Contemporaneous Extension


Waxing/Waning

March booms with the frenzy of New Yorkers eagerly awaiting Spring. Personally, I cannot help but anticipate my birthday (April 4th, mark it, send me something) and the culmination of yet another year. Luckily I’ve managed to find several of my favorite artists and ideas coming to the fore in the past few weeks.

My Interview with Berlinde de Bruyckere for Whitehot Magazine was definitely a highlight of the year. The Belgian artist mesmerized me with her wax sculpture of humans morphing into trees. They were painfully brilliant, combining the delicate decay of the psyche with the rooted bodily forms. After graduating from college I found these giants harshly relatable. I spoke with her at the opening of Into One-Another. To P.P.P at Hauser & Wirth (closed the 23rd of March). The show processed a new incarnation of her work, integrating drawings and sculpture simultaneously for the first time. The interview covers her reasoning for merging them as such, and how they factor into her sculptural practice. They provide more acute details and slivers of narrative that enmesh within the magnitude of her sculptural core. Here’s a short excerpt:

“de Bruyckere: This show is the first time in this group of work that it is so visual that they are carved out of different bodies. Before they were bigger and we closed the front and the back. Here I deeply needed to show you the insides and how hollow and black the insides can be. It’s a metaphor for emptiness and loneliness in a way. I was thinking about black holes, where all knowledge goes in and we can never get it back. There’s a lot of meaning in the black hole.”

German Expressionism at MoMA is a MUST-SEE SHOW. It carries us through the graphic impulse from the turn of the 20th Century through the 1940’s. These forty years of tension and war in Europe obviously effected the economy and social components of the Eastern Bloc. It is truly enlightening to see, however, how printing simultaneously challenged artists to push their technique and was an affordable medium through which they could continue their practice. The subject matter varies between frivolity early on and heavier caricatures of National Socialists or fatalities of war. Personal highlights included a further investigation of Ernest Ludwig Kirchner’s development, George Grosz’s prints, and Otto Dix’s full War series. It should be dually noted that MoMA has an impressive resource available to all: each of almost 3,200 images scanned and available on the website. The site also goes through Styles, Themes, and provides names of printers and publishers. The exhibition blossomed from a research project/grant that consisted of archiving all of these materials so VOILA! It’s times like these that I am truly thankful for the interweb.

 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'The Blue House in the Potholder District (Das Blaue Haus im Topflappenviertel),' 1909. Etching, Plate: 12 1/16 x 15 11/16" (30.6 x 39.8 cm) Sheet: 13 3/4 x 17 3/8" (35 x 44.1 cm). Paper: Beige, slightly textured, wove. Publisher: unpublished. Printer: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Dresden. Edition: 4 known impressions.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'The Blue House in the Potholder District (Das Blaue Haus im Topflappenviertel),' 1909. Etching, Plate: 12 1/16 x 15 11/16" (30.6 x 39.8 cm) Sheet: 13 3/4 x 17 3/8" (35 x 44.1 cm). Paper: Beige, slightly textured, wove. Publisher: unpublished. Printer: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Dresden. Edition: 4 known impressions.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Street, Dresden,' 1908 (reworked 1919; dated on painting 1907). Oil on canvas, 59 1/4" x 6' 6 7/8"

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Street, Dresden,' 1908 (reworked 1919; dated on painting 1907). Oil on canvas, 59 1/4" x 6' 6 7/8"

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'The Canoness in the Lake (Das Stiftsfräulein im See) (plate, folio 4) from Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death),' 1913. Woodcut from an illustrated book with five woodcuts, composition: 4 1/2 x 3 1/16" (11.5 x 7.8 cm); page: 9 3/16 x 7 1/8" (23.4 x 18.1 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: A. R. Meyer, Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Printer: Paul Knorr, Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Edition: 500.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'The Canoness in the Lake (Das Stiftsfräulein im See) (plate, folio 4) from Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod (The Canoness and Death),' 1913. Woodcut from an illustrated book with five woodcuts, composition: 4 1/2 x 3 1/16" (11.5 x 7.8 cm); page: 9 3/16 x 7 1/8" (23.4 x 18.1 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: A. R. Meyer, Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Printer: Paul Knorr, Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Edition: 500.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Street, Berlin,' 1913. Oil on canvas, 47 1/2 x 35 7/8"

