Archive for January 24th, 2014

24
Jan
14

Research at the State Library of Victoria

23rd January 2014

 

Rue-Chanoinesse-(de-la-rue-des-Chantres)

 

AS SEEN ONLINE

Charles Marville (French, 1813-1879)
Rue Chanoinesse (de la rue des Chantres)
c. 1853 – c. 1870
In collection: Photographic views of Paris
Undated, dates assigned from time of Haussman’s renovation of Paris
photographic print mounted on cardboard : albumen silver
34 x 27cm
Gift; Government of France; 1880

 

 

Research experience on the Charles Marville photographs at the State Library of Victoria

I don’t usually get upset but this is an exception, and rightly so. They say that any publicity is good publicity but not in this case, because this posting goes right around the world. Read on…

After my recent posting on Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris at the National Gallery of Art, Washington I was contacted by Robert Heather, Manager Collection Interpretation at SLV about the 330 Marville’s they have in the Pictures collection, donated by the French Government in 1881 after the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880 had finished. I had know about these photographs from pages 203-205 of the catalogue from the above exhibition (see images below). The Manager of Collection Interpretation encouraged me to make an appointment to come in an see the Marville. Naturally I was excited at the prospect of doing some research on these recently rediscovered images. An idea was forming in my mind – about research that linked the redevelopment of Paris at the time of the Marville photographs with images of the expanding and developing Melbourne around the same time. The comparisons between cities and photographers, photographs, styles (such as Charles Nettleton pre-1880 and J. W. Lindt and Nicholas Caire post-1880), I thought would be illuminating.

Don’t forget I was encouraged to come in an see the Marville. Contacted by the Picture Librarian, I was asked to select TWO, yes TWO images out of 330 to look at. I think I was lucky to be able to choose two but I choose three!

.
Upon arrival the Picture Librarian failed to introduce themselves and said, “Oh, your Marcus” in the most off hand manner. This person was brusque to the point of rudeness, so efficacious in their duty to protect the art work that I felt it was almost criminal to be there. It was like stepping back into the Victoria era their attitude was so unhelpful.

The Marville’s are not in albums as I had supposed (and the librarian had no knowledge of whether they had ever been in albums), but were mounted on blue cards and kept in plastic (presumably archival) sleeves. When I asked for the photographs to be removed so that I could look at the images I had chosen, I was refused! How can you possibly study an artist’s work, in this case photographs, without being able to see the surface of the print? It is just impossible to study these works under opaque plastic…

These cards should NOT BE STORED IN PLASTIC SLEEVES ANYHOW !!

Even if the sleeves are archival, photographs need to breathe and not be suffocated in plastic. It’s like a Stradivarius violin – they need to be played, not kept locked up in a museum display cabinet because then they loose all of their resonance. And when I asked this person about what conservation was being undertaken on the images they had no idea, blithely announcing that the photographs had been on those cards for a century. This does not mean that the card is not leaching acid into the photographs and the necessary testing should be carried out to assess the stability of the material and photographs. And if they have been stable and survived for a hundred years as this person suggested, then what is the harm of actually showing them to people. A piece of cardboard that was shown to me as coming off one of the sheets is no reason to deny people the right to see these objects in the flesh.

This person had no idea who I was nor did they care that I am a professional researcher, writer and artist. But that is not the point, I could have been anyone from Joe Public wanting to look at something in the collection: it is a public institution and they have a duty and obligation to show things to the general public. In their ‘Vision Statement’ they say, and I quote:

“We want to be a place where all Victorians can discover, learn, create and connect. We want to be a cultural and heritage destination for Victorians, and a catalyst for generating new knowledge and ideas… We will focus on developing: services and physical facilities tailored to your needs.”

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New knowledge and ideas. Services and physical facilities tailored to your needs. After the appalling experience that I had I am not so sure. I was going to apply for a Fellowship hoping to do the research I mentioned at the top of the posting, but after my awful experience I am thinking better of it. While all the Marville’s are online and downloadable at high resolution, which is a wonderful thing in itself, at this rate the Marville’s might as well be buried for another 100 years, other than being shown in an upcoming exhibition. At least at the National Gallery of Victoria when you go in to look at the work, you can actually see the photographs.

I have now requested another appointment to see the Marville’s and this time I don’t want to see just THREE PHOTOGRAPHS behind plastic – I want to see as many photographs as I would like, and be left in peace to study them, out of the plastic. As a public institution the State Library of Victoria has a duty to make these photographs available for research. If they have not got a conservation policy in place that allows them to be viewed out of the plastic, then they should have. I have asked them to let me know when this visit can be conducted and have yet to receive a reply.

