The Hot Summer Arts
Dear Friend of Framing,
Summer seemed to have come early for a while, and the SoCal area has been sweltering already. But, with the worst of it now passed for another week and spring back in it's rightful place in Los Angeles, we can temporarily forget thoughts of air conditioning and shade and turn our attention back to the great art around LA!
As you join in on this spring's art walks, gallery openings, and amazing auctions, make sure that you do so with a mind for protecting, preserving, and displaying your art purchases in the way they deserve! Conservation is our specialty, and no one can beat the design experience of our expert art consultants, so stop in to any of our 9 SoCal locations to discuss the options for protecting your newest family heirlooms with one of our design consultants.
And to help you both preserve your fine art and priceless memories, and make them look the best that they can be, FrameStore will be offering 25% off the top of the line Tru Vue Museum Glass the entire month of June! With the best UV protection available and the most amazing non-glare properties anywhere, it's to forget that Museum Glass also gives the best true to life color transmission. So if you have a piece of art that deserves the best, June will be the month to get it!
With this last week's surreal heat wave beginning to slowly fade like a lingering dream, we take the opportunity to launch a new category in our In The Studio: Art education series. Over the course of the coming months we will explore a number of major art movements and styles, starting this time with Surrealism.
And as always we bring you some of the latest gallery openings, art shows and events, and Art World news from around the globe, so don't miss out on what is happening of interest to the art scene in southern California in June!
And, don't forget to check out the newest addition to FrameStore's commitment to our clients over at our blog. Newsletters only happen once a month, but our art blog can keep you up to date on the newest news, information, gallery and museum events as well as help educate and enlighten you on everything about art, design, and framing. So, drop over and see what we have happening at the FrameStore Blog today!
Summer is just a short few weeks away, with all the fun that it brings, and FrameStore wants to help you make those memories last!
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Stop by one of our stores this week to have one of our Art and Design experts help you to turn those precious memories that will only come once into lasting and lovely art that will bring joy for decades.
Art World News:
Venice Art Walk & Auction: Annual Fundraiser for Venice Family Clinic
Mark your Calendars for May 19, 2013!!
The Venice Art Walk & Auction, the largest art walk in Southern California and community fundraiser to benefit Venice Family Clinic, a community healthcare system that provides quality care to 24,000 low-income, uninsured, and homeless families and individuals on the Westside of Los Angeles through 106,000 patient visits each year. With incredible home and studio tours, a taste-bud tingling food fare and the largest silent art auction in the area, Venice Art Walk & Auctions raises over $600,000 annually.
Read the full article at our blog:
The German-born writer, painter, and film-maker Hans Richter believed that above all else an artist's responsibility was to speak to society on matters of immediate social import. His art, beginning with his Cubist influenced works prior to WWI, through his association with the Dada movement, and Surrealism, and eventually even into abstract film are always attempts to be socially relevant, and often overtly political.
His career, punctuated by the two world wars, spanned the spectrum of mediums, and modernist styles, as well as the globe itself. In 1940, Richter moved from Switzerland to the United States where he taught film at New York City College, though he would only make 3 more films before his death in 1976.
The exhibition Encounters, at LACMA is a collection of 150 works from both Richter's career as well as complementing pieces by his contemporaries and colleagues. Richter's films, including a few that have never been released, will be shown.
April 21, 2013 - August 19, 2013
Drawing from such traditions as Surrealism, Dada, and Pop art, Swiss born artist Urs Fischer's self titled exhibition at MOCA is a grand exercise in unpredictability. The obvious love of contrasting and and juxtaposed imagery that always seems to be infused with a disturbing sense of violent motion and humorous irreverence is everywhere in evidence with this sprawling series of installations.
The work on display at Grand Avenue is a sampling of the last two decades worth of projects, that lead the viewer through what seems a very carefully choreographed visual space that includes figures, skeletons, furniture and architecture. All distorted, and skewed and broken.
The display at the Geffen Contemporary is a collaborative exhibition in clay that was created by 1,500 individuals invited to contribute their efforts in the weeks prior to the opening. Animals, made from clay by the collaborators are interspersed throughout Fischer's own work, giving the exhibition a wider sense of variation and style.
If you visit the show, be sure to leave us a comment on our blog at:
URS FISCHER is organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and curated by Jessica Morgan, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern.
The exhibition is made possible by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation, Larry Gagosian, and Peter Morton.
