Flaming June, and other Pre-Raphaelites

by Sally Steele

 Sir Frederic Leighton’s 1895 painting Flaming June. Photograph: Museo de Arte de Ponce

Sir Frederic Leighton’s 1895 painting Flaming June. Photograph: Museo de Arte de Ponce

“PAINT the leaves as they grow!

If you can paint one leaf, you can paint the world.” John Ruskin

The Guardian, Friday, May 1, 2015: A remarkable study for Flaming June, one of the best known of all Pre-Raphaelite paintings, has been discovered hanging discreetly behind a bedroom door in an English country mansion.

I have been a student of Pre-Raphaelite art forever, really. My mother, an art volunteer & educator had an affinity for the Pre-Raphaelites. Some of my earliest memories of her are of her coming home from art classes at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with Martin Jackson, full of paint smudges and stories. When our family moved to rural Chester Country, one of the first places my Mom made into a home away from home was the Delaware Art Museum. This museum is known throughout the world for its Pre-Raphaelite collection. She spent countless hours studying, and even more hours delighting museum-goers with her knowledge of the painters and the paintings.

The New York Times, August 7, 2014: In June, it [The Delaware Art Museum] was formally sanctioned by the Association of Art Museum Directors, which has asked its members not to lend artwork to Delaware or assist with its exhibitions.

The spanking came one day after the museum sold a painting from its collection, William Holman Hunt’s “Isabella and the Pot of Basil.” Trustees say that the sale was the only way to help settle a $19.8 million expansion debt and plump the museum’s endowment. Now, for the first time, the museum is confirming that it will sell two more works. The first, Winslow Homer’s “Milking Time” (1875), is a masterpiece of American genre painting, a quietly intense farm scene in which a mother and son turn away and gaze over a wooden fence that seems to say something about held-back emotion. The Homer will be offered in a Sotheby’s auction this fall, unless a buyer turns up first. “That is our plan of attack,” Gerret Copeland, the chairman of the Delaware Museum board, explained. “If we find a private buyer, it will go sooner.”

In some ways, the situation in Delaware can be seen as a cautionary tale about the perils of over-expansion. In 2005, the museum completed a construction project that doubled its space. Glass wings (designed by Ann Beha Architects) rose up on either side of the original building, a trim, red-brick, Georgian-style structure that brought to mind a suburban bank.

But renovating and enlarging art museums, which has become so popular you might think size was the goal of art, is no guarantee of larger audiences. Revealingly, the Delaware Museum’s membership is down to 1,600 households, from a peak of about 3,000 in 2001, said Jessica Jenkins, a museum spokeswoman.

Selling artwork to fund operations (as opposed to acquisitions) is widely viewed as self-defeating, like burning down your house to heat the kitchen. Museums are supposed to safeguard art for future generations, not cash in or out. And as the sale of the Holman Hunt proved, it doesn’t always go as hoped.

The sad state of the museum notwithstanding, my own love of Pre-Raphaelite art, and my own many hours spent at the museum studying and being inspired are life-long, and hopefully something I pass along to my sons, both artists.

Frederick Leighton

Frederic Leighton

 

 

Frederic Leighton was knighted at Windsor in 1878, and was created a baronet, of Holland Park Road in the Parish of St Mary Abbots, Kensington, in the County of Middlesex, eight years later. He was the first painter to be given a peerage, in the New Year Honours List of 1896. The patent creating him Baron Leighton, of Stretton in the County of Shropshire, was issued on 24 January 1896; Leighton died the next day of angina pectoris.

 

 

The Guardian, Friday, May 1, 2015: The discovery of the head study for Sir Frederic Leighton’s picture was announced on Friday — one of many extraordinary secrets to emerge from a 16th-century manor house owned by Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe until her death, aged 99, last year.

A pencil and chalk study for Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

A pencil and chalk study for Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

The heir, to his immense surprise, was her great-nephew Bamber Gascoigne, former host of University Challenge. He has vowed to begin carrying out the essential restoration needed to secure the house’s future and has arranged with Sotheby’s to sell objects from the house which paint a picture of an England that no longer exists.