I don’t usually get upset, dear readers, but this situation is intolerable for anyone, let alone a person who loves photography. The attitude spoiled what was going to be a special and magical experience. Imagine if a researcher from overseas had arrived to view these works and they had had this reception. Unbelievable.

I will, of course, keep you updated with news.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

“Gee have you been using these plastic sleeves for a long time?”
“Do you have many people asking to see these images out of their covers?”
Thankx to my mentor for these pearls of wisdom…

I think people are too afraid to speak out these days for fear of having an opinion, being seen as judgemental, upsetting the powers that be. I am not afraid to call them out, especially on a subject in which I have knowledge over many years. I have been studying the new Left of the 1960s and how they put their bodies on the line out on the streets – for anti-Vietnam, pro-Communist, gay liberation, feminism and Aboriginal rights. I grew up in an era where you say what you think, fight for your freedom and have the courage of your convictions…

 

Addendum

A response from the State Library of Victoria !!

Hi Marcus, we’re sorry to hear your experience was not a positive one. The Marville Collection is an extraordinary anthology of photographs to be celebrated. While we certainly don’t wish to keep this treasure from the public, we do want to ensure these photographs are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

So that everyone can access these photographs at any time, we have digitised the entire collection in high resolution and made available online. We also arrange viewings of the original photographic prints by appointment but due to their age, size and delicate nature, it’s preferable that only a selection are brought out at any one time and handled with care. The plastic envelopes in which the photographs are kept are archival and the blue card on which they’re mounted is how the prints were exhibited in 1880 and include the original captions. Conservation staff have assessed the prints and original backing card and are of the opinion that the card is not causing any damage to these photographs.

Our Collection Services Manager is getting in touch with you to arrange another visit where you can see more from this wonderful collection. We look forward to seeing you back at the Library soon.

 

 

Rue-Chanoinesse-(de-la-rue-des-Chantres)-opaque

 

AS SEEN IN THE FLESH

Charles Marville (French, 1813-1879)
Rue Chanoinesse (de la rue des Chantres)
c. 1853 – c. 1870
In collection: Photographic views of Paris
Undated, dates assigned from time of Haussman’s renovation of Paris
photographic print mounted on cardboard : albumen silver
34 x 27cm
Gift; Government of France; 1880

 

Mp203-WEB

mp205-WEB

 

Extracts from pages 203 and 205 of Reynaud, Françoise. “Marville and Old Paris,” in Kennel, Sarah. Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris. Washington: National Gallery of Art, 2013.

 

 

State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston St,
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 8664 7000

Opening hours:
Dail 10am – 6pm

State Library of Victoria website

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24
Jan
14

Exhibition: ‘Louise Lawler. Adjusted’ at the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest

Exhibition dates: 11th October 2013 – 26th January 2014

 

Louise Lawler. '16' 1985

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
16
1985
Cibachrome (museum box)
27 x 39-5/8 inches (68.60 x 100.60cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London
Andy Warhol Artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

 

 

Complex and polyglot, conceptual and analytical, but simultaneously ironically light, elegiac, and unfathomable. Abstract, non-evaluative, impartial presentations and suggestive settings gazing toward the fringes of art. Strongly shaped by institutional critique, the works are casual (causal?) sociological commentaries reflecting on aesthetic, economic, and historical factors in art.

Apparently…

But do you like them?

 

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947) 'Etude pour La Lecture, 1923, This Drawing is for Sale, Paris' 1985

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Etude pour La Lecture, 1923, This Drawing is for Sale, Paris
1985
Gelatin silver print
39.5 x 59cm
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

 

 

Etude pour La Lecture, 1923, This Drawing is for Sale, Paris, 1985 is a gelatine silver print showing a corner in a Paris room. The image is a careful composition of vertical and horizontal lines made up by architectural features in the background and, in the foreground, a square-edged leather covered chair on the right and a group of framed artworks, stacked against the wall, on the left. A free-standing ashtray in the image centre firmly anchors the composition on its vertical-horizontal axis: its narrow metal tube stand creating a strong vertical line and the ashtray repeating the horizontal plane of the chair arm below it. One artwork is visible in its entirety: a drawing by Fernand Léger (1881-1955) showing two women, one standing and one reclining, both holding books. Propped on a much larger frame that is turned towards the wall, the image – Etude pour La Lecture, 1923 – reinforces the combination of horizontal and vertical elements in Lawler’s picture. Below it, a painting of an organic form, also by Léger (La Racine, 1934), is partially visible behind the arm of the chair.

