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Bertien van Manen (1942)

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Just a little piece of technical information i picked up from an interview with Bertien van Manen who’s works are known, appreciated and collected worldwide. Even the MOMA in New York has a nice selection of her photographs from the early 90’s.

Mrs. van Manen informed her interviewer that she uses the most simple AUTOMATIC camera’s available. Speed, size and ease of use are a key ingredients to take a successful photograph.

This is nice to know, since for us ….simple amateur photographers it is now with all excellent phone camera’s available as easy to take photographs as it is for professional photographers. All you need is a keen eye for the right subject and composition. Bertien van Manen showed us the way and it is now up to us to create our own portfolio’s with ex excellent photographs. www.ftn-books.com has titles by van Men available.

 

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Hans Haacke (1936)

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His career spans now a period of nearly 60 years and he has always been a frontrunner in the world of art. Perhaps yu can compare him with Damien Hirts, but do not forget that there is a difference of time between them of 3 decades. Haacke never reached the stature of a Damien Hirst, but when his works emerged and were introduced into the art scene… literally every large and important Modern Art museum in the world wanted a piece of the action. Haacke was “hot”. Moma , Tate and Museum Ludwig all started to collect Hans Haacke at a large scale.

In 1978 Haacke was asked for a one man show at the van Abbemuseum / Eindhoven ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com)  and with this show, the Netherlands started to know Hans Haacke as an artist. Nowadays his art is less prominent present in the collections of these large museums, but i am convinced this will change in the not so far away future, because i think Haacke is important for the art of Seventies and Eighties. A forerunner for the art made by the well respected British artist like Hirst and Tracey Emin. Haacke deserves a place among them. His contribution to art is a valuable one and deserves to be recognized as such.

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JÓZSEF PÉCSI (1889-1956) — a photography innovator pur sang… essay from the Moma.org site

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The following text comes from the site of Moma.org.

The Moma delivers a great source on photography with this site and makes it possible to search their collection and compare photographs from it….it is outstanding and an example to many.

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József Pécsi was a Hungarian photographer, innovator, and educator. Born in 1889 into a middle-class family in Budapest (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Pécsi was schooled in German and maintained lifelong ties with an international photography community. He studied photography at the Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt (Training and research institute) in Munich from 1909 to 1911, and began receiving international recognition soon after graduation. In 1911 he returned to Budapest and opened his own studio, where he also offered instruction to apprentices. In 1913 he established the photography department at the Budapest School of Industrial Drawing, for which he is credited as the founder of photography education in Hungary. He was dismissed from teaching in 1920 due to conflicts with the conservative political regime but maintained his own studio, which served as a gathering place for students, including Eva Besnyö and her friend György Kepes. In 1922 Pécsi was elected vice president of the Budapest Industrial Guild of Photographers and served as editor of the guild’s journal, Magyar fotográfia (Hungarian photography). In 1930 he published the influential book Photo und Publizität (Photography and publicity) to promote the blending of typography, design, and photography in avant-garde advertising, with contributions from Kepes and others. The publication marks his crossover from the Pictorialist style of his early work to the ascendant international modernism of the interwar period. The World War II years took their toll: he hid in Romania for a brief period; his studio and negatives were destroyed by a bomb in 1945; and, upon his return to Budapest, in 1946, financial hardship and an unfavorable regime forced him to take passport photographs to make ends meet. His passion for photography and innovative spirit were not lost, however; in 1952 he patented a combined duplex Pigment print process under the name PEJO.

www.ftn-books.com has one title on Pecsi available

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Betty Woodman (1930)

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If there is one ceramist who has had an international career and exhibited all over the world it must be Betty Woodman. On several occasions she exhibited her works in the Netherlands in Museums and Galleries and i remember her exhibition from 1996 in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. With this exhibition an excellent catalogue was published, which is available at www.ftn-books.com

The reason why she had such an interesting and world wide career must be found in the accessibility of her art. Bright, primary colors and abundant shapes of her ceramics make her work stand out and are very appealing for many and because of this many museums and collectors around the globe added her works to their collections. Betty Woodman ceramics can be found in ao.:

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  • Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London
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Jackson Pollock ( 1912-1956 )…the ultimate abstract expressionist.

