Monday, 27 May 2013

Marjorie Cameron

From: Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 1954

Marjorie Cameron Parsons Kimmel (23 April 1922 – 24 June 1995) was an artist, occultist, actress, and wife of rocket pioneer and occultist Jack Parsons. Cameron played a major role in the 1946 Babalon Working ritual.

Like many women interested in magic, such as Ithell Colquhoun, Vali Myers, Rosaleen Norton and the surrealist Leonora Carrington, Cameron was also an artist. Her art depicts many images of an otherworldly nature drawn from the Elemental Kingdom and the astral plane.

She played a prominent role in Kenneth Anger's film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, again as the Scarlet Woman. She also appeared in two films of Curtis Harrington, his ten-minute 1956 portrait, The Wormwood Star, which focused on Cameron and her artwork, and Night Tide (1961), where Cameron starred as a mysterious woman credited as 'Water Witch'.

Fairy Queen, 1962

Cameron's romantic esthetic and commanding persona prompted filmmaker Curtis Harrington to commemorate her output as a visual artist in The Wormwood Star (1955), a lyrical short film recording the art and atmosphere of her candlelit studio. Most of the beautiful paintings and drawings documented in this film were later lost or destroyed. Paul Mathison and the actor Samson DeBrier introduced Cameron to film maker Kenneth Anger, who cast her in a leading role opposite Anais Nin in his film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1956), a fanciful depiction of an occult initiation rite as envisioned by Aleister Crowley. With fiery red hair and heavy eye makeup, Cameron played the Scarlet Woman wrapped in a Spanish shawl once belonging to Rudolph Valentine. Her striking presence steals the show from the rival Nin. Cameron enjoyed a tempestuous relationship with Anger for the rest of her life. She also played a key role alongside Dennis Hopper in Harrington's lyrical feature film Night Tide (1961). In 1969 she appeared in an unreleased film filmed in Santa Fe, Thumbsuck, by artist John Chamberlain.
Michael Duncan

Marjorie Cameron was born in a small town in Iowa. She joined the Navy in World War Two, drawing maps for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After the war she worked as a fashion illustrator at a Pasadena newspaper. She gladly traded her Navy uniform for her interpretation of Dior's "New Look." Her marriage to Jack Parsons gave her the opportunity to travel to Europe and Mexico further refining "her look," always having her own unique sense of style. Following Jack's untimely death in 1952 Kenneth Anger made her the Scarlet Woman in "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome," and Curtis Harrington made her the consummate Beat artist/poetess in "Wormwood Star. He later cast her as a mysterious witch in Night Tide, a role that she lived out in Hollywood. Long red hair, black dresses, black fingernail polish... driving about town in her own hearse!

Cameron went from being a beautiful woman to crone almost overnight. Legend had it that she traded her beauty for power. More likely, she lost her looks as a side-effect of chain-smoking and the desert sun. She had a hard life, and magic(k) didn't make it any easier.

Cameron was a true feminist. The loss of her physical "beauty" was just another phase of her life as a woman. She simply did not care. She scoffed at women who tried to hold on to their youth. I remember her telling a friend who had some "work" done: "You can erase the lines but the pain is still there!"

The Cameron I knew from the mid '80s till her death in 1995 was still a beauty, but not in the sense of our youth-driven culture. Cameron's life was her art... the way that she created magic, not only in her incredible paintings and poetry, but in the expressive way she lived.
Scott Hobbs

Marjorie Cameron (1922-1995) was a “witchy woman” and Beatnik artist known widely in several overlapping Los Angeles bohemian circles, but she was hardly famous. Since her death, there has been a gradually growing public awareness of Cameron’s art, or at least what’s left of her work, that the artist herself did not destroy in a moment of mental instability. Her paintings, now highly sought after by collectors, can sell for in the tens of thousands of dollars. In recent memory, her work has been exhibited in major museums (The Whitney’s “Beat Culture” show and the the excellent “Semina Culture: Wallace Berman and His Circle” exhibit) and the Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in NYC published a gorgeous monograph of her work in 2007.

Cameron’s often wobbly orbit in life saw her cross paths with significant cultural players like underground filmmaker Kennth Anger, who cast her as “The Scarlet Woman” (typecasting!) in his 1956 film, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, which also featured author Anais Nin. (Anger was Cameron’s roommate at several points over the decades they knew one another). She was certainly a part of Wallace Berman’s intimates and co-starred in. Night Tide a low-budget horror film with Dennis Hopper (who recounts a brief period of sexual intimacy with the older woman).
Richard Metzger 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Gary Lee Boas - Starstruck

Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol, New York City, n.d.

Gary Lee Boas grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and from an early age spent much time daydreaming about TV and movie stars. As a devoted fan, Boas began photographing famous people with his Brownie camera at age 14. Never considering himself an artist, or even a photographer early on, Boas’ obsession grew, uninterrupted, for 35 years, into what has become a massive archive of over 80,000 photographs, autographs and personal letters from movie stars and famous people.

