asian art | chu teh-chun

last week was art week in new york.
previewing sculptures for one of my interior design clients...
the art show at the park avenue armory...
the armory show at piers 92 & 94...

at the armory show, marlborough gallery was previewing an upcoming exhibition of 26  porcelain vases by contemporary chinese painter chu teh-chun.

marlborough gallery | new york
march 19-april 19, 2014

chu teh-chun | vase no. 24 | porcelain hand painted by the artist with highlights in gold | 2007-2008
chu teh-chun | marlborough gallery | new york NY | 19 march-19 april 2014
photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the vases were a collaboration between chu teh-chun, the manufacture nationale de sevres, and jean-paul desroches, the chief curator of the chinese department at the musee guimet in paris, where the vases were exhibited in 2009.

the vases were produced at the manufacture nationale de sevres from 29 may 2006 to 11 december 2008

all of the vases are oval in form, a classic sevres shape that is reminiscent of chinese blue and white porcelain jars from the yuan dynasty (1271-1368).  they are painted with bleu de sevres cobalt pigment, and highlighted with pure gold paint.

a finely painted blue and white balluster jar, guan | yuan dynasty, mid 14th century | christie's hong kong | 31 may 2010 | sale 2811 | lot 1985
photo credit christie's

will you be in new york during asia week?

march 14-22, 2014
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art | richard serra

when i first walked through joe, the torqued spiral richard serra sculpture in the courtyard of the pulitzer foundation for the arts in st louis MO, where i grew up, i immediately envisioned the sculpture as an event venue, with guests walking through the ribbon of steel on their way to a party in the center.

it seems that i am not unique, because people have told richard serra about practicing yoga, or holding weddings inside his sculptures.

richard serra | joe | weathering steel | 2000 | pulitzer foundation for the arts | st louis MO

serra's sculptures explore the phenomenological experience of space.
the somatic, emotional, and intellectual feelings that you get when you are walking around, through, or beneath his massive sculptures.

while i was working in new york last week, i was visiting art galleries in chelsea.  so, i also visited the gagosian gallery, which is showing richard serra:  new sculpture from 26 october 2013-15 march 2014.

the exhibition features four monumental sculptures, which represent a new stylistic direction for richard serra.  even though the new sculptures are rectilinear, instead of curvilinear, some of the new pieces have precedents in previous pieces.

'as sequences unfold, new forms come out of old pieces.'
-richard serra

richard serra | hours of the day | 1990 | bonnefanten museum | maastricht, netherlands
photo credit wikimedia

 richard serra | intervals | weatherproof steel | 24 plates | 2013
richard serra:  new sculpture | gagosian gallery | 555 west 24th street | new york NY | 26 october 2013-15 march 2014
photo credit rob mckeever

 like hours of the day, intervals is an installation of freestanding rectangular steel plates.

serra describes the components of intervals with mathematical precision.
there are 24 steel plates.
each plate is 9 inches thick. 
the plates are positioned 42 inches apart.
there are 3 elevations-4, 5, and 6 feet high.
and, there are 4 lengths-5, 7, 9, and 11 feet long. 

the structure feels logical as you walk through the space.
yet, walking through the labyrinth is a dynamic experience.
you can enter or exit anywhere.
and, the elevations rise and fall as you weave in and out. 

 richard serra | intervals | weatherproof steel | 24 plates | 2013

some journalists have compared the 24 steel plates in the installation to the tombstones in a cemetery, a comparison that went viral after charlie rose interviewed richard serra on the 27 december 2013 episode of charlie rose: the week.

serra disagrees with this comparison.

he considers his sculptures as dynamic, instead of static structures.  he thinks that walking through a rectilinear space, like intervals, makes you feel more grounded than walking through a curvilinear space.

intervals is serra's expression of that experience.
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art | harry bertoia

i love living in san francisco.  but, sometimes i miss living in a larger city, like london.
i especially miss the auction previews in mayfair and st. james's.
they seem like pop-up museums.

 i missed the harry bertoia selling exhibition at wright in their new york auction gallery from 1/22/14-2/15/14.

so, while i was working in new york last week, i popped in to see bertoia: a celebration of sound and motion, a selling exhibition at sotheby's from 11 february-9 march 2014.

harry bertoia may be best known for his sound sculptures, called sonambients.

'...a sculptural element breaking silence,
it has a voice,
hence, we listen to it,
maybe there is something to say.'
-harry bertoia, 1972


1 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | eleven monumental sound sculptures, commissioned for the standard oil building plaza | chicago IL | 1975
2 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | monumental sound sculpture from the standard oil commission | beryllium copper and brass | 1975
photo credits wright 20 and lisa walsh | innerspace

and, for his other welded wire constructions.


 3 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | large spray | stainless steel and steel wire | circa 1965
4 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | pine tree | stainless steel and steel | circa 1955
photo credits sotheby's

'wire forms have a great range of expressions.
their constructions pertain to space rather than ground,
and their configurations can be light, airy, almost floating.'
-harry bertoia

the sotheby's installation reminded me of the ruth asawa sculpture gallery at the de young museum in san francisco.  

asawa's looped and tied wire sculptures explore the relationships between light, shadow, transparency, and form.  bertoia's sculptures also incorporate sound and motion. 

click here to read my previous post about ruth asawa.




