Raw art Weblog

Art and much much more!

New “Photographers A-Z” Book x Taschen

Photographers A-Z functions as a complete compendium of important photographers of the 20th-century. Included are masters with works hanging in museum collections, as well as the finest in “applied” – fashion, etc. – areas. As you might imagine, the names come in alphabetical order, a brief biographical sketch complementing a series of photographs from each artist.

Available from Taschen.

March 27, 2011 Posted by | Artists, Books and Magazines, Fashion, photography, raw art gallery | | 1 Comment

The Hundreds Magazine Issue #4

The Hundreds just released Issue #4 of their in-house magazine, featuring Holly Madison, Ron English, Blu and more. Check out the video from the bikini shoot (Holly Madison, Angel Porrino).

March 26, 2011 Posted by | Artists, Books and Magazines, Design, Fashion, Graffiti, grafiti, photography, sports, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shepard Fairey on the cover of Be Street Issue 12

French magazine Be Street is about to release their issue 12. This time they have commissioned artist Shepard Fairey to do the cover design. Next to Shepard Fairey the new issue also features Johnny Cupcakes, Rusko, Yelawolf, P-Rod and lots of other interesting personalities, next to the latest in style and fashion.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Artists, Books and Magazines, Design, Fashion, Graffiti, grafiti, olympics, photography, raw art gallery | , | Leave a comment

Art 42 Basel, 15-19 June 2011

This year, the 42nd edition of Art Basel takes place in Basel, Switzerland, from June 15 through June 19, 2011. As the premier annual art show, Art Basel marks the summer reunion of the international artworld, hosted by the city of Basel, which has been a cultural capital for centuries.

More than 300 galleries from 35 countries on six continents will show works by over 2,500 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. A frequent site of discovery by those seeking emerging artists, Art Statements features 27 one-person stands from rising galleries worldwide. Furthermore, exhibitors will present more than 50 ambitious works in the Art Unlimited sector. Bringing the show into the city, the site-specific projects and performances in the Art Parcours sector will transform a variety of locations throughout the St. Alban neighbourhood.

Complimenting Art Basel’s extensive offerings, the city’s museums and institutions once again stage fascinating exhibitions, featuring the artists Constantin Brancusi, Richard Serra, Francis Alÿs, R.H. Quaytman, Konrad Witz and Henrik Olesen.

Founded by a group of local gallerists, the first Art Basel took place in 1970 and the event has long ranked as the most prestigious annual art show worldwide. The quality and diversity of the artworks exhibited regularly attracts more than 60,000 artists, collectors, gallerists, museum directors, curators, and art enthusiasts. Art 42 Basel showcases every form of artistic expression, including paintings, drawings, editions, sculptures, installations, photography, performances, and video art. Inexpensive works by emerging artists are on offer, alongside museum-quality masterpieces priced in the millions.

More than 300 of the world’s leading galleries exhibit at Art Basel, selected from more than 1,000 applicants by the Art Basel Committee, an international jury of renowned gallerists. These include 73 from the United States; 50 from Germany; 32 from Switzerland; 31 from Great Britain; 23 from France; 20 from Italy; 8 from Belgium; 7 each from Japan and Spain; 6 from Austria; 4 each from Brazil and Poland; 3 each from China, Denmark, India, Norway and the Netherlands; 2 each from Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Portugal, Sweden, South Africa and Turkey and 1 each from Argentina, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Lebanon, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea and Thailand.

Art Galleries and Art Edition sectors
Once again, the world’s leading galleries will be exhibiting at the show, for which more than 99 percent of last year’s exhibitors reapplied. This year’s strong roster of returning participants are enhanced by diverse new exhibitors. Appearing for the first time in Art Galleries are Art: Concept (Paris), Blondeau (Geneva), Bortolami (New York), Isabella Bortolozzi (Berlin), Cabinet (London), gb agency (Paris), Holland-Hibbert (London), Joanna Kamm (Berlin), Regina (Moscow), Sfeir-Semler (Beirut), Standard (Oslo), and Vintage (Budapest). After a brief hiatus, Moeller Fine Art (New York) and Szwajcer (Antwerp) rejoin Art Basel’s exhibitors in the Art Galleries sector. The multiples specialists in Art Edition are joined by Three Star Books (Paris).

