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Jean-Michel Basquiat and Fashion

 

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This blog is how i experience books and art and what i read about them and this is certainly an article i want to share with you. The guardian did an excellent article on Basquiat and his Fahion style/ A style which looks random , but was a well thought out way of dressing… Hooray for the Guardian. Here is the article and do not forget that www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on Jean-Michel Basquiat.

There’s an image of Jean-Michel Basquiat on the cover of the New York Times magazine from 1985. The photo is by Lizzie Himmel; the headline New Art, New Money. The artist, wearing a dark Giorgio Armani suit, white shirt and tie, leans back in a chair, one bare foot on the floor, the other up on a chair. The combination of the suit and the bare feet is typical of the way Basquiat defined his own image; always with an unconventional bent.

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I’ve obsessed over his style when standing in front of Hollywood Africans, a 1983 work from a series where the images relate to stereotypes of African Americans in the entertainment business. It is a banger of a painting and will form part of Basquiat: Boom for Real, a retrospective opening at the Barbican in London this month.

I have a longstanding interest in the way artists dress, from Picasso to Hockney, Georgia O’Keeffe to Robert Rauschenberg, and I think their wardrobes exert as powerful an influence on mainstream fashion as those of any rock or Hollywood stars. These artists carved out instantly recognisable uniforms: clothes that symbolise the same singular point of view as their greatest works, usually with the sense of complete ease that is the holy grail of true style.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled 1982, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. On show at the Barbican in London in 2017.
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 Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled 1982, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. On show at the Barbican in London in 2017. Photograph: Jean-Michel Basquiat/Barbican

Basquiat’s wardrobe was distinctive, whether he was in mismatched blazer and trousers with striped shirt and clashing tie, or patterned shirt with a leather jacket pushed off his shoulders. He was perhaps most recognisable in his paint-splattered Armani suits. “I loved the fact that he chose to wear Armani. And loved even more that he painted in my suits,” Giorgio Armani says. “I design clothes to be worn, for people to live in, and he certainly did!”

In many ways, this bricolage approach to clothing is akin to the way he created his art. “His work was a mysterious combination of elements – text and colour, historical reference, abstraction and figurative techniques,” Armani says. “In his life, he also mashed up creative activities – he was a graffiti artist, a musician, an actor, a maker of great artworks. This eclecticism made him a mysterious and unconventional man. That mix made him stand out.”

Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat and classmate Al Diaz graffitied statements across New York as SAMO© in the late 70s, before he went on to become one of the biggest stars of the 80s art scene with his unique and brilliantly chaotic paintings. He died in 1988 at just 27, but is still regarded as one of the most influential painters of his generation. A painting from 1982, Untitled, sold this year for £85m, putting him in a unique club alongside the likes of Picasso in terms of record-breaking sales.

“He was an incredibly stylish artist,” says Barbican curator Eleanor Nairne. “He was very playful about the performative aspects of identity.” He was also aware of the “renewed fixation on celebrity” that coincided with the art boom of the 80s, particularly in New York. He famously appeared in Blondie’s Rapture video, dated Madonna and befriended Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, September 1985.
 Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, September 1985. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

Cathleen McGuigan, who wrote that 1985 New York Times feature, recounts Basquiat at the hip Manhattan hangout Mr Chow’s, drinking kir royal and chatting to Keith Haring while Warhol dined with Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran nearby. “He attracted the attention of Warhol and Bowie, so was endorsed by those who had already achieved that rare style-icon status,” Armani says. “And he had a very unique look – he had hair as distinctive as Warhol’s and wore suits in a way as stylish and relaxed as Bowie.”

Basquiat’s interest in clothing was not just something he explored or exploited at the height of his fame. In Basquiat: A Quick Killing In Art, by Phoebe Hoban, clothes are an important part of his life story. His mother had at one point designed them, while one of his teachers noted he had pencils sticking out of his hair from an early age. Soon after he killed off SAMO© he was painting sweatshirts, lab coats and jumpsuits for Patricia Field, who gave him one of his first shows at her East Eighth Street boutique. Descriptions of his stirring appearance include this by American curator Diego Cortez: “I remember on the dancefloor seeing this black kid with a blond Mohawk. He had nothing to do with black culture. He was this Kraftwerkian technocreature … He looked like a Bowery bum and a fashion model at the same time.”