5 | ruth asawa sculpture gallery | lobby | hamon tower | de young museum | san francisco CA
6 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | dandelion | gilt stainless steel, brass and slate | 1960
photo credits joseph mcdonald, lisa walsh | innerspace, and sotheby's

like bertoia's wire constructions, his bush sculptures are radiant and organic.
almost like they could continue to grow naturally.

'i regard nature as being the strongest influence.'
-harry bertoia, 1957






7 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | bush | patinated bronze | 1965
8 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | bush | patinated bronze | 1965
9 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | bush | patinated bronze | 1965
photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

i have an asian art background.
so, some of bertoia's naturalistic sculptures remind me of chinese antiquities.
the patina of ancient chinese bronzes...
the textures, forms, and perforations of antique chinese scholar's rocks...

10 | money tree | bronze with glazed earthenware base | eastern han dynasty (25-220) | asian art museum (aamsf) | san francisco CA
 11 | black lingbi y-shaped scholar's rock | 18th/19th century | christie's new york | 16-17 september 2010 | sale 2339 | lot 1227 
photo credits aamsf and christie's






12 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | untitled | patinated bronze | circa 1965
13 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | untitled | patinated bronze | circa 1965
14 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | untitled | welded and patinated bronze | circa 1960
photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

other bertoia sculptures are more metaphysical.

'...my mind would think in terms of cosmic relationships,
such as planetary systems and galaxies...'
-harry bertoia, 1972

don't you think that bertoia's comet sculpture is spectacular?



 15 | harry bertoia (1915-1978) | maquette for the comet sculpture, designed for the w. hawkins ferry residence | grosse pointe shores MI | brass coated metal wire and bronze | 1964  
photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

'the work of harry bertoia defies categorization.
its singular, aggressively personal expression,
sits on the borders between art, design, sculpture, and instrument.'

-reed krakoff, designer and bertoia collector, 2014
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art | sculptures

i spent part of last week in new york, previewing bronze sculptures for one of my interior design clients.

1 | dimitri hadzi (1921-2006) | river styx I | bronze | 1977 
danese corey gallery | new york NY
photo credit danese corey


 2 | kepa akixo (known as zigor) | bikote III | plane | 1996
3 | kepa akixo (known as zigor) | bikote III | patinated bronze | edition 1/8 | 1996
maison gerard | new york NY
photo credits maison gerard

4 5

4 | bruno romeda | quadrato 2 | bronze | edition 3/8 | 2007 AP
5 | bruno romeda | quadrato 1 | bronze | edition 3/8 | 2006
6 | bruno romeda | fuso a masa | bronze | edition 4/8 | 2010
stephen haller gallery | new york NY

one of the bruno romeda squares, fuso a masa, is coming to california on consignment for my client's consideration...
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art | alison berger glassworks

alison berger has been described as 
'an artist whose medium is light and whose material is glass.'

she is an artist.
and, a craftsman.

she studied glassblowing at the rhode island school of design (RISD),
where she apprenticed with dale chihuly.
chihuly's work in blown glass is considered fine art.
dale chihuly | dusky sky chandelier
chihuly | halcyon gallery | 5 dec 2011-21 apr 2012 | london, united kingdom
photo credit halcyon gallery

click here to read my previous post about dale chihuly.

at RISD, she also apprenticed with chihuly protigee, james carpenter.  
now, carpenter develops glass and material technologies to explore light as an architectural medium.

 james carpenter design associates (jcda) | podium light wall | 7 world trade center | new york, NY
photo credit jcda

alison berger is also an architect.

she earned a BFA in architecture from RISD.
and, an MFA in architecture from columbia university.
she practiced architecture with bausman-gill in new york.
and then, with frank o. gehry in los angeles.


1 frank o. gehry | preliminary sketches | panama puente de vida museo | panama city, panama
2 frank o. gehry | panama puente de vida museo | panama city, panama | opening 22 may 2014
photo credits (c) frank o. gehry and victoria murillo

she is also a designer.

she designs lighting,


1 alison berger | pistil pendant light
2 alison berger | crystal sphere pendant light
photo credits holly hunt and plug lighting

and objects.

alison berger for hermes | the balance line tabletop collection
photo credit alison berger

site specific installations or commissions,

1 alison berger | installation | crystal vessels in large glass cages | comme des garcons store | tokyo, japan
2 alison berger | commission | rain chandelier | dining room | actor jennifer aniston's home | beverly hills, CA
photo credits alison berger and alison berger

and now, furniture.

 alison berger | tables of the trade | sculptor's pedestal table
photo credit alison berger

i had the pleasure of attending spirits in glass, a private reception and presentation by alison berger, hosted by the kneedler|fauchere showroom during design san francisco 2014.

her presentation was energetic and funny.

she grew up in dallas, studied and worked in new york, and lives in los angeles.

no wonder:
'her manner combines the expansive friendliness of a native texan, 
the energy and intellectual intensity of an erstwhile new yorker, 
and the mellow openness of [an] angeleno...'
'the very bearable lightness of being' | by joyce lovelace | american craft magazine | february/march 2009

her style is simple and refined,
just like her work.

as an architect, she considered every building as a vessel for light.
as an artist, she considers the structure of every vessel.

her defined creative process is curatorial, artistic, and architectural.

she researches.

she sketches, draws, and paints.
she makes collages.