Art Statements Sector
A frequent site of discovery by those seeking to discover emerging artists, Art Statements this year spotlights 27 single-artist projects from younger galleries worldwide. The projects on display are new and created specifically for presentation in Art Statements. Since 1999, the Baloise Group has awarded its annual Baloise Art Prize to two outstanding Art Statements projects. This year, the prize stands at CHF 30,000 for each artist, in addition to which Baloise Group will also acquire works by the prize-winning artists and donate them to the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the MUMOK Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien.

Art Feature Sector
After a highly-acclaimed debut last year, Art Feature focuses on precise curatorial shows. 20 gallery projects – featuring artistic dialogues, solo shows and exceptional art historical material – will be presented on both floors of Hall 2, alongside the Art Galleries sector. .

Art Unlimited Sector
Art Unlimited spotlights more than 50 ambitious works, many of them created especially for Art 42 Basel. With the accent on innovative and large-scale pieces, Art Unlimited offers everything from outsize sculptures and installations to video projections, wall paintings, and performances. The exhibition concept has once again been elaborated in collaboration with Geneva curator Simon Lamunière.

Art Parcours
While the inauguration of this sector last year took place around Munsterplatz, this year Art Parcours will transform a variety of unique locations throughout the St. Alban neighbourhood. For the entire duration of the show, from 10 am to 10 pm, the second edition of Art Parcours offers visitors site-specific artworks and performances by internationally renowned artists and emerging talents. This array of high-caliber pieces – selected by Jens Hoffmann, Director of the CCA Wattis Institute in San Francisco – engages with today’s Basel and with its long history, weaving artistic interventions into the fabric of the city.

Art Basel Conversations and Art Salon
Staged every morning (June 15 to June 19), Art Basel Conversations bring together prominent members of the international art scene. The Premiere of the Art Basel Conversations features a legendary artist. Further topics include: ‘Public/Private: How Will Museums Be Able to Collect,’ ‘Collector Focus: Patronage and Politics,’ ‘The Future of Artistic Practice: The Artist as Urbanist,’ and ‘What is Alternative – Alternative to What?’ Additionally, an extensive daily program of artist conversations, book signings, discussion forums, and other presentations will take place in the Art Salon forum every afternoon.

Smartphone App
After a successful launch of our Smartphone App last year, this year’s Art 42 Basel app will offer visitors even more functions. Created not only for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touchs, but also Blackberrys and all the other smartphones, the Art Basel App will be ready for download at the end of May.

Museums in Basel
The exceptional lineup of shows this year during Art 42 Basel includes: ‘Francis Alÿs: Fabiola’ presented by Schaulager at the Haus zum Kirschgarten; ‘Konrad Witz – The Unique Exhibition’ at the Kunstmuseum Basel; ‘Constantin Brancusi and Richard Serra’ at the Fondation Beyeler; ‘Henrik Olesen’ at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst; ‘Car fetish: I drive therefore I am’ at the Tinguely Museum; ‘R.H. Quaytman: Spine, Chapter 20′ at the Kunsthalle Basel; and at the Vitra Design Museum, ‘Zoom: Italian Design and the Photography of Aldo and Marirosa Ballo.’

March 24, 2011 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Art Fairs, Artists, Books and Magazines, Graffiti, Museum, News, photography, raw art gallery, Russian art | , | 1 Comment

Tristan Eaton’s New 3D Art Book

Tristan Eaton’s new 3D art book is unreal. The pop artist and designer of the original Dunny/Munny characters has created the literary equivalent of leaving your eyeballs to soak in a dish of LSD overnight, with hallucinatory 3D effects applied to the work of a ‘who’s who’ lineup of pop artists. Put on your 3D shades and get a multi-dimensional eyeful of works by James Jean, HAZE, Junko Mizuno, Ron English, Nathan Jurevicius, Cey Adams, Stash, Mark Bode, Shepard Fairey, Tara McPherson, D*Face, Askew, Logan Hicks and many many more…

Over 100 artists contributed to this awsome book which is probably more fun than anything else you have on your coffee table right now. Not to mention 3D shades are mad styling.

