Archive for Gyöngy Laky

Art into Type: Books We Talked Up in 2010

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2011 by arttextstyle

Last year saw several books published that we recommended to clients and purchased for family and friends.  Among these were Handcrafted Modern: At Home with Mid-century Designers by Leslie Williamson, a collection of photographs of beautiful, iconic, and undiscovered mid-century interiors, including the homes of Russel Wright, George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eva Zeisel, among others. Williamson’s photographs show these creative homes as they were lived in by their designers: Walter Gropius’ historic Bauhaus home in Massachusetts; Albert Frey’s floating modernist aerie on a Palm Springs rock outcropping; and Wharton Esherick’s completely handmade Pennsylvania house, from the organic hand-carved staircase to the iconic furniture.

Another favorite volume of ours was 3-D Typography. We added “text” to the title of this blog so that we could cover two things we are passionate about: art that involves text and interesting books.  3-D Typography, which includes work by Gyöngy Laky and dozens of other artists who have created lettering out of everything from shopping carts and toilet paper to toothpaste and pinched flesh, fits both criteria.  The book’s creation was serendipitous.  The authors, Jeanne Abbink and Emily CM Anderson looked at three-dimensional type in the course on a redesign of American Craft magazine in 2007. There’s a 3D Typography Book blog, too at:  If you enjoy the book as much as we have, check out the blog, including Bavarian pretzel alphabet.

Long overdue was the first comprehensive survey of modern craft in the United States, Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, by Janet Koplos and Bruce Metcalf.  Makers follows the development of studio craft–objects in fiber, clay, glass, wood, and metal–from its roots in 19th-century reform movements to the rich diversity of expression at the end of the 20th century. More than 400 illustrations — including two photographs by Tom — complement this chronological exploration of the American craft tradition. Keeping as their main focus the objects and the makers — including Lenore Tawney, Ed Rossbach, Kay Sekimachi, Katherine Westphal, François Grossen, Lia Cook, Warren Seelig, Arturo Sandoval, Gyöngy Laky, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Clare Zeisler, Anni Albers, Lillian Elliott, Helena Hernmarck, Norma Minkowitz and Trude Guermonprez — the authors offer a detailed analysis of major works and discuss education, institutional support and the philosophical underpinnings of craft.

Another very special volume from 2010 is Written Weed, by Marian Bijlenga, published by Hein Elferink. This exquisite book includes 111 paste-ups / collages by the artist made of dried leaves, grasses and seeds. The images are like handwriting, Chinese characters, the letters of an alphabet. In order to emphasize the graphic quality of these works, the book is published in black/white. Only 400 copies were produced; each is numbered and signed. You can order it from browngrotta arts for $185.00

Though it was written in 2009, I didn’t discover The Bird Catcher, by Laura Jacobs, until last year. I loved it and ordered copies for several friends.  It’s a tender story of grief and healing in the big city.  But it was the detailed description of the protagonist’s window displays for a high-end department store and the evolution of her closest friend’s craft gallery — including a display of elegantly crafted goblets — that I most appreciated.


Books Make Great Gifts, Artist Recommendations, Part IV

Posted in Books with tags on December 15, 2010 by arttextstyle

Oops! The last post was a false alarm. Here is the final set of artist recommendations for 2010. That’s more than 30 titles; enough for an erudite 2011.

Gyöngy Laky is currently reading  The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image by Leonard Schlain, which she says,” is intriguing me in relation to much of my recent work. According to Schlain, a holistic, simultaneous, synthetic and concrete view of the world is feminine while linear, sequential, reductionist and abstract thinking is male! These are opposites that exist in all individuals, he states, but it’s the balance that is critical and the balance was upset first by writing and then by the alphabet – literacy developed the left brain.  Maybe most curiosity provoking is Schlain’s belief that art precedes physics.  Hmmmm….”

