Archive for the Antique Fairs Category

Opium and Anarchy: Chris Kennedy’s majestic Artropolis, 2009

Posted in Antique Fairs, Century Guild Events, Silent Cinema on 14 May, 2009 by Thomas Negovan
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Artropolis 2009: drugs, rampant alcoholism, starvation, and anarchy.

“What you fellows did here is more relevant than anything up on our floor…”

Thus spake one of the directors of Art Chicago, one of the world’s most impressive contemporary art fairs.

Although we were on the “traditional” art floor, we proved that what was old is… in this case, sadly… cutting-edge new again.  We put together a show that was all gallows humor and intoxicating escapism, and from the overwhelming reaction and camera flashes going off all weekend, Century Guild was a runaway hit; the Chicago Tribune mentioned us as one of the fifteen “must see” things in the show.

Sex.  Drugs.  Disease.  Starvation.  Anarchy.  These were the themes that we decided the night before setup at Artropolis would replace the beautiful Art Nouveau we had been planning to bring to the International Art Fair for months.  Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele made the cut: a saucy nude, lifting her breasts seemed right at home in the aforementioned company.  A gothic syphilis poster stared from across the wall at this young and healthy girl; it was a daring contrast.

The show was two weeks ago, but it’s 2:41 and I need to go to bed, so a quick recap: (please note that I grew a beard in an attempt to pass as an adult.)

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Sex: in health, (Gustav Klimt, in magnificent period frame)

asdas

and sickness...

A charming 1897 tale about an Anarchist uprising resulting in the murders of the bourgeois rich in the forests of Paris.  We're currently trying to place this in the Human Resources department at AIG.

A charming tale about an Anarchist uprising resulting in the murders of the bourgeois rich in the forests of Paris. We're currently trying to place this in the Human Resources department at AIG.

Opium, 1919- this is one of the unbelievably rare silent film posters featured in our upcoming Nitrate and Kinogeists exhibition.

Opium, 1919- this is one of the unbelievably rare silent film posters featured in our upcoming Nitrate and Kinogeists exhibition.

Art

Art Nouveau treasures.

Gail Potocki shows her dark side...

Gail Potocki shows her dark side...

Jack was attacked by creeping baby-things; he survived, but not unscathed.

Jack was attacked by creeping baby-things; he survived, but not unscathed.

Jack and I posed in front of our cocaine-addled portraits.

Jack and Thomas, posed in front of their cocaine-addled portraits.

Thomas Negovan, Gail Potocki, and Stuart Tomc in front of 1909 anti-alcoholism poster.

Thomas Negovan, Gail Potocki, and Stuart Tomc in front of 1909 anti-alcoholism poster where 'even the baby had too much to drink at the party' according to five year old Sebastian Tomc.

Jack, Bob, and painters Gail Potocki and Brian Sindler at the end of a long show.

Jack, Bob, and painters Gail Potocki and Brian Sindler at the end of a long show.

Thomas Negovan and Stuart Tomc, Artropolis 2009.  We survived, preserving dandyism for another day.

Thomas Negovan and Stuart Tomc, Artropolis 2009. We survived, preserving dandyism for another day.

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Dave McKean demolishes Dante Gabriel Rossetti in fair fight.

Posted in Antique Fairs, Century Guild Events, Comic Conventions, Silent Cinema with tags , , on 28 April, 2009 by Thomas Negovan
Der mude Tod (Fritz Lang, 1921) by Dave McKean, 2008

Der müde Tod (Fritz Lang, 1921) by Dave McKean, 2008

What could inspire me to take down an 1880s Pre-Raphaelite pastel from the wall of my boudoir? Yes, the inheritance of a castle in Tuscany might be reason to pack everything up and head to the docks; but I mean, assuming that I am continuing to sleep in said room and want to wake up to something beautiful and inspirational…?

I met Dave McKean in passing at the 2004 San Diego Comic Con. We spoke briefly about Egon Schiele and- a mutual favorite- the visionary Jean Cocteau.

