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Claes Oldenburg (1929)

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Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. They are a couple and the reason i mention this is that without Coosje van Bruggen , Oldenburg would never have become the great artist he now is. van Bruggen has written all monographs on Oldenburg and is mentioned in every publication. van Bruggen was his second wife, but undoubtedly the one who had the greatest influence on him and his works. It was about 15 years ago that i for the first time encountered in real life some other work by Oldenburg than the screw from the Boymans van Beuningen collection.

We visited the Guggenheim in Bilbao and there they were ( nowadays the space is occupied by the MATTER OF TIME by Serra) Immense sculptures made out of polyester and painted in bright colors in a Gehry surroundings. The ensemble of both reminded me of a Disneyland setting, but these sculptures were so impressive that i, for the first time, realized the importance of Oldenburg as a sculptor. It is still a rare occasion that i encounter a large Oldenburg but since the Bilbao sculptures i am looking with different eyes to all Oldenburg sculptures including the very familiar SCREW at the Boymans van Beuningen museum. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Oldenburg publications available including the Crouwel designed Stedelijk Museum catalogue from 1977 and the Crouwel designed poster for this exhibition.

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Fondation Louis Vuitton

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We joined our friends David and Monica this weekend in Paris. Planning this to meet each other half way planet earth took some organization, but it was worth it, because the exhibition of the Sergueï Chtchoukine collection is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to see all these marvelous paintings in one place. Later i will blog on the exhibition itself, but for now i will focus on the building in which it is presented…the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Starting as a company making high quality bags, travel trunks and accessories out of prepared canvas and leather, the company later became one of the leading companies in the fashion world. Nowadays they are part of the LVMH group. A large holding specializing in luxury goods and one of the wealthiest companies in the world….and that shows, because in the Bois de Boulogne they build a museum which can not be compared with anything i have seen except the other Gehry designed buildings. Guggenheim Bilbao, Vitra in Weil Am Rhein and the Disney Concert Hall in LA), but this one is special….. First of all the layers / shells are all executed in white instead of the aluminium ones in Bilbao and L.A.). constructed and attached to each other with wooden supporting beams and because of the outer layer material, it was possible for Daniel Buren to convert these shells into one of his most complex, impressive and colorful In Situ works ever.

When you walk towards the entrance you get a glimpse of the pattern as it is executed, but when you leave the museum at the other side and walk into the garden, …..get some distance…..there it is …. you see a beautiful building totally covered by a great work of art. I do not know how long the Buren will be visible on the building but as long it is there, try to see it because it is well worth to see this one “live”. Compare it with the Christo In Situ works. Whenever you have seen one there is no photograph which can be compared with seeing the project with your own eyes. The scale in which it is executed makes these works special and so is this Daniel Buren….and Yes the Fondation Louis Vuitton is not the only one who combined these artist together, because books on Vuitton, Gehry and Buren can all be found at www.ftn-books.com

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On the road to Germany, Switzerland and Austria there is some great architecture. Botta, Gehry and Piano

Ok,  it is a little detour but worth to make it. Traveling to Basel it isn’t a detour because it is next to Basel , where also The Beyeler Museum by Renzo Piano can be found and the Tinguely Museum is also not to be missed. It is one of the earlier Gehry buildings which is realized in Weil Am Rhein for the VITRA corporation. Visit it and certainly visit the restoring facility for “classic” Eames chairs in the recently realized new building and enjoy them both. Continue your architectural journey to one of the best museums in Europe…the Beyeler Museum ( architecture by Renzo PIano ) and continue with a visit to the Tinguely Museum ( by Mario Botta), spend one night in southern Germany, enjoy a Wiener Schnitzel and then continue via Munchen to Vienna and enjoy this city with its great buildings and impressive collections. When you walk through this city, at one time you will certainly encounter the Osterreichische POSTSPARKASSE building ….the entrance door looks closed, but enter it and see one of the most beautiful art deco buildings i ever visited.

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Richard Serra….The Matter of Time

Yesterday, when i researched for the blog on Museum  Voorlinden, i noticed that one of the rooms of the museum contains a Richard Serra. There are several in the Netherland to be found. Kroller Muller, Stedelijk Museum, van Abbemuseum  and Boymans van Beuningen all have their Serra’s, but these are “peanuts” compared with The MATTER OF TIME in the Guggenheim /Bilbao. This is by far the ultimate Richard Serra. Placed on the surface of about 3 football fields and with a maximum height of approx. 24 feet, this is really huge. Not only huge but also very impressive. You walk around and through it and when you are surrounded by the high steel walls, it feels like a maze.

So start with the local smaller ones , work your way up to the midsize Serra’s and finally go to Bilbao see the Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry, enjoy the tapas in the old market square and finalize your visit by loosing yourself in one of the great ( certainly the greatest in size) sculptures of Modern Times. The matter of Time by Richard Serra.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on Serra available.

This is the text from the official site of the Guggenheim Museum on this great sculpture by Richard Serra:

Richard Serra

The Matter of Time

Richard Serra has long been acclaimed for his challenging and innovative work. As an emerging artist in the early 1960s, Serra helped change the nature of artistic production. Along with the Minimalist artists of his generation, he turned to unconventional, industrial materials and accentuated the physical properties of his work. Freed from the traditional pedestal or base and introduced into the real space of the viewer, sculpture took on a new relationship to the spectator, whose experience of an object became crucial to its meaning. Viewers were encouraged to move around—and sometimes on, in, and through—the work and encounter it from multiple perspectives. Over the years Serra has expanded his spatial and temporal approach to sculpture and has focused primarily on large-scale, site-specific works that create dialogue with a particular architectural, urban, or landscape setting.

Snake, a work made for the inauguration of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, consists of three enormous, serpentine ribbons of hot-rolled steel that are permanently installed in the museum’s largest gallery. The two tilted, snaking passages capture a rare sense of motion and instability. Snake is now joined by seven commissioned works-creating the installation entitled The Matter of Time—Serra’s most complete rumination on the physicality of space and the nature of sculpture.

The Matter of Time enables the spectator to perceive the evolution of the artist’s sculpted forms, from his relatively simple double ellipse to the more complex spiral. The final two works in this evolution are built from sections of toruses and spheres to create environments with differing effects on the viewer’s movement and perception. Shifting in unexpected ways as viewers walk in and around them, these sculptures create a dizzying, unforgettable sensation of space in motion. The entirety of the room is part of the sculptural field: As with his other multipart sculptures, the artist purposefully organizes the works to move the viewer through them and their surrounding space. The layout of works in the gallery creates passages of space that are distinctly different—narrow and wide, compressed and elongated, modest and towering—and always unanticipated. There is also the progression of time. There is the chronological time it takes to walk through and view The Matter of Time, between the beginning and end of the visit. And there is the experiential time, the fragments of visual and physical memory that linger and recombine and replay.