March 22, 2011 Posted by | Artists, Books and Magazines, Design, Graffiti, grafiti, News | , , | Leave a comment

Clark Magazine Celebrates Its 47 Issue

French publication Clark Magazine celebrates its 47th issue for March/April 2011. The work of Evan Robarts graces the cover while featured participants include Humberto Leon of Opening Ceremony, young Basque chef Inaki Aizitarte, Cody Hudson and musician Hanni El Khatib, amongst many others. The issue is now available here.

March 19, 2011 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Artists, Books and Magazines, Design, News, photography, raw art gallery, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Art 40 Basel ~ Extraordinary Quality With 61,000 Attending

Gupta_Still_Steal_SteelThe 40th edition of Art Basel closed on Sunday, June 14, 2009. This year, the annual reunion of the international artworld attracted 61,000 artists, collectors, curators, and art lovers from around the globe, slightly more than last year and the highest number ever. The participating galleries, art connoisseurs, and the media were unanimous in pronouncing this a strong year for the show. Art 40 Basel demonstrated the health of the high-quality segment within the art market: Collectors rewarded excellent material and strong booth presentations with unexpectedly strong sales throughout the week.

The show drew 61,000 visitors and 2,800 media representatives. A great many artists also attended the event, among them Stefan Balkenhol, Matthew Barney, Elmgreen and Dragset, Thomas Demand, Olafur Eliasson, Liam Gillick, Dan Graham, Subodh Gupta, Joan Jonas, Jeff Koons, Mark Leckey, Sigmar Polke, Ed Ruscha, Nedko Solakov, Not Vital and Franz Erhard Walther. And over 50 museum groups visited Art 40 Basel, as did major private collectors from North and South America, Europe and the emerging markets of the artworld.

In this 40th edition of the show, more than 300 galleries from 29 countries exhibited works by over 2,500 artists. Participating galleries displayed their most interesting pieces and presented them in carefully curated booths. Many stands featured thematic exhibitions and one-person shows and many galleries presented video works, installations and large sculptures. Paintings, works on paper, and photography continued to be strongly represented. Private collectors came from all continents, as did representatives of almost all the world’s major museums. Many exhibitors reported excellent results given the current conditions, adding that they also made valuable new contacts for the future of their program, and look forward to Art 41 Basel, which takes place June 16 through June 20, 2010.

One of the most spectacular events at this year’s Art Basel was the presentation of “Il Tempo del Postino” at Theater Basel. All three nights were completely sold out and many art lovers extended their stay to experience this unique presentation, which many viewers aftewards described as a “historical artworld event”. Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno as a group exhibition that would occupy time rather than space, “Il Tempo del Postino” (Postman Time) presented a sequential display of timebased art on the theatre stage. The Basel edition of “Il Tempo del Postino” was directed by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala and Rirkrit Tiravanija; each of the twenty artists – Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Trisha Donnelly, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Fischli / David Weiss, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Koo Jeong-A, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala, Tino Sehgal and Rirkrit Tiravanija & Arto Lindsay – created an act of different length. “Il Tempo del Postino” was organized by Art Basel, Fondation Beyeler and Theater Basel and was originally co-commissioned by the Manchester International Festival and Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris for the World Premiere in Manchester in July 2007.

Art Unlimited spotlighted 60 ambitious works and once again drew a huge audience. Many of the exhibited pieces were created especially for Art 40 Basel and the 10th edition of this special exhibition was especially strong this year. Highlights included major works by legendary artists such as Sigmar Polke, Lawrence Weiner, Franz Erhard Walther, Mel Bochner, Bruce Connor, Daido Moriyama, Nan Goldin, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Roni Horn and Jesús Rafael Soto, joined by pieces from younger and emerging stars as Thea Djordjadze, Ayse Erkmen, Bharti Kher, Mai Thu Perret, Falke Pisano, Banks Violette and Andro Wekua.

