Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

Category: Uncategorized

Airport, please! the LRFA blog revisits the Fondation Maeght in Saint Paul de Vence, France

St. Paul de Vence France

One of the great joys of being an  art dealer and advisor  is the opportunity  to revisit a familiar place that had an important impact on your perception of 20th Century art. About fifteen years ago, the LRFA blog visited the Fondation Maeght for the first time and discovered this superb collection of 20th century icons of European art. It set the bar for all the artworks that subsequently have appeared at auction, in galleries and on the secondary market, so it was particularly moving to revisit the collection and reevaluate its holdings with eyes that are fifteen years older and more jaded.

Giacometti
Fondation Maeght

FONDATION MAEGHT

Some of the biggest names in 20th-century European sculpture, including Georges Braque, Joan Miró and Alberto Giacometti, came together to help create La Fondation Maeght, which has become France’s most important art foundation and is among the world’s leading cultural institutions. La Fondation was established by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, a visionary couple who were publishers and art dealers, and who represented and were friends with some of the most important artists of the era, including Braque, Miró and Giacometti, as well as Alexander Calder, Fernand Léger, Marc Chagall, and many others.

Marc Chagall
Fondation Maeght

La Fondation Maeght was opened on July 26, 1964, by Charles de Gaulle’s legendary Culture Minister André Malraux, a close friend of the Maeghts. It was France’s very first private art institution and was modelled on American institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Barnes Collection and the Phillips Collection, which Aime and Marguerite Maeght had  visited during their frequent trips to the US in the 1950s.

Aime and Marguerite Maeght, 1951

La Fondation Maeght is home to one of the largest collections of modern art in Europe, featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings and graphic works by renowned 20th-century figures including Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Diego Giacometti, Wassily Kandinsky, Barbara Hepworth, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró, Pierre Tal Coat, Germaine Richier, and Raul Ubac. The collection also contains work by post-war and contemporary artists including Anna-Eva Bergman, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Eduardo Chillida, Christo, Marco Del Re, Gérard Garouste, Jörg Immendorff, Ellsworth Kelly, Wifredo Lam, Joan Mitchell, Takis and Antoni Tàpies.

Eduardo Chillida
Fondation Maeght

On its opening in 1964, La Fondation Maeght prefigured the modern concept of a cultural centre by organising exhibitions, dance events, concerts and works of theatre. This continued range of programming runs alongside an annual roster of temporary exhibitions, providing a panorama of modern and contemporary art.

Aimé Maeght acquired a rich collection of books and reviews throughout his life. As a former lithographer, he also produced remarkable artist’s books in collaboration with artists Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder and Jacques Prévert, to name a few. All of these are stored in the library at La Fondation Maeght. Open to researchers and members of la Société des Amis, the library is a testiment to the collective of artists who helped create it.

https://www.fondation-maeght.com/

Library
Fondation Maeght

THE LIBRARY

The library was founded in 1972 as a reference centre for students, researchers, art historians and curators containing books and journals specialising in modern and contemporary art. With more than 35,000 items, it includes not only Marguerite and Aimé’s personal collection, but also poet Pierre Reverdy’s original literary works, several acquisitions by la Société des Amis, and many exchanges with galleries and museums from all around the world.

Fondation Maeght
Architecture by Louis Sert

ARCHITECTURE BY JOSEP LLUIS SERT

Architect Josep Lluís Sert designed a vast and impressive studio for his friend and fellow Catalan, the surrealist artist Joan Miró, in Palma de Mallorca in the 1950s. It was this sculpture-like architecture that led Aimé Maeght, Miró’s gallerist and editor since 1947, to entrust his major project to Sert: the creation of the first private foundation dedicated to the visual arts in Europe.

La Fondation Maeght is not a museum. It was born from the desire for a place in which Aimé and Marguerite Maeght could present modern and contemporary art in all its forms; and where their artist friends could visit to create and exchange ideas as much as to exhibit work. Sert created La Fondation hand in hand with the Maeghts, Miró and a number of artists, who gave life to some of its main features: the sculpture garden entrance; the Giacometti Court; buildings wrapped around patios; a bell tower for the chapel and a home studio.

Fondation Gandur

CURRENT EXHIBITION: Fondation Gandur July 2 – November 2022

Home to a collection of more than 13,000 works, Fondation Maeght is always keen and honoured to showcase other collections, some of which are rarely accessible to the public, as it has consistently done in the past. This summer, from 2 July to 20 November, it is unveiling some 120 works from the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art (Geneva) and offering a riveting immersion into abstraction from the 1950s to the 1980s.

In the wake of Second World War, as many European artists exiled in the United States headed back to France, Paris regained its status as a hotbed of creativity and a global cultural capital. Driven by a thirst for freedom and a craving to rethink painting in the post-war years, artists from all over the world returned to their studios, abandoned during the German occupation, and engaged in an era of creative effervescence, be it in the arts, literature or filmmaking. While the breakthroughs by the vanguards of the first half of the 20th century were an invaluable post-war stimulus, abstract art renewed itself from the most gestural expression to the interrogation of materials, mediums and techniques.

Georges Mathieu

The Fondation Gandur pour l’Art’s outstanding collection displayed at Fondation Maeght reveals the variety of forms embraced by abstraction during these creative years. Works by Hans Hartung, Martin Barré, Simon Hantaï or Pierre Soulages trace the evolution of non-figurative art over four decades. In a thematic and chronological layout, the exhibition invites the viewer to discover lyrical and gestural abstraction by Georges Mathieu, abstract expressionism by Sam Francis and Joan Mitchell, geometric abstraction by Victor Vasarely, kinetic works by Alexander Calder and Jean Tinguely, through to the rethinking of painting by the Supports/Surfaces group. The 1980s ushered in an era of revitalized abstract art, building on the hectic experimentation of earlier years.

https://hyperallergic.com/144790/a-supportssurfaces-moment-contradictions-paradoxes-and-other-ironies/

Pierre Soulages

 

Airport, please! A first, the LRFA blog heads to Salzburg for an exhibit of Sean Scully at the illustrious Thaddeus Ropal gallery

Gallery Thaddeus Ropac
Salzburg, Austria

SALZBURG

The Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is an art gallery in the Villa Kast right at the Mirabell Gardens with side-branches in the city centre of Paris (France) and a newly developing exhibition venue at the outskirts of Salzburg. Thaddaeus Ropac himself, born 1960 in Klagenfurt (Carinthia), is a highly regarded member of Salzburg′s art benefactor scene. He lives in Schloss Emslieb at the Hellbrunner Allee and is one of only a handful of significant gallerists that Austria has to offer – probably the most important one.

The Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac can be tracked back to small galleries that Ropac opened in Lienz (Eastern Tyrol) and later in Salzburg′s Old Town in the early 1980ies, after giving up his original idea to become an artist himself. From the beginning, his gallery was dedicated to highly regarded contemporary art.

Which is unusual for Salzburg, a city with an “art scene” that normally concentrates on pimping out tacky Mozart-paintings and water colours with Old Town scenes to tourists. In an interview with the Austrian Press Agency APA, Ropac admitted that his beginnings at the Kaigasse were humble and shocked artists like Andy Warhol or Joseph Beuys when they came to visit him.

http://visit-Salzburg.net

The “Good Gallery” in Salzburg

Over the course of the years, the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac became synonymous with all the good things that create a presence in  the art market: A good sense for serious works, access to important people on the art market and – maybe most importantly – for offering manifold opportunities for lucrative investments.

Today, Thaddaeus Ropac is highly regarded in Salzburg, not only because his exhibitions add invaluable elements of contemporary art to Salzburg, but also because of his generous donations for the Museum der Moderne (Museum of Modern Art) and other art-related projects. A collection given to the Museum in 2009 was almost a million Euros worth – equalling the museum′s budgets for new acquisitions of about ten years.

Ropac is involved with the Salzburg Association′s art project as well as with the Salzburg Festival and has close personal and professional links to Anselm Kiefer. The Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac′s headquarter at the Villa Kast has the best exhibitions during the summer season, when the Salzburg Festival brings rich and famous folk to the city. Schloss Elmslieb is Ropac′s private home and not open to the public.

http://GALERIE THADDAEUS ROPAC

Thaddeus Ropac
gallerist

Thaddeus Ropac, gallerist

Born in 1960. Klagenfurt, Austria. Lives between Paris, London and Salzburg.

In 1983, Thaddaeus Ropac founded his first gallery in Salzburg, specialising in European and North American contemporary art. Among the first exhibitions organised by the gallery in Salzburg were projects with German artists Joseph Beuys and Georg Baselitz, but also with younger, then-emerging American artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. The gallery now has six distinctive venues in London, Paris, Pantin, Salzburg and Seoul.

With a team of over 100, the gallery currently represents 70 artists and a number of renowned artist estates and shows at all major international art fairs. Active in both the primary and secondary markets, the gallery’s role extends to curatorial work, where it acts as a consultant to public institutions as well as an advisor to private and corporate collections. The gallery runs its own publishing house, producing catalogues and books to accompany exhibitions, inviting prominent international art historians, curators and writers to contribute.

