Sebastião Salgado :: The Hell of Serra Pelada

53-salgadoSebastião Salgado is likely the most eminent photojournalist working today.  Of Salgado’s many iconic images, perhaps the most famous is this picture of a dispute between Serra Pelada gold mine worker and military police taken in Brazil in 1986. It is the classic picture of tension with a twist–the authority is in the hands of the police on the right, but he earns much less than the miners thus infusing that facet of tension into the picture too.

“Serra Pelada was a large gold mine in Brazil 430 kilometres (270 mi) south of the mouth of the Amazon River. In 1979 a local child swimming on the banks of a local river found a 6 grams (0.21 oz) nugget of gold. Soon word leaked out and by the end of the week a gold rush had started. During the early 1980s, tens of thousands of prospectors flocked to the Serra Pelada site, which at its peak was said to be not only the largest open-air gold mine in the world, but also the most violent. Continue reading Sebastião Salgado :: The Hell of Serra Pelada

ALEX COUWENBERG :: beyond hard-edge abstraction


Alex Couwenberg’s images reflect the cultural trappings of his Southern California roots;

“From Los Angeles, Couwenberg’s work references and suggests the aesthetic associated with mid-century modernism, car culture, skateboards, and surfboards.  Not to leave out, paying homage to the historical styles of post-war art making associated with Los Angeles and southern California throughout the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s.  Couwenberg’s paintings give a nod towards the Hard-edge abstractionists, the finish fetish, and the light and space artists.  Not content to replicate, he uses the sensibility of Eames-era design and hard-edge geometric abstraction as points of departure for creating paintings.  His process, an additive and reductive series of moves and passes, creates multilayered environments that are deep and sensual.  He harnesses these ideas into harmonious results, reflecting the visual landscape of his environment.” -bio from mana, the film’s website

At The Claremont Graduate School, Couwenberg was mentored by hard-edge abstraction legend Karl Benjamin whose influence is apparent, albeit as a point-of-departure.  Couwenberg has built an dense and extensive vocabulary on the bedrock of the clean, pure and reductive geometric language that Benjamin and his peers utilized during their mid-century era.


IN 2008, acclaimed japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto bypassed the use of his camera and exposed his Lightning Field series directly onto film.  In order to witness what early scientists like Benjamin Franklin saw upon the discovery of electricity, Sugimoto used a Van de Graaf generator to send up to 400,000 volts through film to a metal table. Continue reading HIROSHI SUGIMOTO :: LIGHTNING FIELDS, 2009

JOSEF ALBERS: artist, theorist, educator

Accomplished as a designer, photographer, typographer, printmaker, and poet, Albers is best remembered for his work as an abstract painter, educator and theorist.  He was born in Bottrop, Westphalia, Germany on March 25, 1888. Continue reading JOSEF ALBERS: artist, theorist, educator

HANNAH HOCH :: German Dada Photomontage

Hannah Hoch (November 1, 1889 – May 31, 1978)

was one of the pioneers of the photomontage, combining, collating and layering images from contemporary magazines.  She was the lone female participant in the Berlin Dada group, although Sophie Täuber, Beatrice Wood, and Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven were significant Dada players albeit in different locales. Besides being the only female, Hoch was never quite accepted by the Berlin Dadaists, who felt that though Hoch’s works possessed a Dada aesthetic, they were conceptually still making a feminist social critique based upon “logic”.  Dada had given up “logic” in favor of chaos, nonsense and irrationality.   Continue reading HANNAH HOCH :: German Dada Photomontage

LINA BO BARDI, Modernist Architect & Visionary Conceptualist

Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992) was born Achillina di Enrico Bo in Rome in 1914 and moved to Brazil in 1946, on something of a whim after marrying art dealer and journalist Pietro Maria Bardi.  Lina was born in Rome and attended the Rome College of Architecture, graduating at age 25, after which, she moved to Milan.  In Milan, she worked for the architect Carlo Pagani and collaborated with the architect and designer Gio Ponti. Lina opened her own architectural studio in 1942, at the age of 28, but the dearth of architectural work during WWII prompted her to work as an illustrator for many italian newspapers and magazines.  From 1942-45 she served as Deputy Director of Domus magazine. Continue reading LINA BO BARDI, Modernist Architect & Visionary Conceptualist

NOTATIONS :: A Book by John Cage, with Alison Knowles, 1969


In 1969, composer John Cage compiled and edited, with Alison Knowles, Notations, a book containing the graphical musical scores of 269 composers.

‘The book is made up of a large collection of graphical scoresfacsimiles of holographs, from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, with text by 269 composers, which are presented in alphabetical order, with each score allotted equal space, and in which the editor has no more authority than the reader in assigning value to the work.[3] The book includes the manuscript for the Beatles song “The Word” (song lyrics, but no musical notation) from the Rubber Soul album (1965). Continue reading NOTATIONS :: A Book by John Cage, with Alison Knowles, 1969

Richard Neutra, American Mid-Century Modernist Architecture Pt1


“The architect who really designs for a human being has to know a great deal more than just the Five Canons of Vitruvius.” –Richard Neutra

Richard Neutra is perhaps the most celebrated american mid-century modernist architect. Having moved to Los Angeles from Berlin in 1923, the Vienna-born architect’s american practice was centered upon southern california. Neutra’s modernist approach incorporates modernism’s clean lines and proportions, the use of honest, elemental materials, an absence of ornamentation but also adds a strong emphasis upon practicality and comfort. Continue reading Richard Neutra, American Mid-Century Modernist Architecture Pt1

MARIANNE (LIEBE) BRANDT, artist, photographer & designer

Marianne (Liebe) Brandt German painter, sculptor, photographer and designer who studied at the Bauhaus school under László Moholy-Nagy and became head of the metal workshop in 1928. Today, Brandt’s designs for household objects such as lamps, ashtrays and teapots are considered the harbinger of modern industrial design. -wikipedia