Saturday, May 2, 2015

Artist Retrospectives

I follow the news posts at ArtDaily carefully, and within the last few days I have noticed announcements of a number of retrospectives devoted to artists born in the 1920s and 1930s. Not the most famous ones, but rather, strong artists who are mainly known to aficionados rather than the general public. I am delighted to see them get attention.

Retrospective show of Italian artist Giuseppe Uncini opens at Cardi Gallery

Giuseppe Uncini (1929-2008), one of whose works is atop this post, was a sculptor who worked mainly in concrete and iron. He can be seen as a precursor to both the Arte Povera (Poor Art) movement of the 1960s, and developments in minimalist art around that same time. "Uncini" means "hooks" in Italian, and since many of his works feature little hooks, I wonder if he was making visual puns on his name by using them.

Exhibition of works by Luciano Fabro opens at Marian Goodman Gallery in New York

Luciano Fabro (1936-2007) was also associated with Arte Povera, and used a wide mixture of materials, both "poor" and "rich," in his sculpture: glass, cloth, gold, leather, wax, steel, newspaper.

One beautiful piece by Fabro that can't be included in the current exhibition is the 1964 Impronta, a thick glass disc with an image of the world at the center. This was completely destroyed when a drunken Swiss journalist, "tanked up on free cocktails," smashed into it at a gallery show in Lugano in September 2013.

Inebriated journalist dubbed 'Swiss Mr Bean' reaches for canapé and smashes priceless artwork

Espace Fondation EDF opens retrospective exhibition of the work of Pol Bury

The Belgian Pol Bury (1922-2005), also primarily a sculptor, was associated with the CoBrA movement (Copenhagen - Brussels - Amsterdam) that began in the late 1940s. He is considered one of the leading kinetic artists.

First monographic exhibition dedicated to Martial Raysse on view at Palazzo Grassi

The French painter Martial Raysse, born in 1936, was one of the founders along with Yves Klein of the Nouveaux Realistes group which lasted from 1960 to 1970 - everyone has got to have a movement! and European artists always seem to especially enthusiastic about officializing this, making the group a genuine entity, perhaps issuing a manifesto or two,  instead of being just a loose confederation of similar-seeking artists given a label by critics (such as the Abstract Expressionists). Raysse is also often considered a pop artist, with rather obvious affinities with Andy Warhol (the influence may have gone both ways). More recently, Raysse was the 2014 recipient of the Praemium Imperiale in Painting.

One production of Raysse's that I would badly like to see is his 1972 experimental art-film feature Le grand depart with Sterling Hayden (!) and Anne Wiazemsky (then married to Jean-Luc Godard). Zev Toledano has written, "Some heavy drugs were most probably taken and worshipped for this movie."

Galerie Springer exhibits masterpieces by Arnold Odermatt on the artist's 90th birthday

The Swiss photographer Arnold Odermatt, born in 1925, is a bit of an inadvertent artist; he was primarily a policeman. and the photographs for which he later became celebrated were taken as part of his work. It was his son, film director Urs Odermatt, who first noticed the unusual quality of his father's pictures and started promoting them in the early 1990s.

The Buchmann Gallery opens exhibition of works by British/American sculptor William Tucker

The British sculptor William G. Tucker, born in 1935, specializes in massive, deceptively inchoate bronzes. He is also an art historian.

You may have noticed that when presenting visual art, I try to keep my language simple and factual, avoiding any whiff of International Art English. That is on purpose - visual art, like music, is notoriously difficult to put into language, and the works speak for themselves (even more so if you can take them in in person, of course).


Luciano Fabro

Pol Bury.

Martial Raysse (French Edition)

Arnold Odermatt: Karambolage

William Tucker

Early Modern Sculpture (William Tucker)

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