Thaddaeus Ropac is a member of the advisory board of the Salzburg Festival as well as the University of Salzburg and founded the Austrian Friends of the Israel Museum. In 2013 he was accorded the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur by the French president, François Hollande.

https://ropac.net/

SEAN SCULLY EXHIBIT: THE SHADOW OF FIGURATION

The Shadow of Figuration presents an exhibition of new works by the Irish-born American artist Sean Scully. Conceived for the gallery space in Salzburg, the exhibition brings together large-scale paintings from the artist’s most formative series – including Wall of Light and Landline – as well as a selection of watercolours. Alongside paintings and works on paper, a monumental sculpture titled Indoor Sleeper (2020) will be presented in the gallery’s outdoor space, offering an insight into Scully’s sculptural practice.

Reducing the pictorial plane and exploring different modalities of geometric forms in favor of purer images were the matters of pursuit undertaken by those artists involved with Minimalism back in the late 1960s and 1970s. The movement was primarily centered in the US, but it affected the practitioners living and working in other environments meaning it had an international resonance.

Sean Scully is one of them. In the first place, the Scottish artist found the mentioned framework easy to relate to and then tried to translate it to what he described as Emotional abstraction. Throughout the decades, he has developed a consistent body of work that is part of several museum collections worldwide.

This month, Scully, the lecturer, professor, writer, and twice Turner Prize nominee, returns to the public spotlight with an exhibition titled The Shadow of Figuration at Thaddaeus Ropac Galerie that will bring a selection of his most recent works.

Sean Scully

SEAN SCULLY: BIOGRAPHY

Over the course of his 50-year career, Sean Scully has created an influential body of work that has marked the development of contemporary abstraction. Fusing the traditions of European painting with the distinct character of American abstraction, his work combines painterly drama with great visual delicacy. Often structured around stripes or layered blocks of colour arranged on horizontal and vertical axes, the layers in his paintings attain a fine balance between calm reflection and an intrinsic vitality.

A forceful, physical artist, Scully creates intentionally compelling spaces, and his art is defined by acute concentration and care, involving constant negotiation between the monumental and the intimate. While giving primary importance to the physicality of the materials he employs, his art is commanded by the idea of humanity’s betterment, and at the heart of each rigorously composed work lies a near-infinite number of expressive, emotional fluctuations.

During a trip to Morocco in 1969, Scully was strongly influenced by the rich colours of the region, which he translated into the broad horizontal stripes and deep earth tones that characterise his mature style. Following fellowships in 1972 and 1975 at Harvard University, he permanently relocated to New York. In the early 1980s, he made the first of several influential trips to Mexico, where he used watercolour for the first time in works inspired by the patterns of light and shadows he saw on the stacked stones of ancient walls. The experience had a decisive effect on him and prompted his decision to move from Minimalism to a more emotional and humanistic form of abstraction.

Thaddeus Ropac
Sean Scully: The Shape of Figuration
Installation view

In 1998, following additional trips to Mexico, Scully began to create his landmark Wall of Light series. These works were shown in 2005–07 at The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In recent years, Scully has also increasingly turned to sculpture, creating monumental structures that engage with the unique energy and history of their locations. As in his paintings, these sculptures feature individual rectangular sections that slot together, maintaining his ongoing interest in interlocking brick forms.Born in Dublin, Scully studied at Croydon School of Art and Newcastle University in the UK, where he began experimenting with abstraction. His work has been exhibited in prestigious institutions worldwide, including the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery, London; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, among others. In 2015 he was the first Western artist to receive a major retrospective at the Shanghai Himalayas Museum and at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing.

https://ropac.net/artists/80-sean-scully/

Sean Scully
At Thaddeus Ropac Gallery

Scully has been acknowledged for his Wall of Light series, started in 1998, which functions as pictorial formations reminiscent of the brickwork of solid stone walls. A few examples of new works from this series will be contrasted to the ones from the Landline series started in 2013 based on a photograph Scully took in Norfolk. The work Landline Tierra Primavera (2022) is built around a warm palette evocative of European modernists such as Gustave Courbet, while the Landline Verdant Dark F.26.22 (2022) recalls the colors found in the landscapes by the Romantic painter by Caspar David Friedrich.

In recent years, the artist became more interested in sculpture, as seen in his 2021 solo exhibition at the Waldfrieden Sculpture Park in Wuppertal. Scully develops monumental structures that respond to the energy of their locations informed, as his paintings, by life.

Sean Scully Indoor Sleeper, 2020

The upcoming show is specially crafted to fit the Salzburg gallery. The visitors will be able to see large-scale paintings from the artist’s best-known series, a selection of watercolors, and a monumental sculpture titled Indoor Sleeper (2020) that will be installed in a public space in front of the gallery.

The works of Sean Scully  are a result of the mix of European painting traditions with the properties of American abstraction. Centered on horizontally or vertically arranged stripes or layered color blocks, the paintings in the exhibition showcase the artist’s ability to achieve balance, calmness, and vibrancy.

Sea˜Scully
Wall Landline Air

Scully has been acknowledged for his Wall of Light series, started in 1998, which functions as pictorial formations reminiscent of the brickwork of solid stone walls. A few examples of new works from this series will be contrasted to the ones from the Landline series started in 2013 based on a photograph Scully took in Norfolk. The work Landline Tierra Primavera (2022) is built around a warm palette evocative of European modernists such as Gustave Courbet, while the Landline Verdant Dark F.26.22 (2022) recalls the colors found in the landscapes by the Romantic painter by Caspar David Friedrich.

Sean Scully
Landline Tierra Primavera

In recent years, the artist became more interested in sculpture, as seen in his 2021 solo exhibition at the Waldfrieden Sculpture Park in Wuppertal. Scully develops monumental structures that respond to the energy of their locations informed, as his paintings, by life.

PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART: SEAN SCULLY: THE SHAPE OF IDEAS

The exhibition in Salzburg follows the critically acclaimed fifty-year retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA (until 31 July) and coincides with three further major institutional presentations of Scully’s works – at the Langen Foundation, Neuss, Germany (until 7 August); the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy (until 9 October) and the Centre of Contemporary Art in Toruń, Poland (until 11 September).

Encounter the poetic sensibility and technical virtuosity of one of the leading abstract artists of our time. Sean Scully’s arresting paintings and works on paper, presented here in a comprehensive fifty-year retrospective, explore his signature stripes and reflect the artist’s bold experimentation with scale and composition. From the intimate to the monumental, the works on view stir the spirit and reveal Scully’s tireless dedication to the expressive power of painting.

Philadelphia Museum:
Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas

Airport, please! to the Long Museum (West bund) Shanghai to experience Full Moon, a solo exhibit by Jennifer Guidi

Long Museum
Shanghai West Bund

 

The Long Museum(West bund) is proud to present Full Moon, the first institutional solo exhibition in China by Los Angeles based artist Jennifer Guidi, from July 1st until August 21st, 2022. The exhibition is a survey of the artist’s work to date and also premieres a number of important new paintings: Full Moon epitomizes Jennifer Guidi’s practice and the evolution of her artistic process.

Shanghai is a favorite city and Jennifer Guidi a favorite artist so the trip seemed inevitable. One of the great privileges of being an art advisor is the opportunity to meet with astonishingly accomplished collectors, and to have them share their lives with you. I remember planning a trip to Shanghai and being joined by a beloved Hong Kong client who took me around Shanghai and invited me for lunch to his colonial  house that had won an architectural price for its thoughtful restoration. I remember great clients telling me of the joy of their having their first child and sharing in their daughter’s many accomplishments throughout the years. One of the sad things about the pandemic is adjusting to the necessary social distancing, the inability to hop on a plane to visit and the strictures on air travel, art fairs and galleries and the misunderstandings that only email communication encourages.

Jennifer Guidi
Full Moon
Long Museum Shanghai

 

The LRFA Blog was introduced to the work of Jennifer Guidi by an enthusiastic client and an effort to acquire a work evolved into a dialogue with the artist’s dealers and auction specialists and a deep appreciation of her practice and paintings, both on the primary and the secondary market.

Jennifer Guidi
Installation Full Moon exhibit at Long Museum

Jennifer Guidi’s immersive work operates within both the physical and metaphysical world. Her abstract compositions refer to the natural world literally and visually as she mixes sand with paint to depict arresting natural and cosmological phenomena. Her surroundings of Los Angeles, where she set up her studio after graduating from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, are palpable through her work: the immense skies of California filled with the fleeting color of sunrises and sunsets, the particular hazy light of Los Angeles that blurs colors together and casts deep shadows and the mountains she passes daily on the way to her   studio. Her practice is however deeply rooted in what also lies beyond physical surroundings, in the spiritual and metaphysical worlds. Each of her paintings is an ‘energy source’ indebted to the power of vibrations, and her works incorporate recurring symbols related to Western and Eastern religions, ancient civilisations and the esoteric sciences. Guidi’s very process of creating these serene, repetitive works is akin to a meditative practice. Reveling in external and internal symmetry in her work, such as sunrise and sunset, light and dark, these ideas sit alongside a scientific study of geometry and color theory, creating works that are not only visually in harmony but are epistemologically balanced too.

