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Obama is Nixon in ‘BUMF,’ cartoonist Joe Sacco’s wail of geopolitical despair
12.03.2014
10:16 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Politics

Tags:
Joe Sacco


 
In his essay about Jonathan Swift, George Orwell refers to “the irresponsible violence of the powerless,” a quotation prompted by recent publication of BUMF, Vol. 1, a surreal, undisciplined, ecstatically offensive bit of political satire by Joe Sacco.

Sacco has made his name as a cartoonist-journalist of sorts; his two best-known books, Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde, are first-person accounts of geopolitical atrocity on a massive scale. His staggering 2013 work The Great War was a 24-foot (and wordless) tapestry, for want of a better term, about the carnage of the Somme that had the emotional impact of, say, a collaborative effort between R. Crumb and Hieronymus Bosch.
 

 
BUMF is roughly what one would expect from someone who had been thinking about the Israeli-Palestine conflict, Bosnia, and World War I for way too long. Unlike his other works, BUMF is a pure flight of fancy, a surreal and gleefully anachronistic Mobius strip-style narrative in which a World War I colonel might breezily cite Garfield and discuss Sacco’s own Eisner-winning career. BUMF is a delirious exercise in mashup, working in references to 9/11, the Kaiser, “Bunga Bunga,” drone strikes, Nixon’s enemies list, the street execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém in Vietnam, Abu Ghraib, black sites, the Checkers speech, “Mission Accomplished,” the NSA, and whatever other outrage happened to cross Sacco’s field of vision. It’s completely undisciplined, but that’s part of the point, it’s just as irresponsible as Jonathan Swift was. And Sacco’s unearthly skills as a draftsman haven’t abandoned him either. If anything, BUMF reminds me of the surreal vignettes of the Firesign Theatre.
 

 
Sacco usually inserts his somewhat Steve Albini-like self into his works, and BUMF is no exception; given the punk rock subject matter of Sacco’s 2006 But I Like It, the Albini comparison may be more apt than is initially apparent. Sacco is nothing if not a self-consciously “pencil-necked” left-wing artiste type filled with more than the usual amount of righteous rage. BUMF is a scabrous howl from Sacco’s political id. The plot that occupies the first chunk of the book has to do with the aforementioned British colonel, named “Singo-Jingo,” and his (apparently successful) plan to “bugger” the German Kaiser Wilhelm as a way of bringing the unceasing butchery of the Great War to an end.

R. Fiore at the Comics Journal put it well when he wrote that BUMF expressed “the helplessness of what you might call the genuine left to transfer its revulsion at targeted killing and government metadata collection to the general public.” BUMF may be fueled by impotent rage at the atrocities of 1914 (the Somme) and 1994 (Bosnia), but the proximate cause for the anger in BUMF are above all the disappointments of the current occupant of the White House. A central trope of the narrative is that of deceased and disgraced President Nixon waking up in the body of Obama; while Sacco takes aim at George W. Bush as well, the underlying point seems to be that all presidents, no matter how liberal or idealistic, are Nixons in the end. Obama has left Gitmo in place, did nothing to stop the information-gathering of the NSA, and has approved the use of drones to murder even (in theory) American citizens under the right circumstances.

If nothing else, BUMF is the ideal holiday gift for your favorite unruly political crank.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Fantastic Polish movie posters of well-known American films
12.03.2014
10:07 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Movie posters


Rosemary’s Baby by Andrzej Pągowski, 1968

I’m really digging these Polish movie posters of American films… especially the one for Rosemary’s Baby which is pictured above. I found a few of them perplexing, though. Like the one for Terms of Endearment. I get that it’s a mom and daughter talking on the phone, but I’m not sure it gets its message across all that clearly. And the Dirty Dancing poster. That one misses the dartboard entirely!

I’ve added the artists names and dates at the bottom of the images in case you gotta have one and want to locate it on eBay or site that sells Polish movie posters. One of these might make a nice holiday gift for that special film fanatic in your life.