The Art Premiere sector was of extraordinary quality and showed an interesting mix of carefully curated exhibitions in the booths of the galleries. Art Premiere featured artistic dialogues juxtaposing two artists such as Reneé Green and Adrian Piper (Elisabeth Dee Gallery), Joan Jonas and Sung Hwan Kim (Wilkinson Gallery), presentations by a single artist such as Kerry James Marshall (Jack Shainman Gallery) and exceptional art historical material – a new possibility within the sector – featuring seminal works by Gino di Dominicis (Galleria Lia Rumma), Mario Merz (Tucci Russo Studio per l’Arte Contemporanea) and General Idea (Galerie d’Art Contemporain Frédéric Giroux).

With its 27 single-artist projects from young galleries and artists from around the globe, this year’s Art Statements was often described by viewers as ranking among the strongest editions the sector has ever produced. The two Bâloise Art Prizes of CHF 30,000 per artist were awarded to Nina Canell and Geert Goiris, and Bâloise Insurance Group will acquire works by both artists and once again donated them to the Hamburger Kunsthalle und the MUMOK Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation in Vienna.

The exhibition area on the exhibition square in front of the buildings hosting Art Basel again served as an arena for the Public Art Projects. The sector on Messeplatz placed art in the urban context and encourages interaction with the general public. The eight works by internationally renowned artists Valentin Carron, General Idea, Mark Handforth, Jeppe Hein, Gabriel Kuri, Mathieu Mercier, John McCracken and Ken Price delighted both visitors and passerby. 

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Art Fairs, Artists, Books and Magazines, Design, Graffiti, News, photography, raw art gallery, Tel Aviv - Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Art Basel 2009 Shows Works of Art by 2,500 Artists at World’s Premier International Art Fair

art_baselThe 40th edition of Art Basel takes place in the culturally rich city of Basel, Switzerland, from June 10 through June 14, 2009. As the world’s premier art show, Art Basel marks the annual reunion of the international artworld. This year, more than 300 exhibiting galleries from all over the globe were selected from a record number of more than 1,100 applications, and will be showing works by over 2,500 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Art Unlimited hall, with its 60 large-scale projects, and the Public Art Projects on the exhibition square offer further highlights.

The most spectacular event this year will be the presentation of “Il Tempo del Postino” at Theater Basel. Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno as a group exhibition that would occupy time rather than space, “Il Tempo del Postino” (Postman Time) presents a sequential display of time-based art on the theatre stage. Participating artists will include Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Trisha Donnelly, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Fischli / David Weiss, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Koo Jeong-A, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala, Tino Sehgal and Rirkrit Tiravanija & Arto Lindsay. Furthermore Basel’s museums once again feature fascinating exhibitions, and will host a broad range of events.

Founded by a group of local gallerists, the first Art Basel took place in 1970 and has since then become the most prestigious art show worldwide. This 40th anniversary edition of Art Basel begins with a vernissage for invited guests on June 9 and opens to the general public from June 10 through June 14. The premier annual event regularly attracts some 60,000 artists, collectors, gallerists, curators, and art enthusiasts from across the globe, eager to see the most rigorously chosen overview of the international art market and to meet key movers of the international art scene. Covered by more than 2,300 media representatives, Art Basel earns its strong reputation based both on the quality and diversity of the exhibited art works.

Art 40 Basel will showcase all forms of artistic expression, including paintings, drawings, editions, and sculptures, installations, photography, performances, and internet and video art. Works costing a few thousand Swiss francs, by emerging artists, will be on display alongside museum-quality masterpieces priced in the millions.

Over 300 of the world’s leading galleries will be exhibiting at Art Basel. The galleries were chosen by the Art Basel Committee, an international jury of renowned gallerists, in accordance with strict quality criteria. Selected from a record number of more than 1,100 applicants, the sectors Art Galleries, Art Statements, Art Premiere and Art Edition include 75 galleries from the United States; 56 from Germany; 33 from Switzerland; 28 from Great Britain; 26 from France; 22 from Italy; 9 from Spain; 8 from Belgium; 7 from Austria; 5 from Japan; 4 each from Brazil, China and Poland; 3 from the Netherlands; 2 each from Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Mexico, Norway and South Korea; and one each from Argentina, Finland, India, Israel, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, and Turkey.

