Archive for January, 2012

January 28, 2012

Annie Leibovitz

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut,  Annie Leibovitz is the third of six children. She is a third-generation American whose great-grandparents were Jewish immigrants, from Central and Eastern Europe. Her father’s parents had emigrated from Romania.  Her mother, Marilyn Leibovitz, was a modern dance instructor of Estonian Jewish heritage; her father, Sam Leibovitz, was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. The family moved frequently with her father’s duty assignments, and she took her first pictures when he was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War.  In high school, she became interested in various artistic endeavors, and began to write and play music. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied painting. For several years, she continued to develop her photography skills while working various jobs, including a stint on a kibbutz in Amir, Israel, for several months in 1969.

When Leibovitz returned to the United States in 1970, she started her career as staff photographer, working for the just launched Rolling Stone magazine. In 1973, publisher Jann Wenner named Leibovitz chief photographer of Rolling Stone, a job she would hold for 10 years. Leibovitz worked for the magazine until 1983, and her intimate photographs of celebrities helped define the Rolling Stone look.  While working for Rolling Stone, Leibovitz became more aware of the other magazines. Richard Avedon’s portraits were an important and powerful example in her life. She learned that you can work for magazines and still do your own personal work, which for her was the most important thing. It is much more intimate and tells a story for her as she works with people who love her and who will “Open their hearts and souls and lives to you.”

Photographers such as Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson influenced her during her time at the San Francisco Art Institute. “Their style of personal reportage – taken in a graphic way – was what we were taught to emulate.” Leibovitz photographed The Rolling Stones in San Francisco in 1971 and 1972, and served as the concert-tour photographer for Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas ’75. Her favorite photo from the tour was a photo of Mick Jagger in an elevator.

On December 8, 1980, Leibovitz had a photo shoot with John Lennon for Rolling Stone, promising him that he would make the cover.   She had initially tried to get a picture with just Lennon alone, which is what Rolling Stone wanted, but Lennon insisted that both he and Yoko Ono be on the cover. Leibovitz then tried to re-create something like the kissing scene from the Double Fantasy album cover, a picture that she loved. She had John remove his clothes and curl up next to Yoko. Leibovitz recalls, “What is interesting is she said she’d take her top off and I said, ‘Leave everything on’ — not really preconceiving the picture at all. Then he curled up next to her and it was very, very strong. You couldn’t help but feel that she was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I think it was amazing to look at the first Polaroid and they were both very excited. John said, ‘You’ve captured our relationship exactly. Promise me it’ll be on the cover.’ I looked him in the eye and we shook on it.”  Leibovitz was the last person to professionally photograph Lennon—he was shot and killed five hours later.  The photograph was subsequently re-created in 2009 by John and Yoko’s son Sean Lennon, posing with his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, with male/female roles reversed (Sean clothed, Kemp naked),  and by Henry Bond and Sam Taylor-Wood in their YBA pastiche October 26, 1993.

Great Links:

Pilgrimage took Annie Leibovitz

January 24, 2012

Luke Jerram








Swine Flu






Artist Luke Jerram Since his professional career as an artist began in 1997, Luke Jerram has created a number of extraordinary art projects which have excited and inspired people around the globe. Based in the UK, Luke Jerram’s practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations, live arts projects and gifts. 
This body of glass work has been developed since 2004. Made to contemplate the global impact of each disease, the artworks were created as alternative representations of viruses to the artificially coloured imagery we receive through the media. In fact, viruses have no colour as they are smaller than the wavelength of light. By extracting the colour from the imagery and creating jewel like beautiful sculptures in glass, a complex tension has arisen between the artworks’ beauty and what they represent.

His transparent and colourless glassworks consider how the artificial colouring of scientific microbiological imagery, affects our understanding of these phenomena. See these examples of HIV imagery. If some images are coloured for scientific purposes, and others altered simply for aesthetic reasons, how can a viewer tell the difference? How many people believe viruses are brightly coloured? Are there any colour conventions and what kind of ‘presence’ do pseudocoloured images have that ‘naturally’ coloured specimens don’t? How does the choice of different colours affect their reception?

Photographs of Jerram’s glass artworks are now used widely in medical journals, text books and media stories and are seen as useful representations of virology within the scientific community. In 2009 his work was used in the Lancet, the British Medical Journal and on the front cover of Nature Magazine.  The sculptures are designed in consultation with virologists from the University of Bristol, using a combination of different scientific photographs and models. They are made in collaboration with glassblowers Kim George, Brian Jones and Norman Veitch.


January 20, 2012

Thomas Downing

Thomas Downing was born in Suffolk, Virginia. He studied at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. He then studied at the Pratt Institute, a well-known art school in Brooklyn, New York, until 1950. That year he received a grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, enabling him to travel to Europe, where he studied briefly at the Académie Julian in Paris.