Since the release of his book STARSTRUCK: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM A FAN (Dilettante Press, 2000), Boas has become internationally recognized for the snapshots he took of famous people in the 60s and 70s as an unknown fan. His images have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Today, Boas continues to photograph celebrities, as well as documenting the many other interesting characters in his life. He spends time between residences in Lancaster, Los Angeles, New York and Paris.

Elizabeth Taylor with Halston, 1979
In a day and age where photographing celebrities is a multi-million dollar business, seeing the photographs of Gary Lee Boas only complicates this already murky water. On view at Country Club Projects in Cincinnati, Boas’ exhibition Sentimental Journey shows a series of beautifully nostalgic celebrity images referencing a very familiar place and time, while questioning the roll of the celebrity image, the fan and the photographer. Showing personal fan photographs that were taken in the 60′s and 70′s of highly publicized celebrities before the age of paparazzi, Boas’ images instantly give you vision into our current world of hyper celebrity combined with capitalist gain. Through the lens of memory and nostalgia, these photographs give you a glimpse into the life of a fan and our culture’s obsession with fame, fortune, and celebrity, yet somehow also provide the viewer with the odd relationship between artist and audience. Boas constructs a system in which one can observe celebrity without inherent criticism, where obsession is beautiful and where our culture is worth questioning and celebrating.
Julie Henson

Gary Lee Boas with Ingrid Bergman in Captain Brassbound's Conversation, 1972

Obsessives, of course, are by nature cosmographers. Fans paper the walls of their rooms with their chosen icons, as if mapping out the boundaries of their particular cosmos (and blotting out the one the rest of us live in). Not pictures in a conventional sense, their photos function more as objects and markers. For someone like Boas, the documentary aspect of photography is clearly secondary to its fetishistic value: his pictures essentially function as trophies, providing evidence of his first person encounters with those unreal and forever faraway beings we call ‘stars’.

Boas, however, maintains that as a teenager he began using his camera mainly in order to ‘connect’ with the famous. In several anecdotes included in Starstruck, he describes his celebrity relationships - how he ‘connected’ with Julie Christie at a 1972 Democratic rally, and how, after ‘connecting’ with Richard M. Nixon on numerous occasions, he was eventually invited to the former President’s funeral, to sit amongst an audience, as he ecstatically notes, that included five living US Presidents and four Secretaries of State. ‘To sit at the funeral as a guest was just a situation that was unbelievable to me, like frozen time,’ he writes.

He could be describing his own photographs. For all their amateurish banality, they are curiously elusive, at once utterly matter-of-fact and quietly fantastical. But then every fan’s devotional enterprise is based on a fantastical premise: the otherworldliness of the star, and our corollary desire to touch the untouchable, to become intimate with the inaccessible. The fan only wants to connect with a fantasy - the fantasy of fame - which, precisely because it is a dream, is a hundred times more powerful than the pull of flesh and blood.

In the end, for all his stated desire to make personal contact with the famous, Boas’ pictures don’t draw us closer to specific celebrities, but to the obsessiveness and unreality that underlies the entire photographic enterprise. Long ago, Walter Benjamin observed that the great appeal of photographs was not simply that they could depict the world, but that they responded to a perverse need to bring all things within our grasp, to have the world at our fingertips. But the fan’s incantory compulsion to photographically record his objects of veneration is also about keeping physical existence at a distance, by constantly displacing it into the realm of reproduction. This endeavour is potentially an endless one, and perhaps also a quest for endlessness, inasmuch as the celebrity horizon is virtually limitless. Maybe that’s why Boas’ shabby snapshots of glamorous people end up seeming not just pathetic, but weirdly sublime.
Ralf Rugoff

Peter Fonda, n.d.

Gary Boas does not consider himself an artist, although he might be a kind of outsider artist. He calls what he does a hobby. For the last 35 years, Mr. Boas, who lives in the house where he grew up in Lancaster, Pa., has dedicated his life to the pursuit of celebrities.

By mail and in person he has sought out (and often befriended) famous people of all sorts and amassed a huge collection of autographed books, playbills, publicity photos and his own photographs. Subjects range from Muhammad Ali to Henry Kissinger, Marilyn Chambers to Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo to Frank Zappa.

This show of more than 1,000 items, drawn from the first 15 years of his career and including more than 600 of Mr. Boas's own Instamatic snapshots, represents just five percent of the total.

What is remarkable is the apparent innocence. Mr. Boas is methodical and incredibly persistent, but in this blessedly unslick presentation, you don't sense the calculated irony of a Warhol or the commercial opportunism of a memorabilia dealer. There is, rather, a bottomless, wide-eyed susceptibility to the allure of fame.

The show is compulsively absorbing to scan; Mr. Boas's amateurish snapshots are especially compelling, capturing as they do so many familiar faces when they were younger. But despite the number of items included, the editing and neat organization cause the show to feel underpopulated and thereby understate the intensity of Mr. Boas's passion. For another take, read ''Starstruck,'' the new book of his photographs published by Dilettante Press ($27.95). It includes personal accounts of celebrity stalking, including the strange and touching story of his friendship with the post-Watergate Richard Nixon.
Ken Johnson

Michael Jackson, Friday, August 25th, 1978

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Coil - Hellraiser Themes

Coil was an English cross-genre, experimental music group formed in 1982 by John Balance—later credited as "Jhonn Balance"—and his partner Peter Christopherson, aka "Sleazy". The duo worked together on a series of releases before Balance chose the name Coil, which he claimed to be inspired by the omnipresence of the coil's shape in nature. Today, Coil remains one of the most influential and best known industrial music groups.