Jennifer Guidi
process

Always drawn to sand as a material, Guidi experimented with translating sand to canvas as a permanent material, taking a few years to find the recognizable pattern that is now synonymous with her work. The highly textured works are created either by pressing divots with a dowel into a thick layer of wet sand, the ‘sand mandalas’, or by starting with a smooth sand layer and painting the mandala on top, the ‘universe mandalas’. A formative moment for her composition when ‘everything changed’, came after watching Tibetan monks make sand mandalas, where patterns radiate from one central point. Guidi moved from using horizontal lines as the foundation of her composition along which she placed random marks, to making concentric repeated and formulated holes that radiate from a central focal point. They appeal to our somatic senses, the regular indentations capture the artist’s corporeal presence in the work and encourage awareness of our own bodies’ movement. The meditative sense of calm Guidi reaches when creating the work suffuses through, drawing us into her harmonious and immersive compositions. The tangibility of Guidi’s movements and state of mind within the works makes them in part a self-portrait, with her presence forever fixed amongst the grains of sand.

The artist’s fascination with light is inextricably tied to her attentiveness to color. The visible light spectrum is formed of all the colors of the rainbow, each wavelength of light vibrates at a different frequency to produce a different color. This idea forms the basis of her chromatic explorations and drew her to a study of chakra methodologies, an idea from early Hinduism. Chakras are energy centers within the human body, each giving off a different vibration, like the colors in the light spectrum. ‘Chakra’ in Sanskrit translates to ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’, linking the spiritual idea to that of the nineteenth-century invention of color wheels and broader color theory that associated specific color pairings with emotions and explored in detail connections between nature and color. Reading through these multiple lenses Guidi’s investigation of a rainbow spectrum of color is therefore more than an exploration of pure pigment, but rather a reflection on emotion, shape, nature and philosophy.

Jennifer Guidi
Installation
Full Moon: Long Museum

The circle predominates Guidi’s work, geometrically present in the repeated holes, and symbolically representative of the sun and moon. Other shapes recur throughout her work, as an exploration of pure geometry and for their diverse symbolism. Triangles represent California’s mountains and refer to the allusions surrounding Ancient Egyptian pyramids. Guidi is drawn to the symbol of the serpent, relevant to ancient mythologies and mysticism. Their particularly complex symbolism represents rebirth, creativity and immortality through shedding of the skin and as the rod of Ascelplius, the Ancient Greek god of healing, and consequent use as a symbol of medicine. Guidi uses shaped canvases to explore these shapes and meanings, grouping symbols together in tandem and opposition to create dialogue between their formal lines and forge new meanings. These works are an innovative take on the traditional composition of diptychs and triptychs in paintings, using entirely separate canvases to create these formations, constructing works that lie somewhere between painting, sculpture and design.

JENNIFER GUIDI “FULL MOON” EXHIBIT July 1, 2022 – August 21, 2022

The title of Jennifer Guidi’s exhibition, Full Moon emphasizes the cosmological and mystical roots of her practice; the moon is like life: constantly changing; it is representative of peace, prosperity, harmony and luck; the full moon is a time to be receptive and to connect, which we are motivated to do throughout the exhibition. We are encouraged through engaging with her mandala-like works, not only to travel outward to be transported into distant landscapes and watch sunsets through her eyes, but also to travel inward to connect with our minds and spirits. During the full moon we are guided by unusually powerful light, symbolizing, much like the balance strived for in her work, a moment of unity between two dualities, where light can be found in darkness.

Jennifer Guidi
at work

JENNIFER GUIDI BIOGRAPHY

Colors charge us externally and internally. I translate these colors into works every day. On an intuitive level, I am guided by the colors in nature.
—Jennifer Guidi

Light and color pervade every aspect of Jennifer Guidi’s work. The Los Angeles artist’s radiant, mandala-like paintings are marked by tonal and chromatic shifts that operate in concert with richly textured surfaces. The effect echoes natural phenomena and undergirds a powerful archetypal symbolism. Guidi mixes sand into her paints—she uses both oils and acrylics—to produce immersive abstract compositions that borrow from the pared-down structures of Minimalism while evoking ancient theories of energy and perception.

Born in Redondo Beach, California, Guidi received a BFA from Boston University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. On moving to Los Angeles, she was immediately struck by the city’s distinctive hazy light and blocky 1950s architecture. Basing her early paintings on her own photographs of local domestic interiors, she became increasingly interested in the colors and textures of her subjects’ walls. Following a 2012 visit to Morocco, she began to pursue a more abstract approach, drawing inspiration from the heavy stitching and irregular undersides of the country’s handmade rugs. She made her first abstract “dot paintings” that year, applying small dabs of white paint to black grounds.

Jennifer Guidi
Long Museum West Bund

Light and color pervade every aspect of Jennifer Guidi’s work. The Los Angeles artist’s radiant, mandala-like paintings are marked by tonal and chromatic shifts that operate in concert with richly textured surfaces. The effect echoes natural phenomena and undergirds a powerful archetypal symbolism. Guidi mixes sand into her paints—she uses both oils and acrylics—to produce immersive abstract compositions that borrow from the pared-down structures of Minimalism while evoking ancient theories of energy and perception.

Guidi began incorporating sand into her panels in 2013, using sticks found on the beach in Hawaii as simple mark-making tools. She then developed a system of underpainting in which she first applies a thick layer of sand to the surface of the canvas; while this is still wet, she makes marks with a dowel in controlled and repetitive movements, often adding sand and paint along the edges of the divots. The result of this intensely physical process is a hypnotic swirl of saturated color that is at once contemporary and timeless, prompting consideration of the diversity of cultural and corporeal meanings that have been assigned to shape and pattern.

Jennifer Guidi
The Priestess

Guidi also often explores visual manifestations of duality—light and darkness, abstraction and figuration, science and mysticism—finding symmetry and balance in seeming opposition. This is apparent even when her work returns to representational elements, as it does in the twinned serpentine canvases of To Protect and Hold You Up (2019). (Such imagery has appeared in Guidi’s work since 2013, when she produced a series of “snake stick” sculptures that reference the serpent as a symbol of rebirth and transformation, and sticks as totems of strength, healing, and magic.)

Jennifer Guidi
To Protect and Hold You Up

These diverse interests recur throughout Guidi’s oeuvre, suffused as it is with allusions to spirituality and the metaphysical, and drawing as it does on various practices originating in Eastern tradition. After watching Tibetan monks make a sand mandala, she moved from using horizon lines as the foundational element of her compositions to preferring a central focal point. She has also alluded to chakras (a system of corporeal energy centers with origins in early Hinduism) alongside Enlightenment color theory. Citing the influence of predecessors including Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Martin, and Hilma af Klint, Guidi makes work that also resonates with images and methods far beyond the Western art-historical narrative.

Created in response to the covid-19 pandemic, the Artist Spotlight series created by Gagosian Gallery highlights individual artists, one week at a time, whose exhibitions have been affected by the health crisis. A single artwork by the artist is made available with pricing information for forty-eight hours only.

https://gagosian.com/fairs/2020/04/19/jennifer-guidi-artist-spotlight/

TWELVE TRACKS: JENNIFER GUIDI

Jennifer Guidi shares a selection of music she listened to in the studio and speaks about its connection to her meditative painting process.

https://gagosian.com/quarterly/2020/04/16/twelve-tracks-jennifer-guidi/

 

Airport please!to visit Hauser & Wirth Menorca and Rashid Johnson’s extraordinary Sodade exhibition

Rashid Johnson
Sodade
Hauser & Wirth, Menorca

Rashid Johnson is known for his conceptual works that reflect on the themes of race and class. He studied art at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and he now lives and works in New York. Johnson is a photographer, as well as creates audio installations, videos, and sculptures. In 2019, his first feature-length film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Johnson’s work is included in the permanent collections of many institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

ARTIST STATEMENT

Young American artist seeks audience to enjoy poly-conscious attempts at post-medium condition production.
Must enjoy race mongering, disparate disconnected thoughts and sunsets (really). Familiarity with the work of Sun Ra, Joseph Beuys, Rosalind Krauss, Richard Pryor, Hans Haacke, Carl Andre and interest in spelunking in the death of identity a plus. I’m looking for an audience with a good attention span that is willing to stay with me through the good and the bad.

I enjoy creating movies, producing sculptures, painting and making photographs. My interests are costuming, Sam Greenlee novels, Godard films and masturbation.
Ability to hold conversation using only rap lyrics, and a sense of humor a must.

Hauser & Wirth Menorca

HAUSER & WIRTH MENORCA

For his first solo exhibition in Spain, Rashid Johnson continues to work with a complex range of iconographies to explore collective and historical expressions of ongoing and displacement, while speaking to the times we live in. The exhibition, entitled Sodade,  opened on June 19 and continues until November 13, 2022.