Generous support of the exhibition is provided by the Margaret and Daniel Loeb Third Point Foundation, The Brant Foundation, Maja Hoffmann, Adam Lindemann and Amalia Dayan, and Eva Presenhuber.
Additional support is provided by Tony G. Salame, Aishti Foundation, and Sotheby's.
In-kind media support is provided by KCRW 89.9 FM and Los Angeles magazine.
In the Studio:
Art Styles and Movements:
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The aim was to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality." Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself.
Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact. Leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.
Surrealism developed out of the Dada activities during World War I and the most important center of the movement was Paris. From the 1920s onward, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film, and music of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, philosophy, and social theory.
The Beginnings of the Movement
The word surrealist was coined by Guillaume Apollinaire and first appeared in the preface to his play Les Mamelles de Tirésias, which was written in 1903 and first performed in 1917.
World War I scattered the writers and artists who had been based in Paris, and in the interim many became involved with Dada, believing that excessive rational thought and bourgeois values had brought the conflict of the war upon the world. The Dadaists protested with anti-art gatherings, performances, writings and art works. After the war, when they returned to Paris, the Dada activities continued.
During the war, André Breton, who had trained in medicine and psychiatry, served in a neurological hospital where he used Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic methods with soldiers suffering from shell-shock. Meeting the young writer Jacques Vaché, Breton felt that Vaché was the spiritual son of writer and pataphysics founder Alfred Jarry. He admired the young writer's anti-social attitude and disdain for established artistic tradition. Later Breton wrote, "In literature, I was successively taken with Rimbaud, with Jarry, with Apollinaire, with Nouveau, with Lautréamont, but it is Jacques Vaché to whom I owe the most."
Back in Paris, Breton joined in Dada activities and started the literary journal Littérature along with Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault. They began experimenting with automatic writing-spontaneously writing without censoring their thoughts-and published the writings, as well as accounts of dreams, in the magazine. Breton and Soupault delved deeper into automatism and wrote The Magnetic Fields (1920).
Continuing to write, they attracted more artists and writers; they came to believe that automatism was a better tactic for societal change than the Dada attack on prevailing values. The group grew to include Paul Éluard, Benjamin Péret, René Crevel, Robert Desnos, Jacques Baron, Max Morise, Pierre Naville, Roger Vitrac, Gala Éluard, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, Hans Arp, Georges Malkine, Michel Leiris, Georges Limbour, Antonin Artaud, Raymond Queneau, André Masson, Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prévert, and Yves Tanguy.
Cover of the first issue of La Révolution surréaliste, December 1924.
As they developed their philosophy, they believed that Surrealism would advocate the idea that ordinary and depictive expressions are vital and important, but that the sense of their arrangement must be open to the full range of imagination according to the Hegelian Dialectic. They also looked to the Marxist dialectic and the work of such theorists as Walter Benjamin and Herbert Marcuse.
Freud's work with free association, dream analysis, and the unconscious was of utmost importance to the Surrealists in developing methods to liberate imagination. They embraced idiosyncrasy, while rejecting the idea of an underlying madness. Later, Salvador Dalí explained it as: "There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad."
Beside the use of dream analysis, they emphasized that "one could combine inside the same frame, elements not normally found together to produce illogical and startling effects." Breton included the idea of the startling juxtapositions in his 1924 manifesto, taking it in turn from a 1918 essay by poet Pierre Reverdy, which said: "a juxtaposition of two more or less distant realities. The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant and true, the stronger the image will be -- the greater its emotional power and poetic reality."
The group aimed to revolutionize human experience, in its personal, cultural, social, and political aspects. They wanted to free people from false rationality, and restrictive customs and structures. Breton proclaimed that the true aim of Surrealism was "long live the social revolution, and it alone!" To this goal, at various times Surrealists aligned with communism and anarchism.
In 1924 they declared their philosophy in the first "Surrealist Manifesto". That same year they established the Bureau of Surrealist Research, and began publishing the journal La Révolution surréaliste.
The Golden Age of Surrealism
Throughout the 1930s, Surrealism continued to become more visible to the public at large. A Surrealist group developed in Britain and, according to Breton, their 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition was a high-water mark of the period and became the model for international exhibitions.
Dalí and Magritte created the most widely recognized images of the movement. Dalí joined the group in 1929, and participated in the rapid establishment of the visual style between 1930 and 1935.
