Posts Tagged ‘American sculpture

06
Jan
14

Exhibition: ‘Alexander Calder: Avant-Garde in Motion’ at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf

Exhibition dates: 7th September 2013 – 12th January 2014

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Many thankx to the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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'Alexander Calder: Avant-Garde in Motion' Installation photographs

'Alexander Calder: Avant-Garde in Motion' Installation photographs

'Alexander Calder: Avant-Garde in Motion' Installation photographs

'Alexander Calder: Avant-Garde in Motion' Installation photographs

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Alexander Calder: Avant-Garde in Motion
Installation photographs
Foto: Foto: Achim Kukulies, © Calder Foundation, New York / Artists’ Rights Society (ARS), New York
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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“These hesitations and resumptions, gropings and fumblings, sudden decisions and, most especially, marvelous swan-like nobility make Calder’s mobiles strange creatures, mid-way between matter and life.”

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Jean-Paul Sartre, 1946

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“For the first time in 20 years, a German museum is presenting a major selection of works by the American sculptor Alexander Calder (1898-1976). With the exhibition Alexander Calder: Avant-Garde in Motion, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen invites art lovers to reevaluate Calder as an astonishingly multifaceted member of the twentieth century avant-garde. Never before has the artistic oeuvre of this pioneer of Kineticism been presented in its surprising proximity and intimate interplay with the experimental film and music of its time. This approach highlights the intellectual universality of an artist whose mobiles are familiar worldwide today.

The focus of the exhibition at the K20 Grabbeplatz is the 1930s and 1940s, documenting Calder’s path toward abstraction and his lifelong friendships with members of the European avant-garde. On view in two exhibition halls are approximately 70 works, ranging from small-scale works in wood and sheet metal to the monumental steel stabile Le Tamanoir (1963), weighing 2300 kilograms, on loan from Rotterdam. A special architectural feature of this presentation is the long, accessible catwalk in the Kleehalle, which will offer visitors unexpected perspectives of the suspended mobiles.

For the Düsseldorf exhibition, Calder’s first solo show of abstract works at the Galerie Percier in Paris in 1931, has been partially documented as a crucial station on the path toward his singular formal language. His artistic friendships during his time in Paris are highlighted by important individual paintings by Piet Mondrian, Joan Miró, and Hans Arp that are found today in the collection of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. The impulse that initiated this major exhibition project was modest in proportions: in 2008, the sculpture Untitled, dating from 1936, was acquired by the Federal State of North-Rhine Westphalia, and hence and came into the possession of the Kunstsammlung. This work is among Calder’s relatively unknown “noise-mobiles,” which generate sound through the gentle pendular movement of a ball that hangs from a wire. A complex work, Untitled connects various phases of Calder’s career, pointing toward the beginning of the wire sculptures of the 1920s and also the “sonorous” mobiles of the later period, which are set in motion by air currents. The forms of the individual elements signal Calder’s turn toward abstraction, but also resemble the organic language typical of the works of Arp and Miró.

Like no other American artist, and in a way comparable only with his friend Man Ray, Calder was a consistent member of Parisian avant-garde circles between 1926 and 1933. He was recognized by the main representatives of a range of artistic tendencies, yet never allowed himself to be drawn into the rivalry between abstraction and Surrealism. During these years, Calder moved uninhibitedly between various orientations, positioning his work in the field of tension residing between Mondrian’s cool geometric compositional structures and the biomorphic, playful abstractions of Miró and Arp. The exhibition features in particular the abstract works Calder produced after a legendary and pivotal experience in Paris: in the fall of 1930, he visited Mondrian’s studio and was deeply impressed by the space’s total composition, in particular by the black-and-white structuring of a wall on which colored rectangles were mounted for study purposes. In his autobiography, Calder characterizes his visit to this environment as a “shock” that prompted him to reevaluate his artistic production to date.

During the ensuing weeks, he produced abstract paintings exclusively – a brief intermezzo. Subsequently, he developed his first nonobjective, spatial wire constructions. In the autumn of 1931, the influences of the preceding years found a more distinct expression in Calder’s art when he produced the first moving sculptures by a system of motors or cranks. Marcel Duchamp gave them the name “mobile,” a word that means both “motion” and “motive” in French. The mechanics were abandoned as Calder developed hanging kinetic sculptures, which are linked together by wires and joints and held in a state of equilibrium; through the principle of contingent and dynamic rotation, the individual parts continually form new and unanticipated constellations. As a counterpart to the mobiles, Calder developed immobile constructions, which Hans Arp dubbed “stabiles” in 1932.

Contributing to our understanding of Calder’s works are experimental films, likely seen by Calder during his time in Paris, in which movement and rotation are thematized in their most various facets. During the 1920s, many artists in Calder’s intimate circle were preoccupied with the medium of cinema and the moving image, for example Fernand Léger with Ballet Mechanique (1924), Marcel Duchamp with Anémic Cinéma (1926), and Man Ray with Le Retour à la Raison (1923). In the exhibition, these experimental films will be screened as part of the broader context of Calder’s studies of movement and space. Indispensable to a comprehensive presentation of Calder’s involvement in the historic avant-garde is a consideration of the experimental music of the time: Calder cultivated friendships with the composers Edgard Varèse, Virgil Thomson, and John Cage, among others. Calder was intensively preoccupied with contemporary music, which is also incorporated into the exhibition. And it seems likely that it also exerted an influence on the “noise-mobiles,” for which the randomness of sound events plays an important role.”

Alexander Calder: Avant-Garde in Motion is on show at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, in two large exhibition halls at the K20 Grabbeplatz in Düsseldorf. In the Klee Hall the visitor will experience Calder’s early sculptures – set against works by trend-setting fellow artists, such as Mondrian, Miró and Arp, as well as artistic and documentary films. In the high Grabbehall, by contrast, the large mobiles and stabiles will be exhibited to impressive effect by allowing the individual shapes to move freely. Here the visitor can experience how the artist makes playful use of space and proportions. At various points throughout the exhibition, Calder’s mobiles enter into a dialogue with experimental music dating from the 1920s onwards, ranging from compositions by Edgar Varèse to those of John Cage. This illustrates how Calder constantly sought inspiration from other branches of the arts and broadened his own horizons.”

