Power/Over Power/N Power/M Power

Susan Paul Firestone

Are we looking at history?

Are we open to images and stories in art that are unfamiliar and foreign?
Can we learn from history that is outside of the Western art history narrative?
Those are question posed by the Polish Artistic Director of documenta 14,
Adam Szymwzyk. If you are an art enthusiast, you are by now fully aware of
the Director’s double vision of extending this traditional German exhibition held in Kassel every five years since 1955, to include Athens, Greece. A first.

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Documenta 14: The Greek Show

George Waterman

What a surprise it was to find the contemporary Athens Museum installed in the Fridericianum in Kassel, the central museum location of Documenta for 71 years. But there it is, a rousing and delightful look at contemporary Greek art. ANTIDORON. The EMST Collection “Antidoron” (αντίδωρον, literally the return of a gift). The small part of the Athens collection (about 15%), 82 artists and 180 works, shown here also includes some Americans, such as Janine Antoni, Lynda Benglis, Joseph Kosuth, Bill Viola, and others, each with very expressive works that represent them well. These American works are old hat to art world lookers. The real prize here is all Greek. The works here are an exciting introduction for an outsider.

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Abstract Sculpture by Women 1947-2016

Abstract Sculpture by Women 1947-2016

img_1713Talk about landing on your feet. When Paul Schimmel (1954-) was fired two years ago by our friend Jeffrey Deitch and the Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles after 22 years as Chief Curator he joined the British gallery Hauser & Wirth, and, last month the new Los Angeles gallery, now Hauser Wirth and Schimmel, opened with a bang in a former Pillsbury Flour factory of about 100,000 square feet. However, while large, I do not think the finished exhibition spaces and the related spaces are as large as Doug Chrismas’ Ace Gallery a few miles away on Wilshire. Nonetheless, it becomes one of the largest galleries in Los Angeles and its inaugural show, curated by Paul Schimmel, is a knockout. “Revolution In The Making, Abstract Sculpture By Women 1947-2016”Read More

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso demonstrated very early an incredible talent and skill. Having by age thirteen easily mastered the lessons of his teachers – What else was Picasso to do, but to go on to become Picasso, the defining artist of the 20th Century. Few have had such an impact as did this Modern master. The Visual Art Library, in the Atrium at Harris Place, has just acquired these volumes of Picasso’s Gravure Works.




Erro and French Pop

12967402_562710523889304_1569838726793487431_oERRO AND FRENCH POP. By the mid 1960’s Pop art became an important movement in France and Erro was in the middle of it.Pop Art had originated in Great Britian with Edward Paolozzi (1924-2005) and and Richard Hamilton, (1922-1911) in the early 1950’s. it spread to the United States in the later 50’s with Jasper Johns and Bob Rauschenberg then the others, Lichenstein, Warhol, Rosenquist, Oldenburg, and so on. Erro was born in Iceland in 1932. Ten years after Hamilton and Paolozzi .

The great American dealer, Iliana Sonnabend, former wife, but lifelong friend of Leo Castelli (the dealer who introduced Pop into America), had the first Paris show of Pop at her gallery in Paris in 1962.Erro was in the thick of French Pop. His particular art became called Figuration Narrative and he was grouped with others like Jacques Monory, Peter Klasen, and Valero Adami Erro says that he loves to paint because painting is one’s own utopia.

Erró (born Guðmundur Guðmundsson in 1932 in Ólafsvík, Iceland) is a postmodern artist. 11061261_562710540555969_8743202803417403838_oHe studied art in Norway and in Italy, and has resided in Paris, Thailand and on the island of Formentera for most of his life. In 1989 he donated a large collection of his works to the

Reykjavik Arts Museum, which has put part of it on permanent display and opened a websitewhere the whole collection can be visited. Erró stands today as perhaps the most renowned living artist the country has produced. His work is on display the world over, from New York to the Far East.

His current New York show opened last week at the Galerie Perrotin. It is masterful, delightful, and wonderful.Erro is a advisor to Visual Art Library. We are so pleased to have his involvement. He is in the process of giving Visual Art Library a large shipment of books to us and also paying the cost of sending them from Paris. GW

Gilbert & George

12973140_562709343889422_8340714062133687473_oGILBERT & GEORGE. Their faces were painted bronze. I do not imagine that it did much for the skin. I first encountered Gilbert and Georges’ Living Sculpture at an exhibition in Ileana Sonnabend’s gallery at 420 West Broadway in New York’s Soho. This was in 1971.  Ileana left  a very large inheritance when she died. The Gagosian Gallery and others paid her estate about $600 million for just a part of her holdings. After the Living Sculpture, which was an early performance piece, Gilbert & George worked with photography adding color to photographs they took around their home in London and elsewhere. They represented England at the 2005 Venice Biennial and received the Golden Lion Award (the most sought after), and in 1986 they received the Turner Prize, one of the most important and highly visible prizes in Great Britain.

Anyway, Gilbert and George, who were born in 1942 and 1943, have made their art from the normal everyday routines of their lives. It has been a continuing drama that has now gone on for almost 50 years. They started showing in London where they have lived and they are now known around the world. They are a long way from their first exhibition at Frank’s Sandwich Bar in London in 1968, just a year after they met.

12719519_562709340556089_2913060852567579329_oThe library has just received a very large, and heavy, double volume of their Postcard Art from 1969 to 2011, over 1,000 pages. This is an extraordinary look at Gilbert and Georges’ lives trough their art. GW

Niki de Saint Phalle 1930-2002

Niki de Saint Phalle 1930-2002

The Visual art Library has recently acquire the catalogue of her gift of 170 works in 2001 to the Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Nice.

12916835_557573254403031_6250747102746768542_oI knew about the de Saint Phalle family long before I met Niki. Her first cousin was a bridesmaid in my mother’s wedding in 1936. I only met Niki once at a crowded artist party on West 57th Street in New York.

Niki de Saint Phalle, born Agnes, came from a very social French American banking family. They lived in New York. Niki was expelled from Brearley for painting a fig leaf appropiately on a statue. Brearley is known as the intellectual girl’s private school on 83rd Street in New York City as opposed to Chapin, known as the social girl’s school a block away. She was a striking young woman and in 1949, while modeling at 18, she was on the cover of Life Magazine.

Surely her most extraordinary work is the Tarot Garden. The land came from friends of hers and she began this monumental work in 1979 and finished it in the late 1990’s. Niki’s work was, for me, an acquired taste, but, as I became accustomed to it, I came to like it. Once I visited Tarot Garden, I was totally with her. Tarot Garden is very near the major Etruscan sites in Italy on the west coast north of Rome. It is worth a trip.

In 1971, Niki married the Swiss artist, Jean Tinguely (1925-1991) who created wonderful playful kenetic art works. His fountain in Basel is a delight. Perhaps his best known work in the United States was the 1960 Homage to The City of New York which was a self-destructing machine which did, in fact, self destructed (mostly) in the garden of the Museum of Modern art in New York in 1960.

Niki was represented by the legendary Egyptian-Greek dealer Alexander Iolas.