Heinz Gappmayr

An Anthology of Concrete Poetry
published by Primary Information

February 26 2014
3:00 PM

Originally published in 1967, Something Else Press’s An Anthology of Concrete Poetry is newlyback in print after four decades. A comprehensive American anthology featuring 77 poets, the volume counts 342 pages in black and white print and is edited by Emmett Williams. An Anthology of Concrete Poetry traces the history of the late twentieth-century conceptual poetry movement back through to the use of letter arrangements to create shapes originating in Greek Alexandria three centuries before Christ. Pattern poems from this time are a type of ancient Greek verse that form specific shapes, such as wings and altars, and of which only few examples survive. The Concrete poetry’s movement began in the early 1950s in Germany with the Swiss writer Eugen Gomringer, who borrowed the term “concrete” from the practice of his mentor Max Bill. Futurist artists also used forms of concrete poetry to express anarchistic sympathies; Filippo Tommaso Marinetti created his poems as collages, cutting symbols from newspapers as well as drawing. Readers of this anthology will also find examples of concrete poetry that appeared in Austria, in the work of the Vienna Group, where Gerhard Rühm wrote constellations and ideograms, phonetic poems, and montage and photographic texts; Swedish poetry by Öyvind Fahlström, who attempted to associate familiar words nonsensical statements; and by Iceland-based artist Dieter Roth, whose artist books further challenge the premise of concrete poetry, liberating the poem from the author’s subjectivity. (Ingrid Melano)

Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow, 1996
Courtesy of David LaChapelle Studio Inc.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!
published by Rizzoli

February 4 2014
3:00 PM

Born into the rarefied world of British aristocracy, Isabella Blow was quoted as saying: “Fashion is a vampiric thing, it’s the hoover on your brain. That’s why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me,” demonstrating how the way she wore her clothing was a form of armor. Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! is the book accompanying the exhibition of the same name at Somerset House, London, and it is edited by Alistair O’Neill, with texts by Caroline Evans, Alexander Fury and Shonagh Marshall. Published by Rizzoli and Somerset House in association with the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins, the book is an exhaustive survey of Isabella’s style. With over one hundred photographs shot exclusively for this publication by Nick Knight, the volume is the first to catalogue Blow’s own wardrobe, which includes thousands of pieces by the most important contemporary designers. Born Isabella Delves Broughton, with a seat at Doddington Hall in Cheshire, in the early ’80s Blow moved to New York to study at Columbia University and befriended Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Her striking career, which has seen her working at the Tatler, British Vogue and at the Sunday Times Style, indeed began in New York as Anna Wintour’s assistant at US Vogue. She was also the co-founder of London galleries Modern Art (with Stuart Shave in 1998) and Blow de la Barra (with Pablo Leon de la Barra in 2005). (Ingrid Melano)

Leonora Carrington, Crookey Hall, 1947
Courtesy of the artist; and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco

Leonora Carrington
published by Irish Museum of Modern Art/D.A.P.

January 30 2014
3:00 PM

Leonora Carrington’s practice can be read along the lines of her childhood education in Irish mythology, her time in 1930s France among the Surrealists, and her later life spent in Mexico, where she became absorbed by the country’s cultural history of spirituality and the occult. Her works referenced locatable mythological figures such as Túatha Dé Danann (the founders of the Irish people) or the Popol Vuh (the ancient book of the K’iche’ Maya people), but these references came together in a richly evocative and fantastical tableau that was uniquely her own. Over 130 of Carrington’s works are reproduced in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s recent publication dedicated to the artist. In these exhaustively detailed works, each creaturely thing—hybrid beast or ancient alien—appears harrowingly alone and as though living in the purgatorial trappings of their own skin. Throughout Carrington’s work in painting, drawing, and writing, the boundaries of human and animal and life and death are all but fluid or alchemical notions. As the first substantial publication since her death in 2011, and featuring an introduction by Seán Kissane, an essay by Dawn Ades, and an interview between the artist and Hans Ulrich Obrist in the last years of her life, Leonora Carrington  takes seriously its responsibilities in illuminating an influential and often overlooked practice that swam against the technocratic tide of the twentieth century. (Matt Packer)

Viviane Sassen, Etan & Me, 2013

Viviane Sassen’s Etan & Me
published by oodee

January 20 2014
3:01 PM

The Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen recently presented her work Etan & Me at the last edition of Paris Photo. Introduced by You and You and Me, a poem by Dutch writer, poet and artist Maria Barnas, the 41 page book contains a reflection on the definition of identity through a visual discourse that examines the self and the other, as well as male-female alterity. The photographer spent her early years in Kenya before moving to the European continent. Perhaps following an (un)conscious need, Sassen seems to have returned to her roots, realizing the book upon her return to Africa. She met Etan, the protagonist of many of the book’s portraits, in a remote village in Suriname. These images alternate in a conversational style with self-portraits of Sassen herself, which are stretched, blurred and decomposed in symbolic ways without ever showing her real semblance. Such a figurative dialogue recalls themes like love, loss and individuality. It also underlines Sassen’s technical ability to use light, color and shape as creative material, which she crafts into an analytical and mystical narrative. Such elements are a further reference to her African roots, as the presence of specific colors and shapes clearly evoke the land of her childhood. Etan & Me is published by the independent publishing house oodee and has been released with 1000 copies with 50 limited editions. (Chiara Nuzzi)