‘Sodade’ is the title of a Cape Verdean song from 1950s, popularized by Cesária Évora, that narrates a profound emotional state of longing on ‘the long way’ to São Tomé. Originating in the Portuguese ‘saudade,’ the term signifies a feeling of melancholy and missing, and becomes hybridized in the Cape Verdean use with a shift in the spelling. In ‘Sodade,’ Johnson continues to draw from critical history and narratives around migration and journeys, with a similar gesture of hybridization.

Rashid Johnson
Surrender Paintings
Hauser & Wirth, Menorca

The exhibition presents a newly developed series of bronze sculptures and Seascape paintings, alongside Bruise Paintings and Surrender Paintings, the latter of which is the latest offering to evolve from the iconography of his long- established Anxious Men series. The works are accompanied by the Education Lab, which provides a creative learning program for diverse audiences throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Rashid Johnson
The New Black Yoga
film

Capturing both subjective and collective historical states in real time, the artist has pivoted the Anxious Red paintings iconography, which portrayed crowds of bright red faces, to Bruise Paintings and Surrender Paintings in hues of blues and whites. Johnson selects his typical materials and tools—such as shea butter and black soap—for the importance of their historical narratives. Here he has chosen to use the canonically significant, and universally recognizable, medium of oil paint in order to communicate his message all the more urgently.

Rashid Johnson
Bruise Paintings
Hauser & Wirth, Menorca

For the Bruise Paintings, Johnson has created the color Black&Blue in collaboration with R&F paints, which he layers and stretches across the canvas giving the impression of a wider range of colours from a single hue. The repetition and expressiveness of the blue figures bring mobility to the works, a nod to the importance of gesture in Johnson’s oeuvre. With a lyrical sense of melancholy, the Bruise Paintings speak to the times we live in and create a liminal space where healing has begun but the reminisce of trauma is still evident.

Rashid Johnson
 Hauser & Wirth Menorca

Continuing to pivot the Anxious Men iconography, Johnson applies Titanium White oil paint on raw linen in the series of Surrender Paintings, depicting ghostly faces to suggest acceptance and reconciliation. As the artist explains, ‘Emptied out of color, the Surrender Paintings feature white application only on raw linen canvases, conjuring a feeling of redemption and recognition. There’s a simplicity and quiet nature in how these new series relate to collective experiences of the last months.’

Rashid Johnson
Seascape paintings
Hauser & Wirth Menorca

The newly developed series of Seascape Paintings and boat sculptures draw from historical narratives of migration and journeys. The artist radically engages with the surface of the canvases with a process of removal similar to that of early works such as Cosmic Slops, in which Johnson carved marks into black soap and wax. For the Seascape Paintings, painted canvases are coated completely with Neutral White or Prussian Blue oil paint which Johnson wipes away and scratches with shapes reminiscent of individual row boats. The repetition of the motif and their scale suggest the possibility to escape, as well as of isolation, longing and drifting at sea.

A group of sculptures cast in bronze continue Johnson’s exploration of vessels and act as funerary pyres. Drawing from historical traditions from cultures across the globe in which the boat is a symbol of redemption and rebirth, the boats are cast from clay forms to which the artist has buried an array of objects of symbolic significance. VHS tapes, a CB radio, books and oyster shells are found in the carved sculptures, the latter referencing Zora Neale Hurston’s essay ‘How it Feels to be Colored Me.’ ‘I do not weep at the world, I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife,’ Hurston writes, ambiguously recalling the opulence of oyster eating and the aggressiveness of the knife.

In ‘Sodade,’ Rashid Johnson continues to incorporate diverse materials rich with symbolism and personal history, exploring collective narratives of longing and migration while providing a poignant sense of history now.

Rashid Johnson
Sodade
Seascape Paintings
Hauser & Wirth Menorca

ABOUT THE ARTIST: RASHID JOHNSON

Born in Chicago in 1977, Rashid Johnson is among an influential cadre of contemporary American artists whose work employs a wide range of media to explore themes of art history, individual and shared cultural identities, personal narratives, literature, philosophy, materiality, and critical history. After studying in the photography department of the Art Institute of Chicago, Johnson’s practice quickly expanded to embrace a wide range of media—including sculpture, painting, drawing, filmmaking, and installation—yielding a complex multidisciplinary practice that incorporates diverse materials rich with symbolism and personal history.

The LRFA blog finds Rashid Johnson’s work to be the perfect example of a Black artist creating of beautiful artworks that stand on their own qualitatively supported by the strongly principled political statements and symbolism of  a black artist coming into prominence in these times.

Rashid Johnson
Bruise Paintings
Hauser & Wirth, Menorca

RASHID JOHNSON IN MINORCA: A JOURNEY THROUGH MIGRATION, Longing and Togetherness

https://www.wallpaper.com/art/rashid-johnson-hauser-wirth-menorca

Boats have been populating Rashid Johnson’s view lately, particularly in the last two years, after the artist started spending more time on the Hamptons side of Long Island. Since then, boats have unearthed connotations beyond vehicles or charming visual accents on the shore. The epiphany coincided with a heightened sense of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and with those struggling through the pandemic – unity, agency and co-existence, Johnson noticed, are notions contained both within his professional and personal circles and the likeness and purpose of a boat.

During those long, idyllic days spent looking at the horizon, he heard numerous expressions of togetherness and, all being somewhat true, he also pondered the meaning of being in the same boat. What was the direction? Or who were his fellow travellers? Johnson’s answers – or at least his searches for them – are a series of paintings and sculptures with boat motifs in his new show at Hauser & Wirth’s art center in Menorca. Proving that motivation works in mysterious ways, the Brooklyn-based artist made the show’s large-scale grid paintings, and four firepit sculptures encrusted with VHS tapes, a CB radio, book and oyster shells, while unaware of their intended venue. ‘When the opportunity to show them surrounded by water arose, it was clear that the works belonged to Menorca,’ he says.

Johnson’s East Williamsburg studio – which could well moonlight as a warehouse or a mini-factory – is occupied by a combination of works-in-progress and those waiting to dry. Standing amid canvases laid atop one another or leaned side by side, Johnson is dressed leisurely, in all black, on a breezy, slow-paced February afternoon, the kind of afternoon that deserves a chunky cookie, which he offers up.

Partly inherent to his aura, Johnson’s calmness also stems from his having bid farewell to the show’s artworks. They are already on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean, perhaps facing the ebbing sea towards the Strait of Gibraltar, through which they will cut for the tiny Spanish island. One can imagine Johnson’s impressions of boats, either nocturnal-hued repetitions over linen or firm formations in bronze, swaying back and forth against the diligent waves. Movement, however, is not always desirable. The history of the Atlantic is awash with forced migration, and Johnson’s show borrows its title, ‘Sodade’, from another piece of art that perfectly captures this reality. The namesake Cape Verdean song, famously uttered in Cesária Évora’s velvety voice, is an ode to the longing and fear of loss promised by the sea. The heart-aching lyrics pay tribute to Cape Verdeans, past and present, who have left the island in search of other opportunities: ‘Quem mostrava esse caminho longe? Quem mostrava esse caminho longe? Esse caminho pa São Tomé (Who showed you this distant way? Who showed you this distant way? This way to São Tomé)’. Written by Armando Zeferino Soares in the 1950s, these lines, in the Cape Verdean Creole version of Portuguese, express sodade, meaning longing.

Johnson’s encounter with the song is intertwined with a sense of melancholy and longing that has lingered over his last few years. When the artist shared his sentiments with a friend, they told him about a Portuguese word that somewhat sums up his state: saudade. One of those words that capture a very specific feeling that lacks a translation in another language, saudade expresses yearning for something so close yet undeniably distant. Johnson’s research into the expression reminded him of Évora’s song and the Cape Verdean Creole version of the word. ‘The Creole telling is about cultural formation through colonialism, but also how language gets deformed and reshaped in the hands of folks dominated by an outside presence,’ he adds. Johnson intentionally used the Creole spelling in his show’s title, to honour the struggle against oppression and resilience in the face of loss, in particular, loss tied to the sea.

Seascape painting
Rashid Johnson
Hauser & Wirth Menorca

Over the past two decades, Johnson’s practice, spanning painting, sculpture  installation and film, has explored notions of authorship, potential, empowerment and even entitlement. All correspond to a sense of agency. His paintings – thick, nearly sculptural and blanketed by grids of faces, or dressed in shards of mirror and mosaic – compel us to think, understand and express. Johnson believes that painting has the function of a soapbox or pedestal, a platform for the exchange of ideas. ‘The visual layer is an entry point for them to penetrate into work and be prompted, or even confused, by what’s beyond.’

