Door 20: Special 4

Door number 20 means the last special for this year's calendar. As we have lacked some Hip Hop in this edition, Lord Finesse and DJ Mike Smooth make up for it. Even though the title is not really suiting for Christmas, we present you as our last Objet Trouvé the German pressing of the rare 12" EP Baby, You'Re Nasty.

The record itself and the sleeve are in mint condition. Musically it features Baby, You're Nasty (New Version) and A Lesson to Be Taught, both produced by the infamous DJ Premier and Keep It Flowing, produced by Diamond D. All three are timeless, early 90s Hip Hop joints, which probably never sound dated.

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Door 19: B Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin (1979-1989)

That, Berlin is, next to Detroit, one of the Techno capitals in the world, is a well known and documented fact. But rarely the decade, that led up to this status, gets discussed. Mark Reeder, originally from Manchester, who personally lived there at that time, tries to capture his experience in the film B Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin (1979-1989).

It is an essay film, blurring the boundaries between documentary and feature film. Although most of the events featured happened, the narrator taking his artistic freedom and blends fiction with reality. The film uses a lot of original materials from news emissions, documentaries, super 8 films, amateur and personal recordings and adds a few doubled scenes with the actor Marius Weber. This mixture gives the film an authentic touch and gives the viewer the impression to personally have been there.

The plot starts at the end of the 70's, a time where punk was in its ending phase and post punk and new wave was the new thing. As Mark Reeder worked as a journalist, sound engineer, splash movie actor, musician, scenes from famous venues like Risiko, Dschungel or S.O. 36 and bands like Malaria!, Blixa Bargeld or Gudrun Gut are shown. The film shows the artistic, especially musical, development of West Berlin in during the 80's. The city at that time attracted lot of stars like David Bowie Iggy Pop or Nick CaveMark Reeder is not afraid to show the downsides of that period, which climaxes in high drug addiction and a hopelessness in the middle of the decade until the fall of the wall, where the movie ends, showing some images of the first Love Parade.

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Door 18: Barbara Hepworth

Sculpting, especially in the past, was seen as something masculine, muscular and therefore not for women. A proof of the contrary is the English modernist sculptor Barbara Hepworth. She herself put it the following way: There is a deep prejudice against women in art. Many people – most people still, I imagine – think that women should not involve themselves in the act of creation except on its more trivial fringes. They still think of sculpture as a male occupation: because, I suppose, they have a misconception of what sculpture involves. There is this cliche, you see, a sculptor is a muscular brute bashing at an inert lump of stone, but sculpture is not rape. No good form is hacked. Stone never surrenders to force.

She was born in 1903 in Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire. Her father, a dominant figure, fostered her talents. With a scholarship after her high school, she went from 1920 to Leeds School of Art, where she met fellow student and sculptor Henry Moore. Those two were not only bound by friendship, but also contrary to scholar opinions at that time started to directly carve into the stone. Dame Hepworth would later explain: Carving to me is more interesting than modeling, because there is an unlimited variety of materials from which to draw inspiration.

Gaining a further scholarship, she went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London from 1921 until her diploma in 1924. During her time in Italy, she married the sculptor John Skeaping to whom she lost the Prix-de- Rome. After their return to London and started to exhibit their works from their flat. After their son Paul was born in 1929, the relationship got more and more difficult and they divorced amicable in 1933.

With her new partner Ben Nicholson, she traveled to Paris and visited studios of Jean Arp, Pablo Picasso and Constantin Brâncuși. During this period she moved seemingly from figuration to more abstraction. At the beginning of World War II, she, Nicholson and their children among other fleeing artists settled down in St. Ives, Cornwall. In 1949 she bought her Trewyn Studio and stayed there for the rest of her life. In 1951 she divorced from Ben Nicholson.

In the 50's she started to gain international attention, as she was featured in the British Pavillon in 1950 at the Venice Biennale  and winning Grand Prix at the 1959 Sāo Paolo Bienal. This led to many large commissions such as the work Single Form, which is placed in the plaza of the United Nations Building in New York.

The sudden death of her first son Paul in 1953 caused by plane crash exhausted her and she visited Greece and a lot of the Aegean islands with her dear friend Margaret Gardiner a year later. Both experiences highly influenced her work in the following period. In her later life, she also started to work on lithography and produced a significant body of work. She died in 1975, 72 years old, in a fire accident at her studio.

