The exhibition Man Ray, Picabia et la revue Littérature (1922-1924) – Centre Pompidou, Paris, until September 8 – sheds light on a crucial period in the history of modern art, between the end of the Dadaist movement and the advent of Surrealism, and is based on the twenty-six covers designed by Francis Picabia for the review Littérature in the early Twenties. Until very recently, only their printed version was known. In 2008, Francis Picabia’s original drawings, fifteen of which has never been exhibited, were revealed. This exhibition also highlights the contribution of Man Ray. The American photographer had moved to Paris in 1921, and Littérature was where he first disclosed images that have become icons of photographic modernity, like Le Violon d’Ingres and Marcel Duchamp’s L’Élevage de poussière. The inside pages of Littérature also contained works by Picasso, Max Ernst and Robert Desnos.
In 1922, André Breton remained the only one in charge of the review, after the departure of Louis Aragon and then Philippe Soupault, with whom he had founded it in 1919. To mark the review’s change of direction, Breton decided to replace the cover image created by Man Ray with drawings – different each time – by Francis Picabia, to whom he gave carte blanche for each issue. Their highly linear graphic style was Picabia’s ironic response to the vogue of the “return to Ingres” advocated by the former Cubists, whom he regularly mocked. Picabia also drew on religious imagery, erotic iconography, and the iconography of games of chance. These ink drawings also reveal Picabia as an animal artist, as horses, baboons, tigers, dogs and deer, probably inspired by books for laymen, rub shoulders with various figures from the world of the circus or the musical. Several drawings seem to be of the authors of the review itself, to which Picabia made a regular literary contribution. The artist made play with pronounced contrasts of black and white, reminiscent of his “Ripolin” paintings of the same period, like the Dresseur d’animaux, now in the Centre Pompidou, which has similar iconography.
The photobook is a thriving medium for encountering a group of images, and the preferred presentation of many photographers. This form of publishing responds to the basic structure of photographic production, and is growing despite digital distribution of images.
The Sandbox: At Play with the Photobook, an installation by Melissa Catanese and Ed Panar, both artists and owners of Spaces Corners, transforms the museum into a playful hybrid space for encounters with the photobook: part reading room, part bookshop, part library, part event space. Encounter a rotating selection of photobooks and intimate events emphasizing contemporary trends that give the medium its character.
On view at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, until July 28, 2014.
Ray Johnson (1927-1995) was a seminal Pop Art figure in the 1950s, an early conceptualist, and a pioneer of mail art. His preferred medium was collage, that quintessentially twentieth-century art form that reflects the increased (as the century wore on) collision of disparate visual and verbal information that bombards modern man. Integrating texts and images drawn from a multiplicity of sources — from mass media to telephone conversations — Johnson’s innovativeness spread beyond the confines of the purely visual.
The art of Ray Johnson was rooted in his constant practice of correspondence. He dispersed a copious amount of collages and other printed matter through the mail to friends and colleagues. The Museum of Modern Art Library received materials in the mail from Ray Johnson from the 1950s until his death in 1995.
The exhibition Ray Johnson Designs – July 2 to September 29, 2014, MoMA, New York – focuses on Johnson’s early printed materials, especially his promotional flyers for his work as a graphic designer and illustrator. These flyers were some of the first materials that the MoMA Library received from Johnson and they prefigure the graphic motifs and word play that remained central to his later art work. Publications that included Johnson’s design work from this period, including book jacket designs for publishers such as New Directions, The Jargon Society, and City Lights, are also featured.
Invented by the English scientist Sir John Herschel in 1842 as a means for blueprinting, the cyanotype process is a simple and inexpensive printing method characterised chiefly by its cyan-blue hue. It was first popularised as a photographic printing technique in 1843 by Anna Atkins, a botanist who employed the practice to illustrate her collected herbarium specimens. Attributable to its affordability and amateur procedure, the cyanotype subsequently became a prevalent photographic process into the turn of the century.