1 alison berger | form study 2
2 alison berger | bell tower chandelier
photo credits holly hunt | alison berger book-volume 2 and alison berger

she drafts plans, sections, and elevations.
and, she builds models.


 1 alison berger | section | lantern pendant light
2 alison berger | lantern pendant light
photo credits david lauridsen

 'i start with a planned section and an elevation.  but, soon the molten glass takes over...'
-alison berger

berger began working full time as a glass artist in 1995.
she works from her design studio in west hollywood, CA.

alison berger in her light filled design studio | west hollywood, CA
photo credit dave lauridsen

and, from her workshop in compton, CA.

alison berger in her workshop with master gaffer, jesus garcia | compton CA
photo credit holly hunt | alison berger book-volume 1

each piece of glass is hand blown, annealed, and then hand finished by berger's production team, using hand tools and traditional glass blowing techniques.
the process is time consuming, and physical.

each piece is blown from 12-15 pounds of unleaded crystal, which is finer than glass because it contains fewer chemical impurities. 
manipulating the copper/sand/silver ratio in the crystal adds a yellow glow, which adds depth, reflective, and timeless qualities.

'i love it when people don't know whether my pieces are old or new.'
 -alison berger

many of her pieces contain veiled historical references.

her pieces can be inspired by:
scientific documents or instruments,
or even, flea market finds.

curiosity cabinet | alison berger's studio | west hollywood, CA
photo credit joshua white

 during the creative process, she alters the scale and removes the decoration, which reduces an inspirational object to it's essence.

'i like my forms to be so simple they knock people off their feet.'
-alison berger

and then, she reinterprets the object in glass, a material that contains fire and light.

'glass captures the process of remembering.
and, as the light fades, forgetting.
light is the medium,
glass is the material and memory,
elusive as it is,
 [that] is my theme.' 
-alison berger

crystal water bottles...
inspired by alchemy and baroque still life paintings.


1 willem claesz | still life with a gilt cup | 1635 | rijksmuseum | amsterdam, netherlands
2 alison berger for blackman cruz | crystal water bottles
photo credits rijksmuseum and david lauridsen

the roman ring floor lamp...
inspired by a roman cup.


1 inscribed cup | mold blown glass | roman | ad 1-50 | the getty villa | malibu, CA
2 alison berger | roman ring floor lamp
photo credits the j. paul getty museum and holly hunt

the word pendant light...
inspired by leonardo da vinci's scientific and theoretical texts.


1 leonardo da vinci | study of the effect of light on a profile head | galleria degli uffuzi | florence, italy
2 alison berger | word pendant
photo credits leonardoda-vinci.org and holly hunt

the lens sconce and lens chandelier...
inspired by a 19th century earring, found at a flea market.



1 19th century earring, found at a flea market
2 alison berger | lens sconce
3 alison berger | lens chandelier
photo credits alison berger, holly hunt, and holly hunt

she recently launched a furniture collection called tables of the trade.
the collection currently includes:
a carpenter's bench,
a jeweler's table,
a writer's console,
a sculptor's table,
and a painter's table.

the design for the painter's table was inspired by a photograph of the studio of italian still life artist, giorgio morandi (1890-1964).

the drafting table in morandi's studio is covered with butcher paper. 
berger abstracted the circular tracing patterns, worn into the paper,
and then carved the abstract patterns into the top of the painter's table.



 1 giorgio morandi's art studio | casa di morandi | bologna, italy
2 detail | butcher paper on the drafting table in giorgio morandi's art studio | casa di morandi | bologna, italy
3 alison berger | painter's table
photo credits artstudioshare.blogspot.com, holly hunt|tables of the trade brochure, and holly hunt|tables of the trade brochure

the next piece in the tables of the trade collection will be an astronomer's table.
the bronze table will have a map of the constellations carved into the top.
but, instead of having a historical reference, the map of the constellations is product of alison berger's imagination!

other new products, planned to launch during 2014, include:

the cage pendant light,
an openwork basket form.
inspired by an antique surveyor's cage.

the time chandelier,
with gears, weights, and counter weights.
 and, candles, electrified pendants, and solid blocks of crystal.
inspired by the passage of time and clock mechanisms.

the bow chandelier,
with flattened pendants,
suspended from an expandable system of interlocking arcs.
based on a bowstring.

the moon pendant light,
with moon flask shaped pendants,
which look full from the front and back.
but, thin from the sides.
inspired by the moon.
half of the moon is always illuminated by the sun.
the changing positions of the earth, the moon, and the sun as the moon orbits the earth create the phases of the moon.

'the power of lighting is staggering.'
-alison berger 
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