2017年4月29日 星期六

Is Frank Auerbach Britain’s greatest living artist?

We found out what it's like to sit for him. (via BBC Culture)
The celebrated 84-year-old artist Frank Auerbach paints the same subjects time and again in a tiny studio.

Frank Auerbach: 'Painting is the most marvellous activity humans have invented'


'Frank Auerbach’s work emerges in all its rude, raw power in this astonishing new retrospective.' **** The Telegraph


"It's a painting but it looks like a sculpture almost"
Discover Auerbach's works with portrait photographer Mary McCartney

Vibrant, inventive, alive. Rediscover the art of painting with Frank Auerbach

'It seems to me madness to wake up in the morning and do something other than paint.'
Happy birthday, Frank Auerbach! Born on this day in 1931.
Frank Auerbach, Bacchus and Ariadne 1971, Tate Collection

    Frank Auerbach
    Frank Helmut Auerbach is a German-born British painter. He has been a naturalised British citizen since 1947. Wikipedia
    BornApril 29, 1931 (age 84), Berlin, Germany
    PeriodModern art

    Real style is not having a program - it's how one behaves in a crisis.
    It seems to me madness to wake up in the morning and do something other than paint, considering that one may not wake up the following morning.
    Ideally, one should have more material than one can possibly cope with.

2017年4月28日 星期五

30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York

30 Rockefeller Plaza is an American Art Deco skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center in Midtown ManhattanNew York City. Formerly called the RCA Building from 1933 to 1988, and later the GE Building from 1988 to 2015, It was renamed the Comcast Building on July 1, 2015, following the transfer of ownership to new corporate owner Comcast. Its name is often shortened to 30 Rock. The building is most famous for housing the NBC television network headquarters. At 850 feet (260 m) high, the 70-story building is the 14th tallest in New York City and the 39th tallest in the United States. It stands 400 feet (122 m) shorter than the Empire State Building.
The building underwent a US$170 million floor-by-floor interior renovation in 2014. The renovation included new Comcast signage atop the building; new ground-level signage that reads Comcast Building; and, for the first time, the display of the iconic NBC Peacock logo on the building's exterior.

As the GE Building, October 2005
Former names RCA Building (1933–1988)
GE Building (1988–2015)
Alternative names 30 Rock
General information
Status Complete
Type Offices and television studios (NBC)
Location 30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Coordinates 40°45′32″N73°58′44″WCoordinates: 40°45′32″N 73°58′44″W
Completed 1933
Owner NBCUniversal (floors 1–30 and 50–59)
Tishman Speyer (floors 31–49)
Roof 850 ft (260 m)
Technical details
Floor count 70
Floor area 2,099,985 sq ft (195,095.0 m2)
Lifts/elevators 60
Design and construction
Architect Raymond Hood
Developer Rockefeller Family
Structural engineer Edwards & Hjorth; H.G. Balcom & Associates

30 Rockefeller Center
(GE Building /
Comcast Building)

U.S. Historic district
Contributing property
Area 22 acres (8.8 ha)
Architect Raymond Hood
Architectural style Modern, Art Deco
Part of Rockefeller Center (#87002591)
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 23, 1987[1]
Designated CP December 23, 1987[2]

在1933年建成,是洛克菲勒中心的一個組成部分。當時主要租戶是1919年由通用電氣成立的美國無線電公司(RCA,Radio Corporation of America),並因此命名為RCA大樓。這是第一座在大樓中心位置集中安放電梯的建築。通用電氣旗下的NBC當時在此租用空間辦公,而洛克菲勒家族的辦公室則在第56層的5600房間(現今大樓的54層直到56層都是洛克菲勒家族辦公室)。1985年,大樓獲得了正式的地標建築物地位。1988年,也就是通用電氣重新收購RCA後兩年,大樓被改名為GE大樓。

大樓的其他一些別名有「平板」(The Slab)和「洛克30」,後者的英文原名「30 Rock」與NBC出品的喜劇《超級製作人》同名。

正門的裝飾設計取自威廉·布萊克(William Blake)的作品「永在之神」(Ancient of Days)

The Ancient of Days - Wikipedia

The Ancient of Days is a design by William Blake, originally published as the frontispiece to a ... Because of Blake's production process of hand colouring each print, each image has own unique qualities. The following images of The Ancient of ...

