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Thursday 09th December 2010Audubon's Birds of America Flies High At Sothebys

 
Bird watching is not necessarily considered to be a glamorous topic, depending on who you are asking of course, but that hasn't stopped James Audubon's classic book; Birds of America, pulling in glamourous prices at auction. 
 
James Audubon was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist and painter who was born in 1785. He famously depicted, catalogued and described the birds of North America in a way that had not previously been known. His work was detailed and comprehensive, yet equally emotive in how he depicted the various birds; attempting to capture their character as well as their physical features.
 
Audubon took his portfolio of over 300 works to England in 1826 where he gained a lot of attention and was able to raise enough money to publish his works as a book. The book itself it enormous, containing 435 hand coloured prints of 497 species of bird found in North America. The birds were engraved onto copper plates and then printed on sheets of paper measuring approximately 39 x 26 inches. 
 
There are thought to only be 100 copies of the book that remain, and one of those copies was sold at Sotheby's this Tuesday for £7.3 million ($11.5 million). This truly stunning amount makes Audubon's Birds of America the most expensive printed work sold at auction. The last time that the book set the same record was ten years ago when Sheik Saud al-Thani of Quatar purchased the book at Christie's for $8.8 million. 
 
For those of us who are unlikely to get our hands on the genuine article, you can pick up a sizable replica of the book, which was reprinted by the Abbeville Press. Birds of America is a great book, with some truly stunning images.

Posted on December 09th 2010 on 09:37pm
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Tuesday 07th December 2010Top 10 New York Exhibitions in 2010 - Jerry Saltz Has His Say

Respected New York Art critic Jerry Saltz has revealed the Top 10 Art Shows of 2010 in the New York Magazine. In his run down of exhibitions, the Guggenheim certainly has something to celebrate this year, with the top two positions being filled with exhibitions of their making. 
 
Here's what Saltz had to say on the New York art scene for 2010.
 
1. "Chaos and Classicism" at the Guggenheim, New York
 
Curated by guest curator, and art history icon, Kenneth Silver, this exhibition is on at the Guggenheim at the moment, and runs through until the 9th January.  The exhibition looks at art from France, Itally and Germany between 1918 and 1936. A period buried in the horrors of World War I and in which society is trying to get to grips with what art should be about and how society can moved forward after such atrocities.  
 
Saltz comments that "Thanks to [Kenneth Silvers] show, we have a clearer, less formalist idea of what was going on across Europe between the wars. As we've long suspected, art didn't simply march forward from Cubism in the teens, through Dada and Surrealism in the twenties and thirties; it made some strange pit stops along the way, into an often disturbing realism."
 
View the introductory video for the exhibition, voiced by Kenneth Silver himself:
 
 
2. "This is Progress" by Tino Sehgal at the Guggenheim 
 
In complete contrast to the Chaos and Classicism exhibition, This is Progress relied on the gallery environment, gesture and the subtlety of the lived experience for its impact, rather than on any physical objects. You would be accompanied by an actor, for a walk up parts of the ramp at the Guggenheim and able to interact in conversation with them. 
 
What Saltz loved; "That Sehgal's creation - as real as the Mona Lisa - offered such an expansive and moving (emotional and physical) definition of art"
 
3. "Heat Waves in a Swamp" at the Whitney Museum of American Art
 
Curated by Robert Gober, this exhibition re-exposed the audience to the American visionary Charles Burchfield. In his primary subject matter of landscapes, Burchfield leads us on a unique and often mystical tour of the things that surrounded him in his life. As Saltz puts it "[Burchfield turned ordinary things into errie...utterly original, even magical art."
 
Charles Burchfield, An April Mood, 1946–55. Watercolor and charcoal on joined paper, 40 × 54 in. (101.6 × 137.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with partial funds from Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence A. Fleischman  55.39. 
 
4. Sarah Sze at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
 
Sarah Sze is always an interesting character, with her immense creations compiled out of found and everyday objects. You never quite know whether her structures are to serve some purpose or meet a desired goal. Whatever form they take, they are endlessly captivating. 
 