More literally, the show’s boat sculptures are also functioning firepits, an invitation to convene, warm up and converse. ‘The vehicle has been so present in my work – language can be a vehicle for ideas, as can paint, aesthetics or mark-making,’ he says. In that sense, he likens a boat to a stage, the kind he built in Astor Place in downtown Manhattan last June, with non-profit arts organisation Creative Time. For a month, his Red Stage was activated by poets, dancers, musicians, thinkers, and anyone who had anything to say. He calls them pyres. ‘An open stage or a burning boat allows the audience to reflect on the ideas of autonomy and collectivity, especially when we are doing so much coalition-building around Black Lives Matter, the environment, and LGBTQIA movements.’

Johnson’s oeuvre, while unifying, does not compromise on subjective and singular experiences. Reflection, both internal and physical, is the key in his mixed-media mosaic and mirror paintings, which have the energy of abstract expressionism and the social heft of murals. Radiant, meticulous and poetic, the coalescence of shards ‘invites the viewers to piece the bits together and build their collective experience’. This subtle invitation to communion is a core element of the Anxious Men and Bruise Paintings series, characterised by determined hand gestures and infinite repetitions. Whether a face or an abstract circle, the army of motifs over linen multiply to hallucinatory masses, challenging the viewer to separate each figure from the next. The effort, however, is futile – better to surrender to Johnson’s orchestration of a painterly cosmos and plunge into the synthesis of brushstrokes in black and blue.

Rashid Johnson
Bruise Paintings
Hauser & Wirth, Menorca

Johnson’s colour palette stems from a dynamic between his cultural observations and the alchemy of oil paint. Blue is the fruit of his contemplation on the history of blues music, as well as many artists’ periods dedicated to the hue. ‘Oftentimes, I allow the colour to think about itself,’ he adds. Yellow, which he commonly renders in an alarming hue, is tied to his occasional use of shea butter in some of the sculptures. ‘There is a snowflakeness to mark-making because a gesture can never be repeated,’ he says. ‘But there is satisfaction in just trying to repeat yourself as a mantra.’ The democracy Johnson finds in the grid form – whether with faces, boats or circles – allows him to honour each gesture equally, ‘and aspires to give every section the same opportunity for amplification’, not unlike a voice to be heard or an arm raised.

Johnson builds his grids as a meditative act, rather than basing them on any numeric order. The facial impression in the Anxious Men series was initially intended as a self-portrait, but the feedback he received proved that the sentiment spoke to many. ‘That moment was satisfying, to recognise that this was an opportunity to think about the world as opposed to being trapped in my own existential conundrum.’ A mosaic interpretation of the series is now a mural at the Delta terminal at New York’s LaGuardia airport. Connecting with people in places where they don’t necessarily expect to experience art, he believes, is a promising endeavour: ‘You can traffic through it; you can engage or totally ignore, but regardless, art should have agency in these spaces.’


Fire Pits: bronze sculpture
Rashid Johnson
Hauser & Wirth, Menorca

The artist’s admiration for the architectural marvels of his hometown of Chicago, and his frustration with its segregated urbanisation, contribute to his understating of the impact and the role of an object within an environment. His philosophy of occupying a space is twofold: ‘I’ve been quite careful about not perverting the work when it travels, because my voice must travel along with the themes, concepts and ideas.’ Johnson visited Menorca and Barcelona six years ago, and found himself inspired by the mosaics of Gaudí and Miró. ‘That trip encouraged me to experiment with the medium,’ he remembers. While his mosaic paintings are not included in the ‘Sodade’ show, a similar reflection on formation and singularity constitutes the show’s Seascape, Surrender and Bruise Paintings series. The idea of people gathering around his boat sculptures is exciting. ‘So rarely do artworks have jobs,’ Johnson says. ‘But in the case of a firepit, there is the potential of heat, energy, and a place of activation.’

Airport please! heading to Seoul for the photojournalist exhibitions of Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Decisiive Moment
photographs by Henri Cartier Bresson

I think just about everyone needs a mental health break these days, and with Covid restrictions still putting a damper on our social lives, the art museums in Seoul have been a nice momentary escape from the ongoing chaos that has rampaged through 2022… Momotherose blog, Seoul, Korea

HCB in America
Magnum Photos

From 26 September 2019 to 2 February 2020

The exhibition “Henri Cartier-Bresson : The Decisive Moment” is on display at the Seoul Art Center Hangaram Design Museum, Seoul, from 26 September 2019 to 2 February 2020, in collaboration with Magnum Photos and the Fondation HCB.

Although HCB is known to have been an avid traveler, the essence of his work remained steadfastly Parisian. Indeed, it was in Paris, after studying painting alongside André Lhote in the Montparnasse quarter during the late 1920s, that HCB took up photography: “the first photographs I saw were those of Atget and Keretsz,” he notes. He secured, over time, his own distinctive photographic style, one inscribed in “a realm of imagination but modelled after life” (l’imaginaire d’après nature).

Henri Cartier Bresson

Endlessly roaming through the streets of Paris, HCB snatched away fleeting scenes, at their decisive moment. In these same streets, he would witness the unfolding of significant historical events such as the Liberation of Paris in August 1944 or the student riots of May 1968, while also commissioned by newspapers and magazines to cover various events such as the “six days of Paris” cycle race in November 1957 for the French periodical, Paris Match.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

It was also in Paris that, during the thirties, his encounters with Robert Capa and David Seymour blossomed into friendships, which proved decisive to his lifework. Shortly after the three friends launched the Magnum Photo Agency, in 1947, HCB undertook a three-year journey through the Far East. His photographs taken mostly in India and China, would soon appear in magazines across the world, including Life, Illustrated, and Paris Match. Some of them quickly acquired iconic status, marking a crowning moment in HCB’s career.

HCB
Berlin
Magnum Photos

 

This exhibition, whose starting point is the book Paris à vue d’oeil, edited by Lothar Schirmer in 1994, is not a sociological study, but is oriented towards what a man, who considered “photography as lying somewhere between the art of the pickpocket and that of the funambulist,” thought was most important: “the flânerie of the gaze in a state of total and willing openness.”

HANAGARAM ART MUSEUM, SEOUL ARTS CENTER

The Hangaram Art Museum is a modern art museum located at the Seoul Arts Center. It is situated at the center’s left wing and it was specifically designed as a large open space to accommodate large-scale artworks and art installations. The museum has exhibition halls, an art library and an art shop. As the museum is part of the Seoul Arts Center complex, the center’s many arts programs are often hosted at the Hangaram Art Museum. A design market takes place at the museum as well.

This year will mark the 70th anniversary of when the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, penned the book “The Decisive Moment” or “Images a la Sauvette” (Images on the Run) in 1952. The Decisive Moment will be on view at the Hangaram Art Museum (2406 Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul) from June 10th, 2022 to October 22nd, 2022.

HCB
England

Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Verve, 1952), cover © Collections Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

From June 10 to October 2, 2022

Initated by the French publisher Tériade, the project of the famous publication Images à la Sauvette was finally realized on October 1952 as a French-American co-edition, with the contribution of Matisse and the American publishers Simon and Schuster. The latter chose The Decisive Moment as the title of the American version, and unintentionally imposed the motto which would define Cartier-Bresson’s work.

Since its publication in 1952, Images à la Sauvette has received an overwhelming success. It is considered as “a Bible for photographers” according to Robert Capa’s words. The innovative design of the publication stroke the art world with its refine format, the heliogravure quality and the strength of the image sequences. The publication reveals the inherent duality of Cartier-Bresson’s work between the photographer’s intimate interpretation and his documentary approach.

The exhibition presents a selection of vintage prints as well as many archive documents related to the adventure of this book, up to its its recent reprint in facsimile by Steidl.

Fondation Cartier-Bresson
Paris, France

FONDATION HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON

79 rue des archives, Paris

For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to give a “meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.

To take a photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in a face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.

To take a photograph means to recognize, simultaneously and within a fraction of a second‚ both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning.

It is putting one‚ head, one‚ eye, and one‚ heart on the same axis. 

Established by Henri Cartier-Bresson, his wife Martine Franck, and their daughter Mélanie, the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation opened its doors in May 2003. It now preserves Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martine Franck’s archives. Privately owned and recognized as being of public interest, the Foundation is now one of the most prestigious institutions in Paris.

Fondation Cartier-Bresson, Paris

WHY A FOUNDATION?

  • To preserve the independence and legacy of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martine Franck’s work.
  • To retain an exceptional body of work in France.
  • To show – via exhibitions – the “highlights” of the collection and the work of other photographers, painters, sculptors, and illustrators.
  • To enable researchers to carry out their studies with more ease.
  • To provide support to new photographic projects by organizing, every two years, the HCB Award with an international jury.
  • To open up a debate on photography by organizing conferences, round-table discussions and screenings.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON BIO

Henri Cartier-Bresson was born on August 22, 1908 in Chanteloup, France. A pioneer in photojournalism, Cartier-Bresson wandered around the world with his camera, becoming totally immersed in his current environment. Considered one of the major artists of the 20th century, he covered many of the world biggest events from the Spanish Civil War to the French uprisings in 1968. “I adore shooting photographs,” he’d later note. “It’s like being a hunter. But some hunters are vegetarians—which is my relationship to photography.” In short, as his frustrated editors would soon discover, Cartier-Bresson preferred taking shots rather than making prints and showing his work.