Basquiat went on to model in a 1987 Comme des Garçons show wearing a pale blue suit, black buckle sandals, white shirt and white bow tie. Robert Johnston, style director at British GQ, describes Basquiat’s style as “a work of art in itself” and adds: “While meaning no disrespect to his talent, it is hard to imagine he would have taken New York so much by storm if he’d looked more like Francis Bacon.”

Basquiat’s influence on menswear is still felt today. While other icons have referenced his style – Kanye West sported a T-shirt bearing his portrait, Frank Ocean namechecked him in lyrics by Jay-Z, who dressed as him for a Halloween party – there is a more direct effect on fashion. There have been collaborations, via his estate, with the likes of Reebok and Supreme. There’s a photo of Basquiat wearing an Adidas T-shirt with a pinstripe suit which is a template for how the younger generation approach the idea of tailoring. At the S/S 18 shows in Milan, wonky ties with suiting at Marni made me jot down “Basquiat” in my notebook. And with the Barbican show his influence will spread. “The way Basquiat mixed classic tailoring with a downtown nonchalance fits the mood in menswear,” says Jason Hughes, fashion editor of Wallpaper*. “A refined suit worn with an unironed shirt, skewwhiff tie and beaten-up sneakers. The fact that he painted in those suits feels slightly anarchic and nonconformist. I want to wear a suit like that.”

This article appears in the autumn/winter 2017 edition of The Fashion, the Guardian and the Observer’s biannual fashion supplement

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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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Nat Finkelstein (1933-2009)..The Warhol/Factory photographer

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His claim to fame was that Nat Finkelstein was the house photographer of the FACTORY. The complex which housed the studios of Andy Warhol.

(The Factory was Andy Warhol’s New York City studio, which had three different locations between 1962 and 1984. The original Factory was on the fifth floor at 231 East 47th Street, in Midtown Manhattan. The rent was one hundred dollars per year.[1] Warhol left in 1967 when the building was scheduled to be torn down to make way for an apartment building. He then relocated his studio to the sixth floor of the Decker Building at 33 Union Square West near the corner of East 16th Street, where he was shot in 1968 by Valerie Solanas. The Factory was revamped and remained there until 1973. It moved to 860 Broadway at the north end of Union Square. Although this space was much larger, not much filmmaking took place there. In 1984 Warhol moved his remaining ventures, no longer including filming, to 22 East 33rd Street, a conventional office building)

In September 1962 Finkelstein was commissioned by Pageant magazine to do an article on the emerging Pop Art movement. The article was titled “What happens at a Happening?” it covered a Claes Oldenburg “happening” in Greenwich Village and was a break that would define his future. Two years later, while attending a party at the Factory, Finkelstein met Warhol, who had seen his photographs of Oldenburg’s “happening” in Pageant. Finkelstein offered his services as a photographer to the artist, and for the next three years he was a constant presence at the Factory. His iconic images of the include subjects such as the Velvet Underground performing live, Marcel Duchamp, Bob Dylan, Edie Sedgwick, Salvador Dalí, and Allen Ginsberg.

There are some nice Finkelstein and Warhol publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Domenico Gnoli (1933-1970)… is Italian Pop Art

Died at the age of 37 , too young to die and leaving so much to admire. From his own perspective Gnoli enlarged daily objects and transformed them into large paintings, a little bit like Konrad Klapheck does, but with a much more gentle approach to the subject. Focussing on the extreme details , like stitchings and tissues he makes highly recognizable paintings.

Gnoli was born in Italy but moved at a very young age to the US where he stayed and worked in New York for the better part of his life. Painting and as a Stage designer to make a living, he got his first exhibitions in New York. Gnoli was presented in a large exhibition in the Netherland at the Boijmans van Beuningen museum, but it is of late that his name keep surfacing as one of the more important and influential Italian artists from the sixties and it is this raised interest in his works that it makes harder and harder to find good publications on Gnoli. www.ftn-books.com has two books available.

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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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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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