The DESTE 2000 Words series

January 14 2014
5:58 PM

For Dakis Joannou, the act of collecting is “an excuse to meet artists.” The Greek-Cypriot civil engineer and founder of the DESTE Foundation of Contemporary Art in Athens, has always privileged the alchemical moment that occurs when different personalities experience a meeting. This interest in forging greater connections has led him to collaborate once more with Massimiliano Gioni, the so-called “ingenious” curator and director of this year’s Venice Biennale, as both of them share a similar vision about the collective potential to generate knowledge. After curating several shows at the DESTE Foundation, and perhaps following the idea at the core of Dakis Joannou’s own research, Gioni seems to have used works from Joannou’s collection as an excuse to delve deeper into the practice of some its most compelling artists. Hence the DESTE 2000 Words volumes, an on-going series of small, bright monographs published by the DESTE Foundation and edited by Karen Marta, well-known editor and co-founder of the Institute of 21st Century. In September, DESTE has released the first six books dedicated to Paweł Althamer, Roberto Cuoghi, Urs Fischer, Elad Lassry, Josh Smith and Andro Wekua, each of them examined respectively by Gioni himself, Ali Subotnick, Jessica Morgan, Tim Griffin, Anne Pontegnie and Gary Carrion-Murayari. Featuring a critical essay and a survey of the artists’ oeuvre, this series proposes a thoughtful fusion of the horizontal and the vertical approach to knowledge, that is, experience. (Bianca Stoppani)

Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Marilyn; 28 years old; Las Vegas, Nevada; $30, 1990-92

Courtesy of the artist; and David Zwirner, New York/London

Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s “Hustlers”
published by steidlDangin

December 16 2013
6:14 PM

Between 1990 and 1992, American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia traversed California to find locations, scenarios and models for his upcoming series of portraits. A recent recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, diCorcia decided to shoot hustlers in Hollywood, dedicating the grant to remunerate them at whatever price they would charge for their sexual services. This bold gesture ultimately provoked a complaint about misuse of government funds, yet led to the artist’s first solo museum exhibition at MoMA in 1993. Philip-Lorca di Corcia’s series “Hustlers” marked the beginning of his involvement with street photography, albeit in a way conceptually opposed to his predecessors’ Henri Cartier-Bresson or William Klein, for whom the “decisive moment” was the cornerstone of a photographic gesture based on hazard and encounter. On the contrary, while diCorcia’s images seem to depict a random event, they rarely imply chance. Instead, they result from a carefully arranged set-up and a pre-determined narrative in locations that evoke the American West—a motel room, a car interior or a fast-food restaurant. Two decades later, and parallel to diCorcia’s eponymous exhibition at David Zwirner gallery in New York, steidlDangin published the monograph Hustlers. Designed by fashion photography retoucher Pascal Dangin, the book includes the original forty photographs alongside fifteen newly produced works. (Martha Kirszenbaum)

Pamela Rosenkranz in Symbol Issue #4, Autumn 2013

Symbol ~ Paper For New Art

November 28 2013
7:37 PM

Symbol is an independent publication that sheds light on a new generation of young international artists. Edited by Amy Knight, every issue includes interviews and exclusive visual contributions, as well as complex editorials mixing art history, art criticism, philosophy and sociology. Symbol encourages greater involvement with new young artists and the paper is freely available from various galleries and book shops in the UK. David Rudnick produced a minimal and playful design for this smart, aesthetic paper. Printed on recycled newsprint, each issue is color-coded and presented inside a clear plastic cover, on its reverse side you can read literary quotes, lyrics and tweets. Our favorite from the current issue is “The world of the objects of old seems like a theater of cruelty and instinctual drives in comparison with the formal neutrality and prophylactic ‘whiteness’ of our perfect functional objects” from Jean Baudrillard’s The System of the Objects (1968). The fourth issue includes works by Pamela Rosenkranz and Pablo Jones-Soler presented through a collection of images; challenging interviews with Maja Cule, Iain Ball and Lauren Elder; and an essay about Darja Bajagić. Taking media instability as a starting point, these artists investigate objects and their value creation as “art-objects” by attempting to give a cultural map of what their consumption is nowadays. (Tatevik Sargsyan)

Dash Snow: I Love You, Stupid

October 30 2013
2:00 PM

I met Dash Snow once, a few years before he passed. We talked about the 27 Club, the cult of musicians who die at age 27, because he was staying at the hotel where Janis Joplin had her fatal overdose. The irony wasn’t lost on him. Snow’s hedonism followed a familiar recipe: one part rock star, one part bon vivant, two parts white privilege. A member of the New York graffiti crew IRAK, Snow began making and exhibiting autobiographical polaroids in the early aughts to instant success. Though his pictures were composed, they also functioned as a prosthetic memory cataloging the previous night’s debaucheries. Snow’s work was personal, honest, sexy and youthful. What about his obscene wealth? Who cares. That was the point. His work embodied the downtown New York scene at the height of late late capitalism. Dash Snow: I Love You, Stupid is a collection of 430 rarely seen polaroids published by D.A.P., with an introduction by the inimitable Glenn O’Brien. This tome documents the usual subjects of self-indulgence in an endless grid featuring naked girls, beaches, cigarettes, makeouts, road trips, and Snow’s favorite—the homeless. Flipping through the book is a game of art-world Who’s Who. Ryan McGinley with whats-her-face. Nate Lowman and so-and-so. This isn’t even what reckless abandon looks like anymore. We’re all professionals now. (Martine Syms)

Older posts