Art Galleries
Once again more than 99 percent of last year’s exhibitors reapplied in the Art Galleries sector. This year’s strong roster of participants is reinforced by the additions of Johann König (Berlin), Dvir Gallery (Tel Aviv), Raw Art Gallery (Tel Aviv),Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou), Nils Staerk Contemporary Art (Copenhagen) and J Crist Gallery (Boise, Idaho, U.S.). The line-up of galleries showing 20th-century classics is augmented by Knoedler & Company (New York), Galerie Zlotowski (Paris), and Galerie Susanne Zander (Köln). The specialists in Art Edition are joined by Galerie Helga Maria Klosterfelde (Hamburg) and Galerie de Multiples (Paris), and the roster of photographic galleries is enhanced by the return of the Galerie Zur Stockeregg (Zürich). After a brief hiatus, David Nolan Gallery (New York), Galleria Raucci / Santamaria (Napoli), Greene Naftali (New York), Stuart Shave / Modern Art (London) and Team Gallery (New York) also rejoin Art Basel’s exhibitors.

June 11, 2009 Posted by | Architecture, Art Exhibitions, Art Fairs, Artists, Books and Magazines, Design, Graffiti, News, photography, raw art gallery, Tel Aviv - Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

53rd Venice Biennale Opens Showing Works by Artists from all Over the World

53_venice_biannaleThe 53rd International Art Exhibition, entitled Making Worlds, directed by Daniel Birnbaum, organized by La Biennale di Venezia, and chaired by Paolo Baratta, will open to the public from Sunday June, 7th to Sunday November, 22nd 2009 in the Giardini (50,000 m2) and the Arsenale (38,000 m2) as well as in various other locations around the city. The Director of the 53rd Exhibition, Daniel Birnbaum, has been Rector of the Staedelschule Frankfurt/Main and its Kunsthalle Portikus since 2001. Making Worlds, presented in the renewed Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the Giardini and in the Arsenale, is a single, large exhibition that articulates different themes woven into one whole. It is not divided into sections. Considering collectives, it comprises works by over 90 artists from all over the world and includes many new works and on-site commissions in all disciplines.

“The title of the exhibition, Making Worlds – says Director Daniel Birnbaum – expresses my wish to emphasize the process of creation. A work of art represents a vision of the world and if taken seriously it can be seen as a way of making a world. The strength of the vision is not dependent on the kind or complexity of the tools brought into play. Hence all forms of artistic expression are present: installation art, video and film, sculpture, performance, painting and drawing, and a live parade. Taking ´worldmaking´ as a starting point, also allows the exhibition to highlight the fundamental importance of certain key artists for the creativity of successive generations, just as much as exploring new spaces for art to unfold outside the institutional context and beyond the expectations of the art market. Making Worlds is an exhibition driven by the aspiration to explore worlds around us as well as worlds ahead. It is about possible new beginnings—this is what I would like to share with the visitors of the Biennale.”

For the direction of the exhibition Daniel Birnbaum is supported by Jochen Volz, artistic organization. Additional advice is provided by an international team of correspondents consisting of Savita Apte, Tom Eccles, Hu Fang, and Maria Finders.

On occasion of the 53rd International Art Exhibition – the Foundation La Biennale di Venezia inaugurates a number of important structural and organisational developments:

At the Arsenale, the Italian Pavilion has been enlarged from 800 to 1,800 square meters, now opening out to the Giardino delle Vergini and adjacent to a new public entrance. Here a newly constructed bridge links the far side of the Arsenale to the Sestiere di Castello. This renewed Italian Pavilion will be reserved for exhibitions organised by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs. The Italian participation at the 53rd International Art Exhibition is curated by Beatrice Buscaroli and Luca Beatrice. Furthermore, the Arsenale’s exhibition spaces have been extended by developing a larger part of the Giardino delle Vergini (Garden of the Virgins), now measuring 6.000 square meters and offering an enchanting new exhibition space for the main exhibition.