Vertigo by Roman Cieślewicz, 1958
 

Alien by Jakub Erol, 1979
 

The Pink Panther by Jan Młodożeniec, 1963
 

Planet of the Apes by Eryk Lipiński, 1968
 
More posters after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The surreal and ‘degenerate’ art of Alfred Kubin
12.02.2014
04:55 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Nazi
degenerate art
Alfred Kubins


 
Austro-Hungarian artist Alfred Kubin’s haunting surrealism is made all the more alienating by the monochrome dingyness of the world he created. His lithographs and pen and ink illustrations show influences of Goya and Edvard Munch, but it’s the the colorless, scratchy haze that makes these nightmares so unique. Death, violence, fertility and fascism all play out in a dimension of strange physics, with revolting bodies and monstrous creatures. It’s no wonder he got work illustrating the works of Poe and Dostoevsky.

Kubin came by his disturbing imagery honestly—he was extremely troubled throughout his life. In 1896, he attempted suicide on his mother’s grave. He inexplicably joined the army shortly after, but washed out due to continued mental health issues, and finally decided to study art. Kubin had some initial success with the Munich avant-garde scene early on, but eventually drifted away to work more autonomously, and even write a few novels, the themes of which pair well with his art.

Kubin moved to a small, rural 12th century Austrian castle in 1906, but traveled fairly often to promote his work. As you can imagine, the first World War affected him deeply (during this time he converted to Buddhism for a while), and themes of war became more prevalent in his drawings. Regardless, he continued to work consistently, even during WWII when the Nazi regime banned his art as “degenerate.” Despite all of this when he died at the age of 82 in 1959, he was fairly successful, in 1959.
 

 

‘Das Grausen,‘1902
 

 

‘The North Pole,’ 1902
 
More of Alfred Kubin’s work after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Art Spiegelman: The Playboy Years
11.26.2014
03:23 pm

Topics:
Art
Media

Tags:
comics
Playboy
Art Spiegelman


January 1982
 
Art Spiegelman is about as close as you can come to an eminence grise in the comix game. As the co-editor of Raw in the 1980s (his wife Françoise Mouly was the other co-editor), Spiegelman injected the U.S. underground comix scene with a healthy dose of intellectual experimentation, introducing such talents to the country as Chris Ware, Joost Swarte, Mark Newgarden, and Charles Burns. In 1991 Spiegelman completed his autobiographical years-long project Maus—if you haven’t read it you really should. Not for nothing did it become the first “graphic novel,” as the terminology had it and fitfully still has it, to win the Pulitzer Prize. Since that time Spiegelman spent several years as art director for the New Yorker and published several high-quality works like In the Shadow of No Towers, Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, and Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! He has the credibility that only roots in the underground scene can give you, he’s blended high art and low art (he was also involved with the creation of Garbage Pail Kids, for instance), and he’s generally a walking encyclopedia of comix history and lore. In 2008 I saw Spiegelman give a presentation on “Comics 101” as part of the New Yorker Festival, and it was a delight.
 

 
Raw existed from 1980 through 1991, and it must have been quite a challenge for Spiegelman and Mouly to pull off the publication of such an ambitious and infamously large-format book in Soho, one that surely had a host of printing issues most magazines don’t have to worry about (having their own dedicated printing press surely helped with that). Fortunately, to help pay the bills, Spiegelman was doing freelance work for Playboy from 1978 to 1982. I’ll bet those checks with the little rabbit in the corner (??) sure came in handy. 