Our second contact was this last summer, again at the San Diego Comic Con. I was happy to see Dave walking up toward our booth and reintroduced myself. In the course of the afternoon, talks went from the Vienna Secession to German Expressionism, and rested on…

Silent Cinema.

Dave McKean, Kristan and Grant Morrison, Thomas Negovan, and Gail Potocki after San Diego Comic Con 2008

Dave McKean, Kristan and Grant Morrison, Thomas Negovan, and Gail Potocki in front of the Century Guild booth after San Diego Comic Con 2008

The visuals of the silent film period are something that I am very passionate about, and with our other mutual interests it made sense that this would be an area of interest to Dave. What I could never have imagined was that silent films are what inspired him to become an artist in the first place, and that he had just recently begun honoring that inspiration with a series of new works titled “Nitrate”.

The Student of Prague (Henrik Galeen, 1926) by Dave McKean, 2008

The Student of Prague (Henrik Galeen, 1926) by Dave McKean, 2008

I acquired three of the works before you could walk from one end of the convention center to the other (which takes a pretty long time, actually, but you know what I mean) and after storing them for a few months had them delivered to Chicago just this past weekend. As good as I knew they would be, having seen Dave McKean artworks in person before, these FAR and away exceeded my expectations, and I will say without hesitation that they are his finest work. Textural and sculptural, symbolist and expressionist, haunting and romantic, I have lost sleep admiring them late, late at night. And for the last two days? I can’t wake up soon enough to see them.

Der Mude Tod (The Tired Death)... Better known to us Americans as the film Destiny.

Der müde Tod (The Tired Death)... Better known to us Americans as the film Destiny. And, yes, that is a velvet Wizard's cloak (from the Lyric Opera, circa 1918) on the back of my door.

Untitled (Méliès) by Dave McKean, 2008

Untitled (Méliès) by Dave McKean, 2008

We (Century Guild) are hosting an exhibition of Dave McKean’s Nitrate paintings July 17th and 18th at the Portage Theater in Chicago. Six of these masterpieces will be on display, along with a collection of rare silent cinema posters for historically important titles such as the seminal horror serial Homunkulus, the decadent 1919 story Opium, the early Fritz Lang- scripted film Totentanz (The Dance of Death)- with many of these posters, the examples on display are believed to be the only copies to have survived the wars and turbulence of the last century, especially in Germany in the time during and following the second World War.

Nitrate and Kinogeists exhibition postcard- July 17-18 in Chicago

Nitrate and Kinogeists exhibition postcard- July 17-18 in Chicago

I cannot recommend this exhibition highly enough.  We have some special surprises planned, are screening some of the films that inspired the films, and will show Dave’s magical film collaboration with Neil Gaiman, the fantastic MirrorMask…

We’re still working out the schedule; there will be a cocktail party for the CBLDF on Friday as a prelude to the opening, and we know the main show times, but we want to add some other silent films that inspired the Dave McKean paintings on the big screen during the weekend. Check http://www.centuryguild.net for updates.

Perhaps most importantly, for information on acquiring original and limited edition prints from the show, contact the gallery at “inquiries at centuryguild.net”

(In the meantime, my dog claims she is having strange dreams from “The Tired Death” silently watching her as she sleeps…)

xO
T

Century Guild exhibition Nitrate and Kinogeists: July 17th features a screening of the gothic silent masterpiece.  Image on poster: Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) by Dave McKean, 2008

Century Guild exhibition Nitrate and Kinogeists; July 17th features a screening of the gothic silent masterpiece Faust. Image on poster: Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) by Dave McKean, 2008

Recently evicted Pre-Raphaelite girl, having a conversation with her new neighbour, a Parisian Métropolitain shield by Hector Guimard.

Recently evicted Pre-Raphaelite maiden, having a light conversation with her new neighbour, a Parisian Métropolitain shield by Hector Guimard (1900).