Tag Archives: History

The Stein Salon Was The First Museum of Modern Art

2 Nov

carl-mydans-author-gertrude-stein-sitting-with-alice-b-toklas-at-a-villa

By JAMES R. MELLOW

“I always wanted to be historical,” Gertrude Stein announced shortly before her death, “from almost a baby on, I felt that way about it. . .” And, for the better part of her life, she was. In the beginning, in the early nineteen-hundreds, she shared the honors with her brother Leo. The Stein ménage in Paris (a ménage à trois consisting of Gertrude, Leo, and Gertrude’s lifetime companion Alice B. Toklas) was a Mecca for the modern- minded. The principal attraction was the collection of Cézanne oils and watercolors, the early pictures by Matisse and Picasso, the paintings by Renoir, Manet, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec, which she and Leo had had the funds and the foresight to buy. The walls of their atelier were hung to the ceiling with now-famous paintings, the double doors of the dining room were lined with Picasso sketches. In the early decades of the century, hundreds of visitors flocked to the display of vanguard art: many came to scoff, but several went away converted. It was a brilliant scene–and a historic one. For all intents and purposes, Leo and Gertrude Stein had inaugurated, at 27 Rue de Fleurus, the first museum of modern art.

The remains of the pioneer collection–a cache of 38 paintings, drawings and collages by Pablo Picasso and nine works by his colleague, the Cubist painter Juan Gris–are in the process of being sold by the heirs of the Stein estate for a reported $6.5-million. The buyer has not yet been announced, but it is believed that a trustee–or a syndicate of trustees–of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, has been actively engaged in the secret negotiations. Although spokesmen for the museum have refused to comment, the names most often mentioned in connection with the sale are William S. Paley, president of the museum; David and Nelson Rockefeller, chairman and member of the board, respectively; and John Hay Whitney, the board’s vice chairman. The disposition of the collection after the sale is not known, but it is expected that the museum will mount an exhibition that will bring together the purchased works and many of the major paintings once owned by the Steins that have since passed into other private and public collections. The exhibition would be fitting–and perhaps final–tribute to a salon that made history. Viewers in the United States would have an opportunity not only to see the once- controversial pictures, but to catch a glimpse of the Stein salon as it existed during its most brilliant period.

On a typical Saturday evening, 60 years ago, one would have found Gertrude Stein at her post in the atelier, garbed in brown corduroy, sitting in a high-backed Renaissance chair, her legs dangling, next to the big cast-iron stove that heated the chilly room. A few feet away, one could hear Leo expounding to a group of visitors, his views on modern art. Among the crowd of Hungarian painters, French intellectuals, English aristocrats and German students, one might pick out the figures of Picasso and his mistress, Fernande Olivier (Picasso looking like an intense young bootblack; Fernande, almond-eyed and attractive). The man with the reddish beard and spectacles, looking like a German professor, would be Matisse. Next to him might be the poet Guillaume Apollinaire and his clinging friend, the painter Marie Laurencin. The tall figure would be that of Georges Braque, whose superior stature among the smaller cubists made him the official hanger- of-pictures in the atelier. In the American contingent, the familiars would be the painters Patrick Henry Bruce and Alfred Maurer, both of them early advocates of the modernist vision and both, at the same time, followers of Matisse. It was Alfred, as Gertrude recalled, who held up lighted matches so visitors could see that the Cézannes were, indeed, finished paintings because they were framed.

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Second House

27 May

richard prince house

SECOND HOUSE is perfectly camouflaged in its surroundings—at first glance, it appears to be an utterly ordinary single story ranch house. Yet when approaching it from the long hillside driveway, the overgrown grass strategically obscures the identity of who or what lies within. Like so many other domestic buildings in the area, SECOND HOUSE looks kind of decrepit or unfinished (passersby must wonder: did the owner run out of money and abandon construction?). Its façade is missing—only a thin, silvery skin made of insulation panels covers the exterior. An abandoned 1973 Dodge Barracuda is parked out back, quietly rusting in the tall grass; an inside-out tire planter adorns the completely unlandscaped front yard. The inside seems as unfinished as the outside. The walls and ceilings are partially painted, leaving the spackled drywall joints visible in many spots. Plywood sheets cover the floors. Exposed fluorescent tubes provide an even, cold light in the five rooms of the house. While the rawness of the interior décor suggests an uninhabited space, SECOND HOUSE is far from empty. The objects and images sheltered within its walls mirror the landscape outside: it’s pure Americana (that has been “stolen,” cropped, and edited by Richard Prince).

