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Stedelijk Museum 2009 … a cotton bag

 

During the renovation of the Stedelijk Museum in 2009. There were only 5 special opening days of the museum. These days were on the occasion of the Amsterdam art fair to let the public see the progress and possibilities of the “new” building and get acqainted with it

The museum had a completely different approach in showing its colection since the rooms were filled for a period of only 5 days. The result a truly different museum filled with surprising and fantastic art and this bag is proof that there were these opening days in May 2009. There were 4 different versions and all versions are available. The bag is made of cotton and contained a newspaper on the museum and had a special button on the outside. These bags have now become highly collectable items and are now for sale at www.ftn-books.com. An important Stedelijk Museum collectible.

stedelijk bag a

 

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Fritz Wotruba (1907-1975)

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A truly visionary artist Fritz Wotruba was. He is almost forgotten, but deserves to be recognized as one of the great European artists who shaped modern art and combined this with great architectural designs. Wotruba is like a cubist sculptor, but his shapes consist of parts put together and seen from nearby it seems as they have no relation with each other. But from further away figures emerge.

His sculptures are magnificent, but when you once have seen his architecture you are completely sold .

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This is the discipline in which he excels and is a one of a kind artist. Fritz Wotruba has had several exhibitions in the Netherland in the 50’s and the 60’s, but is after these events almost forgotten. Instead in Austria he is still one of the greatest Modern Artists. Catalogues of these events are available at www.ftn-books.com

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A tribute to Cor Rosbeek ( 1944-2019 )

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Recently one of the driving forces in the dutch museum publications world died. I remember Cor Rosbeek as one of the most gifted of all printers in Europe. On those occasions that we met professionally he came up with practical solutions and had always in mind the quality of the finished product.

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He made the impossible possible with a printing press and found solutions for the product that were thought to be impossible to realize. One of his best publications was the Diary of Anne Frank for which he made the facsimile reprint. Cor Rosbeek was a printing genius and realized many beautiful publications with the greatest of practically all (dutch) designers. His series of Rosbeek publications is known all over the world. In these publications everything comes together….great design, typography, layout, choice of papers and subject make these publications a monument for Cor Rosbeek. Some of these highly collectable publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

 

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Johan van Loon (1934)

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Johan van Loon is without a doubt one of the most creative and important ceramic artists from the Netherlands. He is original in his approach to the material and his designs reflect his creative mind. His use of colors and the use of layers in his ceramic designs .

He bends, shapes and builds his creations in a very personal and original way, making these objects stand out from all their peers. Johan van Loon is an important ceramic artist and this is emphasized by the many exhibitions he has had in his career. One of the highlights was the 1991 Stedelijk Museum exhibition ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com) together with van der Vaart and Stockmans, but since many other s have followed. ao others the ones with the gallery Loes & Reinier ( https://loes-reinier.com/kunstenaar/johan-van-loon/).

 

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James Brown (1951)

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Of course James Brown deserves a blog. It is one of those artists who has become important for us Europeans since he has had exhibitions in the Netherlands ( Livingstone gallery ao) and Belgium in the last few decades in which we could see his paintings . Some of these catalogues are available at www.ftn-books.com. What follows now is the information you can find on Brown on Wikipedia.

Born in Los Angeles, California, he received at BFA from Immaculate Heart College, Hollywood. He then spent years in Paris, and attended the Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, France. He rebelled against the classical training there, which he considered irrelevant, but stayed as he wanted to stay in Paris. Tours of Europe seeing renaissance and especially medieval painting of Italy influenced his work. During the 1980s, his paintings, mixing the modernist tradition of painterly application and adherence to the picture surface with clear influences from tribal art. In the early 1980s he began exhibiting in New York, and in this decade this work became a hit in the galleries and art press, sharing a look with the Bad Painting and young neo-expressionism of the East Village painters of the time. On 12 September 1987 he married Alexandra Condon, who was studying History of Art at NYU at the time. They had known each other for little more than ten years. Despite some time on the East and West coast of New York, he continued to live in Paris. With the fading of the East Village art scene he had increasingly shown in European galleries, where his work was now seen in the context of a post-war European modernism in the tradition of Jean Dubuffet. James and Alexandra had their first child, Degenhart Maria Grey Brown, on 24 September 1989 in New York. In 1991 their second boy, Cosmas And Damian Maria Todosantos Brown, was born on 6 June in Paris. On 16 April 1993, their daughter was born, Dagmar Maria Jane Brown, in New York. In 1995 he moved out to the valley of Oaxaca (Mexico) with his family, where they lived in a hacienda for nine years. During that time, James Brown continued exhibiting in Europe, the United States and Mexico. He and his wife collaborated with various artists, making rugs in a village in the mountains of Oaxaca. The rugs were made in the traditional Mexican fashion, weaved by hand on large wooden frames. Jamaes and Alexandra then decided to start making books with artists, so they started Cape Diem Press. Like the rugs, these books are printed in Oaxaca using old-fashioned and traditional methods. The books are printed in limited editions, and Carpe Diem Press continues to collaborate with artists. In 2004, they moved to the city of Mérida, in the Yucatán. Since then James Brown has been spending much time in Europe, exhibiting his work in France, Germany, Italy and Holland. He has been working mostly in Paris.