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Street, Berlin,' 1913. Oil on canvas, 47 1/2 x 35 7/8"

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Head of Ludwig Schames (Kopf Ludwig Schames),'  1918. Woodcut, composition: 22 3/4 x 10 1/16" (57.8 x 25.5 cm); sheet: 24 x 16 1/8" (60.9 x 40.9 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt. Printer: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Davos-Frauenkirch, Switzerland. Edition: proof after the edition of approx. 120-180; unknown number of proofs before edition.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Head of Ludwig Schames (Kopf Ludwig Schames),' 1918. Woodcut, composition: 22 3/4 x 10 1/16" (57.8 x 25.5 cm); sheet: 24 x 16 1/8" (60.9 x 40.9 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt. Printer: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Davos-Frauenkirch, Switzerland. Edition: proof after the edition of approx. 120-180; unknown number of proofs before edition.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Trees on a Mountain Slope (Bäume am Berghang),'  1920. Woodcut with collaged woodcut additions, composition: 15 3/16 x 22 3/8" (38.6 x 56.9 cm); sheet (irreg.): 15 3/4 x 24 1/2" (40 x 62.3 cm). Paper: Blue, smooth, laid with collaged cream, smooth, laid (Ingres). Publisher: unpublished. Printer: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Davos-Frauenkirch, Switzerland. Edition: unique; plus 2 known impressions (state I and II), non-collaged.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Trees on a Mountain Slope (Bäume am Berghang),' 1920. Woodcut with collaged woodcut additions, composition: 15 3/16 x 22 3/8" (38.6 x 56.9 cm); sheet (irreg.): 15 3/4 x 24 1/2" (40 x 62.3 cm). Paper: Blue, smooth, laid with collaged cream, smooth, laid (Ingres). Publisher: unpublished. Printer: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Davos-Frauenkirch, Switzerland. Edition: unique; plus 2 known impressions (state I and II), non-collaged.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Large Cow Reclining (Grosse liegende Kuh),' 1929. Woodcut, composition (irreg.): 16 5/8 x 12 15/16" (42.3 x 32.8 cm); sheet (irreg.): 20 3/16 x 16" (51.2 x 40.7 cm). Paper: Pink, slightly textured, wove. Publisher: unpublished. Printer: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Davos-Frauenkirch, Switzerland. Edition: 3 known impressions.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Large Cow Reclining (Grosse liegende Kuh),' 1929. Woodcut, composition (irreg.): 16 5/8 x 12 15/16" (42.3 x 32.8 cm); sheet (irreg.): 20 3/16 x 16" (51.2 x 40.7 cm). Paper: Pink, slightly textured, wove. Publisher: unpublished. Printer: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Davos-Frauenkirch, Switzerland. Edition: 3 known impressions.

Skin Graft (Transplantation) from The War (Der Krieg) (1924). Etching, aquatint, and drypoint from a portfolio of fifty etching, aquatint and drypoints, plate: 7 13/16 x 5 13/16" (19.9 x 14.7 cm); sheet: 18 1/2 x 13 5/8" (47 x 34.6 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: Karl Nierendorf, Berlin. Printer: Otto Felsing, Berlin. Edition: 70; plus 1 proof each of states I and II; and 16 (state IV) published by the artist in 1961.

Otto Dix, 'Skin Graft (Transplantation)' from The War (Der Krieg), 1924. Etching, aquatint, and drypoint from a portfolio of fifty etching, aquatint and drypoints, plate: 7 13/16 x 5 13/16" (19.9 x 14.7 cm); sheet: 18 1/2 x 13 5/8" (47 x 34.6 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: Karl Nierendorf, Berlin. Printer: Otto Felsing, Berlin. Edition: 70; plus 1 proof each of states I and II; and 16 (state IV) published by the artist in 1961.

