"As a private citizen, Jenny Holzer is a woman of few words. As a very public artist - and it is hard to imagine another contemporary American artist whose visual productions have been so publicly accessible--she is a woman of a million words", says Kiki Smith in her portrait of 1950-Ohio-born artist Jenny Holzer in the INTERVIEW-MAGAZINE, 2012. Holzer's first public works, Truisms (1977–9), appeared in the form of anonymous broadsheets that she printed anonymously in black italic script on white paper and wheat-pasted to buildings, walls and fences in and around Manhattan. In 1989 she became the first female artist to represent the United States at Italy´s Venice Biennale.
It is no exaggeration to call Louise Bourgeois the grand dame of contemporary art. The artist who died in 2010 with 98 years of age was exhibited in the biggest museums worldwide and in 1982 the Museum of Modern Art in New York even dedicated a solo-exhibition to her - it was the first time in the museum’s history that this honour was shown to a woman. Despite that Bourgeois is also known as on of the most expensive artists worldwide and her sculptures, installations of bronze, marble, plaster and latex are achieving the highest offers. We are very thrilled to have discovered in Cologne / Germany a limited edition print consisting of a print and a small book.
With works of steel weighing tons, artist Richard Serra has won global renown. And yet he doesn’t see himself “only” as a sculptor: Since the early 1970s, he has also focused on drawings that stand on equal footing alongside his sculptural works. They, too, have a plasticity owing to the thick application of color. He uses a paintstick to make them, a waxlike oil crayon that he heats and liquefies in order to apply it over large surfaces, either with sweeping arm movements directly on the paper or with the aid of an insect screen through which he presses the paint.
Performance artist, sculptor, social philosopher, and eccentric: Globally, Joseph Beuys ranks as one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. True to his maxim, “Every person is an artist,” he made himself into a work of art: His look—with hat, vest, and enormous charisma—remains unique. In legendary performances, he carried, head smeared with gold leaf and honey, a dead rabbit through an exhibition in 1965 to demonstrate “how one explains art to a dead hare,” or, for documenta 6 in 1977, built his “Honigpumpe am Arbeitsplatz” (Honey Pump in the Workplace), a huge installation spanning several floors that moved a total of 660 pounds of “honey made by Langnese” through a network of tubes.
Bold and potentially irreverent, Los Angeles based artist Alex Hubbard has succeeded in capturing a moment of a performative act. Known for creating abstract environments constructed out of common paraphernalia and then destroying them on video, these temporal arrangements of objects, letters and color are consciously infused with an element of risk where the protagonist is absent. This playful attitude crosses over into his paintings as well.
The Mozart Mix by John Cage was probably the first sound multiple ever. It was created a year before the death of the legendary composer and the inventor of the Happening, in the Mozart Year 1991. The multiple consists of a wooden box with 25 never-ending cassettes of various lengths, all containing different works by Mozart. Five at a time are played simultaneously—a new sound mix is born. The silkscreen Mozart Mix from the same year was created as an independent artwork – a rare gem we are thrilled to present soon on artflash!
Born Ralf Winkler in Dresden in 1939, the german artist A.R. Penck witnessed the almost complete destruction of his hometown in World War II, an event that would have a lasting impact on his work. In the late 1960s, he renamed himself A.R. Penck, after a German geologist, Albrecht Penck, who died in 1945 and had specialized in the Ice Age. This fake identity confused the authorities and allowed the dissident artist to more easily ship and exhibit his works abroad, before he relocated to Düsseldorf, in 1980. Long fascinated by geology and prehistoric cave paintings, Penck filled his canvases with a standing stick figure in thick black lines for which he became internationally recognized.
Richard Prince was part of the New York avant-garde art scene in the late 1970s, along with Cindy Sherman and Robert Longo. He recycled advertising motifs and with his famous “rephotographs,” he demonstrated the contradiction between appearance and reality in this beautiful, shimmering world. This seems to have touched a nerve: In 2005, his “Untitled (Cowboy),” which started the “Marlboro” series in 1980, became the first photograph to fetch over a million dollars at auction. In the “Madame Butterfly” edition, Prince appropriated a photograph from a pornographic magazine and visually altered it.
Since 1986, photographic artist Thomas Ruff has been taking portraits of his friends as they look straight ahead, unsmiling and without makeup, in front of plain, white backgrounds—and that is how he has captured the beauty of normality and youth in these images. With this series as a sequence of larger-than-life portraits on long pieces of Plexiglas, Ruff made his international breakthrough and contributed substantially to the vaunted status of artistic photography from Germany. Always looking for new themes, Ruff is fascinated by astronomical photography, especially by shots of starry night skies. He experiments with found materials taken by space probes which he then re-works, condenses, colorizes, or crops to create images according to his imagination.