In 1951 he returned to the United States, and after serving in the U.S. Army, settled in Washington, D.C., where he began to teach, in 1953. The following summer, he enrolled in a summer institute at Catholic University, studying under Kenneth Noland. He became a friend of Noland, who became a significant influence on Downing’s art and who was one of the founders of the Washington Color Field Movement.  In the late 1950s, Downing shared a studio with Howard Mehring, another artist of the Washington Color School and Color Field painting. In 1964 Clement Greenberg included Noland, Mehring, Downing and others in his traveling museum exhibition called Post-painterly Abstraction. From 1965 to 1968, Downing taught at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. There he taught several people who in their turn became artists influenced by Downing’s ideas, including Sam Gilliam.

His paintings to a large extent consisted of circles arranged in precise patterns on the canvas, with colors often chosen according to ideas of symmetry. Downing’s Spot Paintings are his best known works.  Downing’s work explores the formal possibilities of color and color-space, freeing it from traditional associations, making it the sole subject of his compositions. The Phillips Collection’s work, Dream Rate (1962) illustrates his distinctive style: circles of varying hues and sizes appear to float within undefined space, each particular set of colors on a different plane confronting the viewer with an essentially flat composition that simultaneously alludes to space. Downing’s specific color choices suggest an awareness of Josef Albers’s use of color-space illusionism, the theories that might have been transmitted from Noland. Yet Downing declared that the pulsing effect of his color-mediated space was related to Helen Frankenthaler’s and Morris Louis’s works.

January 5, 2012

Mies van der Rohe

“God is in the details”

Crown Hall

Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois 1950

                                                                  Barcelona Pavilion building

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, are widely regarded as the pioneering masters of Modern architecture. Mies, like many of his post World War I contemporaries, sought to establish a new architectural style that could represent modern times just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He created an influential twentieth century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces. He strived towards an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of free-flowing open space. He called his buildings “skin and bones” architecture. He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design. He is often associated with the aphorisms “less is more” and “God is in the details”.

Mies van der Rohe was born in Aachen, Germany, on march 27, 1886 after having trained with his father, a master stonemason.  At 19 he moved to Berlin, where he worked for Bruno Paul, the Art Nouveau architect and furniture designer.  At 20 he received his first independent commission, to plan a house for a philosopher (alois riehl).
In 1908 he began working for the architect Peter Behrens. he studied the architecture of the Prussian Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Frank Lloyd Wright.  He opened his own office in Berlin in 1912, after world war I, he began studying the skyscraper and designed two innovative steel-framed towers encased in glass. one of them was the friedrichstrasse skyscraper, designed in 1921 for a competition. it was never built, although it drew critical praise and foreshadowed his skyscraper designs of the late 40s and 50s.

In 1927 he designed one of his most famous buildings, / the German pavilion at the international exposition in Barcelona in 1929. this small hall, known as the Barcelona pavilion (for which he also designed the famous chrome and leather ‘Barcelona chair’), had a flat roof supported by columns. the pavilion’s internal walls, made of glass and marble, could be moved around as they did not support the structure. the concept of fluid space with a seamless flow between indoors and outdoors was further explored in other projects he designed for decades to come.  Mies began working with Lilly Reich, who remained his collaborator and companion for more than ten years.

Incredible, breathtaking designs!

January 4, 2012

Poul Gernes


Poul Gernes’ life could hardly have been put together during his lifetime. For reasons of principle, this artist did not wish to be portrayed with any kind of biography. For Gernes, it was only the work that mattered. According to his way of thinking, the person behind the work was irrelevant to the case.  However, to arrive at a clear understanding of his efforts, his own background is not entirely irrelevant.

He was born in 1925 into the home of a craftsman in Copenhagen. His father earned his daily bread as a shoemaker while his mother took care of the chores at home.  At the age of eighteen, Poul Gernes became an apprentice to a lithographer. Without ever having received any other artistic training, he managed – already from his early years – to survive as an artist, with his income supplemented with teaching.

In 1961, Poul Gernes joined forces with art historian Troels Andersen to establish the radical Experimental Art School in Copenhagen, which was known as Eks-skolen for short, and quickly became an indispensable part of the Danish art scene. Characteristic of his work are the picture series from the 1960s and 1970s, that can be located somewhere between Minimalism and a Pop Art feel. In them, simple circles, letters, plain patterns or targets are varied. Gernes preferred to present them in complex room installations. In addition to producing paintings and sculptures, from 1977 onwards Gernes concentrated on the painting and interior decoration of public buildings, including the 25-storey hospital in Herlev on the outskirts of Copenhagen, (he had started this project already in 1968).

January 3, 2012

Walter Gropius

“Specialists are people who always repeat the same mistakes.”

Walter Adolph Georg Gropius (May 18, 1883 – July 5, 1969) was a German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School who, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.

Born in Berlin, Walter Gropius was the third child of Walter Adolph Gropius and Manon Auguste Pauline Scharnweber. Gropius married Alma Mahler (1879–1964), widow of Gustav Mahler. Walter and Alma’s daughter, named Manon after Walter’s mother, was born in 1916.

