Duchamp’s Anemic Cinema is recalled as a collaboration between Duchamp and Man Ray, but it was really a collaboration between May Ray and Duchamp’s female alter ego Rrose Selavy (c’est la vie, geddit?). It was made with Duchamp’s kinetic sculptures, the Rotoreliefs, which I have written about before here. The title Anemic Cinema is a near palindrome.
French film maker Marie Martine directed this short documentary that captures the spirit and flavor of New York’s Lower East Side before the yuppie invasion. Made in 1983, the film features music by Alan Vega, Martin Rev, The False Prophets and scenes of artist Scott Borofsky creating street art.
In the seventies hundreds of buildings were abandoned, buildings with no heat, no hot water, no locks. The landlords had wrung all the money they could get out of them….Today  whole blocks between Avenues A and D are lined with the carcasses of buildings. Vast stretches of land are covered with crumbled bricks and cement. Until recently, lines of drug buyers snaked around the blocks….When Father Moloney found a dead body near the Christadora Building last year, the police acted almost unconcerned. ‘We are in a no man’s land,’ he was told. ‘They can dump anything they want here.” New York magazine - May 28, 1984.
It’s nearly 36 years since Pier Paolo Pasolini was murdered in horrific circumstances, on a beach near Rome, in November 2 1975. The story went Pasolini had been killed while trolling. The 17-year-old hustler, who originally admitted his killing, retracted his confession in May 2005, claiming 3 people, with “southern accents” had killed Pasolini, calling him a “dirty communist”.
Later, an investigation into new evidence, which suggested Pasolini had been murdered over a blackmail plot involving stolen reels of his film Salo - 120 days of Sodom, proved inconclusive, and his grim and brutal murder remains unsolved.
Pasolini was a “Marxist, mystic, Catholic and atheist”, a poet and novelist who wrote over 25 novels and half-a-dozen volumes of poetry.
Pasolini was also one of the most important, radical and influential film-makers of the twentieth century, whose life and works as author, poet and film-maker are ripe for rediscovery.
In this short documentary, we see Pasolini the film-maker, the man of singular vision behind the films Accatone, Mamma Roma, The Gospel According to Matthew, Oedipus Rex, The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales and Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom.
Pasolini was an auteur, as he explains:
My films are the work of an author with a very singular individual characteristics. I’ve never wanted to make a conclusive statement, I’ve always posed various problems and left them open to consideration…The cinema is an explosion of my love for reality. I have never conceived of making film that would be the work of a group, I have always thought of film as the work of an author, not only the script and the direction, but the choice of sets and locations, the characters, even the clothes - I choose everything.
Pier Paolo Pasolini - A Film Maker’s Life (1971) is a fine introductory film to Pasolini, the man and his work, though it ignores his sexuality and its importance to his life. With contributions from Alberto Moravia, Franco Citti, and Pasolini, himself, who discusses his background, his politics, film-making, and revolution.
Instead of the traditional run of the mill carved pumpkin, why not create a Frank Zappa pumpkin this Halloween? The person who made this spifnicient masterpiece has a step-by-step guide: Pumpkins from Photos.
This started with an actual life cast mask of singer David Bowie. Then it has been sculpturaly enhanced by me, Erick Erickson. The Hair and ears have been added to create a very Spacey display, and I sculpted the eyes open showing a dazed space like expression. The detail is amazing, from the shaved eyebrows, to the Bowie teeth set in the mouth.
Update: I just noticed the Bowie mask is selling for $139.99 on Erick’s website.
The German artist Joseph Beuys always seemed to be in Edinburgh, when I was young. Exhibiting at the Richard Demarco Gallery, or discussing art, democracy and socialism with whoever was around.
Born in Germany in 1921, his influence as an artist and an activist during his 64-years of life was so effective that we are, in many respects, all Beuys’s children. Take this as his defintion:
‘...one of the most influential and extraordinary artists of the twentieth century.
Artist, educator, political and social activist, Beuys’s philosophy proposed the healing power and social function of art, in which everyone can participate and benefit…’
Beuys’s best known works are the performance pieces How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965), Filz TV (1970) in which Beuys responds to a TV covered with felt, I Like America and America Likes Me (1974), where he shared a room with a coyote for 3 days, and the social sculpture 7,000 Oaks, which he explained to Demarco in 1982 as:
“I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time. The oak is especially so because it is a slowly growing tree with a kind of really solid heart wood. It has always been a form of sculpture, a symbol for this planet ever since the Druids, who are called after the oak. Druid means oak. They used their oaks to define their holy places. I can see such a use for the future…. The tree planting enterprise provides a very simple but radical possibility for this when we start with the seven thousand oaks.”
Beuys always dressed the same in his artist’s uniform of Trilby hat and multi-pocketed fishing vest, to keep the focus on his art, as he believed art must work towards a better social order:
Only art is capable of dismantling the repressive effects of a senile social system that continues to totter along the deathline: to dismantle in order to build ‘A SOCIAL ORGANISM AS A WORK OF ART’… EVERY HUMAN BEING IS AN ARTIST who – from his state of freedom – the position of freedom that he experiences at first-hand – learns to determine the other positions of the TOTAL ART WORK OF THE FUTURE SOCIAL ORDER. work included.
Political activism was important to Beuys. I recall in 1980, when he presented Jimmy Boyle Days, where he went on hunger strike in protest over convicted killer Jimmy Boyle’s move from Barlinnie’s Special Unit, where Boyle had rehabilitated himself as an artist and sculptor, to Saughton Prison, where he was no longer able to practice his art. Beuys saw little difference between art and activism, and his support for Boyle led to a huge outcry over the place of art in society, that led to the Scottish Arts Council removing its key financial support form the Demarco Gallery.
In 1982, he surprised critics and fans alike with his one and only single, “Sonne statt Reagan”, a disco attack against President Reagan’s stance on nuclear arms. The song’s title, “Sun Not Rain/Reagan”, was a pun on the German word “regen” for rain and Reagan. Some critics thought Beuys had sold out, but they failed to see his humor, and the serious intention behind the disc. Beuys may have been unpredictable, but his work is always life-affirming.
Joseph Beuys’ ground-breaking Filz TV, after the jump…