The Leighton drawing is particularly exciting. Simon Toll, Sotheby’s Victorian art specialist, said finding it behind the door of a small, dark anteroom off the duchess’s bedroom was “thrilling … one of the most heart-stopping moments in my career.”

Flaming June is on posters all over the world, yet resides in the most unexpected of places – the municipal art museum of Puerto Rico’s second biggest city, Ponce, where it is known as “the Mona Lisa of the southern hemisphere.” It was snapped up by the governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Ferré, in 1963 for $1,000 (£660) when Pre-Raphaelites were still painfully out-of-fashion. But while experts were aware of the existence of the pencil and chalk preparatory drawing because it featured in an 1895 art magazine, they did not know its location.

Toll said he immediately recognized the study, which joins existing nude and drapery studies for the painting. “This head study is the last piece of the jigsaw in terms of the preparatory work Leighton undertook before starting on the big oil painting.”  Even Sargent had a  ‘Pre-Raphaelite’ period in rural England with ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose.’

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, 1885-6, by John Singer Sargent, presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1887, Tate Britain

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, 1885-6, by John Singer Sargent, presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1887, Tate Britain

 

It seems likely that the drawing was purchased directly from the artist’s studio after Leighton’s death. It is just one treasure from West Horlsey Place, the duchess’s remarkable time-capsule house … to walk around it is like being in an EM Forster novel.  She allowed few people beyond the main reception rooms. Gascoigne, now 80, spent many happy lunches at his great-aunt’s house but never stepped foot past the stone hall where meals were served or the drawing room and garden room. “In all that time she never said to anybody, ‘Would you like to see upstairs?’ I think it may have been considered bad form, showing off or something. I saw the amazing upstairs drawing room for the first time, as its owner.”

He had no idea that such a treasure trove existed in the labyrinth of rooms beyond.

The contents evoke a lifestyle so aristocratically excessive that characters in Downton Abbey might have thought it a touch too much. There are liveried staff uniforms; monogrammed china which members of the royal family would have used as dinner guests; a 10ft white cut-velvet cloak studded with paste stones which the duchess’s mother would have worn while welcoming guests to parties in the 1920s and 1930s; and a silver Asprey breakfast-in-bed tray.

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Duchess-of-Roxburghe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The duchess’s life was as fascinating as her house. She was born Mary Evelyn Hungerford Crewe-Milnes and married the Duke of Roxburghe – “Bobo” to his friends and family – in Westminster Abbey in 1935, a society wedding that brought together two of Britain’s great aristocratic families.

George Innes-Ker, 9th Duke of Roxburghe

George Innes-Ker, 9th Duke of Roxburghe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The marriage deteriorated, and in 1953 her husband had his butler deliver divorce papers to her on a silver tray while they were both eating breakfast.

 

 

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The Roxburghe castle

Not pleased, Mary barricaded herself into a castle wing where she remained for two months, in spite of the duke turning off the power and water. It was only the intervention of a neighbour, the Earl of Home, soon to be prime minister Alec Douglas-Home, which brought the standoff to a close.

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West Horsley Place, “among other Shakespearean luminaries, Henry VIII dropped by West Horsley Place for what is rather casually described as a 35-course lunch”

Mary then divided her time between London and West Horsley Place, purchased by her parents as a country retreat in the 1930s. Gasgoigne was not expecting to inherit it. “I was absolutely astonished and, in a way, it didn’t mean anything for a bit – it seemed so strange.” It is beginning to make sense now after a year or so. The house, essentially Tudor era with an 18th-century red-brick facade screwed to it, is beautiful but needs extensive restoration. “People who know about houses say I do sympathise with you, said Gascoigne. They say ‘thank God it isn’t me’.”

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The prime objects to go on auction later in the month in London will, however, be the ones that pack more narrative punch than they will demand financial pocket-depth. At the end of the month, on May 27, certain curated personal effects and accoutrements as selected by Gascoigne and Sotheby’s will go under the hammer

Whatever money is made will, after death duties, be ploughed into the house. “It is rather a late age in life to be starting an adventure,” admitted Gascoigne. “Having failed to climb Everest perhaps one needs to try something else.”

