Miscellaneous

Artist Wassily Kandisky

Have you heard of the artist by the name of Wassily Kandinsky? His 148th birthday is today. The connection to the museum is that he shared some of the same interests as Arthur Secunda. He enjoyed creating abstract pieces, using color to express emotion, and was also influenced by things such as Impressionism and Pointillism. They both also have Russian roots which they reflected in their artwork.

Furthermore, he made the decision to abandon other jobs to follow his love of art. Kandinsky also spent time in France where he created the majority of his works. Like Arthur, Kandinsky loved to apply theories to art, such as those with a science background. For instance, the publication of a book titled Concerning the Spiritual in Art focused on color theory and how it can create a “rich, sensory experience within the soul of the viewer” (Wyatt, 2014).

Wyatt, D. (2014, December 16). Wassily Kandinsky’s 148th Birthday: Why is the
painter being celebrated in a Google Doodle? The Independent.

 

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Miscellaneous

Pierian Press and Knowledge

Arthur’s work is displayed at Pierian Press, which derives its name from the waters in Greek mythology…where it is said that “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.” This refers to the production and awareness of artwork that is not only beautiful, but also contains an intellectual element. Magical effects of memory is an example of Arthur applying this to his work. Specifically, the series titled Matters of the Mind provides important values and messages.

The images below demonstrate emotions, not just for Arthur but for the country as a whole. Contemplation was created in 1994 while Arthur was taking a class on how to draw the human body. Solomon, my Love is a piece that was developed after 9/11 to represent the darkness that was upon us as well as the patriotic spirit that connected us (which is why he added the extra striping and the stars). The third image, was designed to show that we were starting to get out of the dark place and rebuild our lives. We had hope that we would get through the tough time.

Contemplation

Contemplation

Solomon, my Love

Solomon, my Love

Hope

Hope

 

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Art Forms, Miscellaneous

Our Final Post on Paper

Within the manuscripts was another neat addition to our collection, an interview and behind the scenes documentary explaining why Arthur chose to create paper in the traditional method and how it contributed to his work.

Why would a contemporary artist be interested in doing this? Well, Arthur viewed it as an art form itself and specifically came to France because that location marked the beginning of the tradition. The paper mills in the United States were simply influenced by French paper making.

Further into the interview, the difference between working in rather than on paper is discussed. Specifically, while working on paper it loses its identity with the image becoming the dominating presence. On the other hand, the pate form of paper can resemble both a two and three dimensional format, painterly and sculptural. In addition, Arthur considers his torn paper collages to possess a unique quality, again relating to sculpture.

Arthur decided to defy the usual procedure and actually mixed the colors of his choosing and poured them directly onto the mold. This experiment left him guessing how everything would turn out, would the colors blend together and would they bleed? Curiosity and worry greeted Arthur at the end of the day, his anticipation would grow through the night and into the morning when he could see the final result.

from ih3.redbubble.net

from ih3.redbubble.net

 

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Miscellaneous

More on Paper Making

Sorry for the delay, it has been really busy here at the museum this last month…which is a good thing, so we’re not complaining.

Fortunately not all of the manuscripts regarding Arthur’s experience at the paper mill were in French. Here is a section that describes in detail what’s involved in the process:

“The ancient press is turned by hand, yet is able to squeeze the excess moisture from the stack of paper with several tons of pressure. Four men are needed for this operation of the presage. Pulling the wet paper and felt underneath the press, they pile heavy wooden boards on the top of the stack and water oozes from it like a waterfall.

The press is turned a few times with the help of all the workers. Then one of them places a huge log with a rope tied around it parallel to the ceiling and pulls it around in a circle winding the rope around a floor to ceiling turnstile. After the paper is pressed, the sheets are hung up in the drying room.  The room is on the third floor of the main building and surrounded by windows on four sides, for maximum light.

When they are completely dried, they are put through a hydraulic press to flatten them out- the only stage where a modern method is utilized.

