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BMW (Jeff Koons) and art cars

 

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I love cars and really appreciate when a car has a beautiful design and a futuristic technique, but if there is one car make that i personally truly detest it is BMW. It not the cars that i think are detestable but more the drivers who drive a BMW. The cars have a fairly good designed exterior and a beautiful “top in class” interior, but the drivers are arguably the worst there ar on the road. In general they think they are invincible and superior to any other driver, drive to fast and are rude in traffic. That said … there is an aspect to BMW i like instead. The BMW company has a large art collection and because they value art, famous artists are invited to decorate their cars. Because the car itself represents the design of an era , the invited artist can enhance such a design. In the Netherlands a BMW was decorated by Herman Brood, but the factory BMW art program is from another level.

The best modern artists are invited to make the most spectacular designs. Among them….the late Andy Warhol and more recently Jeff Koons who worked on several of the latest BMW cars.

There are other car manufacturers that have a comparable program, but the quality of the BWW art program stands out from the rest. There is a nice book on cars and art available at www.ftn-books.com

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Herbert Bayer (1900-1985)

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Herbert Bayer is forgotten by many, but he definitely is one of the most important designers/artists from last century. He studied at the Bauhaus and was at one time educated by Kandinsky and Klee.

In the spirit of reductive minimalism, Bayer developed a crisp visual style and adopted use of all-lowercase, sans serif typefaces for most Bauhaus publications.[3] Bayer is one of several typographers of the period including Kurt Schwitters and Jan Tschichold who experimented with the creation of a simplified more phonetic-based alphabet. From 1925 to 1930 Bayer designed a geometric sans-serif Proposal for a Universal Typeface[1] that existed only as a design and was never actually cast into real type.[4] These designs are now issued in digital form as Bayer Universal.[2] The design also inspired ITC Bauhaus and Architype Bayer, which bears comparison with the stylistically related typeface Architype Schwitters.

Then his life changed drastically. In 1944 Bayer married Joella Syrara Haweis, the daughter of poet and Dada artist Mina Loy. The same year, he became a U.S. citizen. The result….Many lost interest in the works by Bayer, he did some typography and made some fonts, but gained again some importance in collecting over 30.000 works of art for the ARCO company. Still Herbert Bayer is recognized again as one of the more important artists from the Bauhaus era and this means his works start to grow in importance again.

www.ftn-books.com has some Bayer titles available.

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Anthon Beeke (1940-2018)

First of all i have to apologize in publishing this blog without commemorating Anthon Beeke who died a few weeks ago and who’ s death i announced on the the 26th of September in a special blog on Beeke. Here is the blog which was prepared some months ago.

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One of the great and now world wide known names in dutch graphic design is Anthon Beeke. Born is 1940 he was of the flower power generation who took over Amsterdam in the late sixties. Free love, drugs and influences from all over the world shaped a generation of designers of which Beeke was one of . Without knowing who the designer is, you immediately recognize his work. Bright colors , details, shocking views or attributes draw you into his designs immediately.

But it is not always his intention to shock, there were occasions that his designs were just functional. For instance his Wanderlieder

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designed catalogue for the Stedelijk is only different in size but holds and reads just like a normal book.

Beeke is one of the great designers in the Netherlands and well worth collecting. www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles by Beeke available including the poster he made with Erwin Olaf for het Anjer Fonds.

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Willem Sandberg… Experimenta Typographica 1943 – 68.

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As you can read in the title , Willem Sandberg experimented with typography and designs.

During the occupation by the Germans he published experimental books with his own typography. Mostly a combination of very original and personal lay-out and torn out letters, making these publications unique. Unique because of their chosen size, material, printing ,their design and the very limited numbers in which they were produced.

Sandberg produced nineteen pamphlets between December 1943 and April 1945, making a couple of copies of each one, all done by hand. They consisted of twenty to sixty pages of drawings, collages, and texts, which were either written by Sandberg himself or quoted from Confucius, Proudhon, Stendhal, and other favorite writers on themes like love, death, education, architecture, and typography. As Sandberg had no money and materials were scarce in wartime, he improvised by using whatever he could find: scraps of wallpaper, cardboard packaging, tissue paper, and wrapping paper together with photographs, drawings, and symbols torn from magazines for his collages.

The originals are very very rare and exceptionally hard to find. Luckily some of the dutch publishers decided to make some reprints and make them in this way available for other admirers. These reprints are getting more scarce every year now, but www.ftn-books.com still has some available.

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Anthon Beeke (1940-2018)

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This morning i learned that one of the greatest of all dutch graphic designers, Anton Beeke, died in an Amsterdam hospital, yesterday on the 25th of September. Born in 1940 he soon became part of Fluxus and Provo and was one of the famous names in the AMSTERDAM art world in the sixties. He even became later a contributing partner of Total Design, the agency which was founded by Wim Crouwel ao. I mention this because where Total design was one of the first agencies to apply the computer in designing, Beeke stayed true to his own method, the typical way of composing an image with “camera, scissors and glue”.

