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janis 60 insidejanis 60 inside 2We are continuing our sculpture overview in this post. We notice an interest and renewal in sculpture taking place in America with an exhibition held in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum in 1951 under the title “American Sculpture“. Several private galleries, mostly in New York, were starting to have sculpture exhibits or included sculpture work as part of the artist’s work.

sc-15The Perls Gallery, The Buchholz Gallery, Weyhe Gallery and the Sidney Janis Gallery were among the best and most active ones, even though this list is by no means all inclusive and it would be beyond the scope of these posts to list all the galleries that showed sculpture.

In Europe, several large exhibitions took place, such as, the International Contemporary Sculpture Exhibits in Paris in 1956 and 1961. The small bronze international sculpture exhibits were organised in Paris and Padova, Italy on a regular basis. The Biennale shows in Venice, Italy and Sao Paolo, Brasil included sculpture and the whole of the artistic world seemed to pay more attention to this almost forgotten cousin in the arts. Important retrospective exhibitions were being held, such as, for Henry Moore in Florence, Italy. In Paris the Salons de la Jeune Sculpture had been held since 1947 and a half century mark promulgated much never seen work to the foreground.

In New York, the Sidney Janis Gallery had consistently shown sculpture from the late fifties on and in 1960 organized a major show juxtaposing work by the aging avant-garde artist Jean Arp with work by the late Piet Mondrian, icon of abstract modern painting.(above). These shows were also a lesson in graphic design and the catalogs produced for these types of exhibitions like the one for Jean Arp in 1968 were among the best catalogs produced worldwide with cut-outs in the cover, different paper textures, a whole register of techniques were pulled out to produce these.

janis 68 front cover cut out The 1968 Arp Catalog had a cover with two white bands (top and bottom not shown) and in the middle (above top) a color band with a cut out showing a quarter moon in the top left “white egg shape” which when the page is turned shows the signature page with the moon. (above). Clever! A simular technique was used for the 1960 Arp and Mondrian Catalog (top of post) where the first free page was a plastic sheet with a red cut out and a shaped cut out showing the red painting on the next page and one of Arp’s reliefs. Remember this is 1960!

janis 68 backcoverWell-known photographers contributed their skills like Arnold Newman, (below Jean Arp in the 1968 catalog )

 Although credits were not always given for lay out or graphic design work and sometimes not even for the photographers.

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janis 68-3janis 68-5janis 68-6 In 1962 an important but not widely known book had been written by the influential French art critic Robert Lebel,  Anthologie des Formes Inventées subtitled un demi-siècle de sculpture.

This book (in the French language only) is the true first attempt to document the invented form, the abstract interpretation of sculpture and classified sculptors working this way in the form of a dictionary. 

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(Edition de la Galerie du Cercle, 3 Rue du Sabot Paris). Lebel’s, best known, text had been a publication on Marcel Duchamp a few years earlier. Among photos of sculpture produced in the general introductory essay there are only two works reproduced by American sculptors: One work by Seymour Lipton and one work by David Smith showing a work from 1958.

Nothing in the Arts or the Economy is unrelated and the fervor in the arts coincide with the largest expansion in the economy of the last century. New techniques in the arts, new materials, new subject matter coincided with inventions in technology (electric typewriter, television, cars, rocket science and supersonic flight and the more important computer). The demarcation points in re- or e-volution are speed and form the main contributors to architecture in the new age.

What happened to the white cathedrals of Le Corbusier? In the future will we look at the new museums by the architect, Gehry or the sculpture by  the architect Libeskind in the same vein as Le Corbusier thought about the white cathedrals of the middle ages?

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