Extract from Elizabeth Manchester. “Etude pour La Lecture, 1923, This Drawing is for Sale, Paris.” on the Tate website April 2007 [Online] Cited 21/01/2021

 

Louise Lawler (Holzer, Nadin and Other Artists) 'Baby Blue' 1981

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
(Holzer, Nadin and Other Artists)
Baby Blue
1981
Cibachrome (museum box)
28 1/2 x 37 1/4 x 1 inches (72.40 x 94.60 x 2.50cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

Top left: Edward Weston photographs of his son Neil Weston

 

Louise Lawler. 'I-O (adjusted to fit)' 1993/98

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
I-O (adjusted to fit)
1993-98
Cibachrome (museum box)
19 5/16 x 23 3/8 inches (49.10 x 59.40 cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London
Andy Warhol Artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

 

Louise Lawler. 'Taking Place - Il m'aime, un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie, pas du tout' (He loves me, a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all) 2008/2009

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Taking Place – Il m’aime, un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie, pas du tout (He loves me, a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all)
2008-2009
Cibachrome face mounted to plexiglass on 2″ museum box
47 3/4 x 55 3/4 inches (121.30 x 141.60cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

 

Louise Lawler. 'Salon Hodler' 1992/1993

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Salon Hodler
1992-1993
Cibachrome
58 1/2 x 49 1/4 inches (148.60 x 125.10cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

 

Louise Lawler. 'Unsentimental' 1999/2000

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Unsentimental
1999-2000
Cibachrome
120.7 x 144.8cm
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

 

Louise Lawler. 'Pollock and Tureen (traced)' 1984/2013; Louise Lawler. 'Salon Hodler (traced)' 1992/1993/2013

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Pollock and Tureen (traced)
1984-2013
Bedruckte Folie / printed vinyl
Dimensions variable

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Salon Hodler (traced)
1992/1993/2013
Bedruckte Folie / printed vinyl
Dimensions variable

 

Louise Lawler. 'Hand On Her Back (traced)' 1997/1998

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Hand On Her Back (traced)
1997/1998/2013
Bedruckte Folie / printed vinyl
Dimensions variable

 

 

The Museum Ludwig is hosting the first comprehensive exhibition in Germany of the American Conceptual artist Louise Lawler (born 1947, lives and works in New York). The exhibition comprises around 80 works, which are positioned throughout the entire building, thus engendering surprising situations through their encounters with the Museum Ludwig’s permanent collection. In addition, a new series of ten “tracings” has been created for the show – outline drawings that are reminiscent of children’s colouring books and draw on earlier works by Lawler. Furthermore, the artist has agreed to create two new, large-format “stretches” for the Museum Ludwig. These are photos that she has printed out on self-adhesive vinyl film and whose proportions she tailors to the space in question – even if that means deforming the motifs. Lawler’s work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions, including Documenta 12, the Whitney Biennial 2008, and recently in a large overview at the Wexner Art Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Louise Lawler photographs works by other artists and captures them in their various contexts: in museums, in private collections, at auctions, or in storage. Her works illustrate just how much the meaning of art is influenced by how it is presented and by the attendant circumstances in the institutions where it is located. Her analytical and at times ironic approach is revealing, but by no means evaluative, such as when her view of an abstract work by Jackson Pollock correlates with the way she looks at a decorative soup tureen.

Louise Lawler, who embarked on her oeuvre in the late 1970s, belongs to the broader field of the “Pictures Generation,” which also includes Sherrie Levine, Jack Goldstein, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman. At the same time, her beginnings were also strongly shaped by the institutional critique of the early 1970s, and consequently her works were initially interpreted as sociological commentaries reflecting on aesthetic, economic, and historical factors in art. Yet beyond this, her photographs illustrate to this day that an impartial presentation of art simply does not exist; they reveal the ideological implications inherent in the suggestive settings given to artworks, which would otherwise scarcely be visible. Lawler directs her gaze toward the fringes of art, as it were, creating subtle commentaries of a poetic casualness via compositions that distinguish themselves by their formal approach as well as by their eccentricity.

 

Louise Lawler. 'Pink and Yellow and Black II (Green Coca Cola Bottles) from On a Wall, On a Cow, In a Book, In the Mail' 1999

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Pink and Yellow and Black II (Green Coca Cola Bottles) from On a Wall, On a Cow, In a Book, In the Mail
1999
Cibachrome (museum box)
26 5/8 x 26 5/8 inches (67.60 x 67.60cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London
Andy Warhol Artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

 

Louise Lawler. 'Pink and Yellow and Black I (Red Disaster) from On a Wall, On a Cow, In a Book, In the Mail' 1999

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Pink and Yellow and Black I (Red Disaster) from On a Wall, On a Cow, In a Book, In the Mail
1999
Cibachrome (museum box)
38 3/4 x 32 1/2 inches (98.40 x 82.60cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London
Andy Warhol Artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