Press release from the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen website

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Alexander Calder. 'Quatre systèmes rouges' (mobile) 1960

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Alexander Calder
Quatre systèmes rouges (mobile)
1960
Iron, steel wire, color
155 x 200 x 200 cm
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Dänemark, Donation: The New Carlsberg Foundation
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Dänemark
Foto: © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Dänemark
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Alexander Calder. 'Araignée d'oignon' (Onion peeler) c. 1940

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Alexander Calder
Araignée d’oignon (Onion peeler)
c. 1940
21.8 × 35 × 36.5 cm
Iron
Moderna Museet, Stockholm
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Foto: Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Foto: © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Foto: Moderna Museet, Stockholm
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Alexander Calder. 'Constellation with Red Object' 1943

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Alexander Calder
Constellation with Red Object
1943
Wood, steel wire, color
62.2 x 38.7 x 24.1 cm
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, James Thrall Soby Fund, 1943
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Foto: © 2012 Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/ Scala, Florence
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Alexander Calder. 'Little Spider' c. 1940

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Alexander Calder
Little Spider
c. 1940
Sheet metal, steel wire, color
111.1 x 127 x 139.7 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington
Foto: © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Alexander Calder. 'Performing Seal' 1950

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Alexander Calder
Performing Seal
1950
83.8 × 58.4 × 91.4 cm
Sheet metal, steel wire, color
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The Leonard and Ruth Horwich Family Loan
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Nathan Keay, © Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Foto: © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Nathan Keay, © Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Alexander Calder. 'Portrait of a Man' c. 1928

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Alexander Calder
Portrait of a Man
c. 1928
Messingdraht
32.5 x 22.2 x 34.2 cm
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist, 1966
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: © 2012 Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/ Scala, Florence
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Alexander Calder. 'Upstanding T' 1944

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Alexander Calder
Upstanding T
1944
Bronze
78 x 37 x 25 cm
Calder Foundation, New York
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Courtesy Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York
Foto: © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Courtesy Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Alexander Calder. 'Ohne Titel' (Untitled) 1936

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Alexander Calder
Ohne Titel (Untitled)
1936
Standing Mobile (stehendes Mobile)
Steel sheets, steel wire, wooden ball, black, gray, red, blue and yellow painted
75.5 x 32.8 x 41 cm
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Leihgabe des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Foto: Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf
Foto: © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Foto: Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Alexander Calder. 'Untitled' c. 1934

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Alexander Calder
Untitled
c. 1934
Steel tube, round bar, wood, wire, paint, string
114.5 x 94 cm
Calder Foundation, New York
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Courtesy Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York
Foto: © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Courtesy Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Alexander Calder. 'Cello on a spindle' 1936

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Alexander Calder
Cello on a spindle
1936
158 × 118 × 90 cm
Metal, wood, lead, color
Kunsthaus Zürich
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Kunsthaus Zürich
Foto: © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Foto: Kunsthaus Zürich
© Kunstsammlung NRW

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Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
Grabbeplatz 5
D-40213 Düsseldorf

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 10 am – 6 pm
Saturdays, Sundays, holidays 11 am – 6 pm
Mondays closed

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen website

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25
Mar
12

Sculpture: ‘Metropolis II’ (2010) by Chris Burden at LACMA, Los Angeles

Installation dates: 14th January 2012 –

 

Poetic, historic, amazing, fantastic, incredible, indescribable (the words of an eight year old, comment on the website). Great video as well. Take your ear plugs!

Marcus

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Many thankx to LACMA for allowing me to publish the video and the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

 

Chris Burden (American, 1946-2015)
Metropolis II
2010
Courtesy of the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Foundation
© Chris Burden

Dimensions: 9’9″ (H) x 28’3” (W) x 19’2” (D) (297 cm x 862 cm x 584 cm)

Media: 
3 1/2 hp DC motors with motor controllers
1,100 custom-manufactured die-cast cars
13 HO-scale train sets with controllers and tracks
Steel, aluminium, shielded copper wire, copper sheet, brass, various plastics, assorted woods and manufactured wood products, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Dado Cubes, glass, ceramic and natural stone tiles, acrylic and oil-based paints, rubber, sundry adhesives

 

Chris Burden. 'Metropolis II' 2010

 

Chris Burden (American, 1946-2015)
Metropolis II
2010
Courtesy of the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Foundation
© Chris Burden

 

 

Created by artist Chris Burden, Metropolis II (2010) is a complex, large-scale kinetic sculpture modelled after a fast-paced modern city. The armature of the piece is constructed of steel beams, forming an eclectic grid interwoven with an elaborate system of eighteen roadways, including a six-lane freeway, train tracks, and hundreds of buildings. 1,100 miniature toy cars speed through the city at 240 scale miles per hour on the specially designed plastic roadways. Every hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars circulates through the sculpture. “The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars, produces in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st Century city.”

Situated in the centre of the grid are three electrically powered conveyor belts, each studded with magnets at regular intervals. The magnets on the conveyor belt and those on the toy cars attract, enabling the cars to travel to the top of the sculpture without physical contact between the belt and cars. At the top, the cars are released one at a time and race down the roadways, weaving in and out of the structure, simulating rapid traffic and congestion.

Metropolis II is on long-term loan to LACMA, thanks to the generosity of LACMA Trustee Nicolas Berggruen. Beginning January 14, 2012, the work will be on view on the first floor of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) and run on weekends during the scheduled times below.

  • The cars are attached by a small magnet to the conveyor belt that brings them to the crest
  • The only motorisation of the cars is the conveyor belt to the top
  • Once the cars cross over the crest and head downward, their entire movement is by gravity
  • They travel at a scale speed of 240 mph, plus or minus
  • The tracks they take are Teflon coated to reduce friction
  • The tracks are beveled at 7 degrees to give added torque for speed when they come through corners and curves

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Beginning Saturday, January 14, to see Metropolis II in action, please visit the gallery at these times:
Fridays: 12.30 – 2pm; 3 – 4.30pm; 5 – 6.30pm; 7 – 8.30pm
Weekends: 11.30 – 1.00pm; 2 – 3.30pm; 4 – 5.30pm; 6 – 7.30pm
Weekdays: not operational”

Press release from LACMA

 

Chris Burden. 'Metropolis II' 2010

 

Chris Burden. 'Metropolis II' 2010

 

Chris Burden (American, 1946-2015)
Metropolis II
2010
Courtesy of the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Foundation
© Chris Burden

 

Chris Burden. 'Metropolis II' 2010 (detail)

 

Chris Burden (American, 1946-2015)
Metropolis II (detail)
2010
Courtesy of the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Foundation
© Chris Burden

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Operator Alison Walker watches miniature cars move along the roads in Chris Burden’s latest kinetic sculpture, Metropolis II, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012. The sculpture does more than just imitate life. The colorful display of roads, cars, trains and buildings is art imitating what the artist foresees life being like in five or 10 years.