 

Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe — Obituary, The Telegraph, July 9, 2014:

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Wedding of Mary Evelyn Hungerford Crewe-Milnes and the Duke of Roxburghe, 1935

 

In 1935 she was married in Westminster Abbey to the 9th Duke of Roxburghe — “Bobo” to his intimates — a Scottish landowner of more than 80,000 acres, and perhaps the best shot in the kingdom.

In 1937 the Duchess’s imposing stature and dark good looks were again seen to advantage in the Abbey at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. With the Duchesses of Buccleuch, Norfolk and Rutland, she carried the new Queen’s train.

Mary Roxburghe showed enterprise in the early months of the war by joining a party of “illicit wives” who had wangled passages to the Middle East to be with their Army husbands. Peter Coats, the garden designer and ADC to General Wavell, noted in April 1940: “Palestine is more like Ladies’ Day at Ascot than ever. Actually, I disapprove of them being here, just because they can pull strings and have the fare. But as they are all friends, I can’t work against them.”

A few weeks later the ever-obliging ADC extricated the Duchess from her car, marooned near Jerusalem in a herd of goats.

After her divorce, Mary Roxburghe spent much of her life at 15, Hyde Park Gardens, a large and elegantly furnished flat overlooking the park. She worked for many charities and was President of the National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds. She also became an enthusiastic member of the Royal Society of Literature, and was for many years a devoted patron of the Royal Ballet.

Caricature of Frederic Leighton

Caricature of Frederic Leighton

 

Nascido Helmut Herzfeld

Nascido Helmut Herzfeld

 

“I lost my parents in 1899 and thereafter lived as an orphan with different families.”

 

John Heartfield managed to rise to a distinguished career as a graphic designer after a very challenging childhood, founding a publishing house, Malik-Verlag in 1917, with the renowned artist George Grosz, one of this publisher’s favorite artists.  Both resisted the anti-British sentiment bubbling in Germany before WWI, by Anglicizing their names.  In 1908, he studied art in Munich at the Royal Bavarian Arts and Crafts School.  Heartfield joined the German Communist Party (KPD) shortly thereafter.

In 1917, Heartfield became a member of Berlin Club Dada.  He later became active in the Dada movement, which informed much of his artwork, helping to organize the Erste Internationale Dada-Messe (First International Dada Fair) in Berlin in 1920. Dadaists were the young lions of the German art scene, provocateurs who disrupted public art gatherings and ridiculed the participants. In an interview with an English historian, Francis Klingender, Heartfield described Dada “as an effort to disturb the higher impulses of the intellect – the spiritual, mystical, and subjective – but only in order to get at the truth behind them.”

 

Dadaism - Art and Anti Art, Edited by Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, and George Grosz

Dadaism – Art and Anti Art, Edited by Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, and George Grosz

 

The Dada labeled traditional art ‘trivial and bourgeois.’ Heartfield was a member of a circle of German artistic titans that included Erwin PiscatorBertolt BrechtHannah Höch, and a host of others. Heartfield began his artistic career as a set designer. “Using Heartfield’s minimal props and stark stages, Brecht interrupted his plays at key junctures to have the audience to be part of the action and not to lose themselves in it.”

 

John Heartfield Stage Set Projection for Bertolt Brecht, 1951

John Heartfield Stage Set Production for Bertolt Brecht, 1951

 

Heartfield was dismissed from the Reichswehr Film Service for his political stridency, and founded Die Pleite, a satirical magazine with George Grosz. In the New York MoMa hangs a telling portrait by Grosz of Heartfield, entitled The Engineer Heartfield. (see below–last image)  He then met the pivotal playwright Bertolt Brecht in 1924, for whom he built many theatrical sets. Brecht became involved in the Weimar Republic Berlin, while his publication Die Pleite was critical of the movement up until the Third Reich, because the Reich ignored the constitutional requirements in 1933. Although the Republic had many positive accomplishments, improving the railway, reform the currency and tax policies, it blocked German war reparations and created unwanted borders.

Brecht produced many radical plays based on characters from Charlie Chaplin to G.B. Shaw, and collaborated with Kurt Weill, among others.  The “masterpiece” of the Brecht/Weill collaborations, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny), caused an uproar when it premiered in 1930 in Leipzig, with Nazis in the audience protesting. The Brecht/Weill association was very influential to Heartfield.

