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P10403871964 Exhibition Catalog, with 75 pieces on display in a large exhibition held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The catalog design was done by the famous Dutch Graphic designer Wim Crouwel at Total Design.

This is an early museum catalog design by Crouwel who started designing the famous catalogs for the museum in 1964. The Crouwel grid is not evident yet in this catalog. A superbly done video about the designer in English, with examples is here.

The red cover and the black handmade lettering on the cover make an immediate connection to the revolutionary art proposed by Arman (pseudonym for Armand Fernandez 1928-2005).

Interestingly, all of Arman’s lifelong close friends are saying and writing something in this catalog about him, Yves Klein, Claude Pascal and Pierre Restany. The first illustrated book by Arman was a small book (1955) with poetry by his friend Claude Pascal titled Miracle Smith.

Promoter, author and art critic Pierre Restany (1930-2003) wrote the Manifesto for the group called Les Nouveaux Realistes that a few years earlier in 1960 Arman was one of the founding members, and that Manifesto started the true cultural birth of the postwar art boom in France.

From the Restany archives; “On the 27th of October1960, at the home of Yves Klein, Pierre Restany founded the group of New Realists, in the presence of Arman and the artists Dufrene, Hains, Klein, Raysse, Spoerri, Tinguely and Villeglé. César and Rotella who were absent, participated in subsequent events of the group.

The founding manifesto of the group is written by Pierre Restany in nine copies signed by all present members, seven are on blue monochrome paper, one in gold leaf and one on pink monochrome paper.”

Yves Klein who had a close relationship with Arman wrote the following on the cover of the catalog:

P1040385A series of large life size busts of his friends Arman and Claude Pascal are immortalized in Klein Blue by Yves Klein. Klein sadly passed away a few years later. (photo from the museum website)

claude pascal

Portrait relief at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. (Arizona, USA)

Another one of these busts can be found far away in Australia.

Back to the catalog and some images of Arman in action reconfiguring and re-purposing a cello are shown below.


P1040390Unfortunately these photos are not attributed in the catalog.

Shown below was what Arman himself had to say.


from the inside of the catalog


On the backside of the catalog, we find in the profound statement by the artist the exclamation that the instinct to accumulate, and the subsequent destruction and the cutting of an object is a way of voluntarily stopping time.

A few images from the catalog, on the left a pun on the French word ”Vis” meaning screw and the sound of the Russian painter’s name Malevitch and thus “Vis a la Malevitch”.

P1040388On the right side is shown the “Fétiche a clous” or a Fetish with nails.

Philosophy a la Arman!