ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 5/26/2018

No wonder photographers love pools…

DATE 5/25/2018

Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with 'The Swimming Pool in Photography'

DATE 5/24/2018

BACK IN STOCK! Sophie Calle: The Address Book

DATE 5/23/2018

BACK IN STOCK! Georgia O'Keeffe: Watercolors

DATE 5/22/2018

A different kind of photographer and woman: Susan Meiselas

DATE 5/21/2018

Agnes Martin: "Gratitude" (2001)

DATE 5/20/2018

Late Magritte: the missing link between James Ensor and Zap Comix

DATE 5/19/2018

After the confusion and panic… Magritte's late vache paintings and 'sunlit Surrealism'

DATE 5/18/2018

René Magritte: The Fifth Season comes to SFMOMA

DATE 5/18/2018

Whitewalling: Aruna D'Souza with Paul Chan at McNally Jackson Soho

DATE 5/18/2018

Susan Meiselas with Ann Hamilton LIVE from the NYPL

DATE 5/17/2018

David Goldes: Electricities, up against the limits of the medium

DATE 5/16/2018

BACK IN STOCK! Gordon Parks: The Flavio Story

DATE 5/15/2018

Positive notions of transgressions in Vitra's 'Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960-Today'

DATE 5/14/2018

Night Fever, Night Fever!

DATE 5/14/2018

Gay Pride!

DATE 5/13/2018

Mother's Day Magic in 'The Secret Language of Flowers: Notes on the Hidden Meanings of Flowers in Art'

DATE 5/12/2018

Howardena Pindell: intellectual and hedonistic, ironic and lyrical

DATE 5/11/2018

See video of Hiroshi Sugimoto and Darius Himes speaking at The Strand

DATE 5/9/2018

Almost like a thunderbolt out of the sky: Birgit Nilsson

DATE 5/9/2018

Kevin Beasley opens at ICA Boston

DATE 5/9/2018

Vivid words from Lars Müller at the Storefront for Art and Architecture Benefit, 2018

DATE 5/9/2018

Jack Pierson to launch 'Tomorrow's Man 4' at BOOKMARC NYC

DATE 5/8/2018

My work is black, it is feminine, and it is marginal: Sonia Gomes

DATE 5/8/2018

Marathon Reading of 'Sculptures for the Blind' by Lenka Clayton at MoMA PS1

DATE 5/7/2018

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Portraits

DATE 5/7/2018

Hiroshi Sugimoto & Darius Himes at the Strand

DATE 5/6/2018

Mary Corse 'unweaves' the rainbow

DATE 5/6/2018

Mojos, mandalas and divining tools: Chris Martin

DATE 5/5/2018

LAMM Presents D'Avila at the MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 5/4/2018

An epic movie-novel: Andy Warhol's The Chelsea Girls

DATE 5/3/2018

Only psychedelic if you are stoned watching it… Andy Warhol's The Chelsea Girls

DATE 5/3/2018

Drown yourself in art books at Frieze New York, 2018!

DATE 5/2/2018

Take a page from Stanley Whitney's 'Sketchbook'

DATE 5/1/2018

BACK IN STOCK! Nan Goldin: The Beautiful Smile

DATE 5/1/2018

'Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics' is here at last!

DATE 5/1/2018

Pansy Beat book launch and screening at Printed Matter

DATE 4/29/2018

Silent Beauties for Mother's Day

DATE 4/28/2018

Mother's Day Favorite: Anna Zemánková

DATE 4/27/2018

Make Simple Books with Esther K Smith at Artbook @ MoMA PS1

DATE 4/27/2018

Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth presents Sesshu Foster & Will Alexander

DATE 4/27/2018

Rather the fine thread of a dandelion than the flower itself… Judith Milberg

DATE 4/26/2018

Just in time for Mother's Day: The Wirtz Gardens III

DATE 4/26/2018

Artbook @ MoMA PS1 presents "Sound Studies: ray ferreira, DeForrest Brown Jr., Bob Bellerue"

DATE 4/25/2018

A flash of light, an imprint on paper: Adam Fuss

DATE 4/24/2018

David Goldblatt, a prowling animal searching for prey

DATE 4/23/2018

His smile said it all: 'Jessica Antola: Circadian Landscape'

DATE 4/22/2018

Get utopian Earth Day inspiration from 'Charas: The Improbable Dome Builders'