Cyanotypes is an innovative exhibition – June 10 to 28, Roman Road, Brussels; June 14 to 26, MAD Agency, Paris – by the French multimedia artist Thomas Mailaender whose appropriation of this traditional technique serves not to comment, nor to foster a significant yet outmoded genre in the history of photography. Rather his cyanotypes challenge and satirise the clichéd legitimacy and parameters of today’s art. Imbued with humorous and bold content, Mailaender’s cyanotypes manifest images taken from the artist’s Fun Archive, a personal collection of absurd and anonymous pictures drawn from the Internet.
Oraibi Bookshop is an on-going curatorial project based in Geneva and run by graphic designer & artist Ramaya Tegegne and curator Tiphanie Blanc. From May 9 to 30, at Officin in Copenhagen, Oraibi presents Asger Jorn and the international situationist, a selection of books which will focus on Asger Jorn and his relationship with the French avant-garde and the international situationist movement. For the event, Oraibi has invited Danish editorial project Internationalistisk Ideale (Marie Kølbæk Iversen and Louise Hold Sidenius) to make a print and video display focusing on Jorn’s publication “La Langue Verte et la Cuite” from 1968, known in Danish as ‘tungebogen’ – the ‘tongue book’.
De:, a project by Rollergirl, is a series of exhibitions and publications, presenting a cross section of all styles and genres of current international photography. For each installment, the work of talented young photographers from one cultural capital is presented in another major city. Introducing their work to new audience and catalyzing cultural exchange. The first edition was De: Amsterdam, showing photography from Amsterdam in Lausanne, 2006. The following edition was, De: Paris, presenting Paris-based photographers in Amsterdam, 2011.
De: Stockholm, the third edition of the project , printed using only 3 spot colors Red, Green and Blue, will show a selection of images made by Stockholm-based photographers Brendan Austin, Thobias Fäldt, Marcus Harrling, Linda Hofvander, Inka and Niclas, Klara Källström, Björn Larsson, Hanna Ljungh, Märta Thisner, Lars Tunbjörk, Erik Undehn. Opening and book launch, May 22, 6pm, ArtLigue, Paris.
Lining the walls of the Galerie Allen, Paris, May 15 – June 14, the images of Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann from the Maisons françaises, une collection series affirm their strange uniqueness. Drawn from a larger selection, they originate from a collection of the decoration magazine Maison Française, dating from 1971 to 1989. From them, the artist has extracted adverts that she treated in a specific way. After converting them to black and white, she removes any trace of text or symbol that reveals their commercial purpose. While the formats vary, the printed area is the same for each of the images in the series. Using subtraction and, therefore, reversing the process of production for advertising images, Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann offers a smoothing and an equalisation of all the selected images. Sometimes still readable when they are presented as a single object, they are more complex when the information load is greater. In those in which the meaning was governed by the commercial necessity of the advert (selling a model object, as much as a model life), in getting rid of the brand and the slogan, the images have nothing to sell except themselves and their rapprochement in the exhibition space offers an unsuspected potential narrative.
In the 19th century public galleries opened to provide access to art for the enjoyment and education of all members of society. At this time, it was common for paintings to be displayed close together from floor to ceiling to create a ‘salon hang’, named after exhibitions held in the Salon Carré of the Louvre, the national museum of France. This arrangement was often guided by instinct rather than a planned concept, and could transform the gallery goer’s impression of the exhibited paintings.
BP Spotlight: Source, until September 14 at Tate Britain in London, highlights similarities between the mass display of art in a salon hang and the ability of 21st century digital and social media platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram to present large numbers of images in a single location online. Digital artworks created in response to the display are presented alongside Tate collection works, selected for the visual qualities they share with images created for these contemporary platforms.
The rise of social media along with the mass distribution and consumption of images is transforming how we communicate visually. Images can be easily accessed, they are repeatedly re-used and presented out of context, and the source of the image is immediately replaced. This alters how origin, meaning and content might be read, raising questions about the value of originality and authenticity of the image’s original source.