In September / October this year, Sze exhibited across two storey's of this gallery, leaving little space left unexplored or "transformed into the abstract machine" that is typical of Sze's oeuvre. 
 
Sarah Sze, The Uncountables (Encyclopedia), 2010. Tanya Bonakdar Gallery 
 
With 6 more shows making it onto Saltz top 10 list, head over to the New York Magazine website to read about the rest and find out what Saltz had to say.
 
Also, why not let us know what you favourite shows of 2010 were, and why.
 
 

Posted on December 07th 2010 on 06:19pm
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Labels: exhibitions

Friday 03rd December 2010The Art Fund Helps to Keep Bomberg Drawings in London

David Bomberg, Sappers Under Hill. © the artist's family.
 
Drawings by esteemed British artist David Bomberg will go on show next week at the London Jewish Museum of Art, in the Ben Uri Gallery, The works were purchased from Christie's back in July with help from the Art Fund. The Art Fund is a national charity in the UK that raises money to help museums and galleries to purchase works of art in order to enrich the range and quality of art in the UK.
 
The Art Fund helped towards the cost of Bomberg drawings, which sold at auction for £7,115 and will now be shown for the first time at the gallery.
 
David Bomber was born in Birmingham in 1890, to Polish-Jewish parents. His family moved to Whitechapel in East London in 1895, and growing up in the East End he was able to build close relationships with many of the Jewish artists and writers in the area. In 1913, Bomberg made an important trip to Paris with sculptor Jacob Epstein, where he met Pablo Picasso, Andre Derain and Amedeo Modiglioni. 
 
With a great many connections and important influences, Bomberg developed a style of working and an oeuvre that ensures that he is listed amongst the most original and exciting painters of his generation.
 
The drawings that will go on show are entitled The Family, Ghetto Theatre; Ghetto Theatre and Sappers under Hill 60. The first two works are depictions of life in the East End, showing scenes of the Jewish Theatre audience. Having been created in 1919, the drawing have a dar lingering sense of depression following the atrocities of the First World War. The third drawing is a war time artwork looking at the men who built tunnels and trenches; a task that Bomberg himself was familiar with after he joined the Royal Engineers in 1915. During the Second World War, Bomberg was made an official war artist, but only managed to complete one commission during that time which was Bomb Store of 1942.
 
The drawings will go on show on the 8th December at the Ben Uri Gallery at The London Jewish Museum of Art

Posted on December 03rd 2010 on 11:32am
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Wednesday 01st December 2010Photographer David Drebin Brings the Cinematic to Still Images

The Front/Back cover of David Drebin's latest book, The Morning After
 
One word that you often hear around the work of Canadian photographer David Drebin is cinematic. Having moved to New York to attend the Parsons The New School for Design, graduating in 1996, has has become well known for his sexy and dramatically posed images of both celebrities and non-celebrities alike. 
 
Drebin has some impressive commercial projects on his resume, including campaigns for AMerican Express and Davidoff, as well as contributing to leading magazines like GQ, Vanity Fair, Elle and Rolling Stone. 
 
In Europe, you are most likely to come across Drebin's work through the Camera Work gallery in Berlin, who are responsible for representing him on the Continent. As a business Camera Work AG owns one of the worlds most comprehensive collections of photography and photographic books, from photographers such as Richard Avedon, Dorothea Lange, Paul Strand, Man Ray, Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. The gallery itself presents an ever changing array of exhibitions, participates in art fairs globally and works closely with museums and collectors to encourage the acquisition of photographic works.
 
Camera Work is currently hosting an exhibition of Drebin's work, entitled "The Morning After", which coincides with the release of his latest photo book of the same name. His works are credited with the ability to pull the viewer from reality and to allow them to delve into the mystery and illusion of these cinematic scenes that he creates. Famed perhaps for his night shots of brightly lit cities like Hong Kong and New York, Drebin has a talent for inserting drama and intrigue into his urban settings. 
 
This latest exhibition at Camera Work will run until the 15th January 2011.
 

Posted on December 01st 2010 on 07:26pm
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