In the Giardini, the historic Italian Pavilion has been renamed Palazzo delle Esposizioni della Biennale and extensively transformed, now providing a permanent exhibition and multi-functional venue opened to the public throughout the year. The transformed Palazzo delle Esposizioni includes a newly refurbished wing housing the library of the Historic Archive of Contemporary Arts (ASAC), made available again to the public after ten years of closure. The Archive comprises documents, books, catalogues and periodicals, freely consultable by researchers and exhibition visitors. Apart from exhibition spaces, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni also comprises a new bookstore, a new café and new spaces for educational activities, respectively designed by three artists participating in the main exhibition. The Palazzo delle Esposizioni will therefore become an important platform for the Foundation’s permanent activities and a point of reference for the other Pavilions in the Giardini.

Ca’ Giustinian, the beautiful 15th century palace on the Canale Grande near San Marco and the traditional site of the Foundation’s headquarters, will reopen in June after several years of renovation. Apart from housing the offices of the Biennale, it will then also become an “open house” for the general public, among others boasting a café on the Grand Canal.

The National Participations of the 53rd International Art Exhibition, presented in the historical Pavilions in the Giardini, in selected areas of the Arsenale and in numerous venues throughout the city, are this year amounting to the record number of 77 Nations participating, including first-time participations of Montenegro, Principality of Monaco, Republic of Gabon, Union of Comoros, and United Arab Emirates.

Furthermore there is a record number of 44 Collateral Events, proposed by international organizations and institutions, which will organize their own exhibitions and initiatives in Venice during the occasion.

An exhibition dedicated to the venetian artistic glass will be held at the Venice Pavilion. The exhibition organized by the Region of Veneto, in concomitance with the 53rd Exhibition and curated by Ferruccio Franzoia, is titled … fa come natura face in foco.

Inaugurating the renovated headquarters of the Biennale as yet another exhibition venue, The Vision Machine: Futurists in the Biennale will be presented at Ca’ Giustinian from June to November 2009. The exhibition explores the presence of Futurist artists, ideas and works in the Biennale. Curated by IUAV, International Semiotics Laboratory Venice, it is the result of a research undertaken at the Historic Archive of the Contemporary Arts (ASAC).

June 11, 2009 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Art Fairs, Artists, Books and Magazines, Design, News, photography, raw art gallery, Tel Aviv - Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Helmut Newton Foundation Exhibits 394 Photographs From Newton’s Book Sumo

sumo_helmut_newtonWith SUMO, the Helmut Newton Foundation presents what might just be the most spectacular and expensive photography book project ever. Ten years ago, publisher Benedikt Taschen persuaded Helmut Newton to agree to produce a gigantic book with a print run of 10,000 copies, all signed by the photographer. Accompanied by a custom-made book holder by Philippe Starck, the book found its way into the homes of well-heeled buyers. Now, for the first time, its 394 photographs will go on display to mark the 10th anniversary of a photography publication that today is a much sought-after collector’s item. To accompany this presentation, Taschen will publish a smaller and revised version of the book for the regular book market.

In addition to SUMO, Mark Arbeit, George Holz and Just Loomis will be presented at the Helmut Newton Foundation with their photography under the title “Three boys from Pasadena”. In the late 70s, they were students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and later became assistants of Helmut Newton.

In recent years, the photo book has attracted particular appreciation, not least of all through Martin Parr’s “The Photobook: A History” that examines some quite unusual photographic publications. A growing number of collectors have turned to this new field, and some photo books can fetch sums that are dazzling. At photo fairs from Paris to New York, photo book dealers appear in increasing frequency with especially valuable publications in tow.

One of the most outstanding photo books of the last decade is Helmut Newton’s SUMO, which appeared in 1999 in poster format with 464 pages and considerable weight. It was Benedikt Taschen who convinced the photographer to this publishing feat; it proved to be a smash hit. Philippe Starck crafted the metal stand for this extraordinary publication that appeared in an edition of 10,000 copies, all personally signed by Newton. The sales price matches the format and exclusivity of the photo book, and has found its way into the hands of only the best-endowed Newton enthusiasts. The limited availability contributed to the book’s legendary status, the contents remained mostly unknown.

The some 400 photographs in the book, many of which were published here for the first time, capture the essence of Newton’s work. His first and award-winning photo book in 1976, “White Women,” was followed by numerous publications with decidedly descriptive titles, such as 1981’s “Big Nudes,” whose circulation of over 100,000 copies to date has been Newton’s most successful book; or “World Without Men” from 1984. At irregular intervals between 1987 and 1995, Helmut Newton published his own magazine and showcase for his newest images, “Helmut Newton’s Illustrated.”

