Polish art and typography

While leafing through my documents, I noticed some very nice and interesting publications from and on Polish art and typography. These are a combination of Russian and western art and typography, making them stand out and being typical for Poland. It is the same with Japanese typography.

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A style of typography of its own , but with influences from western typography and design. But back to Poland. This very unique way of design was recognized by Willem Sandberg, who organized an exhibition on Polish posters. Whenever i visit a  book) market i always pick them up , because of their appearance and some are worth collecting and selling. Take a look at www.ftn-books.com

to find some of these very nice publications.

William N. Copley / CPLY (1919-1996)

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I always believed that Copley was as much appreciated in the US as he was appreciated in the Netherlands and Germany, But the reality must have been different since i read a short article on his life. His sixties works were not appreciated and understood in the US. People thought his work was pornographic, but in Europe there was a different understanding about these works . Here they were thought to be erotic and because of this different approach to these great works, they were presented in a solo exhibition within the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1966. Accompanied by a great Wim Crouwel catalogue, which is available at www.ftn-books.com.

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This appreciation of his art in the Netherlands, must have resulted in the admiration for dutch artist from the sixties and seventies by his daughter Claire who had an influential gallery in the early seventies in which she presented Ader, Dibbets and van Elk who all have become well known outside the Netherlands

If you look at these paintings now you can only ask yourself why these are being found to be pornographic…..These are great “erotic” Pop Art paintings.

 

CPLY X-Rated

Copley’s works in the 1970s focused on his own understating of differences and challenges between men and women in romantic and sexual relationships. His works were now erotic, even pornographic. In 1974 he exhibited these new works at what was then the New York Cultural Center in Columbus Circle, New York in a show titled “CPLY X-Rated.” These pieces were a sudden change from his previous romantic whimsical periods. The American public had difficulty with the material, for which Copley expressed, “Americans… don’t know the difference between eroticism and pornography. Because eroticism has always existed in art. And pornography has never necessarily been in art. Copley’s experienced greater feedback in Europe, where the work was then well received. In conjunction with the New York Cultural Center Show there was a special “CPLY X-Rated Poster and Catalog.

The Claire S. Copley Gallery was a Los Angeles gallery on La Cienega Boulevard that existed from 1973-1977. Together with the galleries of Eugenia Butler, Rolf Nelson, Nick Wilder, and Riko Mizuno, the Claire Copley Gallery played an important role in the Los Angeles art scene of the 1960s and 1970sThe gallery provided a venue for emerging American and European minimalist and Conceptual artists, among them Bas Jan Ader, Terry Allen, Michael Asher, Daniel Buren, Jan Dibbets, Ger Van Elk, On Kawara, Joseph Kosuth, avid Lamelas, William Leavitt, Allan McCollum, and Allen Ruppersberg. ( part of the above information was found on Wikipedia)

Antonio Saura (1930-1998)

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When you mix Jackson Pollock with Jean Dubuffet with a topping of a little bit Picasso you get Antonio Saura. Abstraction at his best, because within the composition one always can recognize something realistic. A face , a body , some houses they are all there if you find the rest to study these great paintings. This is not simple, easy art, but it needs to be savored in a slow way. Because the fist impression is chaos, one tends to walk away from it, but just give it a minute or two and the paintings opens up to you.

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La grande foule, 1963, oil on canvas, 220 x 515 cm

It is a pity that there are so few of these fascinating Saura paintings in the Netherlands, but once you have a chance to visit the modern art museums in Spain they are easy to spot and to enjoy. www.ftn-books.com is fortunate to have a nice selection of books on Saura including the Stedelijk Museum catalogue by Wim Crouwel.

Gerard Leonard van den Eerenbeemt ( 1936-2011)

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Abstract Expressionism and even the dutch version of the drip paintings by Pollock, that for me is the meaning of Gerard Leonard van den Eerenbeemt, who even had a solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam ( 1970, supported by a very nice catalogue designed by Wim Crouwel.

