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the Drawings of Roy Lichtenstein (1987)

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I like this title. It was published at the end of the EIghties which finally recognized the historical importance of Pop Art in art. before , in th early Sixties pop art exhibitions were held all over the world including many impotant ones exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Among them a highly important Lichtenstein exhibition, but the difference with the 1987 exhibition at the MOMA museum is that in 1967 in Amsterdam it was NEW and MODERN and in 1987 in New York is was “established” art. A difference of 20 years and now another 33 years later . The quality of the works by Roy Lichtenstein is once again underlined with this exquiste catalogue on his drawings. It shows the metaculous preparation in drawing for all larger works he would create after.

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Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg (8)

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Recognised for developing the first American style to depart from Abstract Expressionism, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg came together as collaborators and lovers in the mid ’50s. Though the two are widely considered as the founding fathers of the pop art movement, their relationship was ignored due to the rampant homophobia during this time. With many believing the two to be just friends, their intense partnership is often overlooked as being a pivotal factor in their art-making. After a passionate six years, Johns and Rauschenberg broke up. The distraught revolutionaries both left New York City, changed their pictorial styles and cut off all contact with each other for over ten years.    A nice selection of both artists is available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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Billy Apple ( Barrie Bates – 1935 )

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Billy Apple is considered to be a Pop Art artist, although he side stepped at some occasions his main works are related to the Pop Art movement. Coming from New Zealand but working and living in the US he made a career for himself knowing many of his great contemporaries personally.

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Billy Apple (ONZM) is an artist whose work is associated with the New York and British schools of Pop Art in the 1960s and with the Conceptual Art movement in the 1970s. He collaborated with the likes of Andy Warhol and other pop artists. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (New Zealand), Auckland Art Gallery / Toi o Tamaki (New Zealand), the Christchurch Art Gallery / Te Puna o Waiwhetu (New Zealand), The University of Auckland (New Zealand) and the SMAK/Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (Ghent, Belgium).

Barrie Bates was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1935. He left secondary school with no qualifications and took a job as an assistant to a paint manufacturer in 1951. Bates attended evening classes at Elam School of Fine Arts, where he met Robert Ellis, a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London.

In 1959 he left New Zealand on a National Art Gallery scholarship. He studied at the Royal College of Art, London, from 1959 until 1962. During his time at the Royal College of Art, Bates met several other artists who went on to become a new generation of pop artists; including David Hockney, Derek Boshier Frank Bowling and Pauline Boty. He exhibited frequently during his time at the College in the Young Contemporaries and Young Commonwealth Artists exhibitions along with Frank Bowling, Jonathan Kingdon, Bill Culbert, Jan Bensemann and Jerry Pethick.

In 1962 Bates conceived Billy Apple: he bleached his hair and eyebrows with Lady Clairol Instant Creme Whip and changed his name to Billy Apple. Apple had his first solo show in 1963 – Apple Sees Red: Live Stills – in London at Victor Musgrave’s Gallery One.

Apple moved to New York in 1964: he progressed his artistic career and also found work in various advertising agencies.

A pivotal event was the 1964 exhibit “The American Supermarket”, a show held in Paul Bianchini’s Upper East Side gallery. The show was presented as a typical small supermarket environment, except that everything in it — the produce, canned goods, meat, posters on the wall, etc. — was created by six prominent pop artists of the time, including Billy Apple, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Jasper Johns and others.

Apple was one of the artists who pioneered the use of neon in art works (Apples to Xerox and Neon Rainbows). Other exhibitions and series include Art for Sale, The Given as an Art Political Statement, Transactions, Golden Rectangle, The Art Circuit etc.

In 2008 Apple was the subject of a feature length documentary called “Being Billy Apple”.

http://www.ftn-books.com has acquired the important UNION JACK poster by Billy Apple he made for his 2009 Witte de With exhibition. Now available at www.ftn-books.com

union witte apple a

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Hugh Weiss (1927-2007)

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The first time i encountered some actual painting by Hugh Weiss, was at the timne the Venduhuis held an auction with works from the estate of Hans Sonnenberg, the former owner of the Delta Gallery in Rotterdam. Sonnenberg had a very personal way of collecting and was not affraid to present young artists like Haring and Basquiat in the Eighties and Schjolte and van Geest in the Eighties/Nineties. In the Sixties he liked a different kind of art and beside some POP ART he presenetd there was this American born artist who he liked very much…..Hugh Weiss

Hugh Weiss was born in Philidelphia in 1925, but practically lived his entire working life in Paris /France. Here he has made a name for himself and from France  a contact with Sonnenberg was established, The result exhibitions at galerie Delta of which one catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com. It is the 1965 catalogue

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The works intrigue, but not so musch as that at timne of the auction i wanted to add one to my collection. I focussed instead on the Arie van Geest paintings and i was successful. Now that i look at them again in the catalogue i think it is a pity that i did not bid, but wh knows perhaps in the future there is another chance.

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John Wesley (1928)

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John Wesley is considered to be a Pop Art artist, however, I am in doubt because many of his qualities are timeless and are much more graphic than the 100% pop art paintings. I knew Wesly from his retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in 1993, but what I did not realise was that many of his works have an erotic contents. I did a Google search and found many examples of nudity that were presented in great graphic paintings and prints. I am not the only person who thinks about his works in such a way.