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Door 17: The Durutti Column

Have you heard of the band or better the musician of which Ian Curtis was a fan and former Red Hot Chili Pepper's guitarist John Frusciante called a genius and the best guitarist in the world: Vini Reilly's The Durutti Column.

Linked to and highly supported by Manchester's Tony Wilson and his record label Factory Records, the project was initially formed as a band in 1978 out of the remaining parts of the local punk band Fast Breeder. The name is derived from a misspelling of The Durruti Column, an anarchist military unit during the Spanish Civil War.

Later that year Vini Reilly, a classically-trained pianist and former guitarist for local punk band Ed Banger and The Nosebleeds joined the formation. The Durutti Column played at the Factory Club and had its first release on a Factory Compilation along bands like Joy Division. After that, three members left to form The Mothmen, later to become Simply Red. So it ended up being Vini Reilly's solo project.

The first album, released on Factory Records, was produced by legendary producer Martin Hannett. This was just a one time collaboration, but Vini Reilly continued to work with Factory until to its default in 1990, but he is still active today despite his rare media appearances and his disgust of the industry.

 

Vini Reilly's music is not comparable to other post-punk projects, as he often works in sketches giving an unfinished impression. His guitar play and husk voice melodically combine happiness and melancholy, which are audible through his entire body of work. A biographer nicely summarized the band: The basic idea behind Durutti Column's music is to break with whatever structure supports the foundations of musical formalism, in order to try and create a kind of music which really can belong to everyone.

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Door 16: Bored To Death

Over the last decade it seemed that TV Series got more attention than feature films. This started as many well known actors, like Kevin Spacey, focused on making new series. With so-many others jumping on the bandwagon, it is difficult to keep up with all the series.

A star-studded, but slightly overlooked series is author Jonathan Ames' Bored To Death. Originally conceived as an HBO miniseries, the comedy ran for three seasons from September 2009 until November 2011, but would have been worth a continuation.

The series' plot serves a lot of clichés. It is about a neurotic, self-hating Jew, played by Jason Schwartzman, facing a writer's block. To overcome this situation, he enlists services as an unlicensed private detective on Craigslist. With the help of his mentor, the magazine editor George, splendidly portrayed by Ten Danson, and his friend, the comic designer Ray (Zack Galifianakis), they get continuously into trouble.

Next to the three main characters, there are also Heather BurnsOlivia ThirlbyOliver Platt and John Hodgman. Rumor has it, that a film adaption is in the making. Jonathan Ames noted in several interviews, that he is working on a script, but there have not been any updates recently.

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Door 15: Special 3

 For our third special we are little bit more daring and present you something kitschy: a midcentury floor vase in mint condition. It features a for the time and area, probably West Germany, typical pattern. The vase is approximately 40cm high, 18,5cm wide and weighs 2 kilos.

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Door 14: Marcel Breuer

When a famous designer and architect concludes his life by stating that his principal contribution was the adaptation of the work of older architects to the needs of modern society, this says a lot about the person. Not a sheer egomaniac, but a man who loved to collaborate and to develop ideas of others further. We are speaking about the Hungarian designer and architect Marcel Breuer.

He was born in Pécs, at that time Austria-Hungary, in 1902. At the age of 18 he left his home for artistic training. After a short stint in Vienna, he studied at the newly-formed Bauhaus in Weimar. There he met his mentor Walter Gropius, who from an early stage saw his potential and soon made him head of the Carpentry shop.

At the time the Bauhaus changed location to Dessau, he shortly stayed in Paris, but soon joined the older faculty members like Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky or Paul Klee. He was fascinated with mass production and experimented with tubular steel furniture inspired by bicycle handlebars. He designed here one of his most famous furniture pieces, the Model B3 Chair, better known as Wassily Chair. Contrary to popular believe the chair was not made for the artist, but he was one of the first recipients.

At the beginning of the Nazi regime, he relocated to London and worked there for Jack Pritchard at the  Isokon company. Here he experimented with bent and formed plywood  and created another well known furniture design, the Long Chair, which is reminiscent of Alvar Aalto. Between 1935 and 1937 he worked with the English modernist F. R. S. Yorke and designed a few houses with him.

