Robert Motherwell, “Pancho Villa Dead and Alive,” 1943 (MOMA/Dedalus Foundation)
Should collage artists worry about papers fading over time? This question was prompted by a hugely informative post by artist/teacher Nancy Nikkal about the recent Robert Motherwell exhibition at MOMA — which I blogged about in “How Robert Motherwell Lost His Dada Cred.”
So…did Motherwell coat his papers on both sides with PVA? I don’t think they even had PVA in 1946. But should I be using it now?
Not being an art school grad, I have wondered about this issue. Some collage instruction books tell you it’s essential to protect your papers unchanged for eternity. Was I being too lackadaisical about this? Continue reading
Mesuli Mamba, “Rolfe’s Environment”
Mesuli Mamba is prison warden and collage artist in Swaziland, South Africa. That’s where he grew up. Mamba first learned about art from his father’s collection of Reader’s Digest — which he still mines for collage materials, along with drawings, poetry texts, and glossy magazines (which can be hard to get).
The 34-year-old says: ” “Being a prison warden is tough. Real tough. But once you get used to it, you get to know the people in your community—we’re supposed to call them inmates but they’re just my machita [guys]. They don’t know about my collages yet.”
SHOP scrambled spells POSH————–and if your budget allows you to go really posh, then visit some galleries and actually buy collage art!
If not…I’ve collected a few collagey items which are mostly easy on the budget.
The exception is the Alex and Lee scarf above, from the “Dream Mandala” collection based on their Rorschach collages. There are nine different patterns (the one above is Turquoise Mosaic).
You can get these in square or rectangular in silk or modal/wool for $250 each at Cavalier Goods.
Now on to some more modest purchases and real steals.
Robert Motherwell, “Jeune Fille,” 1944 Oil, ink, gouache, and pasted Kraft drawing paper, colored paper, Japanese paper, German decorative paper, and fabric on canvas board.
That headline needs some ‘splainin’, as Ricky Ricardo used to say. First, Dada—————-the more radical offshoot of Surrealism. Dada was thought up after World War I by a bunch of punk writers and artists in Europe. Okay, they didn’t use the word “punk.” But they were rebels. They flirted with nihilism. They wanted to shock.
Lil Picard, “Burnt Ties” 1968
Machismo in reverse. In the early ’60’s, Lil Picard had been using women’s cosmetics as primary materials in her collages and assemblages. In 1968, she exhibited the burnt neckties at a show called “Destruction in Art.”
Critic Lucy Lippard wrote, ” “In 1967, using (perhaps not coincidentally) her husband’s real silk neckties, Picard began to burn things.” The ties were shown a few years later at Lajeski Gallery in New York with an added performance element: Picard used matches and irons to singe gallery-goers’ neckties.
Lil Picard, “Vin Ordinaries Chatel du Roy,” 1957 (Collage and oil on canvas)
A cabaret performer in Berlin before World War II. An artist in New York scavenging the streets for collage materials in the 1940’s. A journalist covering the art scene in New York in the fifties. A pioneering performance artist in early ’60’s “happenings” (think Cafe a Go Go). An habitue of Warhol’s factory who appeared in his films and wrote for Interview.
You’d think someone with this resume would be famous. But you’ve probably never heard of Lil Picard. I know I hadn’t.
Richard Meier & Partners, U.S. Embassy in London
Architecture is inevitably collage. A building is “pasted” into an existing mix—a streetscape in the city or natural landscape in the country. The architect considers how the new “piece” will fit the rest of the composition. So it’s not surprising that lots of architects have made collages.