The title Gyöngy is eager to read next, Proust Was a Neuroscientist,  by Jonathan Lehrer, is a logical follow up. In his review in The New York Times, D.T. Max called it ” … a precocious and engaging book that tries to mend the century-old tear between the literary and scientific cultures.”  Gyöngy notes that in his July 2008 article in The New Yorker,  “The Eureka Hunt,” Lehrer explored what she thinks of as the basic activity of making art “…the “aha” moment of sudden insight in the brain – “…a surge of electricity leading to a rush of blood.” Lehrer’s most recent book, How We Decide also seems very germane for people in the arts, Gyöngy points out, quoting the review from The New York Times, “Explaining decision-making on the scale of neurons makes for a challenging task, but Lehrer handles it with confidence and grace. As an introduction to the cognitive struggle between the brain’s ‘executive,’ rational centers and its more intuitive regions, How We Decide, succeeds with great panache.

Gyöngy still recommends Zen Architecture: The Building Process as Practice by her friend Paul Discoe (with Alexandra Quinn and Roslyn Banish). “His collection of wood from street trees removed by local cities that he saves and mills, is a marvel,”  Gyöngy writes. “If you’d like to see some of it used in an interior and happen to be hungry in Berkeley, California be sure to visit his new and wonderful restaurant, Ippuku at 2130 Center Street.”

Eco-Art News: Outtakes

Posted in Eco-Art with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by arttextstyle

YEW SPHERES and photo by Chris Drury

Several of the artists that are included in Eco-Art: Materials Recycled, Repurposed, Re-Envisioned have created environmental installations and other works that could not be included in the confines of the exhibit at Artifact Design Group which continues through May 31st. Here’s a sampling:


BREATHING VESSELS and photo by Britt Smelvær


GRAFTED WILLOW by Dorothy Gill Barnes photo by Cynthia Tinapple and PROTEST by Gyöngy Laky


THRU THE WINDOW and photo by Lawrence LaBianca


SNOW BALL EXPERIMENTS AND LANDSCAPE FOR MEN, burdock Burrs and photo by Ceca Georgieva

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In Print: Gyöngy Laky in Hamu és Gyémánt (Ash & Diamond) Magazine

Posted in Art, Sculpture, Willow with tags , on December 30, 2009 by arttextstyle


Gyöngy Laky’s work is featured in the Fall 2009 issue of the Hungarian magazine Hamu és Gyémánt (Ash & Diamond) in a seven-page article, Gyöngy Laky, Exclusive Report with the Renowned Artist by Andrea Keleti. The article describes Laky’s career in art and academia and discusses the artist’s childhood and career as an artist and educator in the U.S after she fled Hungary with her parents and two brothers in 1948 at 4 years old. Laky did not return to Hungary until more than 30 years later, in 1982, after she had been teaching at the University of California for five years. Renowned Hungarian art critic András Bán organized an exhibition in Sárospatak where Gyöngy’s work was showcased. The article notes, “She was so young when her family fled the country she didn’t remember anything, but, slowly, she recognized familiar words, smells and sights. Although she didn’t feel like she came ‘home,’ she loved being here.” In Laky’s view, “It was such a wonderful feeling to be in Hungary, to experience my cultural heritage.”

The article goes on to describe Laky’s thought process as she creates her work: “She can only hope that the message will relate to the one she had in mind when she started with harvesting tree branche,” the author writtes. ” Each type of nail has a precise role and meaning. Even selecting a color, becomes part of the process. Will the work be a statement about superficiality? waste? or well-being…?” In Laky’s view, “Art is cultural communication….Somehow we all relate to art. We wouldn’t and couldn’t survive without it. The artist’s role has always been to take the impossible road. To explore the unknown and test the outside limits.”

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Books Make Great Gifts, Part I Artist Recommendations