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It was 1977. …..the first time i visited the US and went to New York together with my father we visited the museum of Modern Art. In which i saw for the very first time a large Jackson Pollock drip painting. It was an amazing experience and i remember standing in that room …in awe and amazement of such a large , beautiful, impressive, overwhelming abstract painting. The size of it, the spontaneous dripping and the extreme detail when you went close up to it, opened a door to abstract Modern Art for me. Since i have seen many Pollock paintings, but none was so perfect as the very first one i encountered in the Moma. the ONE, number 31, 1950 painting

There are some nice action movies with Pollock painting to be found on Youtube and this is possibly the one that shows best the creating of a Pollock painting.

and i am proud to have both Pollock catalogues that were produced for the Pollock exhibitions in the Stedelijk Museum at www.ftn-books.

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Brice Marden (1938)

It took some while for me to appreciate Brice Marden, that was because the first works i encountered by him where his monochromatic paintings, which i did not like very much at that time ( now i do!),  but influenced by Robert Rauschenberg ( he was his assistant during a couple of years) , multi panelled and more colorful paintings began to emerge from his studio.

That was the same period i became interested in Brice Marden. There was a nice exhibition in 1981 in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which Crouwel designed catalogue is now a true collectors item ( available with other Marden publications at www.ftn-books.com ).

The list of collections in which Brice Marden is present is almost endless and contains all major Modern Art Museums in the world. One has to be mentioned, because The MOMA was the first to present a large retrospective on this young artist. It was in 1975 and this early interest resulted in having one of the largest Marden collections in the world.

 

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Francesco Clemente (1952)

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There is no larger Modern Art Museum in the world that has no Clemente in its collection. From Amsterdam to New York the works by Clemente have spread all over the world. But for us in the Netherlands, it was important that Clemente had some exhibitions with the Art & Project gallery and from one of these exhibitions a beautiful little book was the publication result edition of only 800 copies). This and other Clemente books are available at www.ftn-books.com.

Clemente’s work spans four decades. His work is stylistically varied, inclusive, erotic, and nomadic. It embraces diverse mediums and diverse cultures as well, aiming at finding wholeness through fragmentation and witnessing the survival of contemplation and pleasure in our mechanical age.

Clemente’s work is rooted in political utopia and expresses an anti-materialistic stance. In the 1970s he moved from photography to drawing and anticipated the return to painting of the 1980s.

His work is also nomadic. In the 1980s he divided his time between India and New York. While briefly associated with Neo-Expressionism he took an interest in collaborative works both with Indian craftsmen and with painters like Basquiat and Warhol, and poets like Robert Creeley and Ginsberg in New York. In an interview with The Brooklyn Rail, Clemente commented “these poets had been looking at the East for inspiration and I was also anxious to evade the materialism of the West.”

In the 1990s Clemente explored intensely erotic imagery, inspired by the Tantra traditions both of India and Tibet, and turning contemporary preoccupations with identity and sexuality into an occasion to ask questions about the nature of the self. In the 2000s Clemente underwent a darker and grotesque phase, returning in recent years to luminous images of repose and transformation.

Since the 1980s until today, Clemente has also chronicled New York intellectual and social life through a great number of portraits, contributing to the revival of a genre until then somehow discredited.

Clemente’s art has been presented in solo and group shows internationally. Major retrospectives have been held in the 1990s at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, at The Royal Academy in London, at the Centre Pompidou, Paris and at the Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo. Clemente’s art was also featured in 1999-2000 at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, and at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. In the 2000s retrospectives were held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, at the Museo MADRE, Naples and at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt. An exhibition of self-portraits and of Clemente’s own version of the Tarot Cards was held at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence in 2011. (the text and information above comes from Wikipedia).

