Willem De Kooning(1904-1997) is a dutchman

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For many people in the US , Willem de Kooning is an American painter , however ….for us dutch, de Kooning is a dutchman. Born in Rotterdam and educated at the Rotterdam evening academy and working for the METZ department store as an interior decorator until he decided to go to the US in 1926. He went as a stowaway and would become the abstract expressionist painter we admire. He met artists from and became part of the Abstract expressionist mouvement. Meeting with Pollock, Still, Rothko and Newman made him aware of his qualities as an abstract painter developing a style of his own and building an important oeuvre from there on. He never lost touch with his homecountry the Netherlands and this resulted in a large and very important collection of De Kooning paintings in the Stedelijk Museum. Edy de Wilde was the director who made this happen and it is the luck of the visitors of the Stedelijk that in one spot they can discover and admire so many excellent De Kooning paintings.

and for some nice publications on De Kooning visit www.ftn-books.com

Tate Modern….SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER

 

This morning the Volkskrant mentioned and reviewed another Tate Modern exhibition in which afro-american artists have the leading role. I did not visit this exhibition , but it will be on my list should i visit London in the coming months. The exhibition will be open until the 22nd of October and shows the importance of afro-american artists in the sixties and seventies. None of them have become the household names in Modern Art as we know now and perhaps the only artist who reached “star” status by the end of the eighties was Jean-Michel Basquiat, but he originally was born in Brooklyn and part Haitian, not Afro American.  Then i realized that my inventory has very few books on or by Afro American artist. Is it because their art is less appealing? I do not think so, The Dawoud Bey and Kara Walker books i have, show great art, but i think the true reason is that Afro American artists did not get a good platform to show their art in the best possible way. Fewer Museum and gallery exhibitions have been organized  with them than with non afro-american artists and that is the reason this exhibition is important and possibly paves the way for artists from other cultures and countries which are lesser known. The mentioned artists Bey and Walker are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

Lee Bontecou and Will Leewens

It was for over 3 months in my mind that i had to visit the Lee Bontecou exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, but because of a full schedule i had to wait until the last day of the exhibition, which was yesterday. I already bought the catalogue , but did not look into it, so all works on exhibit were new to me and i must say that more than half was very impressive. There was a large Sandbox filled with little objects, the wall with sketches and some wall sculptures and “mobiles” which were very impressive, but part was sketches and other little objects which were far less fascinating, some even boring.

What struck me was that artists all over the world must influence each other. Here is an example of a work by Will Leewens and the one by Bontecou. Colors, size and even some of the 3d objects look the same. Both are finished in the early sixties and although i doubt that they have known each other . I ams sure bot were influenced in some way by others and excecuted their works in a similar way.

 

The exhibition is history now, but what remains is a great catalogue which is still available at the Gemeentemuseum shop and of course for older publications on Bontecou and Leewens you can visit www.ftn-books.com

David Salle (1952)

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David Salle…..still one of te great names in Modern Art and still very famous in the US, but his works tend to be forgotten a little bit in Europe after he had had many important shows here in the eighties and nineties. Painter, graphic artist, cinema director and photographer Salle is a multi disciplined artist who was one of the first living artist who reached star status in the art world after his works were soled for over a million dollar at auction. Personally i do not think any painting is worth so much money, because i  think art is to be consumed and admired and not bought or sold as an investment. An artist who’s works are bought after he/she died is an exception. The works have proven themselves and it is important for museum to show the works of an artist in relation to other works of art, but….for living artists like Salle, Hirst and Koons ART has become a way of making money ( and a lot if it). The idea behind the work is less important than the interest t should create with buyers and investors. So my advice …buy what you personally think is worth to look at, admire and collect it and if it is more expensive … pay a little more for it because you will enjoy the work every day you look at it.

Books on Salle are available at www.ftn-books.com

Andy Warhol in Stockholm (1968)

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The sixties were the time that Pop Art was introduced in Europe and one of the venues where a large exhibition was held was the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Of course the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam has had its Pop Art and Warhol exhibitions in those days, but what makes the Stockholm exhibition stand out, was the catalogue which was published with the Andy Warhol exhibition in 1968. Not a small booklet , designed by Wim Crouwel of 40+ pages, but a large catalogue containing approx. 500 pages filled with art and photography. . A true documentary publication with the most important works by Warhol and over 300 photographs with documentary photographs on Warhol and his circle of friends. the Factory photography was done by Billy Name. Spontaneous and random photography, giving great insight in the world of Warhol and his Friends in the surroundings of the Factory. This is one of the most important Andy Warhol catalogues ever published and now available at www.ftn-books.com

Robert Mapplethorpe in KUNSTHAL/ Rotterdam.

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An important exhibition in KUNSTHAL / Rotterdam. To be shown until the 27th of August there is a large Retrospective on Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the great photographers from last century who died sadly from HIV in 1989.

https://www.kunsthal.nl/nl/plan-je-bezoek/tentoonstellingen/robert-mapplethorpe/

Robert Mapplethorpe ( November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) was an American photographer, known for his sensitive yet blunt treatment of controversial subject-matter in the large-scale, highly stylized black and white medium of photography. His work featured an array of subjects, including celebrity portraits, male and female nudes, self-portraits and still-life images of flowers. His most controversial work is that of the underground BDSM scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s of New York City. The homoeroticism of this work fueled a national debate over the public funding of controversial artwork.

This is the text which Wikipedia uses to describe Mapplethorpe in a nutshell, but what is less known is that Mapplethorpe exhibitions were held in the Netherlands at a very early stage of his career in galerie Jurka. His earliest exhibition over there was in 1979, well before his works were collected and appreciated by many.

1979

“Robert Mapplethorpe: 1970-75,” Robert Samuel Gallery, New York

Texas Gallery, Houston, Texas

“Contact,” Robert Miller Gallery, New York

Galerie Jurka, Amsterdam

“Trade Off,” International Center of Photography, New Y

1978

La Remise du Parc Gallery, Paris

“Film and Stills,” Robert Miller Gallery, New York

The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia

Langton Street Gallery, San Francisco, California

Simon Lowinsky Gallery, San Francisco, California

La Remise du Parc Gallery, Paris

Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California

1977

“Portraits,”Holly Solomon Gallery, New York

“Flowers,” Holly Solomon Gallery, New York

“Erotic Pictures,” The Kitchen, New York

1976

“Polaroids,”Light Gallery, New York

This exhibition means his photographs will come back to the Netherlands and one can see for himself what development and progression Mapplethorpe has made since his first exhibitions over here. And yes… the Jurka catalogue from 1980 is available at www.ftn-books.com

Ilja (Ilya) Kabakov (1933)

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Born in Ukrainia in 1933, he later immigrated in 1987 to Graz in Austria and after that he became an American citizen and moved to New York. Since 1987 his works /installations are executed by him and his niece Emilia, whi=o would later become his wife. Kabakov s considered to be one of the foremost installation/conceptual artists in the world and because of this status his works were presented and collected by the Stedelijk Museum. Many publications, including HET GROTE ARCHIEF,

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are still within in the collection, but rarely exhibited. Kabakov is one of those artists who are lesser known with the great public, but who works will become more and more important in the years to come. What his works make for me more interesting is the beautiful books which and catalogues which are published with his exhibitions and 2 of them are for sale at www.ftn-books.com