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More links:

Richard Prince’s page

Parket 72 – 2005

Guggenheim Museum to acquire RICHARD PRINCE’S SECOND HOUSE, 2005

Lightning Devastates Guggenheim-Acquired “Second House” by Richard Prince

Quote 18 Feb

“The artist’s home and studio were stacked with his artworks, cast-off items, including three broken refrigerators with the doors still attached. A separate storage room was piled to the ceiling with jumbled junk, more artworks, damaged electrical cords and worn-out clothing.” More

Biological models

4 Nov

Leopold Blaschka (1822– 1895) and his son Rudolf Blaschka (1857–1939) were German glass artists, known for the production of biological models such as the Glass Flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

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Museum as an Art Practise

3 Nov

Seminar: The Museum as an Art Practice

16 November 2012, Krakow, Poland, 2pm – 7pm
National Museum in Krakow
The Main Building, no. 1, 3 Maja Avenue – Audiovisual Room
Organised by: Cricoteka and the National Museum in Krakow

Actors: Agency, The Archive of Tadeusz Kantor – Cricoteka, MoAA (Museum of American Art), MOLAF (Museum of Longing and Failure) and Antje Majewski & Alejandro Jodorowsky (screening).

The seminar aims to map out Kantor’s vision of a museum, as well as any reflections and actions in any way related to the exhibiting and collecting practices, in the context of the new mission of Cricoteka as an institution where the spectator, the artist, the creative process and the very work of art all become part of activities which straddle theatre, archive and museum. The tool used to achieve this goal will be a conceptual drawing derived from the intersection of different working methodologies within a museum treated as art practice, rather than merely as a space used to archive, secure or negotiate the shape of the canon within art history.

 (curators: Ewa Tatar and Joanna Zielińska)

The Hand that Gives. A conversation between Alejandro Jodorowsky and Antje Majewski, Paris 2010

Join us in in Krakow

See previous posts: AgencyLewis & TaggartMoAA

Things (introducing a new category)

13 Jun

Lee Lozano

Martin Heidegger ( (1889–1976)) is famous for his early analysis of tools, and equally famous for his later reflections on technology. This might suggest an easy literal reading of these themes in his work along the following lines: ‘Heidegger began his career fascinated by low-tech hardware such as hammers and drills, but later took an interest in advanced devices such as hydroelectric dams’. But such a literal interpretation would miss the point, since neither Heidegger’s tool analysis nor his views on technology are limited to a narrow range of specific kinds of entities. When he speaks of ‘tools’, his analysis holds for trees and monkeys no less than for hammers; when he speaks of ‘technology’, he has little to tell us about specific high-tech instruments. In both cases he is more concerned with a general ontology than with a theory of tools or technology. Hence, this article will focus on the basic ontological background of Heidegger’s reflection on these themes; there is more to say about his ontology of things than about his relatively sparse discussions of technology per se.

The tool analysis is probably Heidegger’s most important contribution to philosophy, and contains his other breakthroughs in germinal form. The tool analysis was first published in 1927 in his masterwork Being and Time (Heidegger, 1962) but dates back to his 1919 lecture course during the so-called Freiburg War Emergency Semester (see Heidegger, 2000). Thus, the occasional claims that Heidegger stole the tool analysis from Edmund Husserl’s unpublished works of the early 1920s result from a flawed chronology and can be dismissed without further comment.1 In fact, the tool analysis marks Heidegger’s definitive break with Husserl, not a plagiarism of his teacher.

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About Martin Heidegger

About Lee Lozano

More about Seth Siegelaub collection

12 Jun

Headdress Exhibition at Raven Row, London 

Prevoius post about Seth Sigelaub