Why mentioning van den Eerenbeemt. First because he has a unique style of his own and deserves to become better known outside the Netherlands and secondly because i am auctioning this coming weeks an extremely nice abstract drawing in black ink at http://www.kunstveiling.nl

eerenbeemt aa

https://www.kunstveiling.nl/veiling-main/177339/gerard-leonard-van-den-eerenbeemt-compositie-gesigneerd-en-gedateerd-1963/?AuctionOrder=search

What makes this auction important is the fact that in 1988 his studio with his complete oeuvre and archives was burnt down to the ground, leaving only some 100 drawings in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and some drawings and paintings in private collections. This makes his work scarce and because of its quality highly desirable and collectable. Please take a look at the auction and of course there is this nice Crouwel publication available at www. ftn-books.com

BTW. As you can see the drawing is kept/ flat in a drawer of my “new” acquisition. An “antique” drawings dresser which was formally used in a convent in Bergen op Zoom. I found this on Marktplaats and since, my offices have become much more organized . The picture above it is by Ossip (1953).

Alfa Romeo… is it art or design?

When Rudi Fuchs made it director for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, one of the first acts was to fund his exhibitions with promotional activities by commercial industries. One of the first that got a chance to show his new products within the museum was Alfa Romeo who showed their new models Alfa Romeo GTV and the Cabrio version.

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Sketches , clay models and the end product . Every aspect of the creation of these models was shown. Special poster and some leaflets with the exhibition made this a true museum exhibition , but was this the right place for such an event….personally i do not think so.

alfa sm a

Although a car can be a “piece of art” it does not belong in an art museum , but certainly can be presented in a car museum. But still it must have been good for the museum funding, because since many other commercial activities have taken place , but none as outspoken as the one for ALFA ROMEO.

Because of my personal interest in cars www.ftn-books.com has some publications on the subject.

Piero Manzoni…artist’s shit (1961)

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In May 1961, while he was living in Milan, Piero Manzoni produced ninety cans of Artist’s Shit. Each was numbered on the lid 001 to 090.  A label on each can, printed in Italian, English, French and German, identified the contents as ‘”Artist’s Shit”, contents 30gr net freshly preserved, produced and tinned in May 1961.’ In December 1961 Manzoni wrote in a letter to the artist Ben Vautier: ‘I should like all artists to sell their fingerprints, or else stage competitions to see who can draw the longest line or sell their shit in tins. The fingerprint is the only sign of the personality that can be accepted: if collectors want something intimate, really personal to the artist, there’s the artist’s own shit, that is really his.’ (Letter reprinted in Battino and Palazzoli p.144.)

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It is not known exactly how many cans of Artist’s Shit were sold within Manzoni’s lifetime, but a receipt dated 23 August 1962 certifies that Manzoni sold one to Alberto Lùcia for 30 grams of 18-carat gold (reproduced in Battino and Palazzoli p.154). Manzoni’s decision to value his excrement on a par with the price of gold made clear reference to the tradition of the artist as alchemist already forged by Marcel Duchamp and Yves Klein among others. As the artist and critic Jon Thompson has written:

Manzoni’s critical and metaphorical reification of the artist’s body, its processes and products, pointed the way towards an understanding of the persona of the artist and the product of the artist’s body as a consumable object. The Merda d’artista, the artist’s shit, dried naturally and canned ‘with no added preservatives’, was the perfect metaphor for the bodied and disembodied nature of artistic labour: the work of art as fully incorporated raw material, and its violent expulsion as commodity. Manzoni understood the creative act as part of the cycle of consumption: as a constant reprocessing, packaging, marketing, consuming, reprocessing, packaging, ad infinitum. (Piero Manzoni, 1998, p.45)

Artist’s Shit was made at a time when Manzoni was producing a variety of works involving the fetishisation and commodification of his own body substances. These included marking eggs with his thumbprints before eating them, and selling balloons filled with his own breath. Of these works, the cans of Artist’s Shit have become the most notorious, in part because of a lingering uncertainty about whether they do indeed contain Manzoni’s faeces. At times when Manzoni’s reputation has seen the market value of these works increase, such uncertainties have imbued them with an additional level of irony. ( text on this subject comes from the Tate site : http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/manzoni-artists-shit-t07667)

www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on Manzoni

Japanese posters ( 1977 )…catalogue by Wim Crouwel

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam has a history with posters and specially the posters from Japan were presented on multiple occasions within exhibitions on the subject. In 1977 , the “Japanse Poster” exhibition catalogue was designed by Wim Crouwel, who designed a very special catalogue for the exhibition . The catalogue is one of the best from the seventies and instead of the typical Crouwel typography

on the cover there are Japanese letters drawing your attention. Red lettering on a silver background let this one stand out from the rest.

Stedelijk Museum#JAPANSE AFFICHES# Crouwel, 1977, NM

This catalogue was published with number 617 within the series of published Stedelijk Museum catalogues.