HCB was a pioneer of photojournalism who took pictures taken on the streets with a small film camera and turned them into art. Cartier-Bresson, who was studying painting as a child, began his career in photography in the early 1930s when he encountered the works of photographers Eugene Atget and Man Ray. The camera was an extension of his eyes, and his way of working was to capture authenticity based on intuition and instinct. He, who said, “I am more interested in life than photography”, opposes any artificiality and instead of excluding directing, flash and photo cropping, the shutter is released only when the subject is perfectly arranged inform and reveals its essence, pressed. Therefore, the world of his work, which contains aesthetic perfection and everyday humanism at the same time, can be condensed into one word: ‘decisive moment’ in his works, we find a keen but warm gaze that looks at life and at the world.

MAGNUM PHOTOS -HISTORY

Magnum Photos is an international photographic cooperative  owned by its photographer-members, with offices in New York City, Paris, London and Tokyo. It was founded in Paris in 1947 by Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Ridge and William Vandivert, Rita Vandivert and Maria Eisner. Its photographers retain all copyrights to their own work.Magnum is owned by its photographers, who act as shareholders. Each full member of Magnum has a vote in proposals made at a meeting held once a year, called the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Photographers with the status of contributor or correspondent are represented by Magnum but have no voting rights. Full members can choose to become contributors after 23 years of membership; this status gives them increased liberty to work outside Magnum, at the cost of their voting rights.

In February 2010, Magnum announced that Michael Dell’s venture capital firm MSD Capital  had acquired a collection of nearly 200,000 original press prints of images taken by Magnum photographers. It had formed a partnership with the  Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas At Austin to preserve, catalog, and make photographs available to the general public.  In September 2013 it was announced MSD Capital donated the collection to the Ransom Center.A preliminary inventory is available for researchers who wish to use the collection.

Airport, please! heading to London for two favorite experiences: Theaster Gates at the Serpentine Gallery

Serpentine Pavilion
Regents Park, London

Two of the LRFA  blog’s favorite habits in the city of London have coalesced prompting a flight to my second favorite city. Walking through Regent’s Park past the Queen’s Rose Garden to see the just opened Black Chapel, the commission the compelling artist, Theaster Gates, realized for the Serpentine Pavilion.

Designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, the Serpentine Pavilion 2022 Black Chapel draws inspiration from many of the architectural typologies that ground the artist’s practice.The structure, realised with the support of Adjaye Associates, references the bottle kilns of Stoke-on-Trent, the beehive kilns of the Western United States, San Pietro and the Roman tempiettos, and traditional African structures, such as the Musgum mud huts of Cameroon, and the Kasubi Tombs of Kampala, Uganda. The Pavilion’s circularity and volume echo the sacred forms of Hungarian round churches and the ring shouts, voodoo circles and roda de capoeira witnessed in the sacred practices of the African diaspora.

Black Chapel is a site for contemplation and convening, set within the grounds of Serpentine in Kensington Gardens. The structure’s central oculus emanates a single source of light to create a sanctuary for reflection, refuge and conviviality. The project mirrors the artist’s ongoing engagement with ‘the vessel’ in his studio practice, and with space-making through his celebrated urban regeneration projects.

Drawn to the meditative environment of the Rothko Chapel – which holds fourteen paintings by American artist Mark Rothko in Houston, Texas – Gates has produced a series of new tar paintings specially for Black Chapel. Creating a space that reflects the artist’s hand and sensibilities, seven paintings hang from the interior. In these works, Gates honours his father’s craft as a roofer by using roofing strategies including torch down, a method which requires an open flame to heat material and affix it to a surface.

Theaster Gates: The Question of Clay

Gates’s Serpentine Pavilion 2022 Black Chapel is part of The Question of Clay, a multi-institution project by Theaster Gates taking place in 2021-22 across the Whitechapel Gallery, Serpentine and V&A. The project seeks to investigate the making, labour and production of clay as well as its collecting history, through exhibitions, performance and live interventions with the aim of generating new knowledge, meaning and connections about the material.

Black Vessel
Theaster Gates
Gagosian Gallery

Theaster Gates

A mix of black culture and legacy and the artist’s own practice, he is represented  by the prestigious global Gagosian Gallery. Gates’s first solo exhibition Black Vessel took place in New York at Gagosian, 555 West 24th Street from October 10, 2020- January 23, 2021

I always find myself returning to the vessel. It is part of the intellectual life force of my practice and it precedes all other forms of making.
—Theaster Gates

Gates’s oeuvre is among the most conceptually and materially rich in contemporary art, anchored equally in the canons of art history, the racial ideology of the Black diaspora, and the artist’s own personal history. Through an art practice predicated on cultural reclamation and social empowerment, Gates exchanges and recharges objects and ideas, proposing the artwork as a communicating vessel or sacred reliquary of recollected histories, critical vitality, and shared experience. Traversing a broad range of formal approaches such as painting, sculpture, sound, and performance, as well as the processes of salvaging, archiving, and place making, he delivers penetrating social commentary on labor, material, spiritual capital, and commodity within a close examination of the urban condition.

Grief and Grievance
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

The Brick Reliquaries (2020) are Gates’s latest sculptural experiments. By firing bricks with a strong manganese content to an excessive 2300°F, the known properties of the materials are transformed into the mysteries of heat-based sculpture. In some instances, the material loses its specificity when pushed to such limits; in others, the carbide shelves inside the kiln fuse with the bricks and other sculptural elements that rest on them, becoming host to material transformation.

https://gagosian.com/exhibitions/2020/theaster-gates-black-vessel/

From February through July, this exhibit coincided with an outstanding exhibit at the the New Museum  “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America,”  originally conceived by Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019) for the New Museum, and presented with curatorial support from advisors Naomi Beckwith, Massimiliano Gioni, Glenn Ligon, and Mark Nash. “Grief and Grievance” was intended to be an intergenerational exhibition, bringing together thirty-seven artists working in a variety of mediums who have addressed the concept of mourning, commemoration, and loss as a direct response to the national emergency of racist violence experienced by Black communities across America. The exhibition  further considers the intertwined phenomena of Black grief and a politically orchestrated white grievance, as each structures and defines contemporary American social and political life. “Grief and Grievance” includes works encompassing video, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, sound, and performance made in the last decade, along with several key historical works and a series of new commissions created in response to the concept of the exhibition.

Grieve and Grievance
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART: Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America

In 2018, the New Museum invited Okwui Enwezor to organize “Grief and Grievance.” Around that time, Enwezor was also developing a series of public talks for the Alain LeRoy Locke Lectures at Harvard University focused on the intersection of Black mourning and white nationalism in American life as articulated in the work of contemporary Black American artists. The argument put forth in this series–which he unfortunately was unable to deliver–informed the ideas Enwezor would use as the basis for “Grief and Grievance.” Between the fall of 2018 and March 2019, Enwezor tirelessly worked on “Grief and Grievance,” drafting his thesis for the exhibition, compiling lists of artists and artworks, selecting the catalogue contributors, and speaking with many of the invited artists. In January 2019, Enwezor asked the artist Glenn Ligon to serve as an advisor to the exhibition. Given the advanced state of planning and the importance of the exhibition, following Enwezor’s death on March 15, 2019, and with the support of his estate and of many of his friends and collaborators, the New Museum established an advisory team, comprised of longtime collaborators and friends of Enwezor including Glenn Ligon; Mark Nash, Professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz, and co-curator of many of Enwezor’s projects, including The Short Century and Documenta 11; and Naomi Beckwith, the Manilow Senior Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, whom Enwezor had chosen as one of the jurors of his 2015 Venice Biennale. With the assistance of Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director at the New Museum, this curatorial advisory group worked together to realize and interpret Enwezor’s vision for “Grief and Grievance.” The curatorial advisors and the New Museum also see this exhibition as a tribute to Enwezor’s work and legacy.

Okwui Enwezor

Since he began work on the project, Enwezor had expressed a desire to open the exhibition in proximity to the American presidential election, as a powerful response to a crisis in American democracy and as a clear indictment of Donald Trump’s  politics. Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the opening of the exhibition, the works included in the exhibition speak powerfully to America’s past, present, and future.

https://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/grief-and-grievance-art-and-mourning-in-america-1

 

Taxi please, close to home, summer in the city, at Madison Square Park to see the Christine Iglesias installation: Landscape and Memory

Landscape and Memory
Christine Iglesias

 

On June 3. 2022. the Annual Symposium of the Madison Park Conservancy met to explore the topic of Unearthing Public Art. From his first earthwork, Michael Heizer. the grandfather of all earth works, brought the childhood fascination of ‘playing in the sand’ to entirely new levels. His large-scale sculptures, set in specific environments so as to create dialogue with the land, helped pioneer Earth or Land Art, a distinctly American art movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. This precedent has been explored by a multitude of land artists, who have brought attention to our ecological wealth in the course of their practice its ethic of environmental restoration, preservation, and consciousness. Like Earth Day, Earth art is very much a product of its time.

https://www.theartstory.org/artist/heizer-michael/

MADISON SQUARE: HISTORY
Madison Square is a  public square  formed by the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street  in the New York City. The square was named for James Madison,  our fourth President. The focus of the square is Madison Square Park, a 6.2-acre (2.5-hectare) public park, which is bounded on the east by Madison Avenue (which starts at the park’s southeast corner at 23rd Street); on the south by 23rd Street; on the north by 26th Street; and on the west by Fifth Avenue and Broadway as they cross.

