important one being two new email addresses. One personal one and the other for the FTN books & Art contacts. So here is all the new business information to contact me and keep track of my activities, the daily blog and additions to my inventory.

Wilfried van den Elshout / FTN books

Veursestraatweg 106c

2265CG Leidschendam,  the Netherlands

www.ftn-books.com

www.ftn-blog.com

new email : wilfriedvandenelshout@gmail.com

new email : ftnbooksandart@gmail.com

 

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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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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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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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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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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 http://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.