a tale of a few cities

DWR: Whose bad IKEA was that anyway?

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From 1966 to 1972, Cy Twombly created a number of canvases that resembled blackboards, with light-colored loops and scrawls flowing across grey backgrounds. These works, blurring the line between drawing and painting, were made with white wax crayon loops on gray painted grounds. An abstraction of cursive script that the artist called “pseudo-writing.”
A Fisher-Price-like homage to action painting appears on page 11 of The Bedroom Sale – February 9-21 printed flyer for Design Within Reach. A moonlighting IKEA stylist/stager/Cy Twombly aficionado must have thought to him or herself, “I can do that.”
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DWR Vice President of Creative and Marketing, caught snöring.
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Licensing slip up: Velvet Underground sues over Giorgio de Chirico banana symbols

The Uncertainty of the Poet,  1913
L’Incertitude du poète

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Rock group The Velvet Underground filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to stop any future exhibition/reproduction of Giorgio de Chirico’s 1913 masterwork, The Uncertainty of the Poet.

The 1960s rock band formed by Lou Reed and John Cale accused the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico of trademark infringement, retroactively claiming in a lawsuit that the use of banana symbols are synonymous with The Velvet Underground.

Each of the bananas featured in de Chirico’s iconic artwork bare an uncanny resemblance to the banana featured on the cover of Velvet Underground’s 1967 album “The Velvet Underground and Nico.”

The fact that de Chrico’s work was created decades earlier was not mentioned in the lawsuit.

Although Velvet Underground broke up in 1973, the album later came to be regarded as one of the best albums of all time, and was also referred to as “The Banana Album”.

“The symbol has become so identified with The Velvet Underground … that members of the public, particularly those who listen to rock music, immediately recognize the use of bananas as a symbol of The Velvet Underground,” the complaint added.

The lawsuit said the aging control freaks behind the band had repeatedly asked the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico to cease all future exhibition and further reproduction of the 1913 work, The Uncertainty of the Poet.

Velvet Underground is seeking an injunction stopping the use of banana symbols by other parties, a declaration that the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico has no retroactive copyright interest in the use of banana symbols, unspecified damages and a share of previous profits made by the Fondazione Giorgio de Chirico from any licensing deals of the iconic artwork.


Bonne Année

Posted in appropriation, Art, artists, Conceptual Art, Dada, humour, Photography, pictures, Sculpture by petercombe on December 31, 2011

Diddo VelemaChampagne Extinguisher, 2009

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Dietch Projects SF, New Art In The Streets

Up until yesterday I was having a lot of fun being friends with Jeffrey Dietch on Facebook. I was a little slow to cotton-on to the joke, but when I did, I thought it brilliant. There appeared on his Facebook wall, a photo of a fellow sitting looking very smart in a cavernous, modern, all white interior above the heading, ‘Getting the space ready for San Francisco opening.‘ ‘LMAO!‘, was my response and contribution to the comment thread. After clicking the notification that Jeffrey Dietch liked my comment, I was returned to this page. The Facebook profile had been shut down. All sorts of artists had friended Dietch and posted on his wall, thinking him to be Jeffrey Deitch of the eponymous SoHo gallery, Deitch Projects. (Owner Jeffrey Deitch closed his gallery to the public in June 2010 as a result of being appointed  director of L.A.’s MoCA).

I thought the whole Dietch Projects SF to be a wonderful guerrilla stunt. Some didn’t, as evinced by a writer at New York based Blog Mixed Greens. The writer at Mixed Greens mentions Dietch Projects SF logo being ‘ripped off‘ from the original.  Wtf? – how can you ‘rip-off‘ a logo that’s already been ripped off? The writer suggested that Fake Deitch was responsible. I thought that a lame scapegoat but figured I’d pursue @FakeDeitch to prove Mixed Green’s wayward hunch wrong.

I love Dietch Projects SF’s promotional photo (top), snatched from Chicks With Steve Buscemeyes.

Heading out to Gallery Heist tomorrow evening anyway, I’ll probably mosey over to 441 O’Farrell to check things out. 

Dietch Projects SF
New Art In The Streets
Dec 8 – Jan 6
441 O’Farrell Street,
San Francisco 94102
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UPDATE Dec 9: Went down to 441 O’Farrell last night, turned out that was the Ever Gold address. Next door sat large construction hoarding plastered with ‘UNDER CONSTRUCTION SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE & the Dietz Projects logo (with an address change of 445 O’Farrell). It was pretty funny, the hoarding, about 10ft high stuck out roughly 15ft to the curb and I’d say it was about 20ft wide in front of a low rent hotel. Pedestrians jostled dutifully between the protruding structure and the curb. A friend and I spotted a fellow being admitted into the hotel so we slipped in behind him and ventured into the main lobby area to catch a glimpse through the front window (backside of the hoarding). It was simply a false front completely void of any construction. A total stunt. Staff at the grotty Hotel whose frontage was completely obscured seemed oblivious to the fact. Especially hilarious was a clerk yelling at us from a far away front desk in the dimly lit cavernous lobby of what must have been a grand-ish hotel in it’s time, asking us what we were doing there. We were taking pictures. He looked bemused – stunt – what stunt? It was as if he were utterly incognizant of the hotel’s current frontage. Even so, the artwork lived up to its namesake, ‘New Art In The Streets’. I figure Ever Gold artist Jeremiah Jenkins was responsible for the Guerilla installation. I could be wrong.