 

Otto Dix, ‘Dance of Death 1917 (Dead Man Heights) [Totentanz anno 17 (Höhe Toter Mann)],’ from The War (Der Krieg), 1924. Etching, aquatint, and drypoint from a portfolio of fifty etching, aquatint and drypoints, plate: 9 5/8 x 11 5/8″ (24.5 x 29.5 cm); sheet: 13 11/16 x 18 3/8″ (34.8 x 46.6 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: Karl Nierendorf, Berlin. Printer: Otto Felsing, Berlin. Edition: 70.

Near Langemarck (February 1918) [Bei Langemarck (Februar 1918)] from The War (Der Krieg) (1924). Etching and drypoint from a portfolio of fifty etching, aquatint and drypoints, plate: 9 5/8 x 11 3/4" (24.4 x 29.9 cm); sheet: 13 3/4 x 18 1/2" (35 x 47 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, laid. Publisher: Karl Nierendorf, Berlin. Printer: Otto Felsing, Berlin. Edition: 70.

Otto Dix, ‘Battle-Weary Troops Retreat (Battle of the Somme) [Abgekämpfte Truppe geht zurück (Sommeschlacht)],’ from The War (Der Krieg), 1924. Etching from a portfolio of fifty etching, aquatint and drypoints, plate: 7 11/16 x 11 7/16″ (19.5 x 29.1 cm); sheet: 13 3/4 x 18 1/2″ (35 x 47 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: Karl Nierendorf, Berlin. Printer: Otto Felsing, Berlin. Edition: 70.

The Outposts in the Trenches Must Maintain the Bombardment at Night (Die Sappenposten haben nachts das Feuer zu unterhalten) from The War (Der Krieg) (1924). Etching, aquatint, and drypoint from a portfolio of fifty etching, aquatint and drypoints, plate: 10 1/16 x 11 9/16" (25.5 x 29.3 cm); sheet: 13 3/4 x 18 9/16" (35 x 47.2 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Printer: Otto Felsing, Berlin. Edition: 70; plus 20 published by the artist in 1961.

Otto Dix, 'The Outposts in the Trenches Must Maintain the Bombardment at Night (Die Sappenposten haben nachts das Feuer zu unterhalten),' from The War (Der Krieg), 1924. Etching, aquatint, and drypoint from a portfolio of fifty etching, aquatint and drypoints, plate: 10 1/16 x 11 9/16" (25.5 x 29.3 cm); sheet: 13 3/4 x 18 9/16" (35 x 47.2 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Printer: Otto Felsing, Berlin. Edition: 70; plus 20 published by the artist in 1961.

Furthermore, in their project of scanning their plethora of prints, the MoMA finally has a GREAT SAMPLING of Klee prints. SFMOMA had a thorough showing of his early prints this past autumn, I’ve been hungry for Klee ever since!

Little Castle in the Air (Luftschlösschen) 1915. Etching, plate: 3 1/2 x 8 5/16" (8.9 x 21.1 cm); sheet: 9 7/16 x 12 3/4" (24 x 32.4 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove (van Gelder Zonen). Publisher: Paul Klee, Munich. Printer: Heinrich Wetteroth, Munich. Edition: approx. 30; plus 4 known proofs and 2 known trial proofs.

Paul Klee, 'Little Castle in the Air (Luftschlösschen),' 1915. Etching, plate: 3 1/2 x 8 5/16" (8.9 x 21.1 cm); sheet: 9 7/16 x 12 3/4" (24 x 32.4 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove (van Gelder Zonen). Publisher: Paul Klee, Munich. Printer: Heinrich Wetteroth, Munich. Edition: approx. 30; plus 4 known proofs and 2 known trial proofs.