His images are strong and stood out and drew immediate attention to the subject. One of his best known designs was the alphabet composed with nude woman.

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It was a meant and searched for reaction on the New Alphabet by Crouwel. There are several Beeke publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Steven Aalders (1959) … and Irma Boom

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There are 3 reasons why i like the works by Steven Aalders.

  • First of all these are contructivist paintings which i think belong to the best produced in the Netherlands these days
  • Second . One of the best exhibitions held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag was the Steven Aalders exhibition held in 2010
  • Third.. With the exhibition an Irma Boom designed catalogue was sold at the Gemeentemuseum shop and i think this is one of the best Irma Boom ordinary books she has made in the last 10 years. ( This book is available at www.ftn-books.com)

enough reasons to write this blog on Steven Aalders and recommend to follow this artist in the future, because his art is a little different from the other constructivist painter and deserves to be known outside the Netherlands too.

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Steven Aalders is well known for his exact painted constructive oil paintings, where he deals with and continues the concept of modernism of Piet Mondrian, De Stijl and American Minimal Art. At his first exhibition in Munich Aalders shows a new body of work on the issue “Red, Yellow and Blue”, where the areas of the color fields follow the “Golden Ration”. An extensive retrospective catalogue was published in 2010 for his solo exhibited at the Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag. Steven Aalders, born in 1959, lives and works in Amsterdam.

 
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Wim Crouwel and the van Abbemuseum

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Before Wim Crouwel became the main designer for all publications published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in in the 60’s, 70’s and early Eighties (TD). There was a short 4 years that he made some beautiful publications for the van Abbemuseum Eindhoven. In these you can recognize the early Wim Crouwel. Size, use of multiple ( colored) papers, typography and layout are all typical for the early Wim Crouwel. www.ftn-books.com is fortunate to have a nice selection of these early WimCrouwel designed publications. Pictures tell a better story than words can . In this case , this certainly true. So here are some nice van Abbemuseum publications by Wim Crouwel.

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Don Judd at the van Abbemuseum in 1970

This was after the presentation at the Haags Gemeentemuseum ( 1968) the 2nd exhibition within a short period of time Donald Judd received in the Netherlands. This time ( 1970) in the van Abbemuseum curated by Jean Leering, but what makes this for me even more special are 2 reasons.

The first is …i had never found the Judd catalogue before. I knew it existed , but never one was offered anywhere and secondly the design was done by one of the greats in dutch graphic design …Jan van Toorn.

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And ….now i have one! it was hidden between a lot of books , but i found an excellent copy. What makes it even more special is that the cover is executed in gold and i believe that the design is done by Judd himself and executed in silkscreen. In those days editions where rarely more than 1000 copies and my guess is this edition is even less. So there you are…finally at www.ftn-books.com this rare Donald Judd / Don Judd for sale. It is one of the rare occasions that you can offer a truly rare publications and this one certainly is.

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Another rare Wim Crouwel designed catalogue

Last weeks i presented the GEDRUKT IN JAPAN catalogue from the Stedelijk Museum as one of the best from the sixties by Wim Crouwel.

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Now there is another one which is far less known, extremely rare and a typical Wim Crouwel design. Year of publications is 1977. A publication year in which Wim Crouwel was part of the Total Design agency and worked ao. together with Daphne Duyvelshof. The catalogue was commissioned by an institution that wanted to present contemporary Hungarian art in The Netherlands. From the names presented only a few have become popular in Modern Art. Among them Dora Maurer who had her exhibitions all over Europe since, but most of them stayed rather obscure names in art.

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The catalogue however has become important because of the design. A very nice “construction ” of horizantal and vertical letter. The colors used are from the Hungarian national flag, making it immediately clear what the subject is about. The catalogue and Maurer print areavailable at www.ftn-books.com

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Furniture catalogues…. impressive and highly collectable

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Many of you have sometime in their lives took home a furniture catalogue. No, not the one from IKEA  or Habitat, but one from one of the more prestigious designers like Vitra, Herman Miller, Alessi, Foscarelli or Cassina. These are the ones that matter and because they have almost unlimited funds for promotion at their sisposal their catalogues belong to the very best. The best photographers, designers and printers are selected and with them they make beautiful timeless books/catalogues/editions for their products. Even better….because they are just promotional material many of these are lost or replaced making them scarce and highly collectable items. To start a collection ….just visit your local furnituer mall, selct the best store with the most prestigious furniture name and ask them for some product catalogues so you can do your choosing at home. My guess is you will leave the store with a bundle of catalogues and have started your own collection. Beside these free publications some of these companies have their own line of publications. One of them is Cassina who have produced several prestigious books on their products and designers over the decades. www.ftn-books.com has the ones on Le Corbusier and Mackintosh now for sale.