Saturday 19 February 2011

Jean-Michel Basquiat

I’m going to mix in a look at some more contemporary artists alongside the extensive ‘back catalogue’ of mid-century artists. It struck me that there was a sort of continuity of form between the works of Richard Diebenkorn and that of the late ‘graffiti’ artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The subject matter could hardly be more different, but the structure, colour and vivacity have a lot in common.

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) was born in New York in 1960, his father from Haiti, his mother Puertorican. In 1978 Basquiat, along with his friend Al Diaz, began his artistic career as a graffiti artist in the streets of New York. He signed his graffito ‘SAMO’ which stood for ‘Same old Shit’. He earned a living by selling painted postcards and T-shirts, and at this time was making assemblages from scrap metal. He soon caught the attention of the New York art scene. Basquiat met Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, both of whom had found their inspiration in the graffiti scene.

Basquiat's very original painting style on paper and canvas made him a star almost overnight. In 1980 he was included in the Times Square Show, which drew a lot of interest in his work. 1981 the art critic René Ricard published the article ‘The Radiant Child’ in the magazine Artforum, which brought Basquiat to the attention of the art world.

In late 1981 he joined the Annina Nosei gallery in SoHo, Manhattan. By 1982, Basquiat was showing regularly, and alongside Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Francesco Clemente and Enzo Cucchi, was involved with the Neo-expressionist movement. He was represented in Los Angeles by the Gagosian Gallery, and throughout Europe by Bruno Bischofberger.

In 1982 Basquiat met Andy Warhol, with whom he collaborated from 1984 to 1986. Basquiat had a reputation for working on his paintings in Armani suits, and often appeared in public in the same paint-splattered $1,000 suits.

In 1986 Basquiat had left the Annina Nosei gallery and was showing in the famous Mary Boone gallery in SoHo. In 1986 he appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in a feature entitled ‘New Art, New Money: The Marketing of an American Artist’. He was a successful artist in this period, however increasing heroin addiction began to interfere with his personal relationships.

After Warhol died in 1987, Basquiat became increasingly isolated, and his heroin addiction and depression became more severe. After an attempt at sobriety during a trip to Maui, Hawaii, Basquiat died of a heroin overdose in his art studio on Great Jones Street in New York City's NoHo neighbourhood in 1988, at the age of 27.

This is the first of a two-part look at the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat:

 1980-81 Untitled

 1981 Bird on Money

 1981 Old Cars

 1981 Untitled

 1981 Untitled 

 1981 Warrior

 1982 Back of the Neck

 1982 Boy and Dog in a Johhnypump

 1982 Jawbone of an Ass

 1982 Untitled

 1982 Untitled [Angel]

 1982 Untitled [Boxer]

 1982 Untitled [Prophet I]

 1982 Untitled [Skull]

 1982-83 Untitled [Self-portrait]

 1983 Beat Bop

 1983 Catharsis

 1983 Hector

 1983 In this Case

 1983 Untitled

Thursday 17 February 2011

Vera Lutter photographer

A little change of pace and a look at the work of another photographer. Vera Lutter was born in Kaiserslautern, Germany, in 1960. Since completing her photographic studies at both the Munich Art Academy and the School of Visual Arts in New York City, her work has been exhibited in major exhibitions worldwide, including the Kunsthalle, Basel, the Dia Center for the Arts, New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Lutter uses the camera obscura, the most basic photographic device, to render in massive form images that serve as faithful transcriptions of immense architectural spaces. The camera obscura was originally developed during the Renaissance as an aid in the recording of the visible world.

She is best known for monumental black-and-white photographs of cityscapes. Her unique silver gelatin prints are negatives made by transforming a room into a pinhole camera obscura chamber. Directly exposed, often over many hours, onto photosensitive paper, these vistas appear as solarized images, their ethereal platinum tones imbuing the scenes with a haunting melancholy. From an early concentration on the Manhattan skyline, Lutter has turned lately to more industrial sites, including a dry dock, a zeppelin factory, an airport runway, a marina and a deserted warehouse. The last colour images shown here are from a suite of nine ordinary photographs.

1997 Lemwerder Airbase; August 15, 1997

1997 Rockefeller Center, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

 2000 Kvaerner Shipyard, Rostock IX

2000 Pepsi Cola, Long Island City, Interior (hand print detail) September, 2000

2000 Pepsi Cola, Long Island City, Interior VII; September 21-30, 2000

 2001 333 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago

2001 Frankfurt Airport; April 28, 2001

 2003 Holzmarktstrasse, Berlin

 2003 Pepsi Cola Interior XXII

 2003 Studio IX

2004 Battersea Power Station XXVI, July 29, 2004

2005 Grace Building; March 4, 2005

 2005 San Marco, Venice XIX

 2006 Rheinbraun   XVIII

 2006 Rheinbraun XVI

2006 Rheinbraun; September 2, 2006

 2007 Campo Santa Sofia, Venice XXIII

  2008 Ca del Duca Sforza, Venice

2008 Calle Vallaresso, Venice XXVII; January 31, 2008

 2008 San Giorgio, Venice IX

 2008 San Giorgio, Venice XVIII

2009 Clock Tower, Brooklyn, LXVII, June 29, 2009

 2009 Linger On

2010 Chephren and Cheops Pyramids, Giza; April 12, 2010

2013 Effelsberg Telescope; September 11, 2013

2014 Empire state building, VI; November 30, 2014

2015 Brooklyn Bridge; June 10, 2015

2015 Chrysler Building, April 1, 2015

2015 Grace Building; April 8, 2015

2015 Temple of Athena, Paestum, IX; October 12, 2015

2008-9 Samar Hussein suite of nine prints (giclee)

 Mohammed Jassim from Samar Hussein suite

 Muna Taha Abbas from Samar Hussein suite