30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York (Credit: Credit: Alamy)

30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York
The gleaming, low-lit and highly polished lobby of the RCA Building is an Art Deco masterpiece in its own right. The rest of this 850ft (260m) skyscraper designed by Raymond Hood as the centrepiece of the mountainous and hugely memorable Rockefeller Center is pretty impressive, too. Built in 1933 as the head office of the Radio Corporation of America and now home to NBC television and broadcasting, “30 Rock” is, in part, open to the public who share the walk along this cinematic floor, all black and beige geometry shining ebony and gold under subtle lighting. Here is one of those walks, and one of those Manhattan towers, rushed up in the Great Depression that lifted spirits then as now. (Credit: Alamy)

Antoine Bourdelle,1861-1929

#Bourdelle, a devoted assistant 14/40
Antoine Bourdelle was a devoted assistant who worked his way up to become a marble carver in my studio. I was a witness at his wedding, but we grew apart after his divorce in 1910. His passion was different from mine, he was both a sculptor and a poet.
Picture: Studio G. L. Manuel Frères, Antoine Bourdelle posing next to one of his sculptures
Rodin Ups & Downs, all episodes on http://rodin100.org/

Antoine Bourdelle, born Émile Antoine Bordelles, was an influential and prolific French sculptor, painter, and teacher. Wikipedia
BornOctober 31, 1861, Montauban, France
DiedOctober 1, 1929, Le Vésinet, France

2017年4月27日 星期四

Picasso’s mural Guernica. The story of a painting that fought fascism

“I have always believed and still believe that artists who live and work with spiritual values cannot and should not remain indifferent to a conflict in which the highest values of humanity and civilisation are at stake." - Pablo Picasso
Opening during the Spanish Civil War, the 1937 Paris Exhibition allowed artists to speak out against brutality. Fiona Macdonald looks at a moment when paintings became propaganda.

John Berger 有"描" Guernica之圖!

Opening during the Spanish Civil War, the 1937 Paris Exhibition allowed artists to speak out against brutality. Fiona Macdonald looks at a moment when paintings became propaganda.