Madison Park, New York City

CHRISTINE IGLESIAS: BIOGRAPHY

Christine Iglesias

 

 

 

 

Cristina Iglesias was born in San Sebastián, Spain in 1956. Although American in spirit, the Earth Works movement has been adopted globally and one of the LRFA blog’s favorite artists in this category is Cristina Iglesias. Iglesias works with a wide range of materials, including steel, water, glass, bronze, bamboo, straw. She commenced a degree in Chemical Sciences at Universidad del País Vasco in 1976 before out in 1978 to practise ceramics and drawing in Barcelona. In 1980, she moved to London to study Sculpture at the Chelsea College of Art in London where she met her husband, the brilliant sculptor who stunned the art world  with his figural installation at the Tate’s Turbine Hall, Juan Muñoz and other artists such as Anish Kapoor. She currently lives and works in Torrelodones, Madrid.

JUAN MUNOZ

JUAN MUNOZ: Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum

Throughout her career, Iglesias has defined a unique sculptural vocabulary, building immersive and experiential environments that reference and unite architecture, literature and culturally site-specific influences. Through a language of constructed and natural forms rendered in various materials and ranging from suspended pavilions, latticed panels, passageways, and mazes, to walls imbued with texts and structural and vegetative forms, she poetically redefines space by confounding interior and exterior, organic and artifice, combining industrial materials with natural elements to produce unexpected new sensory sites for the viewer. Such is the case with landscape and memory.

Madison Square Park Iglesias: Landscape and Memory

 

 

Her work has been shown recently in solo exhibitions at Centro Botín, Santander, Spain (2018); Musée de Grenoble, France (2016); BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium (2014); a large retrospective at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid Spain (2013); and at Casa Franças, Rio de Janeiro (2013). Earlier solo shows have been exhibited at the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan (2009); Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2006); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2003); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2003); Museu Serralves, Fundaçao Serralves, Oporto (2002); Guggenheim New York (1997); and Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (1999).

Iglesias has participated in a number of international exhibitions and public commissions and has represented Spain at the 1986 and 1993 Venice Biennales and at the Sydney Biennale in 2012. Recent public commissions include Forgotten Streams at Bloomberg Headquarters in London (2017) and the enormous permanent public commission, Tres Aguas – a Project for Toledo, Toledo,Spain (2014). In 2020 she was awarded the Royal Academy Architecture Prize, London.

Tres Aguas- a project for Toledo

 

 

Currently she exhibits in the States at the prestigious Marian Goodman gallery, New York, https://www.mariangoodman.com/artists/47-cristina-iglesias/

CHRISTINE IGLESIAS : LANDSCAPE AND MEMORY, MADISON SQUARE PARK, NEW YORK

The installation, entitled Landscape and Memory evokes the Park’s Buried Topography With Large-Scale Bronze Sculptures Set into Lawn, Flowing with Water.

Madison Square Park, New York No Mad

There is a poignancy to the work to which the LRFA blog reacts deeply, to its simplicity and to the depth of its symbolism. When visiting the site at 23rd Street and Broadway, consider the forgotten terrains and geographic history of New York City in a new public art installation at Madison Square Park, marking her first major temporary public art project in the United States. Landscape and Memory places five bronze sculptural pools, flowing with water, into the park’s Oval Lawn, harkening back to when the Cedar Creek coursed across the land where the park stands today. Building on Iglesias’ practice of unearthing the forgotten and excavating natural history, Landscape and Memory resurfaces in the imaginations of contemporary viewers the now-invisible force of this ancient waterway. In the hustle and bustle of 23rd street, Iglesias has created a beautiful respite from our anxieties, and in our post-pandemic culture, an oasis of poetry, peace and fresh air in the middle of New York.

Water Window Walls

On view from June 1 through December 4, 2022, Landscape and Memory is complemented by a slate of interdisclipinary public programs, free and open to the public. Presented within and responding to the work, these include a summer music series curated with Carnegie Hall as well as performance programming organized in conjunction with The Kitchen. Cristina Iglesias is also the keynote speaker for the Conservancy’s annual public art symposium, held on Friday, June 3, 2022. This year’s program investigates the role of public art in shedding new light on buried histories, both metaphorically and physically.

https://madisonsquarepark.org/community/calendar/event/2022-annual-symposium-unearthing-public-art/

Christine Iglesias
Landscape and Memory

 

 

 

Airport, please! heading to Arles to see Requiem, Lee Ufan’s exhibition in Alycamps, a heritage site in Arles, France

Lee Ufan
Arles

LEE UFAN in Arles, France

On this occasion of the opening of the Lee Ufan Arles permanent exhibition, the LRFA blog is delighted to travel to Alycamps, one of the main heritage sites of the city of Arles,  to see Requiem, an important set of 14 new works,  created by the curator, Alfred Pacquement.  Lee Ufan is the Korean minimalist painter and sculptor artist and academic, honored by the government of Japan for having “contributed to the development of contemporary art in Japan”.

Lee Ufan has respectfully invested these ancestral places by displaying his sculptures and paintings in the famous alley of sarcophagi that dot this city of the dead and in the Saint-Honorat church, an unfinished Romanesque building that concludes the tour.

From April 2022, Lee Ufan Arles, a permanent exhibition center for Lee Ufan’s paintings and sculptures, is accessible to the public in the Hotel Vernon in the heart of the city of Arles.This private mansion, built between the 16th and 18th centuries, was acquired by the Lee Ufan Foundation to become the venue for a presentation of the artist’s work in the same way as those already open in Naoshima (Japan) and in Busan (South Korea).

Lee Ufan
Guggenheim Museum, New York

LEE UFAN: Marking Infinity  at The Guggenheim Museum

In September 2011, Lee Ufan’s work impacted New York with an extraordinary exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum, an introduction for many to this artist. Marking Infinity presents the work of artist-philosopher Lee Ufan, charting his creation of a visual, conceptual, and theoretical terrain that has radically expanded the possibilities for painting and sculpture since the 1960s. Lee is acclaimed for an innovative body of work that revolves around the notion of encounter—seeing the bare existence of what is actually before us and focusing on “the world as it is.”

Lee Ufan

LEE UFAN: biography

Lee was born in southern Korea in 1936 and witnessed the political convulsions that beset the Korean peninsula from the Japanese occupation to the Korean War, which left the country divided in 1953. He studied painting at the College of Fine Arts at Seoul National University and soon moved to Japan, where he earned a degree in philosophy. Over the last 40 years, he has lived and worked in Korea, Japan, and France, becoming a transnational artist in a postmodern world before those terms were current. “The dynamics of distance have made me what I am,” he remarks.

Lee Ufan
Relatum – Stage
by the Serpentine, London

In the late 1960s, in an artistic environment emphasizing ideas of system, structure, and process, Lee emerged as the theoretical leader of the Mono-ha (literally, “School of Things”), a Japanese movement that arose amid the collapse of colonial world orders, antiauthoritarian protests, and the rise of critiques of modernity. Lee’s sculptures, presenting dispersed arrangements of stones together with industrial materials like steel plates, rubber sheets, and glass panes, recast the object as a network of relations based on parity among the viewer, materials, and site. Lee was a pivotal figure in the Korean tansaekhwa (monochrome painting) school, which offered a fresh approach to minimalist abstraction by presenting repetitive gestural marks as bodily records of time’s perpetual passage. Deeply versed in modern philosophy and Asian metaphysics, Lee has coupled his artistic practice with a prodigious body of critical and philosophical writings, which provide the quotations that appear throughout this exhibition.

Lee Ufan
1968

Marking Infinity is organized to reflect Lee’s method of working in iterative series and spans the 1960s to the present. Whether brush marks on canvas or stones placed just so on the ground, his markings in space elicit momentary, open-ended situations that engage the viewer viscerally. His distilled gestures, manifesting an extraordinary ethics of restraint, create an emptiness that is paradoxically generative and vivid. Relatum (formerly Phenomena and Perception A, 1969) presents three rocks laid on a latex band marked as a measuring tape. The weight of the rocks causes the band to stretch and buckle, disrupting the system of measurement it codes and reminding us of the capriciousness of rational truth: what you see is a result of where you stand.

