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Mark Rothko (1903-1970)….Walls of light

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I discovered that in the over 1000 blogs i published i never have written one about Mark Rothko and you must know that Rothko is one of the painters i admire most. There are several exhibItions i have seen on Rothko  . The first one was the Spiritual In Art, which had some Rothko’s within the exhibition and then there was recently the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag which i liked very much and which had a near perfect chronological overview of his painting including the one he just made before his suicide, which was presented next to Piet Mondrian’s final painting,

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but the exhibition which impressed me most was the Rothko special exhibition at the Guggenheim Bilbao (2004). I did not know it was there and when Linda and I entered the room we both were overwhelmed with the paintings on show.

Large scale paintings, executed in colors which were either very bright or very close to each other with hardly any contrast in them. It was the first time we visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and on show were large scale works by Oldenburg which on another occasion were replaced for the Richard Serra work MATTER OF TIME and then , surprise….. one of the greatest and best overviews of Rothko paintings imaginable. Here is the text belonging to the announcement by the Guggenheim Museum

MARK ROTHKO

WALLS OF LIGHT

June 8, 2004 – October 24, 2004

Born Marcus Rothkovitz in Dvinsk, Russia, in 1903, Mark Rothko emigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1913, settling in Portland, Oregon. Rothko attended Yale University on scholarship from 1921 to 1923, when he left without a degree and moved to New York. He began to paint in 1925 and had his first solo show in 1933. He continued to refine his technique as he developed his famous mature style in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Since his tragic death in 1970, his art has continued to enjoy undiminished popularity. Today Rothko counts among the great pioneers of American postwar art and, alongside Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock, as one of the major representatives of Abstract Expressionism.

In 2003, to mark the hundredth anniversary of Rothko’s birth, the Beyeler Foundation, Basel, in collaboration with the artist’s children Kate R. Prizel and Christopher Rothko, installed a sequence of Rothko rooms, now on view in an extended version at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The exhibition features a representative cross-section of works from all phases of Rothko’s career and provides a moving homage to the artist and his work.

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The Mark Rothko exhibition is still in our minds and we have on our wishlist to go at one time to the Rothko chapel and experience once again the timeless abstract art by Mark Rothko. Rothko is truly timeless and undoubtedly one of the greatest painters the art world has given humanity. There are several Rothko titles available at www.ftn-books.com

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Agnes Martin …the Islands (2004)

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Yesterday i spoke about the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop and their excellent poster publications. Today i will present the very best of them. It is the magnificent Agnes Martin poster for the “the ISLANDS’ exhibition. Executed as an original silkscreen this poster is a true work of art.

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Publisher: Quadrat /Josef Albers Museum, 2011 Measurements: 31.4 x 24 inches Condition: mint-

This is a highly collectable and important poster> not only because the exhibition was important, but because of the printing technique this is a masterpiece.

Poster and exhibition catalogue are both available through www.ftn-books.com

catalogue design by Walter Nikkels

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Richard Long (1945)

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Hamish Fulton and Richard Long…. Two artist who i learned to appreciate in the time that Rudi Fuchs was director at the Gemeentemuseum. Long was nominated 4 times for the prestigious Turner price , but only won it once in 1989 for White Water Line.

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Since i first saw works and publications i have seen Richard Long his works on many occasions and one of the most recent ones was at the Guggenheim Bilbao museum. Each time the lines, circles and labyrinths look random, but this is not true. The placement of the stones and paint is strict and makes it free whitin the object , but it has very strict boundaries making it perfectly shaped. The way each work is created is described and laid down in drawings i a way that each work can be re-cretaed at any other place than it was first was created. It is somewhat the saem as with the walldrawings by Sol LeWitt who uses the same method . The art work is the sketch/drawing and materials and can be re-created anywhere as long as you have the original drawing belonging to the work.

What makes Richard Long stand out from other contemporary artists is that many of his publications are also artist books which hold beside the works, photography and word “sculptures” by Long and www.ftn-books.com has some of these titles available.

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John Chamberlain (1927-2011)

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I was trying to write a short blog on John Chamberlain, but of course i found something far better than any short story i could write myself. Here is the start of the site i found:

John Chamberlain is known internationally for his long career of making vividly colored and vibrantly dynamic sculptures using discarded automobile parts that he twisted and welded into monumental shapes. He used the early modernist techniques of collage and assemblage at a magnified scale and he emphasized the brilliant colors of automotive paint. Chamberlain’s sculptures appeared in New York at the same time as the paintings of the Abstract Expressionists; some were his mentors and they shared a similar critical reception.

You can find the complete history on Chamberlain over here:

http://www.theartstory.org/artist-chamberlain-john.htm

and for some moving material :

and for some book titles visit www.ftn-books.com

 

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Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

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Arguably the greatest architect of all time is Frank Lloyd Wright and the villa Fallingwater in Pennsylviania is one of the “must see” buildings i still have on my wish list. The Guggenheim Museum in NY i already visited but Fallingwater not.

FLW was a visionary architect. His designs were the very first modernist designs in architecture and very much based on constructivist principles. I just learned that as a child he build buildngs with FROBEL blocks and these wooden blocks must have been an endless source of inspiration. FLW was an architect whose designs were practically all executed in the USA, but that does not mean that one can not find FLW inspired buildings elsewhere. For instance, in the Netherlands his designs were admired by the DE STIJL mouvement and Dudok and van ‘t Hoff made buildings inspired by FLW.

A great architect and fortunately we had in the past decades several large exhibitions on his architecture and projects . One of the first was the exhibition in the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam in 1952. What makes it even more special is that it was one of the first designs Benno Wissing made for the Boymans museum.