Heartfield was prolific in his production of set-designs and book jackets.  His medium was photomontage, very political in nature and expressing criticism of the growing Nazi movement and particularly Hitler, about whom several of his most pointed montages were directed.  On Good Friday 1933, the SS broke into his apartment, Heartfield escaped by jumping from his balcony. He left Germany by walking over the Sudeten Mountains to Czechoslovakia, ultimately creating his most revered image to raise awareness of the Reich’s motto, Blood and Iron.

 

Poster by John Heartfield, Blut und Eisen

Poster by John Heartfield, Blut und Eisen (Blood and Iron)

 

Heartfield’s artistic output was abundant. His works appeared as covers for the Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ, Workers’ Illustrated Newspaper) from 1929 to 1933. AIZ was a popular weekly with circulation that rivaled any magazine in Germany during the early 1930’s. During 1931, Heartfield’s photomontages were featured monthly on the AIZ cover, an important point, because most copies of the AIZ were sold at newsstands.

 

Heartfield_Hitler_Salute

 

It was through rotogravure, an engraving process whereby pictures, designs, and words are engraved into the printing plate or printing cylinder – that Heartfield’s montages, in the form of posters, were distributed in the streets of Berlin in 1932 and 1933, gaining him wide exposure.

 

(Berlin)

 

His photomontages satirizing Adolf Hitler and the Nazis employing subverted Nazi symbols, such as the swastika, in order to undermine their propaganda message. The term “Swastika” was originally the name for a hooked cross in Sanskrit, and swastikas have been found on artifacts, such as coins and pottery, from the ancient city of Troy.

 

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With reference to the medieval torture instrument, the wheel, Heartfield skillfully adapted the swastika (often misused by the Nazis) to picture what was happening to the German people under the ‘guidance’ of Adolf Hitler and his cronies. Some might say that this image of suffering is somewhat generous to the German people, portraying them as the victims of Nazism but once Hitler had secured absolute power for himself and with no method of democratically – or governmentally – relieving him of his position (as was the case with Mussolini in Italy), then victims is exactly what they were.  Parenthetically, Putin is now removing all the references to Swastikas for upcoming commemoration of the victory over Germany in WWII.  Heartfield’s work was so graphic that it needed no translations.  “In his repeated uses of skulls, skeletons, swords and cannons, Heartfield can seem to belong to a peculiarly Germanic Visual tradition that starts with Dürer and Grunewald – a vein of realism so vehemently precise that it becomes macabre.” In addition, “except for Mussolini, many of the political figures pictured are obscure.” (source: The New York Times, May 3, 1991)

Mussolini was a detractor as well:

We have rejected the theory of the economic man, the Liberal theory, and we are, at the same time, emancipated from what we have heard said about work being a business. The economic man does not exist; the integral man, who is political, who is economic, who is religious, who is holy, who is combative, does exist. Fascism HAS BECOME formidable and needs only a Duce, a Fuehrer, an organizer, and a loosening of the purse strings of those who gain materially by its victory, to become the most powerful force threatening the Republic. (source: George Seldes; Sawdust Caesar, 1935)

This is what Heartfield strove against.

 

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Once again, in 1938, Heartfield had to flee the Nazis in Czechoslovakia to England where he was interned as an enemy alien, and where his health deteriorated. He was released and allowed to remain, unlike his brother who had to flee to the United States. This led to scrutiny by the East German Secret Police (Stasi) upon his return to Berlin after the war, due to his length of time in England. He was unable to work as an artist and was denied health benefits. At the intervention of Bertolt Brecht, Heartfield was finally admitted to the Academy of the Arts in 1956. Although he subsequently produced some montages warning of the threat of nuclear war, he was never again as prolific as in his youth.

 

The Engineer Heartfield

The Engineer Heartfield, by George Grosz

 

On July 27, 1914 Mussolini wrote the decisive editorial of the time, under the startling headline, “Our Neutrality Must Be Absolute.”  It was more than an abrogation of Italy’s contract to fight with Germany and Austro-Hungary; it was a threat of revolution at home.  Again, the very issues Heartfield fought against.

Although the Tate Modern in London did a Heartfield retrospective in 2005, he remains a little known artist. Perhaps this Boulevardiers piece will help to put that right. Although a “blue plaque” commemorates Heartfield in London, something more substantive would be much appropriate for an artist of his stature.