Surrealism as a visual movement had found a method: to expose psychological truth by stripping ordinary objects of their normal significance, in order to create a compelling image that was beyond ordinary formal organization, in order to evoke empathy from the viewer.
1931 was a year when several Surrealist painters produced works which marked turning points in their stylistic evolution: Magritte's Voice of Space (La Voix des airs) is an example of this process, where three large spheres representing bells hang above a landscape. Another Surrealist landscape from this same year is Yves Tanguy's Promontory Palace (Palais promontoire), with its molten forms and liquid shapes. Liquid shapes became the trademark of Dalí, particularly in his The Persistence of Memory, which features the image of watches that sag as if they were melting.
The characteristics of this style-a combination of the depictive, the abstract, and the psychological-came to stand for the alienation which many people felt in the modern period, combined with the sense of reaching more deeply into the psyche, to be "made whole with one's individuality".
Between 1930 and 1933, the Surrealist Group in Paris issued the periodical Le Surrealisme au service de la revolution as the successor of La Révolution surréaliste.
From 1936 through 1938 Wolfgang Paalen, Gordon Onslow Ford, and Roberto Matta joined the group. Paalen contributed Fumage and Onslow Ford Coulage as new pictorial automatic techniques.
Long after personal, political and professional tensions fragmented the Surrealist group, Magritte and Dalí continued to define a visual program in the arts. This program reached beyond painting, to encompass photography as well, as can be seen from a Man Ray self-portrait, whose use of assemblage influenced Robert Rauschenberg's collage boxes.
During the 1930s Peggy Guggenheim, an important American art collector, married Max Ernst and began promoting work by other Surrealists such as Yves Tanguy and the British artist John Tunnard.
The Movement Post-War
World War II created havoc not only for the general population of Europe but especially for the European artists and writers that opposed Fascism, and Nazism. Many important artists fled to North America, and relative safety in the United States. The art community in New York City in particular was already grappling with Surrealist ideas and several artists like Max Ernst, Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Roberto Matta, converged closely with the surrealist artists themselves, albeit with some suspicion and reservations. Ideas concerning the unconscious and dream imagery were quickly embraced.
By the Second World War, the taste of the American avant-garde in New York City swung decisively towards Abstract Expressionism with the support of key taste makers, including Peggy Guggenheim, Leo Steinberg and Clement Greenberg. However, it should not be easily forgotten that Abstract Expressionism itself grew directly out of the meeting of American (particularly New York) artists with European Surrealists self-exiled during World War II. In particular, Arshile Gorky and Wolfgang Paalen influenced the development of this American art form, which, as Surrealism did, celebrated the instantaneous human act as the well-spring of creativity. The early work of many Abstract Expressionists reveals a tight bond between the more superficial aspects of both movements, and the emergence (at a later date) of aspects of Dadaistic humor in such artists as Rauschenberg sheds an even starker light upon the connection. Up until the emergence of Pop Art, Surrealism can be seen to have been the single most important influence on the sudden growth in American arts, and even in Pop, some of the humor manifested in Surrealism can be found, often turned to a cultural criticism.
The Second World War overshadowed, for a time, almost all intellectual and artistic production. In 1940 Yves Tanguy married American Surrealist painter Kay Sage. In 1941, Breton went to the United States, where he co-founded the short-lived magazine VVV with Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and the American artist David Hare. However, it was the American poet, Charles Henri Ford, and his magazine View which offered Breton a channel for promoting Surrealism in the United States.
The View special issue on Duchamp was crucial for the public understanding of Surrealism in America. It stressed his connections to Surrealist methods, offered interpretations of his work by Breton, as well as Breton's view that Duchamp represented the bridge between early modern movements, such as Futurism and Cubism, to Surrealism. Wolfgang Paalen left the group in 1942 due to political/philosophical differences with Breton, founding his journal Dyn.
Though the war proved disruptive for Surrealism, the works continued. Many Surrealist artists continued to explore their vocabularies, including Magritte. Many members of the Surrealist movement continued to correspond and meet. While Dalí may have been excommunicated by Breton, he neither abandoned his themes from the 1930s, including references to the "persistence of time" in a later painting, nor did he become a depictive pompier. His classic period did not represent so sharp a break with the past as some descriptions of his work might portray, and some, such as Thirion, argued that there were works of his after this period that continued to have some relevance for the movement.