The light whistles and flashes red. Guided by ferrite metal. Passage still takes place in electricity. A heat engine that reproduces its own parts when they break down. Is it money or is money just thought. Lost inside everything. Resonance of a dead car battery. No one to speak the car. The shade that threatens to return to life. The closer I get to you. Lower front strut brace. Left passenger door window, glass regulator channel run. Door handle pull cable. Window trims in topaz-pearl, silver birch, steel grey, rust. Mineral deposits of salt, broken glass, dust. Fables in which all things are alive and give signs. Voices that imitate the sounds of the press or the blacksmith. Paint shop agates. Signal red. Amber and ruby tail lights. Pulsing, reminiscing. Gestural, phonetic. Songs from clouds of ash, smoke and soot. A very seductive scent. People noticing their own language. Walk about and become what is happening. Carried away on an endless belt. Grounded or in flight. Indicators will let you know. The history of those feelings. When it was in the air.
Our material world is made up of a succession of layers; generation by generation, work by work, each new layer is informed by and created in dialogue with the existing material strata. The food we eat, the spaces we occupy, the written and visual media we engage with, the songs we listen to, the art we spend time with, the films we watch, and the objects we live with were all informed by past material culture and, in turn, will influence future creative decisions. The objects presented in Source Material exemplify the material foundation from which creative work is made today.
Source Material – April 8 to 12, Kaleidoscope Project Space, Milano – presents the objects, keepsakes, and references that have had a pivotal effect on the work of fifty-four creative minds from the fields of architecture, art, cuisine, design, fashion, film, and music, such as Erwan & Ronan Bouroullec, Thomas Demand, Konstantin Grcic, Jürg Lehni, Mike Meiré, Mike Mills, Harsh Patel, Benjamin Sommerhalder, Wendy Yao, etc… Found within the contributors’ everyday working or living environments, these objects are stepping-stones for the creative process.
Images: Massimo Torrigiani, Leggio; Marco Velardi, Disegnare Colorare Costruire, book series curated by Bruno Munari; Jürg Lehni, A Guide to Architecture in Southern California by David Gebhard, Robert Winter; Andrew Stafford, Scale furniture.
131 Variations, a project by Fleur van Dodewaard, is a reinterpretation of Sol Lewitt’s 122 Variations of Incomplete Open Cubes. Assisted by two mathematicians Lewitt succeeded in visualizing 122 variations on an open cube that was defined only by its edges. What distinguished these from ordinary 12-edged cubes was that only between 3 and 11 edges were visible, meaning that to obtain an image of the full cube the beholder had to complete the three-dimensional form in the mind. In his quest, Lewitt discovered 122 ways of leaving the cube unfinished.
Fleur van Dodewaard set about recreating and photographing the piece seeking to produce an exact copy. But in the process things went wrong: some cubes went missing, others appeared double and previously unknown variants arose. With her 131 Variations Fleur van Dodewaard demonstrates that the 122 variations listed and presented by Lewitt did not represent an exhaustive spectrum of all conceivable possibilities. Accordingly, the “failure” consciously introduces moments of arbitrariness, inconsistency and irrationality into this aleatory process to allow for an element of coincidence, thereby challenging mathematical logic.
131 Variations seeks to debate the issues of authenticity, appropriation and reproduction, while challenging the role of photography as a medium to represent reality. Exhibition until April 5, Hauser gallery, Zürich; Book launch, March 30, 4pm, Foam, Amsterdam.
Since 1967, designers and architects Trix and Robert Haussmann have built an idiosyncratic oeuvre that has continuously challenged architectural, design and aesthetic conventions. In the 1960?s they began to elaborate a complex language that can be viewed as an early post-modern or Radical Design position. Throughout their fifty year long career they have explored many creative perspectives, such as poetry composed by chance, drawings, collages and texts.