DATE 4/21/2018

A beautiful facsimile of the classic Victorian children's primer

DATE 4/20/2018

Robert Storr on Ruth Asawa

DATE 4/19/2018

Ruth Asawa


AT FIRST SIGHT

ERIN DUNIGAN | DATE 8/20/2010

Belkis Ayón: Nkame
Captivating Mystery

When I first learned about Belkis Ayón: Nkame in our weekly editorial acquisitions meetings my interest was immediately piqued; and the more I read about the Cuban artist the more I was sucked into the captivating mystery of her work and life. Belkis Ayón committed suicide in 1999 at the age of 32, sending ripples through the art world and shocking family and friends who had detected no outward signs of depression in the successful young artist. Ayón’s sudden death proves to be just as enigmatic as her art.
The artist’s meteoric rise coincided with the harshest years of Cuba's post-Soviet economic crisis. As a result, she developed a practice that made use of the limited materials at her disposal. Ayón was skilled in the art of print-making, lithography, serigraphy and collography, and frequently experimented with the application of paper scraps, sandpaper, gesso and even carborundum to her surfaces. She tended to work in a range of grays, blacks and whites creating vibrant and highly-textured images that all but leap off the picture plane. Though her compositions are aesthetically powerful, the most compelling aspect of Ayón’s work is her macabre subject matter.
Belkis Ayon
In this overwhelming 312-page catalogue raisonné (which includes a DVD companion with additional essays, images and even archival video footage), readers can trace the gradual shift in Ayón’s work from prosaic scenes of city life, portraits and household interiors to her consuming fascination with Afro-Cuban religious iconography, specifically that of the Abakua.
Belkis Ayon
The Abakua are an all-male secret society, a combination of both Christian and African traditions, which first made its appearance in Cuba around 1836. The origins of the brotherhood can be traced back to southern Nigeria and their beliefs were likely brought to Cuba’s port cities by African slaves. The Abakua function as a mutual-aid organization and are known for rituals and ceremonies full of theatricality and drama (such as drumming, dancing and chanting in their own secret language). In their initiation rites members are sworn to secrecy, perhaps explaining why the Abakua have remained hermetic for nearly two centuries and are considered one of the most misunderstood contemporary Afro-Cuban religions.
Belkis Ayon
While Abakuan symbolism plays a predominant, and at times, ominous role in Ayón’s engravings, the artist was also incredibly drawn to the tragic figure of Sikan, a central and recurring character in many of her tableaus. In Abakuan lore the African princess Sikan plays an Eve-like role, wherein she is folds to temptation and is punished for her disobedience. Unlike Eve, Sikan is killed for her indiscretion and her death marks both the beginning of the Abakuan brotherhood, as well as the beginning of the female ban on joining the society.
Belkis Ayon
Ayón’s striking images are dominated by alien-like beings portrayed without facial features, aside from piercing almond-shaped eyes contorted to express their intense emotions. Art historian Cristina Figueroa describes the effect, "These figures can look at you but cannot speak. So you have to interpret what they're trying to say through their eyes." She goes on to postulate that the absence of the mouth in Ayón’s figures illustrates the secrecy of the members of the Abakua. These shadowy spirits are depicted performing ritual acts or simply surrounded by mysterious symbols and iconography. A narrative seems to be present in many cases but shrouded by layers of meaning that cannot easily deciphered. They are both haunting and absolutely enchanting!
Belkis Ayon
The mythology surrounding Belkis Ayón and her art may never truly be understood, but the impact that she left on the world will endure. Since her death the Cuban government has declared a patrimony on her work, prohibiting it from leaving the country. And in the artist’s lifetime her art was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, NY and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among other notable institutions.
Belkis Ayon
Belkis Ayon
Belkis Ayon
Turner publications affirms Ayón’s legacy with this thorough and heartfelt tribute to the artist’s life and work. And it is worth noting that the Project Director for this catalogue is Dr. Katia Ayón (Belkis’s sister) who in the introduction writes: “…Thus it is confirmed that art is, among many things, a sort of life after life, or the most effective weapon to confront death. The reminiscences of a person are something else. Belkis was accustomed to dealing with myths, and her own myth grows between her friends, colleagues and students who loved her… a token of such affection can also be found in these pages.”

Belkis Ayón: Nkame

Belkis Ayón: Nkame

TURNER
Hbk, 9.5 x 12.25 in. / 312 pgs / 400 color / Data CD.

DATE 8/23/2015

Xanti Schawinsky

Xanti Schawinsky

DATE 7/31/2015

Axel Hoedt

Axel Hoedt

DATE 9/11/2014

New York Is ...

New York Is ...

DATE 5/13/2014

Libuse Niklová

Libuse Niklová


ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com