 

 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax Avenue)
Los Angeles, CA, 90036
Phone: 323 857-6000

Opening hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 11am – 5pm
Friday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 7pm
Closed Wednesday

LACMA website

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03
Mar
11

Exhibition: ‘Duane Hanson/Gregory Crewdson: Uncanny realities’ at Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden

Exhibition dates: 27th November 2010 – 6th March 2011

 

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Duane Hanson/Gregory Crewdson: Uncanny realities' at Museum Frieder Burda

 

Installation photograph of the exhibition Duane Hanson/Gregory Crewdson: Uncanny realities at Museum Frieder Burda

 

 

A great double act! Inspired curating puts the work of these artist’s together – everyday Americans with ethereal, theatrical image bites. The mis en scène created in the exhibition space, the tension between sculpture, photograph, frame and space – is delicious. Crewdson is at his best when he resists the obvious narrative (for example, all the traffic lights stuck on yellow in the photograph ‘Untitled (Brief Encounter)’ (2006, see below). Personally I prefer his staged photographs with pairs or groups of people within the image, rather than a single figure. The storyline is more ambiguous and the photographs of people walking along railway tracks always remind me of the Stephen King story filmed as ‘Stand by Me’ (1986) with a young River Phoenix. Either way they are intoxicating, the viewer drawn into these wonderful, dark psychological dramas.

Marcus

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

 

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Duane Hanson/Gregory Crewdson: Uncanny realities' at Museum Frieder Burda with Duane Hanson 'Old Couple on a Bench' (1994) in the foreground and Gregory Crewdson 'Untitled (Worthington Street)' (2006) in the background

 

Installation photograph of the exhibition Duane Hanson/Gregory Crewdson: Uncanny realities at Museum Frieder Burda with Duane Hanson Old Couple on a Bench (1994) in the foreground and Gregory Crewdson Untitled (Worthington Street) (2006) in the background

 

 

The works by the two American artists Duane Hanson (1925-1996) and Gregory Crewdson (born in 1962) confuse and touch the observer.

Both artists present people in their everyday lives, with hopes, yearnings and broken dreams. People we usually do not notice, aged and marked by reality, by life itself. While Hanson shapes his life-sized figures with a great deal of sympathy, Crewdson rather spreads a gloomy and depressing atmosphere in his pictures of lonely people in their houses, gardens and in streets.

With his realistic sculptures, the American artist Duane Hanson has become a synonym for contemporary realism in contemporary art. Typical motives are average people like  housewives, waitresses, car dealers, janitors. Posture and expression of these figures are very close to reality. The photographer Gregory Crewdson arranges his large format pictures with cineastic arrangements and lets the abyss behind every-day life scenes become visible.

The exhibition at the Frieder Burda Museum presents about 30 figures by Duane Hanson, mainly from the artist’s estate, in dialogue with 20 large format works from the series Beneath the Roses by the photographer Gregory Crewdson. The photographies are mainly owned by the artist himself.

The curators Götz Adriani and Patricia Kamp are not aiming at a direct confrontation. They are rather presenting two artists who work with different materials, but deal with very similar topics. Both artists, Hanson and Crewdson, are grand when it comes to arranging their art. Crewdson always puts very much effort into the arrangements of the scenes in his pictures, and Hanson always keeps an eye on his close surroundings.

The works of both artists impressively reflect the complexity of the human existence. …

 

Duane Hanson. 'Children Playing Game' 1979

 

Duane Hanson (American, 1925-1996)
Children Playing Game
1979
Polyvinyl chloride, coloured with oil, mixed technique and accessories
Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010

 

Duane Hanson. 'Tourists II' 1988

 

Duane Hanson (American, 1925-1996)
Tourists II
1988
polyvinyl chloride, coloured with oil, mixed technique, accessories
Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010

 

Duane Hanson. 'Self-Portrait with Model' 1979

 

Duane Hanson (American, 1925-1996)
Self-Portrait with Model
1979
Polyvinyl chloride, coloured with oil, mixed technique and accessories
Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010

 

Duane Hanson. 'Housepainter I' 1984/1988

 

Duane Hanson (American, 1925-1996)
Housepainter I
1984/1988
Epoxy resin, coloured with oil, mixed technique, accessories
Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010

 

Duane Hanson. 'Queenie II' 1988

 

Duane Hanson (American, 1925-1996)
Queenie II
1988
Epoxy resin, coloured with oil, mixed technique, accessories
Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010

 

 

Duane Hanson

Duane Hanson (1925-1996) is one of the most influential American sculptors of the 20th century committed to Realism.

The proximity to reality of his lifelike, detailed human figures make for perfect irritation. Despite all the seriousness hidden behind the socio-critical issue, which prompted Hanson to create his protagonists, the figures have a great deal of entertainment value, above all – and it is precisely this that makes them so appealing – due to their occasional gravitational bearing. Featuring twenty-five works, the exhibition presents a representative cross-section of the American’s extensive oeuvre, which comprises a total of only 114 works. The figures enter a dialogue with the large-format photographs by the American photo artist Gregory Crewdson, who has a flair for relating human abysses in a different and very subtle way.

In the early 1950s, after completing his study of sculpture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Hanson was initially guided by the abstract style of art that prevailed during this period. However, this would not lead to a satisfactory result. In 1953, he turned his back on his homeland and spent nearly ten years of his life earning a living as an art teacher at American schools in Germany. It was during this period that he discovered the materials polyester resin and fiberglass, which would become crucial for his future creative work. After returning to the United States, Hanson spent the ensuing years perfecting his artistic skills in the treatment of these materials in such a way that the boundaries between reality and artificial figure seem to blur – where Hanson was never concerned with the mere illusionistic reproduction of reality, but chose this veristic manner of representation as a medium for communicating his concern in terms of content, i.e., shedding light on the tragedy of human lives that hauntingly consolidates in his characters.

In the human figures produced in the early work phase in the late 1960s, Hanson responded to the sociopolitical tension and protest movements of the day. He created sculptures and ensembles that very directly take issue with social hardship, violence, or racism, and he took a stand for the victims of this system, for the people who never had a chance to successfully face the demands made by life.

Influenced by Pop Art, Hanson turned to thematising everyday American life, frequently switching his observations to a critically satirical attitude that was, however, always guided by compassion. Housewives, construction workers, car salesmen, or janitors – the models for his figures are people in the American middle and working classes in whose biographies the disappointment in the American dream has become entrenched. He often puts his people and all of their small insufficiencies into perspective with ironic kindness, such as, for example, the Tourists, in whom are combined all of the clichés associated with the typical Florida tourist.

