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Till Hohn,(1945) Musician, artist, performer

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Not many will have heard of Till Hohn, since he is mainly a local celebrity in Dusseldorf.

because he is known in the Dusseldorf region he has had his exhibitions and performances mainly in this region and one was held in the IM EHRENHOF venue in 1995. With the exhibition/Performance was a a small catalogue published which is now in high demand , because Hohn is such an artist who stays true to his believe in his chosen way in art . It is fascinating to see the development over the years and the scenery he builds for his performances is like an architectural sculpture.

The Till Hohn / Unser Dusseldorf soll schoner werden publication is now availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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Timm Ulrichs (1940)

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Timm Ulrichs (born in 1940) is considered one of the most influential German conceptual and action artists. He writes concrete poetry, makes performance art, and works as a sculptor.

For his work, Timm Ulrichs has received numerous international prizes, but in a conscious gesture of rejection, he withdrew from the art market. Even though his early performances and happenings have art historical significance in terms of determining an avant-garde art after 1960, his entire oeuvre is often only known to insiders. As an artist’s artist, Timm Ulrichs is widely respected.

Ulrichs has been active as a self-proclaimed “total artist” since 1959 when he displayed himself in a glass box and determined himself “the first living artwork”. In that year, he established the Werbezentrale für Totalkunst, Banalismus und Extemporismus [Advertising agency for total art, banalism, and extemporism] in Hanover, which was to serve the propagation, development and production of total art. Under the motto “art is life, life is art”, he called himself “the perfect gesamtkunstwerk”. www.ftn-books.com has two Ulrichs titles available.

 

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Bruce McLean (1944)

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It took me decades to discover the art of Bruce McLean. A typical Sixties artist who started with performances and now ends his career with HUGE paintings. In between …… an abundance of works of which the large canvasses i appreciate most.

An original and personal style of painting . …the result…. recognizable paintings. I looked up the artist Bruce McLean and found that his paintings are still on the verge of affordable to wealthy private collectors and maybe now is the time to start looking and finding a beautiful McLean painting for your collection?

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www.ftn-books.com has a few bruce McLean publications available

 

Bruce McLean is a Scottish sculptor, performance artist, filmmaker and painter. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1961 to 1963, and from 1963 to 1966 at St. Martin’s School of Art, London, where he and others rebelled against what appeared to be the formalist academicism of his teachers, including Anthony Caro and Phillip King. In 1965 he abandoned conventional studio production in favour of impermanent sculptures using materials such as water, along with performances of a generally satirical nature directed against the art world. When in 1972 he was offered an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, he opted for a ‘retrospective’ he titled “King for a Day” which lasted only one day. From the mid 1970s, while continuing to mount occasional performances, McLean has turned increasingly to painting/sculpture and film work. In 1985, McLean won the John Moores Painting Prize. Since retiring from his professorship of painting at the Slade School of Art, he has taken on a large studio in west London where he has been making increasingly large paintings and sculptural film works.

 

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Joan Jonas (1936)….only one book

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Joan Jonas was born in 1936 in New York. A pioneer of performance and video art, Jonas works in video, installation, sculpture, and drawing, often collaborating with musicians and dancers to realize improvisational works that are equally at home in the museum gallery and on the theatrical stage. Drawing on mythic stories from various cultures, Jonas invests texts from the past with the politics of the present.

Just a short biography which can be found everywhere on the internet, but a visual example of her work says more than a thousand words.

and the interview she has done with Art21

 

www.ftn-books.com has only one book available by Joan Jonas. It is the exhibition catalogue for her Stedelijk Museum exhibition in 1994.

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Gilbert & George/ Naked shit paintings

The blog of yesterday reminded me that Piero Manzoni was not the only artist who used faeces as a subject in their art. Gilbert & George is another example who used the subject in a far more explicit way than Manzoni did. With the canned Manzoni multiple it is still uncertain if the contents is the same as the label indicates , however with Gilbert & George it is no question at all, because the pictures show the subjects as they are.

Still the composition and execution are 100% recognizable Gilbert & George, but personally i like the more society and critical related subjects better and far more pleasing to look at, but just to show that many more artists used the subject it is nice to devote a blog on these 2 great artists.

 

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Books on Gilbert & George are available at www.ftn-books.com

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James Lee Byars (1932-1997) sculptor and performance artist

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James Lee Byars was both. An excellent sculptor and a performance artist in the US, much like Joseph Beuys was in Germany. They knew eachother very well and became friends in the late Seventies, resulting in a fascination correspondence between them of which part was published.