The Unreleased Themes for Hellraiser (subtitled The Consequences of Raising Hell) was the fourth album that Coil released in the year 1987. The album was released on the CD, cassette and 10″ vinyl. It was the proposed soundtrack to the film Hellraiser, however was turned down because it was not considered commercial enough.

This is by far my favorite Coil release, if just for the fact that it could have been what accompanied one of the greatest horror movies of all time, until the studio people butted in. Ah well, our loss. At least we can hear what might have been, some of the most melodic sounds from this band ever. There is also a track on 'Gold Is The Metal (With The Broadest Shoulders)' called 'Cardinal Points' that was recorded during these sessions and was meant to appear on the Hellraiser soundtrack, an excellent addition to this stellar landmark.  

While Clive Barker was writing the story "The Hellbound Heart" that would eventually become Hellraiser, he visited his acquaintances in the experimental music group Coil. Barker was a fan -- he once described Coil as "the only group I've heard on disc, whose records I've taken off because they made my bowels churn." And yes, that was a compliment. The story goes that Coil loaned Barker a stack of extreme bodypiercing magazines that inspired the birth of, you guessed it, Pinhead. Barker later invited Coil to compose the soundtrack for the Hellraiser film. Coil did their magic on the score but, ultimately, the Hollywood studio went with the safe (and far less sinister) sounds of Christopher Young. Of course, Young did a respectable job but, well, it isn't Coil.
David Pescovitz 

Coil interviewed in Compulsion magazine (Issue 1, Winter 1992) spoke about the Hellraiser project...

Regarding Hellraiser, what actually happened? Did Coil pull out or did the financial backers think the music was too weird?

Well we pulled out about 10 minutes before they said we were going to pull out anyway. The thing is we were in right at the very beginning of the project, like Clive Barker was writing a screenplay and he came to our house and took away a load of piercing magazines and things. Which is where they got all the Pinhead stuff from.

Apparently, it was quite S/M orientated

Yeah, we saw some original footage which we unfortunately didn't keep but it was really heavy and good, like a sort of twisted English horror film. And then when the Americans saw this footage they thought it was too extreme and they also gave Clive ten times the original money.

It completely changed then

Yeah, so then Clive sort of felt, because it was his first film and with Hollywood being involved it was his gateway to the stars. So they changed the location to America, dubbed all the actors over and took out a lot of the explicit sex.

Did you feel let down about this? It could have been your gateway as well

Yeah, it would have been brilliant but we wouldn't have carried on because they were changing everything and they weren't being very nice to us the actual film people. They were keeping us in the dark a lot. We said we'd had enough just at the same time they decided they wanted to use Howard Shore (sic). They just wanted normal film music. They didn't want anything too scary which is sad and ridiculous for a horror film.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Dan Shay - The Black Box @ Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design 20.05.13 - pictures

To the art college this evening for an installation by Dan Shay "exploring the blurring boundaries between the real and the virtual world, as apparatuses change how we see the world". I took a few photos and here they are:

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Rudolf Schwarzkogler

 3rd Aktion, 1965

Rudolf Schwarzkogler (13 November 1940 in Vienna – 20 June 1969) was an Austrian performance artist closely associated with the Viennese Actionism group that included artists Günter Brus, Otto Mühl, and Hermann Nitsch.

He is best known today for photographs depicting his series of closely controlled "Aktionen" featuring such iconography as a dead fish, a dead chicken, bare light bulbs, colored liquids, bound objects, and a man wrapped in gauze. The enduring themes of Schwarzkogler's works involved experience of pain and mutilation, often in an incongruous clinical context, such as 3rd Aktion (1965) in which a patient's head swathed in bandages is being pierced by what appears to be a corkscrew, producing a bloodstain under the bandages. They reflect a message of despair at the disappointments and hurtfulness of the world.