The Angler (Der Angler) 1921. Oil transfer drawing, watercolor and ink on paper with watercolor and ink borders on board, 19 7/8 x 12 1/2" (50.5 x 31.8 cm). Paper: Laid paper on board.

Paul Klee, 'The Angler (Der Angler),' 1921. Oil transfer drawing, watercolor and ink on paper with watercolor and ink borders on board, 19 7/8 x 12 1/2" (50.5 x 31.8 cm). Paper: Laid paper on board.

Der Held mit dem Flügel (The Hero with the Wing) from the series Inventions (Inventionen)  1905. Etching and drypoint, plate: 10 x 6 1/4" (25.4 x 15.9 cm); sheet: 16 x 12 1/16" (40.7 x 30.7 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: Paul Klee, Bern. Printer: Max Girardet, Bern. Edition: approx. 30.

Paul Klee, 'Der Held mit dem Flügel (The Hero with the Wing),' from the series Inventions (Inventionen), 1905. Etching and drypoint, plate: 10 x 6 1/4" (25.4 x 15.9 cm); sheet: 16 x 12 1/16" (40.7 x 30.7 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove. Publisher: Paul Klee, Bern. Printer: Max Girardet, Bern. Edition: approx. 30.

The Sublime Side postcard for "Bauhaus Exhibition Weimar 1923" (Die erhabene Seite Postkarte zur "Bauhaus-Ausstellung Weimar 1923")  1923. Lithograph, composition: 5 5/8 x 2 15/16" (14.3 x 7.4 cm); sheet: 5 7/8 x 4 1/8" (15 x 10.5 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove (board). Publisher: Staatliches Bauhaus, Weimar. Printer: Reineck & Klein, Weimar. Edition: unknown (approx. 1000).

Paul Klee, 'The Sublime Side postcard' for "Bauhaus Exhibition Weimar 1923" (Die erhabene Seite Postkarte zur "Bauhaus-Ausstellung Weimar 1923"), 1923. Lithograph, composition: 5 5/8 x 2 15/16" (14.3 x 7.4 cm); sheet: 5 7/8 x 4 1/8" (15 x 10.5 cm). Paper: Cream, smooth, wove (board). Publisher: Staatliches Bauhaus, Weimar. Printer: Reineck & Klein, Weimar. Edition: unknown (approx. 1000).

”]

James Siena at Pace Gallery really impressed me last week when I attended the opening on Thursday. The imagery was breathtaking, a delve into my subconscious meddling and repetitive nagging. Despite the emphasis on pattern, the artist’s hand still exists and has a playful translation. Like Nicky always says, life is a spiral: you may not feel yourself moving up or down, but you are. Similarly, it takes a minute for the tone of Siena’s work to sink in but it definitely is there. Some are transcendental, some are heavily pessimistic. The back room contained more figurative work still integrating patterns of teeth, hair, and measle-esque bumps onto a variety of heads. Open through April 30 at 510 W. 25th Street.

James Siena, 'Non-Slice: Ten Progressive Proofs,' 2005-2009  engraving on Hahnemüle paper 17-1/4 x 15" (43.8 x 38.1 cm), 10 panels

James Siena, ‘Non-Slice: Ten Progressive Proofs,’ 2005-2009  engraving on Hahnemüle paper 17-1/4 x 15″ (43.8 x 38.1 cm), 10 panels

 

Leviathan

James Siena, ‘Leviathan,’ 2009-2011, enamel on aluminum, 29-1/16 x 22-11/16″ (73.8 x 57.6 cm)

Pharynx Dentata

James Siena, ‘Pharynx Dentata,’ 2010, enamel on aluminum, 29-1/16 x 22-11/16″ (73.8 x 57.6 cm)

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1 Comment so far
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The Otto Dix etchings look great… I have to check out this show.

I visited James Siena’s studio when I was in school– his work then (or the works he showed us) were more geometric and less figurative… maybe a little less accessible. Now I’m intrigued by his newer pieces.

Laurie

Comment by Laurie L-G




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