He followed Gropius' call to Harvard's Graduate School of Design, where he was appointed chairman, and taught and worked there with him. Under his students were for example Paul Rudolph, John Johansen, and Philip Johnson. In 1941, he broke with his mentor and set up a practice in New York.

Apparently his intent was to get out Gropius shadow and not only create small buildings or furniture apartments. The interest in his practice grew with a demonstration house, which was set up in the MoMA garden in 1949. After that he designed for example the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris with Pier Luigi Nervi and Bernard Zehrfuss or the Whitney Museum in New York with Hamilton P. Smith. He retired from active practice in 1976 and died five years later in Manhattan.

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Door 13: Jan Schulte

Some cities are culturally more fructuous than others and that has not got a lot to do with size or proximity. A prime example for such a city is Düsseldorf. Over the last decades there were always breeding grounds for artists. From the late 70's to the early 80's the hot spot for artists and musicians was the Ratinger Hof. A role and place, which is now taken by the Salon des Amateurs at the Kunsthalle.

Under the guidance of Detlef Weinrich, a.k.a. Toulouse Low Trax, a lot of young artists emerged from this night club, a particular one being Jan Schulte. He is a jack of many trades and has apparently for each one another moniker. He operates under his given name, but also Wolf Müller for his Balearic side, Bufiman for his housier projects, Diskoking Burnhart McKoolksi and Goofy Man for his edits and also collaborates with Christian Pannenborg as Montezumas Rache and with Cass as Wolf Müller & Cass.

With each of these monikers he covers a different part of electronic music, but all are unified by his interest for rhythm and percussion. This interest was originally sparked  by him being a break dancer and the drive to know, where the breaks originally came from. Because of this he started to produce his first breakbeats.

This quest still leads him in his productions, always experimenting and searching for new and untypical sounds, which leads to unique and organic productions. So far he has released on labels like Versatile, International Feel Recordings, Emotional Response and most significantly on Themes For Great Cities, a label from Düsseldorf run by Rearview Radio.

His curiosity also shows in his DJ-sets, which can range from rather typical electronic dance music to obscure drums from Ghana to cheesy Italo-Pop, always able to surprise his audience.

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Door 12: Space Magazine

Print, as a medium, was declared dead in the last decade, but for smaller, rather specific publications quite the contrary seems to be true. In last year's Christmas calendar the alternative interior magazine Apartamento was featured and each of the previous calendars had their share of magazines.

This year we proudly present you Space Magazine, which was founded in 2014 by the Danish agency Moon. They describe the magazine as an interior and culture biannual about the universal and sometimes extravagant subject of living. Thereby combines frank photography and writing, which leads to unique mix of interviews, reportages and portfolios about design and interior.

The magazines has already reached its fourth issue and contrary to many other contemporaries uses glossy paper and a staple binding. So far they featured the fashion brothers Andreas & Kostas Murkudis, the designer Ana Kras, the director Tomas Alfredson, the designer Kim Jones, the architect Sophie Hicks and many more.

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Door 11: Donald Judd

Repetition is proverbial the mother of learning or wisdom. An artist, who took this to another extreme, was the American minimalist Donald Judd. All his life he fought that categorization, but in retrospective is seen as its biggest pioneer.

He was born in 1928 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri and served from 1946 to 1947 in the army. A year later, he began studying and first earned a degree in philosophy at the Columbia University School of General Studies. Around the same time he began painting and additionally started to take evening classes at the Art Students League of New York.

After his first solo exhibition in 1957, he started to move away from painting as he got more interested in space and saw the limits in classical painting or sculpture. This thought process peaked in his seminal theoretical work Specific Objects, released in 1964. At the same time he started to create his first boxes and used humble materials such as metals, industrial plywood, concrete and color-impregnated Plexiglas.

These materials and forms occupied him for the next thirty years. He countlessly repeated them and thereby explored space, surface, volume and, as aforementioned, form. In 1968 he bought on 101 Spring Street a five-story building, an abandoned factory, which became his home, studio, and permanent exhibition space.

As his works got bigger and he personally wanted some time out from the hectic city, he bought in 1979, after annual trips to Baja California, land with abandoned U.S. Army buildings in Marfa, Texas. Here he created some of his biggest installations and also helped the small town to international art-fame until today.

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