3rd Aktion, 1965

Schwarzkogler is one of four Viennese artists who grouped themselves under the title Wiener Aktionsgruppe, or the ‘Vienna Action Group’, in 1965. Hermann Nitsch (born 1938), Otto Mühl (born 1925) and Günter Brus (born 1938) created ritualistic performances or Actions aimed at releasing repressed desires and bringing about a state of cathartic awareness through acts which often subverted traditional authorities and broke taboos. The Actions were initially conceived in relation to the activity of painting. Paint and organic substitutes for paint, such as blood and food, are common materials used in combination with the artists’ and performers’ bodies. Despite individual differences, the members of the group frequently collaborated and performed in each others’ Actions. Ludwig Hoffenreich, a well known Viennese press photographer, documented Actions by all members of the group during the 1960s and 70s. Schwarzkogler was particularly attracted to the work of early Austrian Expressionists such as Egon Schiele (1890-1918) and Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), the more recent French artist Yves Klein (1928-62) and the Viennese artist Arnulf Rainer (born 1929). He created a total of six Actions, five in 1965 and one in 1966. Although the first, Wedding, was performed in front of an audience, Schwarzkogler found it so distracting that he staged all subsequent actions purely for the camera. His use of a clinical white background and his careful arrangement of the constituents of each photograph distinguish his work from that of the other Actionists, for whom the experience of public performance was the principal goal. An extreme aesthetic simplicity, complemented by photographing in black and white rather than in colour, and the repetition of props and themes, confer a formal clarity on his images. Elements recurring in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th Actions include razor blades, fish, a white chicken, a black mirror, cosmetic utensils, white bandages - wrapped around a male body and covering a large white ball – and other medical equipment such as scissors, scalpels, glass bottles and plastic tubing.
Elizabeth Manchester  

 6th Aktion, 1966
Hermann Nitsch, one of his friends and a fellow artist, talked about a "febrile erotic sweetness" around the issues of creativity and death in Vienna, where both artists had worked. Nitsch quoted, as attendant intoxicants to this state of mind, the late works of a dying and diseased Schubert, and Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder" ("the songs of dead children"). Both are examples of a heady, romanticised relationship between works of art and mortality.

Much of the fascination Schwarzkogler holds is due to the sheer lack of available information, and to the tragic brevity of his adult life. As is perhaps understandable in such a case -- at least in terms of journalism -- rumours about him abound. Most notable is that of his death itself. "Everyone seems to know by now that Rudolf Schwarzkogler did not actually kill himself by cutting off his penis in slices during an Action," Keith Seward wrote in Artforum in 1994. In fact, Rudolf either leapt or fell (most assume the former) from his apartment window after a long period of extreme depression. Yet the penis-slicing mutilation is a recurrent myth, reported as the apex of his creative oeuvre. Ironically, it was in previous issues of Artforum that I had first found the erroneous story. First in October 1972, and again in January 1978: "We must not forget that Rudolf Schwarzkogler went further than any other masochist body worker, for he proceeded inch by inch to amputate his penis whilst a photographer recorded this art event". The root of this myth is a rather wilful misinterpretation of Schwarzkogler's photographs, shown posthumously at Documenta in the 1970s.  
Philip Wincolmlee Barnes

6th Aktion, 1966

Rudolf Schwarzkogler’s 6th action was his last photographically documented performance before his death. After that he collaborated on projects with Otto Mühl and Günter Brus, presumably he held another three actions that he did not document, further actions of his were only conceptualised on paper.

From the 2nd action Schwarzkogler reduced the colour range and so adapted to the photographs that were taken on black and white film only. The image above shows him in white bandages in a white room, a square, black mirror is leaning on the wall and there are a big and a small white globe. During the performance a dead white chicken, as well as a light bulb and a black electrical cord are added.

He held his actions for the camera only, there was no dramaturgically structured course of events, as was the case with Mühl, Brus and Nitsch who acted in front of spectators and often got the audience involved in the process. His photographs are perfectly composed arrangements in space. In his drawings he predefined all elements that would be used. As no audience was present, the actions could be stopped as many times as needed to change camera angles or correct and improve the composition.

In spite of the important role that photography plays in Schwarzkogler’s oeuvre, there are only few existing prints of his work presumably due to his precarious financial situation at the time. There are only few prints that were made during the lifetime of the artist. The larger part of the photographs circulating today was commissioned by his girlfriend and the manager of his estate Edith Adam, Ludwig Hoffenreich or the Italian collector Francesco Conz. Hermann Nitsch, Ludwig Hoffenreich and Edith Adam often chose the picture detail of the image.

The actionist photographs of Schwarzkogler were never exhibited during his lifetime. In 1970 Günter Brus magazine Die Schastrommel first published a selection of photographs. They only reached wider acclaim when they were shown at the Documenta 5 in Kassel curated by Harald Szeemann in 1972.
Michaela Seiser 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

They Had Four Years @ Generator Projects 18.05.13 - pictures

To the Generator this evening for They Had Four Years, an annual show featuring new works by recent graduates selected from three of Scotland’s art schools: Eilidh Mckay and Craig Thomson (both graduates from Duncan of Jordanstone, Dundee) William Darrell (Edinburgh College of Art) and Hans Peter Auken Beck (Glasgow School of Art). No handouts or titles were forthcoming, but I took a few photos and here they are:

The name of the show is They Had Four Years 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Peter Fischli and David Weiss - Suddenly this Overview

The Russians Send the First Rocket into Space from Suddenly this Overview, 1981-2006

Peter Fischli (born 8 June 1952) and David Weiss (21 June 1946 – 27 April 2012), often shortened to Fischli/Weiss, were an artist duo that had been collaborating since 1979. They were among the most renowned contemporary artists of Switzerland.