 

 

Foreword

To describe Louise Lawler’s artistic practice is not easy: it is complex and polyglot, conceptual and analytical, but simultaneously ironically light, elegiac, and unfathomable. Lawler eyes the incidental, undermining the economy of attention, dislocating hierarchies, and querying, with the air of critical nonchalance, the system of art and its institutions. When works of art, arranged based on their colours and forms like flowers, unashamedly reveal the tastes and values of their owners, or sculptures held in gloomy depots are deprived of the attention they deserve, then Lawler’s works are a means of redress – what is not visible is given visibility. Her camera registers not only the life of artworks (after they have left the artists’ studios) in museums, corporate collections, depots, or at auctions, it also penetrates the most intimate abodes of the collectors, intruding even into their bedrooms. Lawler’s practice here is ambivalent, hardly judgmental, but constantly interested in poetic ambiguities, fractured harmony, and suggestive relationships. Her work does not seek out the essence of art but looks for compulsions, rules, and their readability. Incidental contiguities, formal-aesthetic analogies, but also savage thought shape the work of Louise Lawler, which had its beginnings in the late 1970s in the context of appropriation art and followed in the footsteps of the practice of institutional critique, which has been all too often discursively co-opted. Almost forty years later a differentiated perspective on this subtle work opens up, a work that does not understand melancholy and postmodernist criticality as a contradiction and unfolds its potency precisely in subtle unsharpness.

We are delighted that with Adjusted Louise Lawler has put together such an extensive survey of her work for the very first time, a show that covers the early conceptual and performative relics, the so-called ephemera, as well as a wide-ranging selection of photographic works and the latest wall works. Although the greater part of her oeuvre is photographic, it becomes clear that Lawler is not a photographer. She uses the medium as a means to appropriate situations and, in resolute focusing, to let the things which would otherwise remain unarticulated speak for themselves. Her exhibition title, Adjusted, which is to be understood as referring to her large format wallpapers adjusted to fit the given circumstances, is the distant echo of a critical practice fully aware that adjusting is a dialectic process where there are neither winners nor losers, neither conquerors nor conquered.

Louise Lawler’s exhibition Adjusted opens simultaneously with the new presentation of the collection Not Yet Titled. New and Forever at Museum Ludwig, which emphasises the provisional nature of art historical narratives and presentations, colliding with the claim to eternity raised by the institution of the museum. Lawler’s exhibition spans the entire building, intervenes in the contexts of the collection, and spreads itself out, then retreats, or functions plainly and simply as a casual commentary. The reflectivity of her work, its context-specific changeability, presents the provisional as a quality constitutive for art, which in the process makes it clear just how much circumstances determine the way of looking at things.

Excerpt from the Foreword by Philipp Kaiser

 

Louise Lawler. 'Life After 1945 (Hats)' 2006/2007

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Life After 1945 (Hats)
2006-2007
Cibachrome (mounted on museum box)
27 1/4 x 22 3/4 inches (69.20 x 57.80cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London
Andy Warhol Artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

 

Louise Lawler. 'Chandelier' 2001/2007

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Chandelier
2001-2007
Cibachrome (mounted on museum box)
19 1/4 x 15 1/2 inches (48.90 x 39,40cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin and London

(Lucio Fontana)

 

Louise Lawler. 'Nude' 2002/2003

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Nude
2002/2003
Cibachrome (museum mounted)
59.5 x 47.5 inches (151.10 x 120.70cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

(Gerhard Richter. Ema (Nude on a Staircase) 1966, 200 x 130cm, Oil on canvas)

 

Louise Lawler. 'Still Life (Napkins)' 2003

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Still Life (Napkins)
2003
Digital cibachrome on aluminum museum box
19-3/4 x 14-1/4 inches (50.20 x 36.20cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

 

Louise Lawler. 'WAR IS TERROR' 2001/2003 (Julia Margaret Cameron)

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
WAR IS TERROR
2001-2003
Cibachrome (museum mounted)
30 x 25-3/4 inches (76.20 x 65.40cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

(Julia Margaret Cameron)

 

Louise Lawler. 'Monogram' 1984

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Monogram
1984
Cibachrome, type on wall (sometimes)
39 1/2 x 28 inches (100.30 x 71.10cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

(Jasper Johns)

 

Louise Lawler. 'Portrait' 1982

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
Portrait
1982
Cibachrome
19 x 19 inches (48.30 x 48.30cm)
© Louise Lawler, Metro Pictures, New York, Sprüth Magers Berlin/London

 

 

Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art
1095 Budapest Komor Marcell Street 1
Hungary 06 1 555-3444

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00
Closed on Mondays

Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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