 

heartfield

 

Following his third wife Gertrud Heartfield’s death, Heartfield was buried in Berlin, and the East German Academy of the Arts took possession of all of Heartfield’s surviving works. When the West German Academy of the Arts absorbed the East German Academy, the Heartfield Archive was transferred with it.

 

More art, history, and personal ephemera can be found online at The Official John Heartfield Exhibition & Archive built and curated by John Heartfield’s grandson, John J. Heartfield.

 

Emancipation & Esteem

by Sally Steele

Juneteenth Flyer Musician

65th Annual SF Juneteenth Celebration Commemorates the 150th Anniversary

of the Emancipation Proclamation

“The Journey Continues”

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in June 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate South. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in most states.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration among African Americans across the country commemorating the announcement of the end of slavery in the United States. It has been an African American tradition since the late 19th century. Economic and cultural forces caused a decline in Juneteenth celebrations beginning in the early 20th century. The Depression forced many African Americans off farms and into the cities to find work. In these urban environments, employers were less eager to grant leaves to celebrate this date. July 4th was already established as an Independence Day Holiday, and a rise in patriotism among African Americans steered more toward this celebration. The Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s yielded both positive and negative results for the Juneteenth celebrations. While it pulled many of the African American youth away and into the struggle for racial equality, many linked these struggles to the historical struggles of their ancestors. Again in 1968, Juneteenth received another strong resurgence through the Poor Peoples March to Washington, D.C. Rev. Ralph Abernathy called for people of all races, creeds, economic levels and professions to come to Washington to show support for the poor. Many of these attendees returned home and initiated Juneteenth celebrations in areas previously absent of such activity. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Juneteenth continued to enjoy a growing interest from communities and organizations throughout the country as African Americans have an interest to see that the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten. Many see roots tying back to Texas soil from which all remaining American slaves were finally granted their freedom.

 

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Of course, California is unique, vital, and not like any other state. And San Francisco’s Juneteenth celebration is masterfully in the hands of Arnold Townsend, Chairman of the SF Juneteenth; Rachel Townsend is the SF Juneteenth Coordinator; and Shelly Tatum is Juneteenth Entertainment Producer.

This Boulevardier met Shelly in May, he gave me a ride downtown, San Francisco style. Shelly is a true Boulevardier, and an ebullient San Franciscan. Hence, this post! There’s only one Shelly and here is why, in his own words:

“I am an African American San Francisco native, born in the Bayview Hunter’s Point district. I have lived throughout this beautiful city where I still reside. In my community, and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, I am liked, known and well respected.”

“I am a self-employed entrepreneur and have an urban online marketing company, Shelly Tatum Presents that reaches the African American demographic throughout Northern California. My online network team connects with over a million people nationwide.  I’ve promoted concerts and special events throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. I was also the first to bring hip-hop concerts to San Francisco, and the first African American to rent out the San Francisco Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall to co-produce the first jazz concert. I have advertised for major concert and Theatre companies such as Live Nation, AEG Live, SHN, A.C.T., Tyler Perry and others. My online marketing network has helped raise campaign funds for local, state, and federal elected officials.”

 

The one & only Shelly Tatum, photograph by Ruth “Stormy” Jordan

 

The relationship between Juneteenth and the City of San Francisco dates back to 1951, Dr. Wesley Johnson Sr. invited the Bay Area’s African American community to celebrate a June 19th celebration at the Texas playhouse on Fillmore Street, a popular lounge he owned.  The first parade was led by Johnson and the former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr.  At that first parade, they rode out on white horses, wearing Stetson cowboy hats.  The community businesses and residents enthusiastically supported that first Juneteenth celebration and it quickly become a much-anticipated date on the summer calendar.  Many people in the parade were proud and pleased to be involved in celebrating the freedom of African Americans in this country.

Today the historic San Francisco Juneteenth is one of the largest African American celebrations in California and its sole purpose is for historical awareness, building self-esteem with our youth, connecting organizations with the community and providing opportunity for African American vendors to market their business and showcase their craft.