Hanson’s participation in documenta 5 in Kassel in 1972 gave rise to his international breakthrough. His figures became more lifelike; they more and more naturally blended into their surroundings. Their gestures, facial expressions, and postures related the emotional and physical burdens of life. The artist concentrated on older people in whose physiognomies one can read the traces of existence, the impact of loneliness, the problems that accompany being old, and their alienation. Hanson was struck by the isolation of this generation by society, a circumstance that has not lost any of its relevance.

Hanson’s interest in rendering the figures as lifelike as possible is surely not rooted in a desire to want to convince the viewer of their “authenticity”; rather, their lifelikeness was meant to move the viewer to experience empathy and concern, thus manifesting Hanson’s humanism. Human values and destinies comprise the focus of his art; he transforms the reality of life into the realism of art and in doing so sharpens our outlook and our view of the world, our fellow human beings, and our own life as well.

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Birth)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2007

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Birth)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2007
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Blue Period)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2005

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Blue Period)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2005
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Brief Encounter)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2006

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Brief Encounter)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2006
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Debutante)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2006

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Debutante)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2006
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Forest Clearing)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2006

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Forest Clearing)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2006
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (House Fire)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2004

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (House Fire)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2004
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Kent Street)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2007

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Kent Street)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2007
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Maple Street)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2004

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Maple Street)
From the series Beneath the Roses
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Merchants Row)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2003

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Merchants Row)
From the series Beneath the Roses
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

 

Gregory Crewdson

Born in 1962 in Brooklyn, New York, Gregory Crewdson is one of the best-known contemporary photographers internationally. In his most important series to date Beneath the Roses, which he created between 2003 and 2008, Crewdson explores the American psyche and the disturbing realities at play within quotidian environments. In his dramatically detailed and realistic photographs situated in America’s morbid, small-town milieu, the artist succeeds to stimulate the viewer’s subconscious on various levels. Twenty outstanding works from the series are being placed in a dialogue with sculptures by Duane Hanson. Gregory Crewdson does not spare either effort or expenses for the production of his visual inventions, which are reminiscent of film productions. The stagings are planned and arranged in advance down to the smallest detail and then elaborately implemented in a major logistical and human effort. The final photograph is the result of what is frequently work lasting several weeks, a circumstance that is substantiated by its depths in terms of content and its technical perfection.

Gregory Crewdson works in two distinct ways to create his photographs. On one hand, he works on location in real neighborhoods and townships. On the other hand, the artist works on the soundstage inventing his world from scratch. Before the photographic location productions start, Crewdson drives around upstate Massachusetts looking for interesting settings, which he then has prepared in an elaborate process. In most cases, local residents of the ramshackle towns also play the characters in his work. Crewdson works closely with the art department of the museum MASSMoCA, when shooting his pictures done on the soundstage. The results are much like stills from a movie and reflect his affinity with cinema. Filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, or Steven Spielberg are the inspiration for Crewdson’s uncanny stories, which he seems to freeze in a single snapshot in time.

The construction of this narrative instant demonstrates the artist’s extraordinary talent. Like sophisticated literature does the reader, his works pose a challenge to viewers, as they have to mount the decisive share of the creative effort themselves. A brief, fleeting glance is not enough. Viewers become immersed in the staged scenes full of details and accessories to experience a moment that is intensely real. Fantasy and the powers of imagination and association fashion the visual event in the mind to become a subjective, alternative reality – an uncanny reality.

In his photographs, Crewdson deliberately works with emotions and fears that extend through his oeuvre in recurring, in part very different scenarios. They mirror alienation, absence, shame, sexuality, and loss – human states of emotion that deeply touch the viewer. That the artist focuses on the mind in his works may be due to the fact that, as the son of a psychoanalyst, he experienced insight into the profundity of the human soul very early on. His works can be regarded as metaphors for fears and desires, for the things that take place below the surface, the palpable, as if Crewdson wanted to make visible a new or different level of reality situated somewhere between the conscious and subconscious.

At the same time, the Beneath the Roses series can be seen as a psychological study of the American province. The settings show social realities and document the economic decline of a society behind the backdrop of the American way of life. Unsentimental and direct, they reflect working-class life – which allows us to strike an arc to the work by Duane Hanson, whose oeuvre also revolves around the concept of humanity, the facets of which he lends expression to in his silent, introverted figures.

The evolution of Beneath the Roses was documented in a series of production stills, original drawings by the artist, and detailed lighting plans. About sixty works from this reservoir are presented in a studio exhibition at the museum in order to illustrate the complex technical process of producing the photographs. Gregory Crewdson completed his study of Street Photography at the Yale School of Art in New Haven in 1988. He returned to Yale in 1993 and has occupied the Chair of Photography since.

Press release from the Museum Frieder Burda website

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Natural Bridge)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2007

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Natural Bridge)
From the series Beneath the Roses
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Railway Children)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2003

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Railway Children)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2003
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (RBS Automotive)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2007

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (RBS Automotive)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2007
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Shane)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2006

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Shane)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2006
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Sunday Roast)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2005

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Sunday Roast)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2005
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Temple Street)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2006

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Temple Street)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2006
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (The Father)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2007

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (The Father)
From the series Beneath the Roses
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Trailer Park)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 200

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Trailer Park)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2007
Digital carbon print
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

Gregory Crewdson. 'Untitled (Worthington Street)' from the series 'Beneath the Roses' 2006

 

Gregory Crewdson (American, b. 1962)
Untitled (Worthington Street)
From the series Beneath the Roses
2006
144.8 x 223.5 cm
Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Gregory Crewdson, 2010

 

 

Museum Frieder Burda
Lichtentaler Allee 8b
D-76530 Baden-Baden
Phone: +49 (0)7221 / 3 98 98-0

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm
Closed Mondays

Museum Frieder Burda website

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09
Feb
10

Exhibition: ‘Calder’ at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome

Exhibition dates: 23rd October 2009 – 14th February 2010

 

Many thankx to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

Marcus

 

 

 

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)
Gibraltar
1936

 

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976) 'Cascading Flowers' 1949

 

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)
Cascading Flowers
1949

 

 

The City of Rome is to devote its first ever major exhibition to Alexander Calder. The exhibition is being organised by the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo to celebrate the famous US artist born in Lawnton, Pennsylvania, in 1898 and who died in New York in 1976. His Mobiles are some of the modern era’s most celebrated icons. Exuberance, happiness, vigour and a strong and lively sense of humour are features James J. Sweeney already attributed to Calder in the catalogue of a retrospective held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1943. This was the exhibition that raised Calder to the level of one of the leading artists of the day. After majoring in engineering, being awarded a diploma at the Art Students’ League in New York and immersing himself fully in the Parisian Avant-Garde movement in the twenties, Calder went on in the following decade to produce his first Mobiles, as Marcel Duchamp was to christen them. In these sculptures, which were to become enormously popular, the artist harmonically fused shape, colour and movement into an essential whole, which he himself saw as a “universe” where “each element can move, shift and oscillate back and forth in a changing relationship with each of the other elements.”