Disrupting or “destroying” spaces and forms could be one of the Haussman?s mottos. For instance, their drawer, shaped in the form of a Greek column, is literally “destroyed” by its function (the opened drawers). This work in particular is a direct, deadpan nod to Sullivan?s famous statement “form follows function”. It?s not surprising that the Haussman?s 1981 manifesto was published under the title of “Manierismo Critico”. In contrast to other designers and architects, Trix and Robert Haussmann are acutely conscious that an object can be more a vector of meaning than a functional or aesthetic item. This relationship to the object opened them up to a broader vision of what it means to be an architect today.
The exhibition, from April 26 to June 15, 2014, at Fri Art, Fribourg, entirely conceived in close collaboration with the architects over a long period of time, examines every aspect of their research. Nevertheless, far from being a classical retrospective, it will weave together different bodies of works.
Everything is About to Happen – An ongoing archive of artists’ books selected by Gregorio Magnani, March 14 to April 26, 2014, Corvi-Mora, London – presents circa 300 books in an attempt to offer an overview, and initiate an archive, of recent artists’ books. It focuses on publication as a medium and context for art practices. It looks at the ways in which artists use the format of the book as an artistic strategy exploiting, and often expanding upon, its nature as a fixed but randomly accessible sequence of words and images.
All the books selected are either self-published or participate in a minor economy of small publishers. Their modes of production and circulation, as well as the conditions under which they are experienced and stored, strengthen their content.
The exhibition attempts to address this through different modes of presentation: a vast communal display table, a more concentrated reading station, and an exact catalogue. A certain surplus of vitality, a metaphoric, affective and social overflow of the codex structure is underlined.
With books by AND Publishing & Åbäke, Kasper Andreasen, blisterZine, Daniel Gustav Cramer, Mariana Castillo Deball, Paul Elliman, Arnaud Desjardin, Michael Dean, Karl Homqvist, La Biblioteque Fantastique, Louis Lüthi, Jurgen Maelfeyt, Dan Mitchell, Sara MacKillop, Sophie Nys, Simon Popper, Preston is my Paris, Alessandro Roma, John Russell, Izet Sheshivari, Erik Steinbrecher, Triin Tamm, Erik van der Weijde, Jean-Michel Wicker.
Sister Corita Kent (1918-1986) was an artist, teacher, philosopher, political activist and possibly one of the most innovative and unusual pop artists of the 1960s. She was a nun in the Catholic Church until 1968 when Sister Corita sought dispensation from her vows. For over 30 years, in the heart of Los Angeles, Corita produced a variety of serigraph or screen-printed images. The retrospective exhibition Let The Sun Shine In – until May 10, 2014, Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin – documents Corita’s practice during that time.
As a pop artist, Corita primarily focused on text and vibrant color, manipulated type and images appropriated from the newly burgeoning consumer culture of her era.
After leaving the church in the late 1960s, Corita’s works took a grand stylistic turn. She all but abandoned the neon-soaked Psychedelia of her previous works, and opted instead for a more subtle, nuanced approach to art making.
Corita first taught, and subsequently became chair of the art department at Los Angeles’s Immaculate Heart College, where she became famous for her novel pedagogical methods. Her students helped produce her serigraphs, and her inventive teaching practices encouraged them to look hard and work harder, leaving a lasting impact on the way they encountered the world. With fame also came the opportunity to invite her contemporaries to speak at her lectures. Illustrious speakers including luminaries such as designers Charles and Ray Eames, composer John Cage, graphic designer Saul Bass and film director Alfred Hitchcock.
Upcoming exhibition, But, there is only one thing that has power, from March 12 to April 19, 2014, Galerie Allen, Paris.
L’appellation “Op art”, qui trouve son origine dans l’abréviation de l’expression “optimal art”, s’impose en Europe dans les années 60. Ce mouvement artistique renoue avec l’abstraction géométrique en cherchant à créer des jeux optiques et des effets d’illusions pouvant s’inscrire à la surface de la rétine.