Since his early Mono-ha period, Lee has restricted his choice of sculptural materials to steel plates and stones, focusing on their precise conceptual and spatial juxtaposition. The steel plate—hard, heavy, solid—is made to build things in the modern world; the stone, in its natural as-is state, “belongs to an unknown world” beyond the self and outside modernity, evoking “the other” or “externality.”

Lee Ufan
Relatum – Stage
by the Serpentine, London

Arranging the plates in precise relationships to the stones, Lee’s Relatum series (1968– ) presents a durational form of coexistence between the made and the not made, the material and the immaterial elements of our surroundings. The series title is a philosophical term denoting terms, objects, or events between which a relation exists. In Lee’s mind, the occasion of the site-specific work and the network of dynamics it triggers is more important than the object per se, and we the viewer enter the scene as an equal part of the whole.

The show concludes on Tower Level 7 with an installation of Lee’s Dialogue painting series (2006– ). Lee has created a site-specific installation placing a single, broad, viscous stroke of paint on each of three adjacent walls of the empty room.Dialogue–space (2011) sets up a rhythm that exposes and enlivens the emptiness of the space, creating what Lee calls “an open site of power in which things and space interact vividly.”

Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art

Lee Ufan
Pace Gallery
East Hampton, NY

LEE UFAN at PACE GALLERY, EAST HAMPTON

Pace is pleased to present an exhibition of new and recent work by Lee Ufan at its East Hampton gallery. Many of the featured works in the presentation—which runs from July 22 to August 8, 2021, and highlights three paintings alongside three watercolors—were created at the artist’s studio in Kamakura, Japan amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant worldwide disruptions.

In a contemplative essay penned in April 2020, when shutdowns were instituted in many countries around the world, Lee wrote to his global audience, “Presently I am secluded at home, absorbed in thought and gazing at the outdoors. While I abhor the new coronavirus, I am digesting the message it brought. The virus is artistic in that the fear and confusion caused by its incomprehensible nature makes the world look new.”

Lee Ufan
Pace Gallery
East Hampton, NY

The upcoming presentation foregrounds Lee’s distinct approach to color and space in his paintings. Lee has said that one of his aims as an artist is to create highly abstract works that eschew realism and legible representation. As the artist put it in a 2018 interview on the occasion of his solo exhibition at Pace’s New York space, “If I make one stroke, there is suddenly a resonance in that space. I need to find the right place for that resonance … I hope viewers experience a moment where they can transcend themselves through the work.” This exhibition exemplifies the artist’s interest in inspiring viewers of his work to see the world in new ways.

Lee Ufan
painting
Pace Gallery, New York

Stronger for Life ! a finalist for FILM THREAT

To my friends and to the PS community who have supported Stronger for Life,

I am very pleased to update you on some great news!

Stronger for Life is nominated for an award by FILM THREAT/Award This! Nominees were selected from over 2,000 indie films reviewed by Film Threat in 2021. Along with 6 other nominees, we are nominated in the category: Socially Relevant Documentary. The awards will take place in Santa Ana CA on May 21st – we’ll keep you posted!

Film Threat words:
“Stronger for Life documents the rise of Ilaria Montagnani in the fitness world and the shattering diagnosis that almost destroyed her. Several interviewees, including Ilaria’s mother, brother, doctors, and acquaintances, attest to Montagnani’s drive and tenacity. In addition, the woman herself is forthright about her life in fitness and emotionally candid when discussing her fight against cancer and subsequent mastectomy.”

I started this documentary when I was first diagnosed with cancer, not knowing what the future would hold for me. I am very lucky and everyday I feel blessed and thankful that I am here and healthy. My journey made me realize how incredibly fragile we are and how much strength we have inside ourselves. And how much all the years of training and physical work would help me fight my battle, mentally and physically.

Figures crossed, we’ll be back to you on May 21st.

Thank you for your support of Ilaria’s documentary and of my frequent pleas.

love, Leslie

Leslie Rankow

STRONGER FOR LIFE

Executive Director

Taxi please! heading to Greenwich, CT for the David Salle Show

David Salle
Plank Pose, 2012
oil and acrylic on linen
20 x 30 inches

In these times even a quick car trip to Greenwich seems like an excursion, fresh air, outdoors, no masks, adventure, free at last. As a long-time fan and follower of the work of David Salle, for the LRFA blog, news of his retrospective exhibition at the Brant Foundation was irresistible.

David Salle

DAVID SALLE: THE ARTIST

Born in 1952 in Oklahoma, David Salle grew up in Wichita, Kansas. In 1970, he was part of the foundational class at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where he studied with John Baldessari. After earning a BFA in 1973 and an MFA in 1975, both from CalArts, Salle moved to New York, where he has lived since.

Tree of Life #6, 2020

Like many artists of his Post-modern generation, David Salle initially drew inspiration for his rich visual vocabulary from existing pictures, often from the worlds of film, advertising and graphic communication. He sought out images that, as he put it in a 1981 interview, “understand us.” Distinct from others of his generation, the mainspring of Salle’s imagery has always been his own photography, the carefully staged and lit scenes that appear in his paintings like telexes from the unconscious. Since the mid-80s, his paintings have continued to expand their emphasis on dynamic, relational composition.

Frost Free, 2018 oil and acrylic on linen

A typical Salle painting is one in which the viewer’s eye is kept moving; the structure and placement of images create internal rhythms that pulse with energy. Salle’s paintings often contain allusions to artists of the past – from Velázquez and Bernini, to Picasso, Giacometti, and Magritte, as well as to American art both post and pre-war. However, a catalog of references can be misleading; sources do not a painting make. The meaning of Salle’s paintings lies in the way images are contextualized and presented, with the poetry of their juxtaposition, and, more than anything, with how they are painted.

The new works are more in the genre of comic books, using humorous images rather than the dense dramatic  earlier ones that are evocative and sexual, refer to film montage, and often feature his muse/mistress, Karen Armitage.

Shooting, 1995

Salle’s paintings have been shown in museums and galleries worldwide for over 35 years. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Whitney Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MoMA Vienna; Menil Collection, Houston; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; the Kestner Geselshaft, Hannover; the Guggenheim Bilbao. He was the subject of solo exhibitions at the Dallas Contemporary in 2015 and the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo in Málaga, Spain in 2016. He has participated in major international expositions including Documenta 7 (1982), Venice Biennale (1982 and 1993), Whitney Biennial (1983, 1985, and 1991), Paris Biennale (1985), and Carnegie International (1985).

https://www.skarstedt.com/artists/david-salle

Brant Foundation
Greenwich, CT

THE BRANT FOUNDATION

Founded by Peter M. Brant in 1996, The Brant Foundation has a mission to promote education and appreciation of contemporary art and design, by making works available to institutions and individuals for scholarly study and examination.

The Brant Foundation’s loan program, established in 1996, plays a crucial role in our mission to promote education and appreciation of contemporary art. The Foundation’s lending program increases public accessibility to the collection’s paramount pieces – broadening visibility to contemporary works critical to the history of art and its scholarship. Each year, the Foundation lends artwork to exhibiting venues worldwide, proudly supporting artists and art institutions around the globe. Please contact Allison Brandt for more information about their loan program.

Additionally, The Brant Foundation offers a multitude of ongoing programs and events aimed to enhance and enrich the public’s experience with contemporary art. These programs are designed to facilitate art education, foster creative and scholarly development, and provide unique opportunities for anyone with an interest in contemporary art. to learn more about The Brant Foundation’s educational programs.

David Salle Installation
Brant Foundation

The Brant Foundation, designed by Richard Gluckman, opened its doors in Greenwich, CT in 2009 and presents two long-term exhibitions each year, curated primarily from the collection. The collection is remarkable in that scores of artists are represented in depth, including works from the earliest period of their practice through their most recent works.

The structure at 941 North St. was originally built in 1909 as a cold-storage barn, part of the vast E.C. Conyers estate.

“The building was originally made from stones sourced from local farm fields. I felt it was important to preserve the turn-of-the-century architecture and great character of the building, while also breathing new life into it, first as a polo club, and now as an art study center,” says Peter Brant, Founder of The Brant Foundation Art Study Center.

https://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=aaplw&p=brant+foundation+greenwich+ct

Peter Brant

FOUNDER, Peter Brant

Peter Brant is an entrepreneur, manufacturing executive, publisher, philanthropist, sportsman and art collector, whose eclectic mix of personal interests and commercial ventures have resulted in achievements in business, philanthropy and the arts.

Born in 1947, Mr. Brant’s wide-ranging career, has taken him on a journey from growing up in Queens, N.Y. to his current home in Greenwich, Conn.

Peter Brant is the chairman and chief executive officer of White Birch Paper, whose predecessor business his father co-founded in the 1940s. In 2008, Mr. Brant bought out his partner in the company. In 2010, after a sharp downturn in demand for newsprint, he guided the enterprise through a major restructuring that has positioned it for the future. Today the company, which is based in Greenwich, Conn., remains among the largest newsprint manufacturers in North America, operating four pulp and paper mills in Canada and the United States.

David Salle
King Kong. 1983