But it was with SUMO that the Newton/Taschen team topped them all in the field of photo books. Such monumental tomes already existed in the history of books and bookmaking, but these were bibles, books of hours and atlases, followed later – in the second half of the 19th century – by illustrated travelogues with inserts of original large format prints.

This presentation of the corpus of images comprising SUMO traces the book’s unique history. All of the book’s pictures appear 1:1 as framed pages; additionally, there is a selection of original photographs, in black & white and color. Still other prints document the book’s own elaborate production and glamorous presentation. Newton’s fashion and nude photography, portraiture as well as advertising images hang side by side in equal standing. Some of these images can be found in other Newton publications, while others premiered in the book and may only now for the first time be seen on exhibit.

This “best of” selection overlooks not a single aspect of Newton’s opus. His portraits are intensely individual: Debra Winger returns our gaze while her half-hidden face fills the frame; David Bowie stoically bares his chest on the beach at Monte Carlo; and Liz Taylor bathes in the pool for Newton’s camera, a green parrot perched on her finger. Helmut Newton visually escorted the exclusive and eccentric lives of the rich and beautiful including all of its eroticism and gluttony. While doing so, he both served and questioned the clichés at the same time.

In order to understand both his work and the vehement reactions it often evoked, one should try to imagine the cultural tenor and the dominant public conventions at the time of their publication. It is only then that the controversy and provocation of many photographs fully emerges. In the early 1970s for example, his portrayal of two women passionately kissing – the one naked, the other in a tuxedo – was seen as a direct affront on social mores. It is since these times that Helmut Newton became known for his insertion of subtle as well as radical nudity into his fashion and product photography.

Finding the borders and overstepping them belong to the trademark of the photographer who scorns in constant battle the established notions of “good taste”. With his close-up reduction of a black stiletto heel, or the bulging fingers of a woman’s hand reaching greedily for dollar bills, Newton succeeded in producing symbolic images beyond compare. Helmut Newton’s seminal work remains singular and nonpareil. It is at the very latest while perusing SUMO that one realizes just how many icons of photographic history the photographer has indeed created.

As with previous exhibitions at the Helmut Newton Foundation, the work of Newton’s companions will be presented in parallel to SUMO. Mark Arbeit, George Holz and Just Loomis were students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, when they met Newton in the late 1970s; later they would assist him regularly.

Some of Mark Arbeit’s pictures are formally quite unusual. In his photo-technical experiments with deconstructed Polaroids enlarged onto photo paper, he reveals the other, flip side of the photographic image and its creation. Here and in his collages with African tribal art, Arbeit makes reference to experimental phases in the history of nude photography, for example in Surrealism. In another series, he portrays nudes in Parisian artist ateliers. The painters themselves are absent, represented only through their works on the easels and walls. The nudes in the studio medially paraphrase the paintings through their presence.

In addition to his contract celebrity portraiture that includes the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Madonna, George Holz also looks to the female form, naked and life-sized, in interiors or natural settings. Some of his more stylized images evoke stills from early Fritz Lang films, while others are strictly unaccessorized – such as his photograph of Rachele, reclining poolside in Hollywood. The reciprocal sexual attraction often evident in his images evokes a pastoral affinity reaching towards a mystical fusion of man and nature. What captures Holz’s eye here is timeless, natural nudity, occasionally cast by refined shadows varying subtly across the body’s surfaces.

Just Loomis opts for a direct and unadorned look at American everyday life. In black & white and color, we see the faces of young waitresses, skateboarders or passers-by looking back at us, uninvolved and unaffected. Independent projects that have emerged from his magazine work in fashion and beauty, such as his documentations of the fashion industry backstage or images from on the road, are now on display at the Helmut Newton Foundation. Hardly anything seems staged – these are intensely visual encounters with strangers. Timeless and yet contemporary, the portraits of Just Loomis play with the beauty and the banality of the moment.

Helmut Newton Foundation

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Artists, Books and Magazines, News, photography, raw art gallery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 32 other followers