L’exposition Op & Post-op Editions – du 8 mars au 12 avril, 2014, Florence Loewy by artists…, Paris – associe des éditions et des livres d’artistes de Tauba Auerbach, Sigrid Calon, Philippe Decrauzat, François Morellet, Dan Walsh.
Mark Pezinger Verlag is an artist-run publishing house, founded in 2009 and based in Vienna and berlin. the collective (Astrid Seme, Karsten Födinger, Natalie Obert and Thomas Geiger) works beyond conventional structures to explore further possibilities for the artist book. the publications that have been realized are ranging from books to sound works and from one-offs to higher editions.
The exhibition Mark Pezinger works both ways – From Performance to Publication focuses on the performative dimensions of Mark Pezinger Verlag and offers the oppurtunity to experience the publishing house as an economical, social and dynamical sculpture. March 14 to May 4, 2014, FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille.
Muriel Cooper worked across four decades at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in overlapping roles as a graphic designer, teacher, and researcher. Spanning the transition from print, to early explorations of digital typography, to fully evolved information environments, Cooper’s tenure at MIT maps onto one of the most dynamic periods of the school’s technical, conceptual and theoretical development.
As the first Design Director of the MIT Press, Cooper established a comprehensive publishing program and designed books like The Bauhaus (1969) and Learning from Las Vegas (1972). As co-founder of the Visible Language Workshop, she taught experimental printing, tested large-format Polaroid photography, and integrated video systems in MITs Department of Architecture. And at the MIT Media Lab, she developed some of the earliest computer interfaces and educated a generation of designers. Throughout, her approach remained consistent: creating tools and systems for rapid feedback, dissolving boundaries between design and production, and restlessly seeking out new problems.
The exhibition Messages and Means: Muriel Cooper at MIT, organized by David Reinfurt and Robert Wiesenberger with Mark Wasiuta, will take place at Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, Columbia University, New York, from February 25 to March 28, 2014.
Oraibi – librairie itinérante et structure curatoriale basée à genève – invite l’artiste et designer Clémence Seilles, accompagnée de The Estate of Matt Montini, à produire un dispositif de présentation d’une sélection de livres, du 14 au 16 février 2014, à Rosa Brux, Bruxelles. Choisis parmi son catalogue, les ouvrages s’articulent autour des sources littéraires et artistiques d’un psychédélisme revisité, paneuropéen et francophone : livres anciens, raretés, poésie surréaliste, manifestes, revues psychédéliques, catalogues d’exposition, littérature, publications récentes et inédites.
Livre Imaginé – Dans Cinquante Ans d’Ici is a group exhibition – curated by Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk – on the future of the book and other variable formats with AND Publishing & Åbäke, Xavier Antin, Ruth Beale, Nina Beier & Marie Lund, Elena Damiani, Aurélien Froment, Ryan Gander, David Jablonowski, Laurie Kang, Boris Meister, Klaus Scherübel, Sebastion Schmieg & Silvio Lorusso. March 12 to April 19, Les Territoires, Montréal.
The exhibition posits the book – as both thing, container and idea – against the backdrop of some recent and ongoing discussions that address the probable demise of the bound volume in conjunction with the emergence of digital reading devices. As the title of this exhibition already implies, a somewhat speculative approach towards the subject is taken insofar any productive attempt at summation of the debate has resulted in stances taken on either side, but quite obviously avoided closure as the situation undoubtedly remains open–ended.
Dans le cadre de la table ronde L’édition comme reflet d’une expérience, le 14 février, 18h30, à Mains D’Œuvres, Saint-Ouen, “Information Room” est une exposition de publications qui questionnent l’enregistrement, le commentaire et le prolongement de projets artistiques. Du catalogue au livre d’artiste, en passant par l’ouvrage théorique ou le carnet de recherches, ces entreprises éditoriales, aux intentions, formes et formats variés – parfois composites ou ambiguës – incarnent des expériences de mise en tension d’une idée et de sa trace, du geste et de sa captation, d’un objet et de sa représentation, de l’espace d’exposition et de l’espace du livre, de l’oral et de l’écrit.