Suddenly this Overview (1981) is a collection of unfired clay sculptures imaginatively recreating various events in human history. The figures range from those rendered in meticulous detail, to coarse, sketch-like pieces. As is implied by "The World We Live In" – the title originally envisaged for the work – this panorama of interwoven happenings in the world arising out of the artists' subjective viewpoint, with its assembly of events both large and small, questions what it means to be alive. First unveiled in 1981 as an installation consisting of around 200 objects, a new version comprising about 90 was presented in 2006.

Herr and Frau Einstein shortly after the conception of their son, the genius Albert from Suddenly this Overview, 1981-2006

Suddenly this Overview 1981/2006 presents its own microscopic model of the world, consisting of dozens of hand-modelled unfired clay sculptures. As Weiss has explained, ‘The intention was to accumulate various important and unimportant events in the history of mankind, and of the planet – moments in the fields of technology, fairy tales, civilization, film, sports, commerce, education, sex, biblical history, nature and entertainment.’ The scenes they selected include Herr and Frau Einstein shortly after the conception of their son, the genius Albert, and Mick Jagger and Brian Jones going home satisfied after composing ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’. Other works in the series include everyday items such as a loaf of bread, a teaset and a pot – an early example of the artists’ fascination with the ordinary. A third category portray what the artists refer to as ‘Popular Opposites’, such as work and play, theory and practice, high and low, big and small. According to Fischli, ‘the viewer cannot simultaneously take all the sculptures or all the stories into account…The title [Overview] describes the opposite of what is actually the case: the confusion and the swamp and the simultaneity of these things’.

Mick Jagger and Brian Jones going home satisfied after composing 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' from Suddenly this Overview, 1981-2006

Dozens of wonderfully sculpted clay models on plinths give us an overview of the world - from the breakthrough into daylight during the digging of the Gotthard tunnel, to the moment after the conception of Albert Einstein (so the title informs us), his parents in bed in innocent slumber. Here's Dr Albert Hoffman cycling home for lunch in Basle after imbibing the LSD he has just synthesised; St Anthony tempted in a cave, with no one for company but his own imagination; a DJ mixing at his turntables. There are Swiss scenes: clay walkers looking at a clay waterfall, mountain passes, snow, forests and rocks, as well as rowing boats braving storm-tossed clay seas, and the moment when a fish first decides to heave itself onto dry land. Here are Mick Jagger and Brian Jones walking home after having written Satisfaction. So much is included - a punctiliously rendered bowl of crisps, twiglets and olives, an airliner crashing into the sea; so much of the world is left out.
Adrian Searle

Popular opposites; little + big from Suddenly this Overview, 1981-2006

A couple of cartoonish ghosts descend a flight of stairs. On the floor some vermicelli-shaped objects are arranged to resemble chains, broken bones and skulls. Facing the ghosts, on top of the wall, a bat spreads its wings. Together with another 200 or so unfired clay figurines and sculptures, this work, entitled Im Keller (In the Cellar), is part of Plötzlich diese Ubersicht (Suddenly this Overview), an installation from 1981 that was the earliest major collaborative project between Peter Fischli and David Weiss. This was the first time the work has been shown since, which made the exhibition pretty significant. One hundred and thirty-five of the original pieces were included, set on plain white pedestals.

Strolling among the work you could encounter characters from comic books and popular culture (Clark Kent, Max and Moritz), famous Swiss products such as Cervelas (a fat, short pinkish wurst), biblical scenes (The Parting of the Red Sea, Saint Francis Preaching to the Animals), or events of earth-shattering significance (the conception of Albert Einstein, the Italy vs Germany World Cup Final). Some of the works have straightforward, descriptive titles: a piece of crystal, for example, is entitled Rock Crystal, and a Christ on the Cross is just that. But then you might come across a sculpture of a man riding a motorbike entitled Dr Hoffman after the First LSD Trip. Insanely wide-ranging and permanently incomplete, Suddenly this Overview is a leisurely and hilarious catalogue of scenes created from memory. There is a magical and almost hallucinatory quality to such a proliferation of particularities. Looking from label to sculpture to check if what you read was really what you got, you could sense how much fun the artists must have had making the work.

This playfulness is where the installation’s subversive force lies: working in unfired clay, a technique you would normally use for preliminary studies in traditional sculpture, Fischli and Weiss found a form of process art that steered clear of both Expressionist pretensions and Conceptual taxonomies, stressing the idea of two people managing to joke together and still being able to call that ‘work’.
Mai-Thu Perret

Popular Opposites: Theory and Practice from Suddenly this Overview, 1981-2006

The gentle humour and superficial simplicity of this art belies its depth. In a 1981 piece, Suddenly This Overview, they attempt to tell the history of the world in 300 small-scale unfired clay sculptures. On the surface, these look like the things children might make in art class. But the more you look, the more you realise that the work attempts to deal with everything that ever happened, from the big events (a Christmas crib) and anonymous tragedies (an airliner crashing into the sea) to the moments that history forgot to record ("Mr and Mrs Einstein in their bed shortly after the conception of their son, the genius Albert", for instance).