On 26 April 1937, Nazi German and Italian bombers attacked the Basque city of Guernica. Over the course of three hours, they destroyed three-quarters of the ancient town, killing and wounding hundreds. The raid was “unparalleled in military history”, according to reports at the time – and it inspired one of the most famous anti-war paintings in history. A new exhibition staged in London by Barcelona’s Mayoral Gallery honours a group of artists who responded to the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War.
These artists were brought together by the 1937 Paris Exhibition, which opened less than a month after the bombing and just 10 months after the Civil War began. The Exhibition is usually remembered for the competing bluster of two nations: Germany, with its monumental granite tower topped with a giant eagle and swastika, and the Soviet Union, whose marble-clad structure was capped by an even bigger statue of two figures clutching a hammer and a sickle. Yet it also played host to a humbler project that has outlasted either monolith. Mayoral’s exhibition commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Spanish pavilion, seen by the Second Spanish Republic as a way of revealing General Franco’s cruelty to the rest of the world against a backdrop of rising authoritarianism.
Its ambitions were far removed from Nazi and Soviet architectural one-upmanship. As Europe moved towards war, the situation in Spain took on significance around the world. It became a battleground for the forces of Fascism and Communism and inspired new works from some of the greatest artists of the time. Pablo Picasso, Julio González, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Alberto Sánchez, and José Gutiérrez Solan were all shown in the Spanish pavilion.
(Credit: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
Inspired by the bombing of the Basque city, Picasso’s mural Guernica is one of the most famous anti-war paintings in history (Credit: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
Picasso was commissioned to create a mural for the pavilion, and had started on a series of anti-Nationalist images called Dream and Lie of Franco earlier in 1937. After reading reports of the attack on Guernica by Franco’s allies, he began work on a painting that would come to symbolise the wider fight against Fascism. According to the art historian Fernando Martín Martín, “For the first time in the contemporary history of war, a town and its civilian population had been annihilated both as a scare tactic and a way of testing the war machine.” He says this was the “instant Picasso knew what would be the subject of his mural for the pavilion.”
In Guernica, I clearly express my abhorrence of the military caste which has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death – Pablo Picasso
His painting, Guernica, is not on display at Mayoral (it is exhibited at Madrid’s Reina Sofía Museum) – but there are insights into its creation, including photographs taken by Picasso’s girlfriend at the time, Dora Maar. The mural took him just over a month to complete. While painting, to combat rumours that he supported the Nationalists, Picasso issued a statement: “In the panel on which I am working, which I shall call Guernica, and in all my recent works of art, I clearly express my abhorrence of the military caste which has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death”.
Political canvas
The artists creating pieces for the pavilion were explicit in their aims. Mayoral’s exhibition curator Juan Manuel Bonet says that “all the major works at the pavilion were fruits of a commission. The special thing about this commission was that it was not intended to be a political commission; the artists took it upon themselves to react in such a way.”
(Credit: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
Designed as a stamp to aid the Republican Government, Help Spain (Aidez L'Espagne) was one of Miró’s first political works (Credit: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
It was a new outlook for some of them, says Bonet. “Before 1936, neither Picasso nor Miró were very political; but the Spanish Civil War changed this.” According to him, 1937’s Dream and Lie of Franco by Picasso and Aidez l’Espagne (Help Spain) by Miró are the artists’ first overtly political works. “Later on in their careers, Picasso joined the French Communist Party in 1944 and Miró continued to be very active against Franco’s regime into and during the 1960s and ‘70s.”
The American sculptor Alexander Calder’s contribution to the pavilion was also a piece of propaganda. A supporter of the Republican cause and great friend of Miró, Calder was initially refused permission to create an artwork because he wasn’t Spanish, but the organisers relented after a marble fountain from Spain had to be repurposed. It was filled with mercury that was poured through a series of sculptures created by Calder until it reached a mobile labelled ‘Almadén’.
(Credit: Alamy)
The Mercury Fountain by Alexander Calder referenced a Republican stronghold famous for its mercury mines (Credit: Alamy)
The word resonated with Republicans. It was the name of a stronghold that held out against an offensive by Franco’s troops in March 1937, famous for its deposits of mercury, an element valued for its use in manufacturing weapons. Calder’s piece, The Mercury Fountain, doubled as a symbol for Republican resistance. “Nothing in the pavilion was free from intention,” writes Martín.
Guernica was not a picture but graffiti, though graffiti done by a genius – José Bergamín
The exhibition has been put together with Joan Punyet Miró, historian and grandson of Joan. It includes a reconstruction of his grandfather’s El Segador (The Reaper) – a mural painted onto construction material in situ which was then lost or destroyed after the pavilion was dismantled. Showing a Catalan peasant with a huge misshapen head, it was a cry of outrage at the events in Spain. “Of course I intended it as a protest,” said Miró. “The Catalan peasant is a symbol of the strong, the independent, the resistant.”
Pop-up propaganda
Both The Reaper and Guernica were created as propaganda, in the manner of Soviet agitprop – “ephemeral art based on propaganda and agitation for a political cause aimed at stirring up the masses”, writes Joan Punyet Miró, arguing that the murals “looked like huge political propaganda posters”. The poet José Bergamín commented that “Guernica was not a picture but graffiti, though graffiti done by a genius”.
(Credit: Successió Miró Archives/Courtesy of Mayoral)
Joan Miró painting El Segador (The Reaper), a mural intended as an ephemeral work of propaganda, according to his grandson (Credit: Successió Miró Archives/Courtesy of Mayoral)
Painted on poor quality canvas, Guernica could easily have been destroyed as well. According to Punyet Miró, “Neither of them chose a tough, hard-wearing support, for they knew in advance that these were ephemeral works, designed to cause an impact and then disappear along with the pavilion… Guernica was spared the same fate as Miró’s mural because Picasso was asked to send it to London and later to the United States”.
The painting was not to return to Spain until democracy had been returned – Juan Manuel Bonet
As it turned out, the pavilion was only the beginning. Guernica toured around the UK in 1938, says Bonet. “Picasso later entrusted the painting to MoMA in New York, as it was his wish that the painting not return to Spain until democracy had been returned to the country. This was symbolically very important.”
Through a dark lens
Guernica took on a wider meaning in the years that followed. “It speaks about the Spanish Civil War, and the destiny of civilians in it, as well as the bombs that killed so many people in this Basque city,” says Bonet. “It also remarks on all wars.” The French writer Michel Leiris was moved to say of it: “On a black and white canvas that depicts ancient tragedy… Picasso also writes our letter of doom: all that we love is going to be lost.”
Yet there was hope in it too. Amid shrieking figures and corpses, Picasso left a beacon, according to Martín. “At the top, stretching out from a window, a woman with an oil lamp seems to want to illuminate the encroaching panic and darkness.”
(Credit: CRAI Biblioteca del Pavelló de la República/Mayoral)
No Pasarán! (They will not pass!) by Ramón Puyol, who said “the rickety theory of art for art’s sake has just died” (Credit: CRAI Biblioteca del Pavelló de la República/Mayoral)
Guernica tapped into an earlier tradition, echoing Goya’s works commemorating resistance to the Napoleonic invasion of Spain. According to curators at the Reina Sofía, “The grotesque vision that Goya brought to his political critique was not lost on artists as a powerful tool for crafting their own views of the present.” Picasso admired Goya’s “dark lens on Spain’s complex political and religious traditions”.
“Picasso, Miró, Calder and González taught us that sometimes major moments such as the Spanish Civil War force us to take sides,” says gallery director Jordi Mayoral. “The works created by these artists for the pavilion are still part of the Spanish collective memory; they represented a major turning point in the Civil War and the country’s struggle between democracy and fascism”.
Picasso himself summed up his decision, remarking in 1937: “I have always believed and still believe that artists who live and work with spiritual values cannot and should not remain indifferent to a conflict in which the highest values of humanity and civilisation are at stake.”
If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.
And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Earth, Culture, Capital, Travel and Autos, delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Picasso’s mural Guernica is one of the most famous anti-war paintings in history.

Opening during the Spanish Civil War, the 1937 Paris Exhibition allowed artists to speak out against brutality. Fiona Macdonald looks at a moment when paintings became propaganda.