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2009 by arttextstyle

My day job is in publishing, and thanks to browngrotta arts’ catalog publishing program, my night job is too. We’ve got books and papers everywhere. My rules for 2010: No pile of papers, books or magazines may grow taller than two feet and there may not be more than six piles (that are mine) in the house at one time. That’s 12 feet of reading for next year. You’d think that would be enough, but maybe not. So, I asked artists whose work browngrotta arts represents for book recommendations. Specifically: “Is there a book that has had a particular influence on your work or decision to pursue art as a career?” Here’s the first installment of their thoughtful replies: Gyöngy Laky: It is difficult for me to think of a particular book that launched me into what I am doing today…there have been many and it was long ago that I set out on this path in art! But, there is one general art history book that I bought as a young person when I spent a year studying art and French in Paris in 1963-64! And, funny enough… it was titled The Loom of Art by Germain Bazin, curator of the Louvre (Simon Schuster, NY, 1962) probably way out of print! The book is beautiful and I have it and love it still. More recently my friend, who is a builder, designer, wood collector extraordinaire, Paul Discoe, put out a book on his work, Zen Architecture: The Building Process as Practice (with Alexandra Quinn, Gibbs Smith, 2008). It is a wonderful book. He collects street trees and mills them and uses them in his work so he is dear to my heart. Another book, for children, but adults love it too is If… (Getty Trust Publications : J. Paul Getty Museum) IF (Getty Publications; J. Paul Getty Museum; First Edition edition 1995) by another artist friend of mine, Sarah Perry. And, of course, I love and am inspired by Martin Puryear (The Museum of Modern Art, New York 2007) by John Elderfield, Elizabeth Reede, Richard Powell, Michael Auping, Martin Puryear. Scott Rothstein: Here is one I love: Lucie Rie by Tony Birks (Marston House 1994). I feel this book documents her work very well. I am always amazed at the “drawing” she could do with glaze. Kay Sekimachi: Yes, there is a book. Anni Albers: On Designing (Wesleyan 1971). It was my weaving “Bible”. In fact everything she wrote makes so much sense to me. Nancy Koenigsberg: I have worked as an artist – painter, rug designer, knitter – for many years, but when I read Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric: Mainstream by Mildred Constantine/Jack Larsen (Van Nostrand Reinhold 1972) it just turned my ideas and work upside down. I saw what was possible with the materials I was using and what else was out there. That book opened up a whole new world to me. Mary Merkel-Hess: Your question has set me thinking about exactly why I did choose art as a career. I think, actually, the desire originated in the ethnographic collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum where I whiled away hours between classes looking at objects from South America, Africa and Europe. But, back to your question. A book that is much on my mind just recently is The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty by Soetsu Yanagi (Kodansha International, Revised edition, 1990). One of my first trips after arriving in Tokyo three weeks ago was to the Mingeikan, Yanagi’s museum and home. It was a delight, after so many years, to see some of the work pictured in the book. Yanagi’s theory that hard, repetitive practice resulted eventually in the disengagement of self and led to work of merit produced with ease was an inspiration to me. I was a young grad student when I first read the book and at the time every day was a struggle. Kate Hunt: The Savage Mind (Nature of Human Society) by Claude Levi-Strauss (University Of Chicago Press, 1968). The introduction made me think about the role of an artist and about materials.

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10th Wave III: Online– The next best thing to being there

Posted in Art, Bamboo, Exhibitions, Installations, linen, Mixed Media, Safety Pins, Sculpture, silk, Waxed Cotton, Willow, Wire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2009 by arttextstyle

Our first online exhibit, the10th Wave III: Online, opens today. The exhibit is a carefully curated selection of works presented in installation shots, images of individual works and detail photos. Approximating the in-person experience, viewers can “walk” through 26 images of the exhibit installed; click to view each of the 125 works in the show more closely, focus in on images of dozen of details and click to read more about each of the artists in the exhibition. “Images of individual works of art online are commonplace,” says Tom Grotta, president of browngrotta arts. “We have tried, instead, to give viewers a sense of the work in space, combined with the option of looking more closely at the pieces that interest them, just as they would have if they were visiting the exhibit in person.”

The artists in the 10th Wave III are experimenting with forms and techniques in novel and surprising ways, exploring new relationships among structure, design, color, and pattern.” They work in a wide range of materials from silk, stainless steel and rubber to recycled raincoats and linen to tree bark, safety pins and telephone books. Among the artists in the online exhibition are Lewis Knauss, Lia Cook, Gyöngy Laky from the US, Sue Lawty from the UK, Ritzi Jacobi from Germany, Jin-Sook So from Sweden, Carolina Yrarrázaval from Chile and Hisako Sekijima and Jiro Yonezawa from Japan.

The 10th Wave III: Online runs through December 20, 2009.

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