Ai Weiwei and the Five Finger Discount

Posted in appropriation, Art, auction, China, Conceptual Art, illustration, London, Painting, Sculpture by petercombe on July 19, 2011

Detail of Ai Wei Wei sunflower seeds from the Tate Modern in London

For the eleventh commission in the Tate Modern‘s Unilever Series, Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei had filled the museum’s Turbine Hall with millions of life-sized sunflower seed husks made out of porcelain. The collective effort of a number of specialists from Jingdezhen, China, the hand-crafted seeds were individually formed and painted. Before the museum was alerted to the installation’s dangers of lead paint and silica dust, visitors were encouraged to touch and walk on the carpet of tiny replicates. Before a barrier was erected around the perimeter of the installation, I wondered how many visitors were tempted to pilfer samples of the tiny seeds (see photo above). In February of this year Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening sale in London surpassed the $192,000 estimate, netting $559,394 for a 100-kilogram pile of Weiwei’s seeds. That puts worth of the stolen seeds pictured above at about $33.60.

Joyeux Quatorze Juillet

Peter Combe, A TRUE LOVE UNVEILED (AVENUE DE TOURVILLE), 2011

My toast to Bastille Day, a little Pariscentric anagram.

Do you want to be in the Rencontres d’Arles, 2011?

Posted in appropriation, Art, Artist call, Exhibitions, Photography by petercombe on July 1, 2011

David Horvitz at Les Rencontres d’Arles (Discovery Award 2011)

Last minute special: Horvitz will turn his hotel room into a “bootleg-satellite-exhibition-space”. And everyone is invited to participate. Atrium Hotel Arles, 3.07— 10.07.2011. More info: http://tinyurl.com/join-arles

SociallyInept(dot)com

Posted in advertising, appropriation, Collage, Photography by petercombe on June 22, 2011

Don’t you tire of those Sponsored ads seen to the right of your Facebook profile page? Those intriguing thumbnail images that pique one’s interest – then once clicked, are nowhere to be found? 

Today I saw the recurring East Bay Bucket List Facebook Sponsord ad (below right) and immediately recognized one of Swiss artist Beni Bischof‘s artworks (below left), “HANDICAPED CAR” (verschiedene Formate, 2008/09). What on earth does that image have to do with with the East Bay Bucket List and 365 things to do in the East Bay right now? The cheesy site (Livingsocial[ly].com) misleads by scouring my photos and photos of my friends on Facebook to sell their product which in turn have nothing to do with the product being sold.

Update: ArtFagCity picked this up today –  Massive Links! Matthew Collins’ Fuck-You Art Writers | Jerry Saltz Tweet Watch | Peter Combe fingers East Bay Bucket List

Lost Bohemia

Posted in appropriation, architecture, Art, Interiors, New York City, Photography by petercombe on May 20, 2011

(Photo: Josef Astor)

Lost Bohemia,” a new documentary by Josef Astor, is a sad and spirited elegy for the Carnegie Hall Studios, which for more than a century provided working, living and teaching space for all kinds of artists on the floors above the famous concert hall. Mr. Astor, a photographer who moved into the building in 1985, pays tribute to his neighbors and friends who made up the last generation of studio residents. He also acknowledges the famous ghosts who haunt the place, ranging from Isadora Duncan and Enrico Caruso to Marilyn Monroe and Martha Graham.

Astor, who’d been in his skylighted space since 1985, was once surrounded by hundreds of creative neighbors—painters and dancers, photographers and composers—who lived and worked in 170 studios built directly above the grand midtown concert hall. The studios are in the process of being gutted and remodeled by the Carnegie Hall Corporation (the building is owned by the city, but the corporation is its primary tenant). According to a CHC spokeswoman, the spaces will be converted to “educational facilities” for young musicians.

When Andrew Carnegie built the Towers over the Hall—the project was completed in 1896—he intended for the studios to be occupied by working artists. It wasn’t cultural altruism—the rents were a source of revenue. But architect Henry J. Hardenbergh (who also did the Dakota and the Plaza Hotel) designed the apartments as studios, with high ceilings and north-facing skylights. The roster of names who lived and worked there is stellar: Isadora Duncan, Agnes de Mille, Garson Kanin, Marlon Brando, Leonard Bernstein.


Editta Sherman is known as the Duchess of Carnegie Hall. The sprightly 98-year-old had lived in her twelfth-floor studio since 1949. She raised five children while working as a successful photographer of the cultural elite. Dramatic black-and-white examples from her collection of 2,500 portraits were displayed against the mirrored walls and bold checkered floor: Henry Fonda, Mary Martin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. A cast-iron circular staircase led to a loft filled with studio props. Photographer and past fellow resident Bill Cunningham enlisted Sherman as his model and muse for his 1978 book Facades, which fuses fashion and architecture photography.

The corporation promised to find comparable apartments for the seven rent-controlled tenants still living in the Towers, and to pay the difference in rent for the remainder of each tenant’s life, but the 26 non-rent-controlled commercial and residential tenants—including Astor—had no such guarantee.

The last residents moved out last year, and while “Lost Bohemia” mourns their dispossession, it also allows us to spend time in their eccentric, artistic company and to appreciate their contribution to the life of the city. Among them are Bill Cunningham, the New York Times photographer who is the subject of a marvelous recent documentary, and Don Shirley, a pianist who recalls playing with Duke Ellington “downstairs” — that is, in Carnegie Hall itself.

An anonymous, unseen poet who lived above Mr. Astor and left him eloquent phone messages observed that studios and the hall below, though commissioned by a plutocrat, “were built not on power, but on love.” The power of this documentary resides in that proud and fragile sentiment. Photo below is Astor’s studio after demolition.

Jeremiah’s New York >

The New York Times >

Guerillagrams

Peter Combe, MUGLER: UGLIER, 2011


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