January 18, 2017

Joseph Albers in Mexico



Joseph Albers, one of the founders of Bauhaus and of Black Mountain College, was an enthusiastic photographer. He traveled to Mexico and shoot his camera amid archeological ruins. 

A selection of his photographs was published by the MoMA in 1987 (and republished last year) under the title The Photographs of Josef Albers. A Selection From The Collection of The Josef Albers Foundation, following an exhibition.

Mexico made a deep impression on him. 'Mexico,' he wrote in amazement to Kandinsky, 'is truly the promised land of abstract art.'

On this regards, The Albers Foundation tells this story:

"He might have been thinking of Modernist painters such as Carlos Mérida, say, but he wasn't. What the couple had found in Mexico was an abstraction far older and, to their minds, more modern. Driving to an Aztec site, they had been stopped by a boy selling a turkey wrapped in a blanket. Anni, typically, ignored the bird for the fabric. Then the boy took some fragments from a bag—pre-Columbian pottery figures, maybe dating from the time of Christ. They were the kind of object that had been made in their millions in Mexico, and for hundreds of years; things you could find buried in any field.

Josef and Anni were transfixed. Part of the Bauhaus project had been to eliminate the ego in art, the whole cult of originality. In a time of mechanical reproduction and the aesthetic it shaped, signatures and authorship were decadent luxuries. What mattered was to make objects that anyone could use, and that everyone would want to—to find a universal language of art, made up of shapes and forms and colours. Here, in Mexico, was a civilisation quite literally built on these things. Looking at the anonymous work of an indigenous artist, Anni breathed: 'We're not alone any more.'"

I remember seeing at least two paintings by Josef Albers in Casa Barragán. One is leaning on a table, the other one next to a big window and already damaged by the sun.






Josef Albers, Monte Albán, Mexico, ca. 1939 
 



Josef Albers, Quetzalcoatl Monument, Calixtlahuaca, no date




Photos: © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany 1976


Josef Albers in Luis Barragán's private home (photographer unknown)



January 15, 2017

Hitlerian Trump: Letras Libres, Istoé


To me, this is clearly plagiarism: Istoé not only made the same Hitlerian wink that Letras Libres had used, but even used exactly the same portrait of Trump. Last year, the cover made headlines among international press, such as at The Huffington Post.



Letras Libres, Mexico, October 2016



Istoé, Brazil, January 13, 2017


February 5, 2016

"Derecho humano", de Ramón Rodríguez




Tú eres tú y tu circunstancia
y en esa circunstancia
estoy:
soy el otro
tu complemento
tu socio civil
tu prójimo


ámame.








February 28, 2015

Larga entrevista con André Laks


Entrevisté al profesor André Laks a propósito de la historia de su padre, Simon Laks. Fue compositor, violinista, director de orquesta y, en el plano literario, escritor y traductor. Estuvo preso en algunos campos de concentración nazi y en Auschwitz dirigió la orquesta de prisioneros. Sobre esta experiencia escribió dos libros, uno en francés y el otro en polaco. Traduje el primero de ellos, que saldrá publicado por la editorial Herder este año.

La conversación –en francés y español– se desarrolló en diciembre de 2014, en su casa de Coyoacán, y fue grabada por el equipo de Enlace Judío, que preside May Samra.



November 1, 2014

Pietro Bembo, Kazimir Malevich



Rafael di Sanzio, Pietro Bembo (ca. 1506)



Kazimir Malevich, Selfportrait (1933)

July 7, 2014

Bathtub: Angelina Jolie, Rihanna



Annie Leibovitz, Angelina Jolie (2005)


Sophie Muller, Rihanna, still of Stay (2012)


May 30, 2014

Stefan Lorant: the father of sosias




Well, this was matter of time. I started working on the sosias project after reading Proust's similarity between Odette and Cefora, back in 2005.

Today I just "discovered" (the most subjective verb with pretensions of objectivity) Stefan Lorant. He even has a biopage on Wikipedia. The foremost genius, from Budapest, as it should be: filmmaker, photographer, editor and a man of images.

There is currently an exhibition in Berlin, curated by Udo Kittelmann, focused on Trier, the guy who designed the covers of his magazine called Lilliput, focused on political satyr. It ran for 162 issues, and the largest collection might be Kittelmann's, who has 142.

The first "parallel" or "yuxtaposition" or "photographic jokes" – as he calls them in a generic way, since he coined no name for it – was one of Rockefeller and an old poor woman. Then he started looking for more, as he was starting a new, independent magazine with few resources but a lot of creativity.

The "idea behind the idea" became "to show how stupid pomposity, how silly self-importance is".



Michael Hallett has written his biography, which I want to get right away. He dubbed him the godfather of photojournalism, but the was more than that: he also invented the photographic sosias (pace Lawrence Weschler).