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John Wesley is a contemporary American painter. Characterized by his uniquely graphic, flattened Pop paintings, Wesley’s work addresses themes of sexuality and erotica through stylized and symmetrically composed images. Rendered in distinctive pink and blue pastel hues, Wesley repeats the same graphic symbolic images in tessellation-like patterns on his large canvases, and regularly employs leitmotifs like pornography and avian fowl—often to humorous effect—throughout his oeuvre. Though his paintings are reminiscent of his contemporary Tom Wesselmann, his personal associations were with peers Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, and he was inspired by both the Minimalist and Surrealist movements. That being said, “I didn’t go out and try to be a Surrealist,” Wesley explained of his ambiguous imagery. “It was just fun doing what I was doing.” Born on November 25, 1928 in Los Angeles, CA, he was a self-taught artist who worked for several years an illustrator for the avian industry. His work has been critically acclaimed throughout his career, and he has been the subject of several retrospectives, notably including at the PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York in 2000.

The following publications are available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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Keiichi Tanaami (1936)

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My first impression when i encountered this set of Tanaami posters was that these were original 60’s posters , but no….these are from ca. 2005 and strongly rooted in the Japanese culture of making prints and heavily inspired by Psychedelic Sixties posters

Born in 1936 in Tokyo, Japan, Keiichi Tanaami is an influential pop artist of postwar Japan. Tanaami took a keen interest in drawing at a very young age and often spent time in cartoonist Kazushi Hara’s studio. He studied at Musashino Art University, earning a Special Selection recognition with a major design and illustration group. Since the mid 1960s, he became increasingly interested in psychedelic culture, Acid Music, and Pop Art, in particular Andy Warhol’s work. In 1968, his award-winning antiwar poster “No More War” and his album artwork for the Monkees and Jefferson Airplane became a major impetus for the movement of psychedelic and pop art in Japan. In 1975, he became the first Art Director of Playboy (Japanese Edition), and in 1991 he started to teach at Kyoto University of Art and Design, where he is currently a chairperson of a Faculty of Information Design.
tanaami posters

There is a wonderful site on this artist which reads like a comic book and some outstanding graphic quality and yes i have 2 of his posters now available at http://www.ftn-books.com

for the site go here: https://mangadejapan.com/articles/detail/1356

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Daan van Golden and Mick Jagger

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At first sight an unlikely combination for the dutch Pop Art artist Daan van Golden. Still…van Golden made an hommage to Mick Jagger in 1967. The silkscreen was printed in an edition of 10 copies and is now sought after as being one of the most iconic of his works. It is a large silkscreen measuring 123 x 106 cm. and this copy of the Stadscollectie Rotterdam was acquired at the famous dDelta gallery who was at that time the representing gallery of van Golden. The image of the silkscreen was used in 1988 for the cover of the book published on the occasion of the presentation of the Stadscollectie Rotterdam . This book is now available at http://www.ftn-books.com.

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Kitaj (1932-2007)

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Robert Brooks Kitaj was born in the US but his art is closely related to the British Pop Art. I am writing this blog because i recently acquired a german catalogue on his exhibition at the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf and i was impressed. Later i learned that Kitaj received a lot of criticism on his art as the press slaughtered his exhibition at the Tate gallery in 1994. Her is what i found on Wikipedia

A second retrospective was staged at the Tate Gallery in 1994. Critical reviews in London were almost universally negative. British press savagely attacked the Tate exhibit, calling Kitaj a pretentious poseur who engaged in name dropping. Kitaj took the criticism very personally, declaring that “anti-intellectualism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism” had fueled the vitriol. Despite the bad reviews, the exhibition moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and afterwards to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1995. His second wife, Sandra Fisher died from hyperacute haemorrhagic leuco-encephalitis in 1994, shortly after his exhibition at the Tate Gallery had ended. He blamed the British press for her death, stating that “they were aiming for me, but they got her instead.” David Hockney concurred and said that he too believed the London art critics had killed Sandra Fisher.[14] Kitaj returned to the US in 1997 and settled in Los Angeles, near his first son. “When my Wife died”, he wrote to Edward Chaney, “London died for me and I returned home to California to live among sons and grandsons – It was a very good move and now I begin my 3rd and (last?) ACT! hands across The Sea.” Three years later he wrote: “I grow older every day and rather like my hermit life.” The “Tate War” and Sandra’s death became a central themes for his later works: he often depicted himself and his deceased wife as angels. In Los Angeles No. 22 (Painting-Drawing) the beautiful young (and naked) girl records the shadow of her aged lover (on whose lap she sits) in a pose directly taken from the Scots Grand Tourist David Allan’s Origin of Painting. The latter was included by Ernst Gombrich in his 1995 National Gallery exhibition (and catalogue) on Shadows so that Kitaj would have seen it two years before he left England for ever. 

Personally i think the critics are wrong. Kitaj deserves his place among the great European Pop Art artists and the future exhibitions that will include his works will probably prove me right. Some Kitaj catalogues are availableat http://www.ftn-books.com

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A spectacular Pop Up, 1992

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Pop & Artvertising was held at the Museum Bommel van Dam in 1992. The catalogue was designed as a true Pop Art collectible. You could hold the catalogue by a “space” in the cover and pages. Making the catalogue look like a paper bag. The exhibition showed the relation between Pop Art and advertising. Brown paper bag pages throughout except fo the middle . Open the middle and there is a brilliant Pop Up . The design of the catalogue is by Ruud van Soest and in my opinion this is certainly a highly collectable Pop Art catalogue.This catalogue is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Key Hiraga (1936-2000)

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Rooted in Pop Art and Hippie art, this symbiosis of these influences in the art of Key Hiraga created an original approach to subject and painting itself. These paintings are one of a kind and can be immediately recognized for being done by Hiraga.

As with many of the artists from the final years of the Sixties and early Seventies these works are almost forgotten, but now and then they surface again. For instance there is a dutch artist belonging to the same category…. Jakob Zekveld. Color schemes are almost the same but compositions are totally different.  here is one by Zekveld.

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Although i have never seen his works in agllery nor museum, i am a fan , because his works are original and filled with symbolism and never bore. the following publication on Hiraga is available at www.ftn-books.com

hiraga