One may question why should these costly and time consuming archaic methods of papermaking be preserved, particularly when there has been so much mechanizations of the paper industry. But the answer is apparent, in modern mass production of paper, it is impossible to re-create the quality and beauty of these hand-made papers. The resurgence of interest in paper making in the U.S. indicate how important it is to preserve the techniques and secret methods of traditional paper making, as they are rapidly becoming extinct.”

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About Arthur

The World of Paper Making

 

 

Arthur Secunda is a multi-talented artist that made his own paper and incorporated it into various images. He learned about the paper making process while working at the Richard de bas Paper Mill in Ambert, France. This is known as a historical monument and included on the list of places to visit. Guests can learn the history behind paper making and see first hand paper made using 15th century methods. 200 sheets are made each day; plain white paper is made in the Winter and colored paper is made in the Summer which is created through the addition of flowers.

Here at the museum, we have some manuscripts written by one of Arthur’s friends and fellow correspondent artist, Linda Jacobson. Unfortunately, it is written in French. Hopefully, we can get a full translation in the near future so we can learn more about Arthur’s experience at France’s historic paper mill.

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Correspondence Art

Jeff Berner, a FLUXUS Member and Correspondence Artist

Jeff Berner

Although there are many more individuals we could inform you about; the correspondence series is going to wrap up with Jeff Berner, an artist that is currently alive and letting his creativity shine. He is known for various styles of art including photography, portraits, and illustrations for books and magazines. Berner even published some books which can be purchased through Amazon.com. He also created a diorama series which was exhibited at galleries in Los Angeles and two additional locations in Paris. Berner has won awards and has taught at three different institutions including Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design in San Francisco. Berner currently lives in Paris with his wife Azar who does painting.

Now let’s take a stroll back in time, Berner became involved with the FLUXUS group back in 1965. What exactly is FLUXUS? Well, it is an international group of conceptual/performance artists. According to Henry Flynt, “Fluxus embraced many of the concepts and practices associated with the post-war avant-garde of western Europe and North America” and incorporated poetry, random music, art, and lettrism. The term fluxus actually comes from the Latin word for “flow” and was conceived by a gentleman by the name of George Maciunas who was a writer, performer, and composer. The first grouping of FLUXUS festivals took place in Germany. Furthermore, it was this movement that united artists throughout the world and many of those involved with FLUXUS took part in Correspondence Art. :)

Click on these links for some interesting information regarding this neat group/movement:

http://www.fluxus.org/

http://www.moma.org/collection/theme.php?theme_id=10457

 

For more about Jeff Berner:

http://www.jeffberner.com/

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Correspondence Art

Correspondence Artist Cavellini Births Self-Historicization

Guglielmo Achille Cavellini was born 1914 in Brescia, Italy. He is known for contributing to many things such as the mail art movement, Experimentation period in Italian art, and combining Italian art with the American Pop Art style. Like many correspondent artists, Cavellini was also known for breaking out of boundaries that constrained artists from full expression. In addition, he was interested in making creations that used images from other artists. One of the most fascinating things about Cavellini would have to be his involvement in the development of the term historicization, which refers to the writing of oneself into history, both past and future.

Cavellini worked alongside well-known artists such as Andy Warhol and Ray Johnson. During a performance with an artist by the name of Higgins III, Cavellini’s body was painted with the colors of the Italian flag: red, white, and green. These colors became his trademark represented on envelopes that were sent out to fellow artists such as Arthur Secunda.

Rather than limit himself to paper, Cavellini felt inspired to move on to fabric and people.

Cavellini passed in 1990, but for almost 20 years he planned the San Francisco exhibit that took place this year. His son, Piero was at the opening reception.

Take a look at a video biography found on Youtube:

 

http://www.lynchtham.com/panel-discussion-self-historicization-and-its-current-impact.html

http://www.sfaqonline.com/2014/03/guglielmo-achille-cavellini-1914-2014-at-the-italian-cultural-institute-gallery-san-francisco/

 

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