Perhaps the thought that a child could make this art is the whole point. Only a childish (or an artistic) intelligence is capable of seeing the world with this innocence. These hugely sophisticated artists are playing dumb in order to open themselves (and us) up to all human experience, and particularly to the kind of experience that children appreciate but that adults despise.
Richard Dorment 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Moodymann ‎– Silent Introduction

Moodymann also known as Kenny Dixon Jr or KDJ for short, is a Techno/House musician based in Detroit, Michigan.

He creates a thoroughly hybrid form of techno/house dance music, jazz, soul, disco and funk via his innovative use of reworked riffs, samples (including old movie soundtrack samples mainly culled from the old blaxploitation and b-movie genres), and grooves taken from Detroit's historically influential jazz, R&B, soul, funk, and disco scene.

This amazing LP contains few singles that have come out on KDJ, a beautiful collection of pure electronic soul. Moodymann made a great work contaminating electronic music with jazz samples and some space disco grooves, giving to us a brilliant mixture of different styles. There are also some excellent deep house tunes such as "In Loving Memory" that was one of my favourite tracks on this masterpiece.

Beginning in 1996 or so, Kenny Dixon, Jr. quietly began releasing on his own KDJ label a number of remarkable 12" EPs as Moodymann, which were in turn cherry-picked by Carl Craig's tastemaking Planet E label soon afterward for a phenomenal full-length debut, Silent Introduction. The album is a compilation of previously released tracks -- among them "Misled," "I Can't Kick This Feeling When It Hits," "Answering Machine," and "Sunday Morning" -- yet Dixon creatively edits them into a fascinating whole that is as cinematic as it is danceable, partly audio montage and partly DJ-style mix. It's an excellent introduction to Dixon's world of deep house music-making, and it also makes a wonderful accompaniment to his 12" EPs, which tend to be dancefloor- rather than listener-oriented, not to mention downright challenging to find. More than anything else, Silent Introduction is the release that catapulted KDJ from simply underground to underground legend in one fell swoop. It's arguably his best full-length release, as his subsequent ones take on a more experimental tone, and moreover, it's undoubtedly ground zero for exploring his twisting, curious catalog.
Jason Birchmeier 

The talking, the narration that caused so much controversy—all that. That was the first time that I ever dealt with anything that had all that controversy. He made some statements—Detroit militant statements—that were more him being silly than anything that he ever believed. Of course, it always seems like when it comes down to race, that it's a one-sided story with a lot of folks, and I think people got that kind of concept from it. But he's not that kind of guy. 
Carl Craig

Friday, 10 May 2013

Leonor Fini - Histoire d'O

Illustration pour Histoire d O-Pauline Reage, 1968

Leonor Fini (August 30, 1907 – January 18, 1996) was an Argentine surrealist painter.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she was raised in Trieste, Italy. She moved to Milan at the age of 17, and then to Paris, in either 1931 or 1932. There, she became acquainted with, among many others, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, Georges Bataille, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Picasso, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, and Salvador Dalí.

In the 1970s, she wrote three novels, Rogomelec, Moumour, Contes pour enfants velu and Oneiropompe. Her friends included Jean Cocteau, Giorgio de Chirico, and Alberto Moravia, Fabrizio Clerci and most of the other artists and writers inhabiting or visiting Paris. She illustrated many works by the great authors and poets, including Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire and Shakespeare, as well as texts by new writers. She was very generous with her illustrations and donated many drawings to writers to help them get published. She is, perhaps, best known for her graphic illustrations for Histoire d'O.

It has been said about her that she is the only artist to paint women without apology. Many of her paintings feature strong, beautiful women (many times resembling herself) in ceremonial or provocative situations. Men are often portrayed as lithe figures who are under the protection of her females. The sphinx and cats play major parts in her paintings, as does the theme of 'the double'. She was equally adept at etching, drawing, watercolor and oil painting. She lived with many cats; up to a total of 23 at one time. The illness of one of her cats could send her into a deep depression.

Illustration pour Histoire d O-Pauline Reage, 1968

Born in Buenos Aires, Leonor Fini moved to Trieste as a girl when her parents separated. After holding her first solo exhibition in Milan in 1929, she relocated to Paris in 1931. There she quickly insinuated herself among the artists of the Surrealist movement, exhibiting with them in 1933 and holding her first one-person show in Paris in 1935. As a result, she became very close friends with a number of the major surrealists, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Eugène Ionesco, Georges Hugnet, Georges Bataille, Max Ernst, Paul Éluard, and Giorgio de Chirico. A prolific libertine, Fini provided some of the material for Pauline Réage's novel Story of O. According to her obituary in The Guardian:

At one gallery opening she wore a beautiful Siberian wolf-fur coat, which she had exchanged for a painting. When someone suggested it was rather warm for such clothing, she opened her coat to reveal that she was naked. George Hoyningen-Huene photographed her dressed in nothing but black feathers. In 1937 she designed the Shocking scent bottle in the shape of Mae West's torso for Schiaparelli, and exhibited her own furniture.

 Fini lived for forty years in a menage-a-trois with Count Stanislao Lepri and Constanine Jelenski. She kept a large number of cats -- as many as 23 at a time -- which she would take with her when she travelled.