The exhibition at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni – over 100 works from major public and private collections and the Calder Foundation itself – is set out in the form of a chronological journey designed to explore the artist’s entire creative cycle starting in the twenties. A large selection of his most important works will be on display, including some of the sculptures that were shown at the 1943 exhibition at the MoMa. The exhibition will also be taking a look at some of the lesser known aspects of his work, with groups of works that are rarely on display to the general public. The exhibition opens with his wire sculptures of acrobats, animals and portraits, most of which were created in Paris in the twenties. They include his first attempts to portray movement in a playful and wryly ironic mood.

A lesser known series of small bronze figures produced in 1930 showing contortionists and acrobats will allow the visitor to see how the artist resorted to different techniques to experiment in expressing the notion of movement. An important selection of works also illustrates the way in which Calder wholeheartedly embraced the Abstract movement after paying a visit to Mondrian’s studio in Paris. The visitor will also be able to track Calder’s surrealist vein and his interest in biomorphic shapes through a series of masterpieces produced in the mid-thirties including: Gibraltar, Tightrope, Yellow Panel and Orange Panel, all completed in 1936 (see images above).

The exhibition will be built around the Mobiles that the artist produced throughout his career, working industrial metal plates using a craftsman’s technique. Throughout the exhibition, visitors will be able to admire a selection of the most representative pieces from different periods: Arc of Petals, 1941 (see image below); Cascading Flowers, 1949 (see image above); Le 31 Janvier, 1950; and The Y, 1960 (see image below). The exhibition will also be hosting a significant selection of Stabiles, free-standing sculptures that were given their name by Hans Arp. The Stabiles on display will range from those produced in the mid-thirties, such as Black Beast and Hollow Egg (dated 1939), right up to the more recent Cactus, dated 1959, and La Grande Vitesse created in 1969 (see image below). The exhibition will also be exploring the chronological development of Calder’s painting, a branch of his art in which the artist resorted principally to the agile and dynamic method of gouache on paper. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published by Motta, with contributions from Alexander S. C. Rower and Giovanni Carandente as well as a broad anthology of texts by the artist himself and other authors, many of whose works will be appearing in Italian translation for the first time.

Press release from the Palazzo delle Esposizioni website [Online] Cited 01/09/2010 no longer available online

 

 

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)
Helen Wills
1927

 

 

Helen Newington Wills (October 6, 1905 – January 1, 1998), also known as Helen Wills Moody and Helen Wills Roark, was an American tennis player. She became famous around the world for holding the top position in women’s tennis for a total of nine years: 1927-33, 1935 and 1938. She won 31 Grand Slam tournament titles (singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles) during her career, including 19 singles titles.

Wills was the first American woman athlete to become a global celebrity, making friends with royalty and film stars despite her preference for staying out of the limelight. She was admired for her graceful physique and for her fluid motion. She was part of a new tennis fashion, playing in knee-length pleated skirts rather than the longer ones of her predecessors. Unusually, she practiced against men to hone her craft, and she played a relentless game, wearing down her female opponents with power and accuracy. In 1933 she beat the 8th-ranked US male player in an exhibition match.

Her record of eight wins at Wimbledon was not surpassed until 1990 when Martina Navratilova won nine. She was said to be “arguably the most dominant tennis player of the 20th century”, and has been called by some (including Jack Kramer, Harry Hopman, Mercer Beasley, Don Budge, and AP News) the greatest female player in history.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

 

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)
Mobile (Arc of Petals)
1941

 

 

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)
The Y
1960

 

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976) 'La Grande Vitesse' 1969

 

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976)
La Grande Vitesse
1969

 

 

Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome
Via Nazionale, 194, and Via Milano, 9

Opening hours:
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10.00am – 8.00pm
Friday and Saturday from 10.00am – 10.30pm
Monday closed

Palazzo delle Esposizioni website

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31
Aug
09

Exhibition: ‘Ron Arad: No Discipline’ at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York

Exhibition dates: 2nd August – 19th October 2009

 

One of my favourite designers!

Featuring all the works in the exhibition (under Works) and photographs and video of the installation for the works Cages sans Frontieres (2009) (under The Show), there is a really amazing interactive website for this exhibition. There is also an interesting video of Ron Arad talking about his work: Behind the Scenes: Ron Arad: No Discipline.

Marcus

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

 

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951) 'The Rover Chair' 1981

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
The Rover Chair
1981
Tubular steel, leather, and cast-iron Kee Klamp joints
30 3/4 x 27 3/16 x 36 1/4″ (78 x 69 x 92 cm); weight 57.3 lbs (26 kg)
Edition by One Off, London
Private collection, London
Photo by Erik and Petra Hesmerg and courtesy of Private Collection, Maastricht, and the Museum of Modern Art

 

 

“I picked up this Rover seat and I made myself a frame and this piece sucked me into this world of design.” “If someone had told me a week before that I was going to be a furniture designer, I would think they were crazy.”  ~  Ron Arad

 

Ron Arad. 'Concrete Stereo' 1983

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Concrete Stereo
1983
Photo courtesy of Ron Arad Associates and the Museum of Modern Art

 

Ron Arad. 'Sketch for Well Tempered Chair' 1986

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Sketch for Well Tempered Chair
1986
Photo courtesy of Vitra Design Museum and the Museum of Modern Art

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951) 'Well Tempered Chair Prototype' 1986

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Well Tempered Chair Prototype
1986
Photo courtesy of Vitra Design Museum and the Museum of Modern Art

 

Ron Arad. 'Big Easy' 1988

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Big Easy chair
1988

 

Ron Arad. 'Big Easy. Volume 2' 1988

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Big Easy. Volume 2
1988
Polished stainless steel
42 1/8 x 50 1/2 x 36 1/4″ (107 x 128.3 x 92.1 cm); weight 44 lbs (20 kg)
Edition by One Off, London
Collection of Michael G. Jesselson, New York
Image: Ron Arad Associates, London

 

 

The Museum of Modern Art presents Ron Arad: No Discipline, the first major U.S. retrospective of Arad’s work, from August 2 to October 19, 2009. Among the most influential designers of our time, Arad (British, b. Israel 1951) stands out for his adventurous approach to form, structure, technology, and materials in work that spans the disciplines of industrial design, sculpture, architecture, and mixed-medium installation. Arad’s relentless experimentation with materials of all kinds – from steel, aluminum, and bronze to thermoplastics, crystals, fiberoptics, and LEDs – and his radical reinterpretation of some of the most established archetypes in furniture – from armchairs and rocking chairs to desk lamps and chandeliers – have put him at the forefront of contemporary design.