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Art & Project and Conceptual Art

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In & Out of Amsterdam

The best book from the last years on the fascinating world of Conceptual Art is by far the book IN & OUT of AMSTERDAM/ Travels in Conceptual Art 1960-1976. A book which i cherish , because this is a treasure trove of ideas and excellent publications which can still be found on the market(s). The book si published by MoMa where in 2009 the exhibition was held with the same name. In &Out of Amsterdam  shows the most important and possibly the best works by the following artists:

Bas Jan Ader

Stanley Brouwn ( see blog)

Hanne Darboven

Jan Dibbets

Ger van Elk

Gilbert & George

Sol LeWitt ( see blog)

Charlotte Posenenske

Allen Ruppersberg

Lawrence Weiner

All excellent artist and all published within the series of Bulletins published by Art & Project.

These publications have certainly become highly collectable items, because during the time they were published and now ( some 40 years ) few have survived. So start collecting them now while they are still available. see www.ftn-books.com

 

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Agnes Martin (1912-2004)

The 3rd blog on a female artist. Tate, Moma, Lacma, Guggenheim, Centre Pompidou, Stedelijk Museum…..They all have in common that they have a work or works by Agnes Martin in their Permanent collections. Martin is considered by most as a Minimal artist but she herself thinks more of herself as an abstract expressionist painter. Anyway ,she is absolutely one of the most important and original artists from the 20th century. Personally i think her paintings have a unique quality. More Minimal than abstract, but made with a technique that is typical Agnes Martin. The Guardian says the following on Martin.

A late starter, Martin kept on going, working at the height of her powers right through her 80s; a stocky figure with apple cheeks and cropped silver hair, dressed in overalls and Indian shirts. She produced the last of her masterpieces a few months before her death in 2004, at the grand old age of 92. But she was also so deeply ambivalent about pride and success and the ego-driven business of making a name for yourself that in the 1960s she abandoned the art world altogether, packing up her New York studio, giving away her materials and disappearing in a pickup truck, surfacing 18 months later on a remote mesa in New Mexico.

When she returned to painting in 1971, the grids had gone, replaced by horizontal or vertical lines, the old palette of grey and white and brown giving way to glowing stripes and bands of very pale pink and blue and yellow. “Sippy cup colours”, the critic Terry Castle once called them, and their titles likewise address states of pre-verbal, infantile bliss. Little Children Loving Love, I Love the Whole World, Lovely Life, even Infant Response to Love. And yet these images of absolute calm did not arise from a life replete with love or ease, but rather out of turbulence, solitude and hardship. Though inspired, they represent an act of dogged will and extreme effort, and their perfection is hard-won.

Martin’s work is in museums and collections across the world, and changes hands for millions of dollars at a time. All the same, she hasn’t achieved quite the renown of her mostly male contemporaries in abstraction, partly because the subtleties of her paintings are almost impossible to reproduce in print.
I think there is one exception. the excellent poster that was an original silkscreen for the Quadrat Bottrop exhibition. It is still available at www.ftn-books.com
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Mark Tobey (1890-1967)

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There was a time when i had not heard of Tobey, but since i saw some large works by him in both the Beyeler, Stedelijk Museum….. i am a fan.

It started with the catalogue i acquired 20 years ago. Bought the catalogue because of the Wim Crouwel design ,but was immediately attracted by the works within….They were Tobey’s .

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Tobey is most notable for his creation of so-called “white writing” – an overlay of white or light-colored calligraphic symbols on an abstract field which is often itself composed of thousands of small and interwoven brush strokes. This method, in turn, gave rise to the type of “all-over” painting style made most famous by Jackson Pollock, another American painter to whom Tobey is often compared.

Tobey is working on different sizes but for me his large works are the most impressive. The last 16 years of his live he spend in Basel, which is of course the reason why so many of his works stayed  there. Throughout the years he travelled all over the world.

He was an incessant traveler, visiting Mexico, Europe, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, China and Japan and spread his works this way in an organic way, but the main part of his oeuvre stayed in Switzerland, in Basel where le lived for 16 years.

Here are some locations where his works are part of the collection: Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. There have been at least four posthumous individual exhibitions of Tobey’s work: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA, 1984; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany, 1989; Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland, 1990; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

The publications below are available at www.ftn-books.com