Illustration pour Histoire d O-Pauline Reage, 1968

Leonor Fini's art offers a woman's take on surrealism, which large dealt with male fantasies, by offering a female view of the female body and of erotic pleasures. Fini was one of the more international figures of the Surrealist movement. She was born in Argentina, raised in her mother's home town of Trieste, Italy, and spent most of her artistic life in Paris, where she had her first one-person show in 1932 (her first one-person show took place in Milan at the Galerie Barbaroux in 1929; her first one-person show in Paris was at the Galerie Bonjean in 1932). Although she was friends with many of the leading surrealists (including Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte and Victor Brauner), she never formally joined the movement though she did include her works in several of their International Surrealist Exhibitions. After the Second World War, she had many one-person shows in Europe and America (plus a major retrospective in Japan in 1972). Although she is best known for her paintings, prints, and drawings, she also created stage designs for operas and ballets including one of her own, Le Rêve de Leonor (1949), which was choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton and performed to music by Sir Benjamin Britten. Fini's works are to be found in many important collections of modern art. Her obituary in The London Times stressed her physical beauty, her erotic art, and her legions of lovers, whose names "read like a roll call of the literary and artistic talents of that brilliant age."

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Riechmann - Wunderbar

Wolfgang Riechmann started his musical career in 1966.  After playing in a school band with Michael Rother and Wolfgang Flür, later famous with Kraftwerk and Neu!, he then became member of another Düsseldorf band called "Streetmark". It was end of 1977 when Riechmann started working on his solo career.

The result was the LP Wunderbar which was released on SKY Records. Unfortunately he did not experience the release. In August 1978 Riechmann was killed - without any reason - by two drunk guys, who stabbed him to death.

Wunderbar is a wunderful album. If you like Man Machine era Kraftwerk then you'll love this. Wolfgang looks extremely cool on the cover despite wearing blue lipstick (I kid you not !)

In the 60's Wolfgang was in Spirits of Sound with Wolfgang Flur later of Kraftwerk. In the 70's Wolfgang played a major role in Streetmark's classic album 'Eileen'. However, 'Eileen' was not a huge commercial success and so Wolfgang was full of doubts about his own abilities when he set about recording Wunderbar.

The opening track of the album is the title track 'Wunderbar' which is ultra-catchy. They must put something in the water in Dusseldorf which results in superb melodies.

Another standout track is 'Siberland' which is effectively a slowed down version of Kraftwerk's 'Metropolis' from Man Machine. The parallel here is interesting as Man Machine and Wunderbar were both recorded in 1978, although I don't know which one hit the shops first. Who is copying who?

'Himmelblau' would not sound out of place on a La Dusseldorf album. Clearly Dinger and Rother have based their whole career around songs which feature the words 'La' and 'Dusseldorf'. In the case of 'Himmelblau' Riechmann goes one step further by only using the word 'La' in the lyrics. Simplicity is best.

The album finishes with a short omninous sounding instrumental. Sadly, shortly after Wunderbar was recorded Wolfgang was murdered (having been stabbed in a Dusseldorf barroom brawl). This is a great shame as judging by the evidence of Wunderbar, Wolfgang could have gone on to great things.
Julian Cope 

On his first and, regrettably, last recordings as a solo artist, Riechmann was in an eclectic mood. Distant echoes of the so - called Berlin School (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and the like) can be detected on Wunderbar, as well as the clear influence of the so - called Düsseldorf School (NEU!, Kraftwerk, La Düsseldorf). Not that Riechmann was attempting to copy their styles in any way. Whilst contemporary influences need not be denied, Wunderbar hints at the direction he would take in terms of sound and composition, reflecting a powerful, independent musician’s personality, one which would have caused quite a stir, had it been given the chance to unfold. This unmistakably optimistic music is characterized by simple sequencer and drum patterns, with Riechmann adding his own highly individual layers of harmony. And then there are the melodies: simple, sometimes to the point of being simplistic, but never naive. »Wunderbar« is modern, electronic pop, in a league with Kraftwerk and NEU!.

Wunderbar is Wolfgang Riechmann's only album and consists of progressive electro- pop not too unlike the work of Kraftwerk, only less mechanic. Wunderbar is much spacier and airy than Kraftwerk's music, as well a bit more optimistic in tone. Each track on this albums is very close to the sound that Tangerine Dream was accomplishing on Phaedra, with the catchy melodies and steady slightly-bassy sequencing, only these tracks are much shorter.
Some of the tracks on Wunderbar sound too similar to each other, giving this album a negative quality of redundancy, which leads me to believe that Wolfgang Reichmann ran out of steam due to lack of creative ideas - the reason why this is his only album. But the reason for this being his only album is much more unfortunate - he was stabbed and killed before this album was even released.