The San Francisco Juneteenth Festival  Committee is committed  to continue the historical tradition of our ancestors by celebrating this holiday to nurture and facilitate the empowerment of our community through education, partnerships, and interaction with community resources that our committed to community enrichment.

 

San Francisco, CA (January, 2015) – The San Francisco Juneteenth Committee invites you to attend the 65th Annual SF Juneteenth festival and Honor Roll Celebration Parade. The Juneteenth festival will take place in the historic Fillmore District, Fillmore St. between Sutter & Turk Streets, on Saturday, June 13, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Juneteenth Celebration activities include:
~3 stages of live musical performances from local artists.
~Parade and High School Honor Roll March with special appearances by Mayor Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors London Breed and Malia Cohen. Drill teams, horse groups, floats community organizations
~Health and Wellness Fair Free health screenings and healthy cooking demo’s by the Fit Farmer
~Technology Fair – Including a build your own APP contest
~Fashion Show by Mario B. Presents
~Classic Car and Motor Cycle show
~Arts & Crafts booths and a variety of food vendors
~Children’s activities including a Kids Zone with Live performances by Prescott Circus Theatre & Circus Bella, pony rides, a petting zoo, jumpers, carnival rides
This event is free and open to the public!

 

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Save the date: May 9th, 2015 ~ Fondazione Prada

by Sara Nitti

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On May 9th Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco 3, Milano, will be open to the public from 10 am to 9pm.

 

Construction of Foundacione Prada

Construction of Fondazione Prada

 

Once a former distillery, in the industrial south section of Milan–8,900 square meters, it is now the home of the biggest, and arguably, this city’s most exciting contemporary art space. The new location for Fondazione Prada, back to Milano after 7 years, returning from its Venetian venue at Ca’Corner della Regina in Venezia.

 

Museum, cinema and torre are the three new structures added to the reclaimed site, photograph by bas princen, fondazione prada

Museum, Cinema and Torre are the three new structures added to the reclaimed site, Fondazione Prada combines seven industrial structures dating back to 1910, with three new buildings designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, photograph by Bas Prince, Fondazione Prada

 

The complex will house a cinema, library, museum and a large exhibition space, which constitutes more than half the compound’s overall 205,000 square footage, the city’s newest and largest gallery of contemporary art, the first permanent home open to the public.

 

Miuccia Prada stands outside her new Fondazione in Milan, Photograph by Mario Sorrenti

Miuccia Prada stands outside the new Fondazione in Milan, photograph by Mario Sorrenti

 

The venue is set to appeal to art aficionados of all persuasions. “This new opening is an act of responsibility towards present times,” said Mariuccia Prada.  She continued, “Fondazione Prada will not be a museum, but rather the continuation of an intellectual process founded on the exploration of doubt and on extensive research.”

The project of Rem Koolhaas blended the building’s original industrial character with several expansions, including an eight-story tower (still under construction) described as a monolithic sculptural mass which they hope will become “a new landmark in Milan’s urban landscape.”

 

The exterior has been covered in gold leaf, one small area at a time; the facade will reflect the rising and setting sun.

New York Times blog: “The exterior has been covered in gold leaf, one small area at a time; the facade will reflect the rising and setting sun.”

 

Ten buildings in total will be gallery spaces for the Fondazione Prada’s contemporary art collections, which are extensive, as well as a rotating series of specially commissioned exhibitions, including a cinema, a café, a library and other facilities.

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At the heart of the compounds will sit the Haunted House, an intimate space which will house site-specific installations conceived by international artists.

Koolhaas declares, “The Foundation is not a preservation project nor a new architecture exercise. Two conditions that are usually kept separate here confront each other in a state of permanent interaction- offering an ensemble of fragments that will not resolve into a single vision, or allow any part to dominate the others. The complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming, where art and architecture will benefit from each others challenges.