During the 1940s Surrealism's influence was also felt in England and America. Mark Rothko took an interest in biomorphic figures, and in England Henry Moore, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Paul Nash used or experimented with Surrealist techniques. However, Conroy Maddox, one of the first British Surrealists whose work in this genre dated from 1935, remained within the movement, and organized an exhibition of current Surrealist work in 1978 in response to an earlier show which infuriated him because it did not properly represent Surrealism. Maddox's exhibition, titled Surrealism Unlimited, was held in Paris and attracted international attention. He held his last one-man show in 2002, and died three years later. Magritte's work became more realistic in its depiction of actual objects, while maintaining the element of juxtaposition, such as in 1951's Personal Values (Les Valeurs Personnelles) and 1954's Empire of Light (L'Empire des lumières). Magritte continued to produce works which have entered artistic vocabulary, such as Castle in the Pyrenees (Le Château des Pyrénées), which refers back to Voix from 1931, in its suspension over a landscape.
Other figures from the Surrealist movement were expelled. Several of these artists, like Roberto Matta (by his own description) "remained close to Surrealism."
After the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Endre Rozsda returned to Paris to continue creating his own word that had been transcended the surrealism. The preface to his first exhibition in the Furstenberg Gallery (1957) was written by Breton yet.
Many new artists explicitly took up the Surrealist banner for themselves. Dorothea Tanning and Louise Bourgeois continued to work, for example, with Tanning's Rainy Day Canape from 1970. Duchamp continued to produce sculpture in secret including an installation with the realistic depiction of a woman viewable only through a peephole.
Breton continued to write and espouse the importance of liberating of the human mind, as with the publication The Tower of Light in 1952. Breton's return to France after the War, began a new phase of Surrealist activity in Paris, and his critiques of rationalism and dualism found a new audience. Breton insisted that Surrealism was an ongoing revolt against the reduction of humanity to market relationships, religious gestures and misery and to espouse the importance of liberating the human mind.
There is no clear consensus about the end, or if there was an end, to the Surrealist movement. Some art historians suggest that World War II effectively disbanded the movement. However, art historian Sarane Alexandrian (1970) states, "the death of André Breton in 1966 marked the end of Surrealism as an organized movement." There have also been attempts to tie the obituary of the movement to the 1989 death of Salvador Dalí.
In the 1960s, the artists and writers grouped around the Situationist International were closely associated with Surrealism. While Guy Debord was critical of and distanced himself from Surrealism, others, such as Asger Jorn, were explicitly using Surrealist techniques and methods. The events of May 1968 in France included a number of Surrealist ideas, and among the slogans the students spray-painted on the walls of the Sorbonne were familiar Surrealist ones. Joan Miró would commemorate this in a painting titled May 1968. There were also groups who associated with both currents and were more attached to Surrealism, such as the Revolutionary Surrealist Group.
In Europe and all over the world since the 1960s, artists have combined Surrealism with what is believed to be a classical 16th century technique called mischtechnik, a kind of mix of egg tempera and oil paint rediscovered by Ernst Fuchs, a contemporary of Dalí, and now practiced and taught by many followers, including Robert Venosa and Chris Mars. The former curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Michael Bell, has called this style "veristic Surrealism", which depicts with meticulous clarity and great detail a world analogous to the dream world. Other tempera artists, such as Robert Vickrey, regularly depict Surreal imagery.
During the 1980s, behind the Iron Curtain, Surrealism again entered into politics with an underground artistic opposition movement known as the Orange Alternative. The Orange Alternative was created in 1981 by Waldemar Fydrych (alias 'Major'), a graduate of history and art history at the University of Wrocław. They used Surrealist symbolism and terminology in their large scale happenings organized in the major Polish cities during the Jaruzelski regime, and painted Surrealist graffiti on spots covering up anti-regime slogans. Major himself was the author of a "Manifesto of Socialist Surrealism". In this manifesto, he stated that the socialist (communist) system had become so Surrealistic that it could be seen as an expression of art itself.
Surrealistic art also remains popular with museum patrons. The Guggenheim Museum in New York City held an exhibit, Two Private Eyes, in 1999, and in 2001 Tate Modern held an exhibition of Surrealist art that attracted over 170,000 visitors. In 2002 the Met in New York City held a show, Desire Unbound, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris a show called La Révolution surréaliste.
c 2013 Wikipedia
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