The exhibition features approximately 140 works, including design objects and architectural models, and 60 videos. Most of the objects featured in the exhibition are displayed in a monumental Corten-and-stainless-steel structure specially designed by the artist called Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders). The structure measures 126.5 feet (38.5 meters) long, spanning the entire length of the Museum’s International Council gallery, and over 16 feet (5 meters) tall. The exhibition is organised by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Patricia Juncosa Vecchierini, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.

Ms. Antonelli states: “Arad is well known for his iconoclastic disregard for disciplines – and, at least apparently, for discipline. He has defined much of the current panorama of design, inspiring a generation of practitioners who disregard established modes of practice in favour of mutant design careers that are flexible enough to encompass the range of contemporary design applications, from interactions and interfaces to furniture and shoes.”

Arad’s accomplishments over the past three decades have stirred up the design world by repeatedly updating the concept of the architect/designer/artist and repositioning design side by side with art, both in discourse and in the market – all while keeping one foot firmly in industrial production and large-scale distribution. Idiosyncratic and surprising, Arad’s designs communicate the joy of invention, pleasure, humour, and pride in the display of their technical and constructive skills.

This exhibition celebrates Arad’s spirit by combining industrial design, studio pieces, and architecture. It features Arad’s most celebrated historical pieces, including the Rover Chair (1981) (see above), the Concrete Stereo (1983) (see above), and the Bookworm bookshelves (1993) (see below), along with more recent products such as the PizzaKobra lamp (2008) (see below) and the latest reincarnation of his Volumes series (1998), the armchair duo titled Even the Odd Balls? (2009) (see below).

Cage sans Frontières was specially designed by Arad, developed with Michael Castellana from Ron Arad Associates, and manufactured and installed by Marzorati Ronchetti, Italy, under the direction of Roberto Travaglia. The structure is in the shape of a twisted loop and consists of 240 square cut-outs lined with stainless steel that act as shelves for the objects in the exhibition. The dramatic installation relies on the scale of the structure and on the reflectivity of the inner walls of the cut-outs which creates a ricocheting effect. One side of the structure is continually covered with grey gauze fabric that acts as a translucent, elastic membrane. The fabric was donated by the textile company Maharam and was cut and stitched by the jeans manufacturer Notify, which is also a sponsor of the exhibition. The structure was commissioned and lent to the exhibition by Singapore FreePort Pte Ltd, an arts storage facility.

Monitors installed in the structure and on the walls feature animations of the design and production process of some of the objects on view; animated renderings of architectural projects represented in the exhibition by models; and a video showing time-lapse footage of the construction of Cage sans Frontières. Other objects – including the Bookworm and This Mortal Coil bookshelves (both 1993) and the Shadow of Time clock (1986) – are installed along the perimeter of the gallery. Two of Arad’s sofas, Do-Lo-Res (2008) (see below) and Misfits (1993) (see below), are installed outside the exhibition entrance, and visitors are invited to sit on them.

Ever since he founded his studio, together with long-time business partner Caroline Thorman, in 1981 (first called One Off, and then reestablished in 1989 as Ron Arad Associates), Arad has produced an outstanding array of innovative objects, from limited editions to unlimited series, from carbon fibre armchairs to polyurethane bottle racks. A designer and an architect, trained at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem and at London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture, he has also designed memorable spaces – some plastic and tactile, others digital and ethereal – such as the lobby of the Tel Aviv Opera House (1994-98), Yohji Yamamoto’s showroom in Tokyo (2003), and the Holon Design Museum, Israel (nearing completion), all of which will be represented in the exhibition with models and videos. In his influential role as Head of the Design Products Masters’ Degree course at the Royal College of Art in London from 1997 until this year, he has nurtured several innovative designers, including Julia Lohmann, Paul Cocksedge, and Martino Gamper.

The 1981 Rover Chairs (see above), which launched Arad’s design career even though at the time he was not seeking any particular professional label, are emblematic of his early readymade creations. The chairs are made of discarded leather seats from the Rover V8 2L, a British car, anchored in tubular-steel frames using Kee Klamps, an inexpensive scaffolding system. Arad stopped making them once he realised that the overwhelming demand for the chairs was transforming his atelier into a dedicated Rover Chair manufacturer. The Italian company Moroso is about to produce an industrial version of the chair under the name Moreover.

The Concrete Stereo (1983) (see above) is another milestone in Arad’s work with readymades. It is very simply a hi-fi system – with turntable, amplifier, and speakers – cast in concrete. The concrete was then partially chipped away, exposing the steel armature, the electronic components, and the pebbles in the cement.

Objects in the exhibition are grouped as families whose common thread is the exploration, sometimes over years, of a form, a material, a technique, or a structural idea. An example is the investigation of elasticity and surprise that began with the Well Tempered Chair (1986) (see above) – a chair made of four sprung sheets of steel held together by wing nuts that come together to suggest the archetypical shape of an armchair. Another example is the Volumes series (1988), which comprises, among others, his renowned Big Easy (1988) (see above) and its various iterations, among them the Soft Big Easy (1990) (see above) and the painted-fibreglass New Orleans (1999) (see above).

Not Made by Hand, Not Made in China, another important family and a milestone in Arad’s career and in the history of design, is a series of limited-edition objects – vases, sculptures, lamps, and bowls – that Arad presented in 2000 at the annual Milan Furniture Fair. All the objects in the series were made using 3-D printing, which at that time was almost exclusively used to create one-off models for objects that would later be produced in series using traditional manufacturing processes. Treating rapid prototypes as final products rather than templates, Arad turned the new process into an advanced production method, a path that was subsequently followed by several designers.

A more recent family is the Bodyguards (2008) (see below), in which the same initial shape in blown aluminium is differently intersected by imaginary planes and cut to reveal ever-changing personalities, from a rocking chair to a stern bodyguard-like sculpture.