His first cartoon for Playboy was a wordless 12-panel item called “Shaggy Dog Story” in the January 1979 issue about a woman having sex with a dog. Maybe not content-wise, but visually at least it wouldn’t look out of place in Raw, which isn’t necessarily true of his other work for Playboy—it has a jagged look that evokes ... something earlier and continental, not art nouveau but something similar. Most of Spiegelman’s cartoons for Playboy came in the form of a running series called “Edhead,” which depicted the adventures of a poor fellow who consists of a head but no body—that ran through most of 1979, then stopped until two further strips in 1981. In the January 1982 issue Spiegelman and Lou Brooks did a large panel of “Teasers” full of sophomoric jokes. My favorite thing he did for Playboy was a one-off four- (or eight-)panel strip called “Jack ‘n’ Jane/Rod ‘n’ Randy,” which is so elegantly complex that you can practically see the germ for Chris Ware’s entire future career in it. The idea is that every frame is divided into two; in the top frame a man and a woman converse, and in the bottom frame you get a parallel dialogue between the man’s penis and the woman’s vagina. OK, so maybe it isn’t exactly Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary—it’s still pretty impressive for a few square inches of real estate in the back of a nudie magazine…..

(Click on the images for a larger version.)
 

October 1979
 

December 1978
 

February 1979
 

March 1979
 

April 1979
 
Several more “Edheads” and a rejected Playboy parody for Wacky Packages, after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The acid-inspired interactive art of 1960s psychedelic collective ‘The Company of Us’
11.26.2014
06:34 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs

Tags:
LSD
art


Artist Richard Aldcroft, in his “Infinity Projector,” featured on a 1966 cover of LIFE. The goggles prevented binocular vision and showed kaleidoscopic images.
 
“The Company of Us,” or USCO, was an ambitious, groundbreaking collective of artists and engineers heavily associated with LSD, although they formed in 1962, a few years prior to the explosion in public awareness of the drug. They counted among their ranks now notable artists like Gerd Stern, Stan VanDerBeek and Jud Yalkut, but at the time their ethos was rooted in collaboration and anonymity, so they only took credit for their productions as a group. Ironically, their work was actually helped by their druggy reputation, as they were featured in a 1966 LIFE magazine cover story—LIFE had published an editorial against the prohibition of LSD six months prior to USCO’s article.

The photos you see here are from their 1966 show at New York’s Riverside Museum which featured USCO’s psychedelic work in six enormous, completely tripped-out rooms. The collective created surreal environments—like “light gardens” and painted shelters—complete with electronic sounds, projections, flashing and pulsating lights, even an area with sensory goggles that blocked out any external vision. Everything moved and nothing was silent. The work was half druggy multi-media show, half interactive architecture, and it was quite the endeavor for a small bunch of outsider artists.

Stern says of the labor involved:

Part of the real problem that we had at USCO was that everything we did was very heavy. We would travel with a Volkswagen bus and trailers and thousands of pounds of equipment. Schlepping. In fact, I once wrote a piece for one of the art magazines called “The Artist as Schlepper.”

As I’m sure you would guess from an art show comprised of psychedelic rooms, many viewers of USCO’s “Down By the Riverside” exhibit were probably chemically altered, transforming the experience into a sort of amusement park of the senses where you could sit and fiddle with AV equipment or just lay there and watch the walls move. Of course, lingering and prolonged “observation” was encouraged—the show was actually where the term “be-in” was coined.
 

Painting of Hindu deity, which was flashed with color lights.
 

Artists Rudi Stern and Jackie Cassen work on an abstract slide show
 

Plastic eye illuminated with shifting light
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘The Complete Zap Comix’ box set is the greatest thing in the history of the world, ever


 
Over the Halloween weekend I was visiting my family in Wheeling, WV (it was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary) and I needed to buy a cheap one-hitter to help get me through it. There’s only one place to buy that sort of thing in my hometown and this would be Wheeling’s sole smut emporium, the very downmarket Market Street News.

