Monthly archives: December, 2012

Books Make Great Gifts 2013 – Part II

More book recommendations from artists and us.

“There are a series of books, journals, Daybook, Turn, and Prospect, by Anne Truitt, the minimalist sculptor,” Mary Merkel-Hess writes, “that were important to me when I was a young artist. In a marvelously lucid way, Anne Truitt wrote about her life in the studio, her marriage, children, and making a living at art. Particularly interesting to me was her discussion, in her first book, about turning away from a life of doing ‘good’ in the world (she studied clinical psychology and worked as a nurse) to become an artist.”

Nancy Moore Bess, recommends The World of Donald Evans by Willy Eisenhart. “I had purchased some bookmarks with his watercolor ‘stamps’ and was excited to see a book about him. His work is visually so rich and really reflects his life…which tragically ended in a fire at his studio in 1977. If you ever find a copy, curl up with it yourself.”

For Heidrun Schimmel, Documenta 13, was one of the best ‘documenta’ exhibitions and the publications — there are three — give a great deal of information about the art scene, the questions and problems of our world. Documenta 13’s Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev described the 2012 festival as “choreographing many different kinds of materials, methodologies and forms of knowledge.” One of the three publications, Documenta 13: The Book of Books reproduces the entire 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts series of publications (either as facsimiles or with entirely new layouts), and is supplemented by essays from Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Chus Martínez, Franco Berardi and others, plus statements by some of the festival’s agents and advisors. Heidrun also recommends Ends of the Earth, Art of the Land to 1974, by Philipp Kaiser, Miwon Kwon, Tom Holert and Julian Meyers. The companion exhibition is at Haus der Kunst, Prinzregentenstraße 1 in Munich,
Germany through January 20, 2013. “I think this exhibition is very important for anyone who is working with ‘material as matter,’ perhaps especially for artists of my generation who remember this revolution in art history.”

I am thoroughly enjoying Confessions of a Generalist, by Niels Diffrient, as I have a few moments to read amidst holiday prep and end-of-year items. Niels is a friend, the spouse of tapestry artist Helena Hernmarck and designer of the Freedom, Liberty and World ergonomic chairs. His is a remarkable journey — from a Mississippi farm to Cranbrook to Italy, to work with Eero Saarinen, Buckminister Fuller, Henry Dreyfuss and for Edwin Land, on every every type of equipment, as well as computers, exhibits, trucks, airplane interiors and corporate identity programs. The book is lavishly illustrated and captioned and Niels succeeds in his aim of creating a “communication product,” that closely relates words and pictures, both physically and intellectually, and approximates “the way we experience reality with both our intellect and senses.”

Looking Forward/Looking Back: Ruth Kaufmann

SPIRAL SHAPES by Ruth Kaufmann, photo by Tom Grotta

“Americans were late arrivals in the field of tapestry weaving, which may account to some degree for the fact that the American tapestry weaver is less bound by tradition than his European colleague. His historical background, however, is probably the major factor. He projects into his work some of the dynamic exploratory spirit and inventiveness that are part of his pioneer past. He feels free to investigate, to challenge old established methods, and to extend the many possibilities of his medium. Furthermore, instead of undergoing the discipline of apprenticeship, he is in most instances trained in the art and craft departments of universities. Exposure to the entire field of art, its interaction and overlapping, results in a broader, more sophisticated attitude….

photo by Tom Grotta

Although our American artist-weavers have assimilated ideas from other countries, other times, and other art media, they have translated and utilized these entirely in terms of their own identity. A compelling new form of weaving has recently appeared as a result of  their unhampered experimentation — free hanging two- and three-dimensional woven objects. These stunning sculptural creations have refused to stay passively on the wall. Instead, they have moved into space. Enthusiastically received by weavers and art lovers here and abroad, they have added a promising new dimension to the craft.”

Ruth Kaufmann
The New American Tapestry
(Reinhold Book Corporation, NY.Amsterdam.London, 1968, pp. 10-11)

Born and educated in Germany, Ms. Kaufmann studied fashion and design, textile design under Lili Blumenau, rug-weaving with with designer Margit Pardo, and tapestry weaving with renowned artist Martta Taipale of Finland. In 1968, Ms. Kaufmann was one of the American tapestry weavers who exhibited with American Craftsman, Inc. in New York. In 1969, she opened the Ruth Kaufmann Gallery in New York.