His work has taken on several styles over the years, but maintains a hand-made look combining concerns of the modernist tradition with motifs and spiritual interests from tribal art. Much of his work is a non-realistic but contains depictions or signs of recognizable faces or objects. More recently he has done more in an abstract mode. However, the line between representation and abstraction is often a difficult one in his work, such as his more recent “Firmament Series” – abstract canvases that can also be read as referring to constellations or stars, or groups of rocks. Besides paintings Brown has also produced sculptures and series of prints at various points in his career, and in the 1990s started to heavily utilize collage. Drawing and other unique works on paper have been important to his artistic development and production. In an Artforum review of a 25-year retrospective, Martha Schwendener noted “The works range from abstract gouaches to biomorphic and figurative watercolors to collages that update the synthetic Cubist experiments of Picasso and Braque.

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Kamagurka / Luc Zeebroek (1956)

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Multi talented, performer, painter, cartoon maker and overall absudist genius is Luc Zeebroek better known as Kamagurka. It is one of those artist who’s works many of us have encountered at some time. He publishes his cartoons regularly and his drawings and paintings are presented frequently at galleries and art fairs. He even had his own Stedelijk Museum exhibition in 2002 which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com.

To characterize his work is impossible but there is always some humor in the work itself, but his style is something between graffiti and the paintings by Lucebert.

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kamagurka

 

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Pop Art exhibitions in the Netherlands

A few years ago one of the most recent in a long line of Pop Art and Pop Art related exhibitions was being held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. But since the mid Sixties numerous exhibitions have been held on Pop Art and Pop Art related artists. There were exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Groninger Museum, Nijmeegs Museum, Kunsthal and the Gemeentemuseum and every time they were a huge success. My guess is that because the art is recognizable and because Pop Art established itself as a true mouvement in Art History, it has become popular to the masses.

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Warhol, Lichtenstein and Wesselman are now household names and their works known by many. Perhaps it has even become to successful since images by these great artists are now part of Commercial activities and publicity campaigns which is a pity since these were not meant for being used this way. www.ftn-books.com has some nice duthc Pop Art publications available.

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Jaap Wagemaker (1906-1972)

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Jaap Wagemaker, fascinated by Cobra, but never wanted to connect to the mouvement. Instead he searched for his won style. Influenced by and admiring Burri he discovered an interest in Oceanic art too. This influences he mixed into a style of his own. Building layers of paint and other materials into 3D paintings. Giving them a feel of assemblages, using materials that only few had used before. Bolts, paper, sand, wood everything could have a place in the paintings as long as it had an abstract function. This is how his painting became recognizable and in the last decade or so, his paintings are sought after and fetch prices higher than average.

Now that Zero is hardly affordable and kinetic goes the same way. It is time to focus on something different. I am sure that Minimal will fill this void, but this kind of material painting comes in a close second. Jaap Wagemaker publications are available at www.ftn-books.com including the impressive one Wim Crouwel designed for the Jaap Wagemaker exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum.

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Wim Crouwel and DE VOLKSKRANT

 

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Wim Crouwel passed away some days ago and since, a great number of articles have been published on his life and accomplishments as a designer. His works will prove to be highly important for designers all over the world in the future and DE VOLKSKRANT ( one of the most important newspapers in the Netherlands) recognized that fact and devoted  a 2 page article on Crouwel in their Saturday paper. It is only on rare occasions that such a long and detailed article is published on just one person. Wim Crouwel and his works prove to be that important. The article can be found on the internet here (dutch)

https://www.volkskrant.nl/mensen/wim-crouwel-hoeder-van-het-functionele-ontwerp-en-een-onverzettelijke-rechtlegger~bf53fa62/

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Wim Crouwel (1928-2019)

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This morning i heard that one of the most influential designers from our time, Wim Crouwel, has died. The last years of his life he suffered Parkinson disease, but he was still going strong and must have looked forward to the retrospective of his works being opened later this  month at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. What better way to commemorate this great artist than to show a selection of the many items designed by him. www.ftn-books.com

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And to finish one of my personal favorites. Wim Crouwel will be an example for many designers in the decades to comewerkman crouwel aa.