May 27, 2014

Whistler's mother, Virginia Woolf



James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist's Mother (1871)


Gisèle Freund, Virginia Woolf smoking, London (1939)



May 24, 2014

Balotelli, Ronaldo





Balotelli (2012)



Cristiano Ronaldo (2014)



May 22, 2014

Hollywood, Ayutla




Hollywoodland sign (1923)



Ayutla, Jalisco



Entonces mi papá las corrió a las dos. Primero les aguantó todo lo que pudo; pero más tarde ya no pudo aguantarlas más y les dio carrera para la calle. Ellas se fueron para Ayutla o no sé para dónde; pero andan de pirujas.
– Juan Rulfo, Es que somos muy pobres



May 21, 2014

Adobe flat


I am posting these pics of my flat as an answer to some comments posted on Apartment Therapy's Small Cool Contest.

 Adobe wall (terrace)


Main entrance from patio


 
Kitchen and studio


 Bedroom


To do list (bench: orange crate from the 50s)


Studio upstairs


Ceiling



Bathroom


 Duchamp in Mexico


May 20, 2014

Ingres, Souza


In his most recent book, The News, Alain de Botton suggests this funny sosias: two powerful men playing with kids.


Ingres, Henry IV recieving the Ambassador of Spain (1817)


Pete Souza, President Obama gets caught into Spider-Man's web (2012)

Bauhaus Dessau: Herbert Bayer, Enrique G de la G




Herbert Bayer, Bauhaus Dessau Balcony (c. 1930)



Enrique G de la G, Bauhaus (2013)

May 3, 2014

Wolfram von Eschenbach, "Parzival"




«A brave man slowly wise –
thus I hail my hero –
sweetness to women's eyes
and yet to women's hearts a sorrow,
from wrongdoings a man in flight!»

May 2, 2014

"Mergers and Acquisitions", by Edward Hirsch




Beyond junk bonds and oil spills,
beyond the collapse of Savings and Loans,
beyond liquidations and options on futures,
beyond basket trading and expanding foreign markets,
the Dow Jones industrial average, the Standard
& Poor's stock index, mutual funds, commodities,
beyond the rising tide of debits and credits,
opinion polls, falling currencies, the signs
for L. A. Gear and Coca Cola Classic,
the signs for U.S. Steel and General Motors,
hi-grade copper, municipal bonds, domestic sugar,
beyond fax it and collateral buildups,
beyond mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts,
hostile takeovers, beyond the official policy
on inflation and the consensus on happiness,
beyond the national trends in buying and selling,
getting and spending, the market stalled
and the cost passed on to consumers,
beyond the statistical charts on prices,
there is something else that drives us, some
rage or hunger, some absence smoldering
like a childhood fever vaguely remembered
or half-perceived, some unprotected desire,
greed that is both wound and knife,
a failed grief, a lost radiance.
     

April 25, 2014

Walter Leppers en Playboy



Playboy México publicó este mes el texto en el que narro mi encuentro con Walter Leppers –un alemán que le da la vuelta al mundo en bicicleta– y los días que pasé con él rodando por la ciudad de México.










February 17, 2014

Mexico City 1883



In 1883, Julius Popper published a commercial map of Mexico City's downtown, which is a jewel.

The David Rumsey Map Collection has it online. It is worth checking this collection of almost 50,000 maps and images, if you are interested in the topic.

The site allows you to download all images in high resolution.






Palabras regias


En 1996, al mudarme al DF, mis compañeros universitarios se burlaban por mi manera de hablar –acento y vocabulario– y por mi forma de vestir (sneakers negros y chanclas: había que usar necesaria y obligatoriamente zapatos de piel). He estado anotando algunas de las palabras que considero típicamente norteñas y que en el DF no se conocen, no se usan o tienen otro significado.


chinola: limpiador de zapatos; procede de una marca gringa, Shinola.
mirruña: algo pequeño
zacate: pasto
manejera: volante
perrón: fregón, padrísimo
calzonudo: valiente o mayor
jale, jalar: trabajar; también: estirar una puerta
namás: nada más
bañársela: exagerar, pasarse cierto límite moral
cucaracho: cucaracha
chaqueta: chamarra


work in progress



February 11, 2014

Chris John DeWitt


It's hard to have a favorite photographer, but after perusing some of the pics of the Brit Chris John DeWitt, I could say that his are my favorites regarding Berlin together with Willy Römer's.

DeWitt's pictures have an eternal beauty, both in black and white and in color. The Berlin pics from the 1980s show the abandoned state of the city, the sadness and its the chilly, indifferent Wall. All this might sound nostalgic today, but life back then wasn't that easy. DeWitt used a lot the red filter to capture the dramatic clouds. He is not only a consummated street photographer, but a witness of the city I love the most and of an era I missed.

"Berlin is a dramatic place, the pivot point of a pretty dramatic century", he writes. Indeed! A city impossible not to fall in love with.





I LOVE that graffito verse on the upper right: Sei schlauer, zerstör die Mauer!







I used to go around this corner for many years, every day



The same here: I crossed this bridge millions of times. One day they closed it and it was substituted by a new one, after many decades. No punks here with dogs asking for money
Visitors