To give life to his ideas, Arad relies on the latitude provided by computers as much as on his own exquisite drafting skills, and he uses both the most advanced automated manufacturing techniques and the simple welding apparatuses in his collaborators’ metal workshops. Often, his work is a combination of high and low technologies, such as his Lolita chandelier (2004) (see below) for Swarovski. Made with 2,100 crystals and 1,050 white LEDs, the Lolita takes the shape of a flat ribbon wound into a corkscrew shape. The ribbon contains 31 processors that enable the display of text messages sent to the Lolita’s mobile phone number. For this exhibition, visitors can send texts to (917) 774-6264. The messages appear at the top of the chandelier and slowly wind down the ribbon’s curves, creating the impression that the chandelier is spinning ever so slightly.”

Press release from the MoMA website

 

Ron Arad. 'Soft Big Easy' 1990

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Soft Big Easy chair
1990
Injected flame-retardant polyurethane foam, steel, polypropylene, and wool
39 3/8 x 48 7/16 x 31 1/2″ (100 x 123 x 80 cm)
Manufactured by Moroso SpA, Italy
Courtesy Moroso SpA, Udine, Italy
Image: CNAC/MNAM/Dist. Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY. Photo Jean-Claude Planchet

 

Ron Arad. 'Large Bookworm' 1993, Tempered sprung steel and patinated steel

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Large Bookworm
1993
Tempered sprung steel and patinated steel
Bracket height variable, 7 7/8-11 13/16″ (20-30 cm); total length 49′ 2 9/16″ (15 m); depth 13″ (33 cm)
Edition by One Off/Ron Arad Associates, London
Private collection
Image: Ron Arad Associates, London

 

Ron Arad. 'Misfits' 1993

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Misfits
1993
Injected flame-retardant polyurethane foam, steel, polypropylene, and wool
Six modules: each h. variable, base 39 3/8 x 39 3/8″ (100 x 100 cm)
Manufactured by Moroso SpA, Italy, 2007
Courtesy Moroso SpA, Udine, Italy
Image: Ron Arad Associates, London

 

 

Misfits is a seating system Arad developed, at Patrizia Moroso’s request, to launch Waterlily, a new water-blown foam made by ICI Polyurethane. From large cubes of foam he carved out modular – or, rather, mock-modular – sections, intending them to be graciously ill-fitting with each other (hence the name). The modules can stand on their own or be combined in various ways, but however they are lined up they are meant to look deliberately mismatched, without continuity from section to section. Some sections have backs and some do not, and the irregular solids and voids created quite a challenge for Moroso, who had to figure out how to cover them all with fabric. The recent reedition of Misfits is made with slightly larger blocks from a different polyurethane foam, which is injected into a mould rather than cut.

 

Ron Arad. 'D-Sofa' Prototype 1994

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
D-Sofa Prototype
1994
Patinated, painted, oxidized stainless steel and mild steel
38 3/16″ x 7′ 1 13/16″ x 35 7/16″ (97 x 218 x 90 cm)
Prototype by One Off, London
Pizzuti Collection
Image: Private collection, USA. Photo Erik and Petra Hesmerg

 

Ron Arad. 'Uncut' 1997

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Uncut chair
1997
Vacuum-formed aluminum sheet and polished stainless steel
32 5/8 x 38 5/8 x 35″ (83 x 98 x 89 cm)
Edition by Ron Arad Studio, Italy
Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle

 

Ron Arad. 'FPE (Fantastic, Plastic, Elastic)' 1997

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
FPE (Fantastic, Plastic, Elastic)
1997
Extruded aluminum profiles and injection-molded polypropylene plastic sheet
31.25 x 17 x 22″ (79.4 x 43.2 x 55.9 cm)
Manufactured by Kartell, Italy
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the manufacturer
Image: Ron Arad Associates, London

 

 

FPE (Fantastic, Plastic, Elastic) is an inexpensive stacking chair made from lightweight plastic and aluminium. The design, originally conceived in plywood (as the Cross Your T’s Chair), was part of a commission from Mercedes-Benz for a transportable exhibition stand that would be taken to motor shows in Europe. The chair was not suited to small-scale production, and was therefore tweaked and perfected for mass manufacture. Its final form is exceptional in the simplicity of its construction: a plastic seat is inserted into channels in double-barrelled extruded aluminium profiles, which, when the chair frame is bent, hold the plastic in place. With no need for glue, screws, or bolts, this method allows the simplest combination of frame and plane to create a sinuous, practical, resilient form – proving Arad’s ability to embrace industrial production and make the best of its possibilities. The FPE can be stacked in groups of eight, comes in three colours (opaline, blue, and red, although it was originally available in yellow), and can be used both indoors and out.

 

Ron Arad. 'New Orleans' 1999

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
New Orleans chair
1999

 

Ron Arad. 'Lolita Chandelier' 2004

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Lolita Chandelier
2004
Crystals and light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
59″ (150 cm) height x 43 1/4″ (110 cm) top-plate diam.; weight 352.7 lbs (160 kg)
Edition by Swarovski, Austria
Courtesy of Galerie Arums, Paris
Send a text message to Lolita: (917) 774-6264
Image: Ron Arad Associates, London

 

 

When Nadja Swarovski set out to build a new division for her family’s company, Swarovski Crystal, she invited Arad to reinvent the chandelier as a juxtaposition of traditional form with modern technology. The new collection of chandeliers, called Crystal Palace, launched in 2002, and Arad’s Lolita was ready in 2004. Made with 2,100 crystals and 1,050 white LEDs, Lolita takes the shape of a flat ribbon wound into a corkscrew shape. The ribbon contains thirty-one processors that enable the display of SMS text messages sent to Lolita’s mobile phone number; these messages appear at the top of the chandelier and wind down the ribbon’s curves, slowly enough to give bystanders time to read, creating the impression that the chandelier is spinning ever so slightly. The name is the result of grace under pressure: on the phone with Swarovski and pressed for a name, Arad thought of another work in progress, his LED riddled Lo-Rez-Dolores-Tabula-Rasa, and from there went to “Lolita” – the nickname of Vladimir Nabokov’s Dolores Haze. The name stuck, creating not only a saucy entry in many a design buff’s phone book but a further literary association as well: as a journalist pointed out to Arad, Nabokov’s novel begins, “Lolita, light of my life…”

 

Ron Arad. 'Oh Void 2' armchair 2004

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Oh Void 2 armchair
2004

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951) 'Oh Void 2 armchair' 2006

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Oh Void 2 armchair
2006
Acrylic
30 1/4 x 43 x 23 5/8″ (76.8 x 109.2 x 60 cm)
Edition by The Gallery Mourmans, the Netherlands
Collection of Michael G. Jesselson, New York

 