Books Make Great Gifts 2013 — Part I

It’s that time of year again. Over the next few weeks, we’ll offer a wrap up of books that the artists, clients and staff of browngrotta arts have been reading and thinking about this year.

Kiyomi Iwata recommends Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. Hamilton is an owner of a restaurant called Prune in New York’s East Village but she is a chef, writer and an artist. This book also comes highly recommended by collectors/family members Sandra and Lou Grotta. Kiyomi’s second choice is Growing, Older, A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables by Joan Dye Gussow, Chelsea Green Publishing. “Gussow is a pioneer of the ‘Eat Local’ movement,” Kiyomi writes, ” and a very honest and funny writer.”

Dail Behennah admitted it was hard to whittle down her recommendations for books to read, but here goes: “The best book I have read this year is Making by Thomas Heatherwick and Maisie Rowe, published to accompany the exhibition at the V&A.” The 600 pages of drawings and photographs show the work of the designer Thomas Heatherwick and his Studio, with beautifully written explanations of each project. Arranged chronologically, each project is headed with a question “Can a giant sculpture fit through a letterbox?” “Can straight pieces of wood make a curved building?” Heatherwick’s enthusiasm for these problems is infectious, and he always comes up with an unpredictable solution which is elegant and deceptively simple. “I am sure,” she adds, ” that this is a book that I will return to over and over again.” The book that Dail is eagerly awaiting is Making and Drawing by Kyra Cane to be published this month by A & C Black. “It promises to provide inspiration and an insight into the way other makers think.” she writes. “Some of my favorite makers are included and I hope that it might change the way I draw. Some of my plans on graph paper are included in the chapter, “Drawing as Planning & Design.”

A book that Gyöngy Laky predicts could be just the right gift for an art lover is The Art of Rebellion III The book about street art by Christian Hundertmark. “I am intrigued by much of the free wheeling creativity and great skill I see in graffiti but also troubled by it – particularly when it is destructive, unwanted and messy, ” Laky writes. “The front of our house got tagged one night with ugly, awkward, large, purple marks. We were not happy. In this book, however, the works go beyond just graffiti to surprising street art, clever and comic installations, thoughtful environmental art or engaging guerrilla works. There are numerous, creative, inventive, original, playful, funny, crazy and fantastic conceptual works that will delight and inspire the reader. These artistic expressions do present a perplexing problem; if they are wonderful events and brilliantly creative, but made illegally and clandestinely on private property or public areas where they should not be made, can we still love and appreciate them?”

Ane Henricksen wrote us about Dr. Jessica Hemmings new book, Warp & Weft: Woven Textiles in Fashion, Art and Interiors. The book has six chapters: “Threads,” “All Kinds of Light,” “Dynamic Responses,” “Sound,” “Community” and “Emotion.” Described by its publisher as, “[a]n excellent resource for everyone with an interest in modern, woven textiles,” this book features work by Nuno, Ane Henricksen, Grethe Sørensen, Lia Cook and many others.

Looking Forward/Looking Back: Françoise Grossen

Earlier this year, Françoise Grossen sent bga these congratulations on our 25th anniversary. Grossen’s remarkable contributions to the field predate ours. In 1972, her work was featured in, “Rope Art: A new form fit to be tied,” in Life Magazine in an article on the exhibition Deliberate Entanglements. “Françoise Grossen, a Swiss better at knotting than entomology, concocted a 20-foot Inch Worm” the magazine wrote. “Some viewers at New York’s Museum of Contemporary Crafts thought it moved.” (Life Magazine, December 1, 1972, pp.86-90). This year, Grosssen’s work, Ahnen Galerie, 10 braided bundles of dyed manila rope with appendages13 x 116 x 92 inches, was acquired by the Racine Art Museum. Ahnen Galerie is now on display in High Fiber: Recent Large-Scale Acquisitions in Fiber, the Racine Museum of Art through January 20, 2013.