Obsessed by the idea of perfection, Byars produced a remarkable body of work that strove to give form to his search for beauty and truth. Pursuing what he called “the first totally interrogative philosophy,” he made and proposed art at scales ranging from the vastness of outer space to the microscopic level of subatomic particles, in an attempt to delineate the limits of our knowledge while enacting a desire for something more.

Here is the performance of THE PERFECT LOVE LETTER in Stockholm.

Byars was one of a kind and his art stands out from that of his contemporary artists. www.ftn-books.com is lucky to have some excellent publications on James Lee Byars.

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GÜNTER BRUS (1938)

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First of all aq uote by Peter Weibel…GÜNTER BRUS, An observer of the second order, he explored the contexts of body and painting, the body’s social and sexual functions, the social and cultural functions of painting. By treating painting and body as a single system, and by analysis of these media of expression, he ultimately pursued an anatomy of society and its social systems.”

It was one of the first artists Rudi Fuchs introduced to the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and since that occasion , GÜNTER BRUS fascinated me. Specially his drawings are my favorites and 2 years ago i saw some movies by Brus in Vienna in an exhibitions on Aktionismus. Self mutilation does not make this an easy art form, but fascinating it is. You do not have to watch the video, but for those interested know that this is not a pleasing art form and could be shocking to some. There are some more examples to be found on you tube and for those interested in Brus, know that there are some nice publications available at www.ftn-books.com

 

 

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Yves Klein (1928-1962)

Yesterday i learned from a dutch TV program (DWDD / De Wereld Draait Door) that there is a large Yves Klein retrospective in the BOZAR museum Brussels.

Yves Klein , touched many currents in Modern Art, even was one of the participants in ZERO, but eventually developed a style of his own using in many of his works the iconic BLUE color he developed. Was it zero, action painting or performance art? Today art lovers around the world can not answer these questions , but one can see for one self what fits most, because there is a great retrospective on his art in BOZAR/ Bruxelles until the 20th of August. His monochrome blue paintings are on show together with his action paintings of blue prints of female bodies. A great show and possibly a once in a lifetime chance to see many important Yves Klein works together.

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Nowadays Klein paintings fetch record prices at auctions all over the world, but in one of his first shows In Krefeld in 1961 nothing was sold. This was followed by an unsuccessful opening at Leo Castelli’s Gallery, New York, in which Klein failed to sell a single painting. He stayed with Rotraut Uecker at the Chelsea Hotel for the duration of the exhibition; and, while there, he wrote the “Chelsea Hotel Manifesto”, a proclamation of the “multiplicity of new possibilities.” In part, the manifesto declared:

At present, I am particularly excited by “bad taste.” I have the deep feeling that there exists in the very essence of bad taste a power capable of creating those things situated far beyond what is traditionally termed “The Work of Art.” I wish to play with human feeling, with its “morbidity” in a cold and ferocious manner. Only very recently I have become a sort of gravedigger of art (oddly enough, I am using the very terms of my enemies). Some of my latest works have been coffins and tombs. During the same time I succeeded in painting with fire, using particularly powerful and searing gas flames, some of them measuring three to four meters high. I use these to bathe the surface of the painting in such a way that it registered the spontaneous trace of fire.

To prepare your self for the exhibition, know that over the decades excellent books on Klein were published. There are some available at www.ftn-books.com

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There Will be Blood…Hermann Nitsch

 

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There will be blood….This is the title of one of the most exciting movies from the last decade with a brilliant Daniel Day-Lewis. Violent, colorful story of a family followed over 60 years in the oil business…definitely a must see.

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But this title also refers to the performances of the Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch . From the early 60’s on he made well over 100 performances within his cycle of the Orgien Mysterien Theater. Bloody performances, but meticulously executed and well thought over. Naked people, audience, blood and canvases , registered on Video or film and directed by Nitsch himself make these  true works of art. The performance is one part of the art work, the other part are the canvasses which were made with material from these performances and sold by galleries worldwide. When you visit Vienna visit the Tourist Office to see if there is a performance planned. When visiting Napoli ( Italy) realize that outside Austria In Naples is the largest Nitsch collection assembled in the http://www.museonitsch.org

Blood is not only used by Nitsch, but others use blood as well. Marc Quinn uses blood to freeze it into a sculpture of a human head and Eric Orr uses it as paint for his paintings. Do not be horrified by the use of blood in art, but see the beauty of the art which is made by the use of blood.

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NItsch titles available at www.ftn-books.com