Monday, 6 May 2013

John Waters - Eat Your Makeup

John Samuel Waters, Jr. (born April 22, 1946) is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist, and art collector, who rose to fame in the early 1970s for his transgressive cult films. Waters' 1970s and early '80s trash films feature his regular troupe of actors known as the Dreamlanders—among them Divine, Mink Stole, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, and Edith Massey. Starting with Desperate Living (1977), Waters began casting real-life convicted criminals (Liz Renay, Patty Hearst) and infamous people (Traci Lords, a former porn star).

Although he maintains apartments in New York City and San Francisco, and a summer home in Provincetown, Waters still mainly resides in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, where all his films are set. He is recognizable by his trademark pencil moustache, a look he has retained since the early 1970s.

Eat Your Makeup (1968) is a short film by filmmaker John Waters starring Divine, Mary Vivian Pearce, David Lochary, and Maelcum Soul.

It was John Waters' first film production made in 16mm film. It has never been released on video. However, it was screened occasionally in 2004 as part of the touring exhibition John Waters: Change of Life.

John Waters' first 16 mm film, about a deranged nanny (Maelcum Soul) who kidnaps young girls and forces them to model themselves to death in front of her boyfriend (David Lochary) and their crazed friends. It was never shown commercially.

Of all of John Waters unreleased films, this one is the best. It actually has something of a story line (I don't go in much for the abstract stuff) and it has the first sightings of a lot of the JW regulars.

I believe it was filmed in JW's parent's backyard in Baltimore, MD.

If your a die hard JW fan, it is definitely worth seeing if it's possible.

I was only lucky enough to view it at a gallery in NYC.

In this day & age of DVD hysteria, I believe someday it will be released to the public along with Roman Candles, Mondo Trasho, & Multiple Maniacs.

Hail to the Pope of Trash!

The movie with which future shock mega-star John Waters graduated to 16mm film, this third short from the "Prince of Puke" features a maniacal couple who kidnap young girls, forcing them to perform the titular duties before modeling themselves to death. Never shown commercially following it's two-evening run in a Baltimore church basement, Eat Your Make-Up remains one of the most sought-after films among Waters' die-hard fans.
Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Eat Your Makeup makes use of extended allegory, which Waters consistently employed as an early narrative device, most effectively with his witty critique of government as transmitted through Edith Massey’s Queen Carlotta in Desperate Living and the total reversal of traditional American notions of good and bad in both Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble. The opening shot is a woman crawling through desert sand (actually Waters’s parents’ lawn), desperately repeating "Makeup? Makeup!" A shirtless guy looks on disinterestedly, and the woman tugs at his pants, begging for makeup. He appeases her with a plate of makeup, which she greedily devours. The makeup-seeker is a model, and along with three other models (one with a Warhol hairstyle), is captured by the evil couple of David Lochary and Maelcum Soul. The models are forced to eat makeup and model themselves to death. A catwalk is constructed in the middle of the woods and there they strut. Photos snap. Catholics incongruously perform the wafer ritual. A plate of makeup is served and the models hungrily gobble it up, while the crowd indulges in the fetish of watching beautiful women eat. The crowd is always there, inflicting verbal and physical abuse to the models. The torture devolves into carnivalesque slapstick weirdness. The models continue to model pointlessly, and a doll is destroyed to the tune of "99 Bottles of Beer," which agonizingly is counted all the way down to 88.

Punctuating Eat Your Makeup is a scene where Waters openly alludes to a specific political event for the first time in his films. An androgynous, 17-year-old Divine is sitting around reading Screen Stars magazine and drifts into a daydream. She is (a slightly overweight) Jackie O and by her side is a faux JFK, in a car with the top off, driving slowly down the street in obvious emulation of November 22, 1963 when JFK was shot in Dallas. The scene is boring— for a long time they wave mindlessly at the nonexistent crowd until JFK is suddenly and graphically shot in an impressively faithful rendition of the Zapruder film of the assassination. Like Warhol, Waters’s relationship to celebrity culture, fashion, the media, and products is ambiguous, neither celebrated nor discouraged, just part of life. A then-burgeoning symbol of pop culture— makeup— is focused on and exploded, conclusions optional. Eat Your Makeup edges closer to the zenith that Waters would achieve throughout the ’70s: examining USA rebel culture on its own symbolic, materialist, and nonsensical terms.
Nick Stillman 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

performingNOW! @ GENERATORprojects 04.05.13 - pictures

To the Generator this evening for performingNOW!, an open collaboration between artists working with performance and live art. I took a few photos and here they are:

Tom Wallace - Animation Compilation

Sophie Orton provides a joinery tutorial

Christian Nerf - Philanthropic Misanthropes

 Kate Clayton - Letters

performingNOW! aims to create spaces to show and develop performative work and connect with other artists in Dundee and beyond.

Ruth Aitken - The fundamentals of building up and tearing Down

Tara Chaloner and Claire Briegel - Guernica: working presence

Karen Spy - Anima re-claimed: a mindful action: Art Therapy

Holly Aitchison - Re-enactment

Ashley McNaughton

 Beth Savage - The Hunt

Peter McRae - The Man Stripped Bare By His Admirers, Even Occasional Dances No. 8

Morgan Cahn - (Breath)(Out)(Deep)(Freak)