Walter Gropius, like his father and his great-uncle Martin Gropius before him, became an architect. Gropius could not draw, and was dependent on collaborators and partner-interpreters throughout his career. In school he hired an assistant to complete his homework for him. In 1908 Gropius found employment with the firm of Peter Behrens, one of the first members of the utilitarian school. His fellow employees at this time included Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Dietrich Marcks.

In 1910 Gropius left the firm of Behrens and together with fellow employee Adolf Meyer established a practice in Berlin. Together they share credit for one of the seminal modernist buildings created during this period: the Faguswerk in Alfeld-an-der-Leine, Germany, a shoe last factory. Although Gropius and Meyer only designed the facade, the glass curtain walls of this building demonstrated both the modernist principle that form reflects function and Gropius’s concern with providing healthful conditions for the working class. Other works of this early period include the office and factory building for the Werkbund Exhibition (1914) in Cologne.

In 1913, Gropius published an article about “The Development of Industrial Buildings,” which included about a dozen photographs of factories and grain elevators in North America. A very influential text, this article had a strong influence on other European modernists, including Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn, both of whom reprinted Gropius’s grain elevator pictures between 1920 and 1930.

January 3, 2012

Le Corbusier

Notre Dam, Ronchamp

                        Le Corbusier; Iannis Xenakis; Edgard Varèse, «Poème électronique» Philips Pavilion, 1958

                                                                                                                 Villa Savoye

Le Corbusier Car 1929

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier  Le Corbusier (1887-1965), widely acclaimed as the most influential architect of the 20th century, was also a celebrated thinker, writer and artist – a multi-faceted ‘renaissance man’. His architecture and radical ideas for reinventing modern living, from private villas to large scale social housing to utopian urban plans, still resonate today.  He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout central Europe, India, Russia, one in North and several in South America.

He was a pioneer in studies of modern high design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. Le Corbusier adopted his pseudonym in the 1920s, allegedly deriving it in part from the name of a distant ancestor, “Lecorbésier.” However, it appears to have been an earlier (and somewhat unkind) nickname, which he simply decided to keep.  He was awarded the Frank P. Brown Medal in 1961.

Le Corbusier’s work changed dramatically over the years; from his early houses inspired by the regional vernacular of his native Switzerland, the iconic Purist architecture and interiors for which he is best known, his master plan for Paris in the 1920s, the shift to organic forms in the 1930s, and the dynamic synthesis achieved between his art and architecture as exemplified by his chapel at Ronchamp (1950-55), and his civic buildings in Chandigarh, India (1952-64).  Highlights include a monumental mural painting, Femme et coquillage IV (1948) from his own office at Rues de Sèvres, Paris; a reconstruction of his Plan Voisin for Paris (1925); a complete original kitchen by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand from his famous Unité d’habitation, Marseille (1947-50); original models of Ronchamp (1950-55), Unité d’habitation (1945-52), Parliament Building Chandigarh (1951-64) amongst others; and the film version of Le Corbusier and Edgard Varèse’s Poème Electronique (1958).



January 3, 2012

Heinz Edelmann






Heinz Edelmann (20 June 1934 – 21 July 2009) was a German illustrator and designer. He was born in Ústí nad Labem, Czechoslovakia, into a Czech-German family of Wilhelm Edelmann and his wife Josefa née Kladivová. He was a well-known illustrator in Europe, but is probably most famous for his art direction and character designs for the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine.

From 1953 to 1958 Edelmann studied printmaking at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts. He began his career as a freelance illustrator and designer for theatre posters, and German advertising. From 1961 – 1969 he was a regular illustrator and cover designer for the internationally renowned youth magazine twen. During 1967 – 1968 he worked on Yellow Submarine. Between 1968-1970, he was a partner in a small animation company in London but his desire to work on more feature films did not come about. In 1970, Edelmann moved to Amsterdam and designed posters for plays, films and book jackets. His last deliberate use of the style of Yellow Submarine was for illustrating a book, Andromedar SR1 (1970), which was about a voyage to Mars. He also designed the cover for a German edition of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Also known are his numerous illustrations for Kenneth Grahame’s children’s book The Wind in the Willows.

From 1972–1976, Heinz Edelmann taught industrial graphic design in the Department of Applied Sciences Duesseldorf. After that he was Lecturer of Art and Design at the Fachhochschule Köln. (Cologne factory schools) and in 1999, he became professor of illustration at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart.

He also designed Curro for the 1992 Seville World’s Fair.

January 2, 2012

Barnett Newman

Barnett Newman (January 29, 1905 – July 4, 1970) was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.

Newman was born in New York City, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland. He studied philosophy at the City College of New York and worked in his father’s business manufacturing clothing.From the 1930s he made paintings, said to be in an expressionist style, but eventually destroyed all these works.

A well-respected writer and critic who also organized exhibitions and wrote catalogs, Newman later became a member of the Uptown Group.

Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné

the book offers revelatory essays on the artist, his career, and his working methods and features fascinating photographs of Newman, his studios, and his installations.


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