Ron Arad. 'Table Paved With Good Intentions No. 48' 2005

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Table Paved With Good Intentions No. 48
2005
Mirror-polished, laser-cut stainless steel
55″ x 8′ 2″ x 15″ (139.7 x 238.8 x 38.1 cm); weight 176.4 lbs (80 kg)
Edition by Ron Arad for The Gallery Mourmans, the Netherlands
Collection Jérôme and Emmanuelle de Noirmont, Paris
Image: Emmanuelle and Jérôme de Noirmont. Photo: Mathieu Ferrier

 

 

Arad’s installation for Design Miami in 2005 consisted of sixty-nine tables made of mirror-polished stainless steel and covering an entire gallery, folding at the corners and climbing up the walls like handsome quicksilver parasites from outer space. Arad had experimented with reflective tables eleven years earlier, in an installation for one of the Fondation Cartier’s famous Soirées Nomades, in which designers were invited to provide a stage for music and other types of performances in Jean Nouvel’s building for the Paris-based foundation. There, Arad displayed forty tables that covered the ground floor, reflecting the surrounding trees and enhancing the glass architecture’s openness toward the city surrounding it.

 

MT Rocker Chair, 2005

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
MT Rocker Chair
2005
Polished bronze rods
29 x 33 1/2 x 40″ (73.7 x 85.1 x 101.6 cm)
Edition by Ron Arad Associates, London
Private collection, USA
Image: Ron Arad Associates, London

 

 

Arad’s work often begins as a studio piece that is later adapted for industrial production, but in some cases the direction is reversed, as was the case with the MT (or “empty”) series. Intrigued by the untapped potential of rotation-moulding, one of the humblest methods of manufacturing plastic products, Arad came up with beautiful, complex concave/convex forms, highlighted by contrasting colours, for an armchair, rocker, and couch. The MT collection is manufactured by Driade, but Arad subsequently translated the rocking piece into versions made of polished stainless steel or bronze, using an exquisite technique involving the patient application, by hand, of metal rods onto a basic structure.

 

Ron Arad. 'Southern Hemisphere' 2007

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Southern Hemisphere
2007
Patinated aluminium
Photo by Erik and Petra Hesmerg and courtesy of Private Collection, Maastricht, and the Museum of Modern Art

 

Ron Arad. 'Do-Lo-Res' 2008

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Do-Lo-Res
2008
Polyurethane foam, polyester fibres, and wood
Dimensions variable: 10 13/16 x 8 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 32 1
1/16″ (27.5 x 21 x 21 x 83 cm) Manufactured by Moroso SpA, Italy
Courtesy Moroso SpA, Udine, Italy
Image: Moroso

 

 

Do-Lo-Rez is a seating unit made of rectangular block elements, each one constructed from polyurethane foam, denser at the bottom and softer at the top. The name echoes the Lo-Rez-Dolores-Tabula-Rasa project, and both designs are different manifestations of Arad’s interest in digital pixilation and low resolution. Here the foam “pixels” of different heights are attached to a platform with steel pins and can be rearranged to create different sofa forms.

 

Ron Arad. 'PizzaKobra' lamp 2008

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
PizzaKobra lamp
2008
Chromed steel, aluminium, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
Extended: 28 7/8″ (73.3 cm) height x 10 1/4″ (26 cm) diam.; collapsed: 3/4″ (1.9 cm) height x 10 1/4″ (26 cm) diam.
Manufactured by iGuzzini illuminazione SpA, Italy, 2008
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the manufacturer

 

 

This lamp, which transforms itself from a coil as flat as a pizza to a sinuous, rising metal cobra with a single glowing red eye (its on/off switch), is as surprising as it is playful, as much like a twisty Tangle Toy as a very efficient and flexible light source. With its tubular aluminium sections – except for the base, which is heavier steel, for balance – and six LEDs that can be oriented in any direction, the PizzaKobra can be adjusted to suit any lighting requirements.

 

Ron Arad. 'Bodyguard' 2008

 

Ron Arad (British-Israeli, b. 1951)
Bodyguard chair
2008
Polished and partially coloured superplastic aluminium
49 x 36 x 70 1/2″ (124.5 x 91.4 x 179.1 cm)
Edition by The Gallery Mourmans, the Netherlands
Private collection, Palm Beach, Florida

 

 

The Bodyguards, a recent result of Arad’s experiments with blown aluminium, are all derived from the same bulbous shape, intersected and carved in various ways. Although Arad had sworn off designing rocking chairs, it seemed a natural application for this new technology, allowing him to create these large, polished pieces, which, in addition to rocking back and forth, also swivel in a way Arad describes as “omnidirectional.” With the Bodyguards, as with much of his furniture, Arad explores the expressive qualities of the material, pursuing a way to transcend its physical limitations. He has described the pieces as monsters – huge and labor intensive, some resembling a human torso and revealing colourful insides when cut. (Arad was teased about the number of security guards present at a show in Dolce & Gabbana’s Metropol space in Milan, in 2006 – hence the name.)

 

Installation Photographs of the Exhibition

Installation view of 'Ron Arad: No Discipline' exhibition featuring 'Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders)' with 'Even the Odd Balls?' chairs (2009) and 'Lolita Chandelier' (2004)

 

Installation view of Ron Arad: No Discipline exhibition featuring Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders) with Even the Odd Balls? chairs (2009) and Lolita Chandelier (2004)
Photo courtesy of Ron Arad Associates and the Museum of Modern Art

 

Installation view of 'Ron Arad: No Discipline' exhibition, featuring 'Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders)'

 

Installation view of Ron Arad: No Discipline exhibition, featuring Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders)
Photo courtesy of Ron Arad Associates and the Museum of Modern Art

 

Installation view of 'Ron Arad: No Discipline' exhibition, featuring 'Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders)'

 

Installation view of Ron Arad: No Discipline exhibition, featuring Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders)
Photo courtesy of Ron Arad Associates and the Museum of Modern Art

 

Installation view of 'Ron Arad: No Discipline' exhibition, featuring 'Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders)' with two 'Rolling Volume' chairs (1989 and 1991), left, and two 'Bodyguard' chairs (2007)

 

Installation view of Ron Arad: No Discipline exhibition, featuring Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders) with two Rolling Volume chairs (1989 and 1991), left, and two Bodyguard chairs (2007)

 

Installation view of 'Ron Arad: No Discipline' exhibition, featuring 'Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders)' with in the foreground, 'Oh Void 2' armchairs

 

Installation view of Ron Arad: No Discipline exhibition, featuring Cage sans Frontières (Cage without Borders) with in the foreground, Oh Void 2 armchairs

 

 

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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: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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