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Wissing since 1952 has had a tremendous career and is, together with Sandberg and Crouwel one of the absolute great designers from the last century. So visit www.ftn-books.com and search for Frank Lloyd Wright or Benno Wissing and discover the many beautiful books both these great artist have made over the years.

 

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Christian Boltanski (1944)

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Christian Boltanski participtaed in over 150 exhibitions world wide and his works are in the collections of the DE PONT museum and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. 2 reasons to devote this blog to Bo;latnski. Firts is that i acquired and important publication by Boltanski  which he designed and contributed. Published by Agnes B, there is a complete series of regularly published magazines titles Points d’Ironie. Boltanski was one of the founders of this highly collectable series and because of this acquisition i remembered the very impressive installation at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao….”HUMANS”

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This is what the Guggenheim says on the installation HUMANS by Christian Boltanski

At once personal and universal in reference, Humans is one of several large-scale works by Boltanski that serve as monuments to the dead, hinting at the Holocaust without naming it explicitly. Through its size and tone, the work evokes the contemplative atmosphere of a small theater or a space for religious observance. The installation consists of more than 1,100 images that the artist rephotographed from sources he had previously used: school portraits, family photographs, newspaper pictures, and police registries. Simultaneously illuminated and obfuscated by dangling lightbulbs, the snapshots provide no context with which to identify or connect the unnamed individuals, or to distinguish the living from the dead or victims from criminals. Each of these traces of human life has been reduced to a uniform size to obscure distinguishing features and to suggest the equality of the photographs’ subjects. The collection of images is installed at random, thereby prohibiting the imposition of a single narrative. Within this haunting environment, Boltanski intermingles emotion and history, juxtaposing innocence and guilt, truth and deception, sentimentality and profundity.

Point d’Ironie and other Boltanski publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Anselm Kiefer (1945)

It is 31 years ago that i saw a  work by Kiefer for the first time I and was really impressed . I remember the occasion….the occasion the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Grey, sombre , large paintings with scenes that reminded of war, devastation and ruins .  Later i learned that the German history and the Holocaust were main themes Kiefer always used in his works. The history of Germany being one of the main subjects in his extremely large paintings. The Stedelijk Museum bought one of the paintings for its collection. “Innenraum” is a large painting ( 280 x 311 cm.)  , but small compared to other Kiefer works.

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The exhibition was a great succes and since i  encountered several other Kiefers in museums. One stands out, impressive and it’s size is overwhelming. ( almost 10 meters in length) and is a must see whenever you visit the North of Spain.

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Anselm Kiefer

Only with Wind, Time, and Sound (Nur mit Wind, mit Zeit und mit Klang), 1997

Acrylic and emulsion on canvas

473 x 944 x 22 cm

Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

 ( the following text comes from the Art Story site)

It is the Anselm Kiefer’s monumental, often confrontational canvases were groundbreaking at a time when painting was considered all but dead as a medium. The artist is most known for his subject matter dealing with German history and myth, particularly as it relates to the Holocaust. These works forced his contemporaries to deal with Germany’s past in an era when acknowledgment of Nazism was taboo. Kiefer incorporates heavy impasto and uncommon materials into his pieces, such as lead, glass shards, dried flowers, and strands of hay, many of which reference various aspects of history and myth, German and otherwise. Influenced by his contemporaries Joseph Beuys and Georg Baselitz, as well as by postwar tendencies in Abstract Expressionism and Conceptual art, Kiefer is considered part of the Neo-Expressionist movement, which diverged from Minimalism and abstraction to develop new representational and symbolic languages.

Of course there are some nice publications available at www.ftn-books.com including the Anselm Kiefer / Stedelijk Museum catalogue from 1986
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Jeff Koons / Ushering in Banality

 

The first time i could see the works by Jeff Koons in a museum setting was during his first exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. It was 1992 and Wim Beeren, the former director of the Stedelijk, had just bought Ushering in Banality. It was  a scandal , because of the price he had paid for the sculpture. ( If i remember well it was 300.000 guilders / is $ 120.000) …. a steal, but more important it is still on show and one of the works that raises many smiles. I even saw people taking photographs leaning on the statue. Of course this is not allowed , but it shows the popularity of this impressive work.

Since, i have encountered on many occasions the works by Koons in different settings and he always amazes me. There are several in the Guggenheim in Bilbao ( In and outside the building), of which the most important is the very large PUPPY outside covered with flowers. Koons is an artist who shocks and pleases, but in almost all cases , you look differently at an object after you have seen the work  Koons has made after it.

For me it means …i can not pass a shop with “Hummel” statues without thinking about the USHERING IN BANALITY by Koons.

For some nice publications on Koons visit my shop www.ftn-books.com

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Egon Schiele

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My recent visit to Slovania reminded me of our last years visit to Vienna. We collected “Boris” our Irish Glen of Imaal terrier dog with an Austrian breeder and the time we visited her we had a three day chance to visit Vienna with its magnificent Museums.

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The museum that struck me most was the Leopold museum with probably the largest Egon Schiele collection in the world. I knew the works from Schiele from different other exhibitions. There was this time, some 10 years ago, we encountered a special Schiele exhibition with his works on paper in the Guggenheim/Bilbao museum and of course the Schiele/Klimt exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, during that exhibition i bought some excellent prints 1:1 with the original works . Schiele an artist with a very short life, but with a large production. Within my inventory i have a Marlborough gallery catalogue which shows that some 40 years ago Schiele works were still widely available and at reasonable prices, but in these crazy ART times it is different and Schiele works fetch high prices at auction.

for my blog readers i put together a special set of Postcards containing works by Schiele for only $ 12.00 including worldwide shipping. Please select the 7 postcards Schiele set and use the discount code:  schiele12 and have a look at my many other Schiele items i have available at www.ftn-books.com

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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.