 

Baldessari show, The Giacometti Variations is made up of nine facsimile of Giacometti's sculptures  It consists of a series of huge figures 15 feet tall, inspired by the imagination of the Swiss sculptor, which are clothed and outfitted with garments and objects designed by Baldessari himself, thus forming a hypothetical, though immobile, fashion show

The Giacometti Variations by Baldessari, consists of a series of huge figures 15 feet tall, inspired by the imagination of the Swiss sculptor, which are clothed and outfitted with garments and objects designed by Baldessari himself, thus forming a hypothetical, though immobile, fashion show

 

Astrid Welter, project director of Fondazione Prada, describes the projects as a pivotal moment in the organization’s history. “This is our transformation, our phase two of the Foundation,” she said. Continuing, “We have already become a platform for art exhibition and other disciplines like architecture, cinema and philosophy, and the new exhibition site in Milan will allow us to amplify all the activity which we have done so far on grander scale. It will ensure the Foundation will keep on investigating, with the help of various disciplines, useful and relevant for cultural discourse today.”

And then, for cinephiles everywhere: a bar designed “in the traditional Milan café style” by filmmaker Wes Anderson (Grand Budapest Hotel) who recreated a 1910 Milanese atmosphere in a bar open to the public from the street. He took ideas from the Vittorio Emmanuelle Galleria decorations in the centre of Milano. A truly epic urban space!

 

Waiters work in a bar designed by US film director Wes Anderson recreating the old Milan cafes' atmosphere in the new venue of Prada's Foundation

Waiters work in a bar designed by US film director Wes Anderson recreating the old Milan cafes’ atmosphere in the new venue of Prada’s Foundation

 

This should be a destination for many years to come. Very important is the kid’s area, designed by a group of students from the Ecole Nationale Superieure d’architecture de Versaille…and the programme for the next days, will include Roman Polanski who will explore the cinematographic inspirations behind his artistic vision…..so much to see, many events from May 9th throughout summer 2015.  Especially well timed opening to coincide with the World Expo 2015 in Milano.

Sara Nitti, Boulevardiers Guest Contributor resides in Milan,

and more Boulevardiers are going in July…we can’t wait!!

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In the Studio: Photographs

April 11, 2015

Photograph by Constantin Brancusi, 
View of the studio: Plato, Mademoiselle Pogany II, and Golden Bird, c. 1920; © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

  An ambitious exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue, curated by Peter Galassi, rustles up many issues. As Roberta Smith quoted in the New York Times: “…trophy-curators. Clout is definitely on display here, contributing to that heady combination of overt excellence and subtle vulgarity that may be something of a Gagosian specialty.” The […]

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“I would rather sleep in a bathroom than in another hotel.” Billy Wilder

March 8, 2015

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    Just In Case The Raphael is Booked                                                      …by Jerry Bowles                                                                         There is nothing quite as deliciously self-indulgent or decadent as a great hotel. Hemingway wasn’t whistling Dixie when he said “Whenever I dream of afterlife in Heaven, the action always takes place at the Paris Ritz.” Papa loved the […]

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William Randolph Hearst ~ Boulevardier of the Year

January 18, 2015

TBAnnualAward

~~~~~~     WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, your readers might like it. ~WRH   One of the most telling descriptions, for better or worse, is the fact that his Senator father, George Hearst, willed his entire fortune upon his death in 1895 to his wife, Phoebe, stating that his […]

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How to be Successful in the Arts 101… Shear Madness

December 31, 2014

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    “I’ll never forget my first words in the theatre. Peanuts. Popcorn.” Henny Youngman     What happens when 2 actors from upstate New York decide to pursue their dreams, buy the rights to a murder-mystery written in German, by Swiss playwright Paul Portner for $50,000, turn it into a comedy, and spend another […]

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Boulevardiering — the verb

December 12, 2014

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  The Boulevardiers are proud of and bemused by the mileage and velocity we are encouraging via our use of the term Boulevardiering (our Twitter name). We are Boulevardiers, indeed Chesterfieldian, flâneurs, fops, walking-stick nuts, so are most of our friends, and garnering that curiosity and energy is the reason we started this publication over […]

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Arnold Newman – Master Class in Portraiture

November 25, 2014

Arnold Newman, Sir Cecil Beaton, photographer and designer, Broadchalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, 1978.

Photography of Photographers   Portraiture is about revelations.  Either for the subject or the artist.  So often in painting, El Greco, or Singer Sargent – exemplified by his most famous portrait, Madam X, the subject is somewhat incidental, especially out of the cultural context of the era.  But in photography, the subject is paramount.  Some […]

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