Thirty-five years ago, in better economic times for that town, Market Street News was still a dirty book store, but back then it also sold bongs, rolling papers, fake drugs like “Lettuce Opium” or “Coke Snuff,” British rock mags, National Lampoon, biker rags like Easy Rider and Iron Horse, High Times and a small handful of underground comics. A bead curtain separated the front of the shop from the over 21 area and the place smelled heavily of incense, cigarettes and Pine-Sol. It was here, age 11, where I bought my first issue of High Times, the October 1977 issue with Johnny Rotten on the cover and the now infamous “Ted Nugent shits his pants to get out of the draft” interview. What kind of degenerate sold a little kid High Times?

Let me assure you that I was not an innocent child. By that age, I’d already read Ladies and Gentlemen, Lenny Bruce!!, I owned a copy of Naked Lunch and had already tried getting high (unsuccessfully) by eating fresh ground nutmeg and morning glory seeds, something I’d read about in that book’s infamous index section. I wanted to do drugs, I just didn’t know where to get ‘em (aside from “Lettuce Opium,” which yes, I admit that I tried.“Coke Snuff,” too!)

I couldn’t “score” real drugs, but at the age of 11, in a low level smut shop in a podunk West Virginia town, I was able to get my mitts on something equally mind-expanding (and only slightly less illicit): Zap Comix. Lewd, crude, incendiary, mind-blowing in the extreme and incredibly smart, I embraced Zap Comix wholeheartedly, even if I, a sixth grader, was considerably younger than the audience of “adult intellectuals” it was ostensibly intended for.
 

 
Although Zap founder Robert Crumb himself was already a very well-known and widely respected artist and counterculture hero by the time I discovered Zap in 1977, I can’t image that it was too much earlier than 1973 or ‘74 that something like Zap Comix would have had the kind of distribution that would have allowed it filter down to small town America. The first (#0) issue of Zap came out in 1968. Not every small town had a head shop at that time, of course, and even when they did, carrying Zap Comix—which presented some completely insane stuff, images WAY more perverse than anything that was being cooked up in Denmark or Sweden at the time—was probably not worth the heat it would bring, especially in that line of work. If they can bust you for selling bongs, why carry filthy and obscene comic books to further tempt fate?

Most people probably found out about Zap generally around the same time I did, no matter what age they were. Unless you were living in a big city or in a college town, it would have been highly unlikely to have encountered it otherwise. This is why I associate Zap with the punk era. At least that’s when a copy first made it into my young hands.

Crumb did the first two issues on his own before ultimately assembling a “Magnificent Seven” of the best underground artists around—San Francisco poster artists Rick Griffin and Victor Moscoso, Marxist biker cartoonist Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton (the creator of “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”), painter Robert Williams, the demented S. Clay Wilson and later, after Griffin’s death, Paul Mavrides, known for his Church of the Subgenius graphics. The Zapatistas were a sort of “supergroup”—the dharma warriors of comics. Inkslingers. Revolutionaries. The best of the best. Their only yardsticks for comparison were each other and that sort of fraternal competition raised the bar and kept their art constantly evolving and their social satire razor sharp.
 

 
Like punk (and Burroughs, Lenny Bruce, Firesign Theatre and John Waters) Zap Comix kind of helped to deprogram me at a young age during my rustbelt Christian upbringing. My deeply religious parents never looked twice at my “funnie books” but if they had they’d have been utterly appalled, finding between the covers of Zap Comix characters like S. Clay Wilson’s gay pirate “Captain Pissgums” who liked to have his crew of perverts, um, piss in his mouth or the “Checkered Demon,” a randy devil cheerfully doing the most obscene things that I’d ever seen depicted on the printed page. It was shocking then and it’s equally shocking today.

Take a look at this short piece from S. Clay Wilson titled “Head First”—IF YOU DARE.

See what I mean? Remind yourself that this strip is now nearly half a century old. The reason I linked to it is because embedding it would probably have made our advertisers very nervous about what kind of people we are! Crumb’s Zap contributions were never as out and out repulsive as Wilson’s, yet he was still utterly fearless in portraying his own infantile sexual fantasies and neuroses (and finding willing groupies to help him act them out along the way. Which he then wrote about in subsequent issues of Zap. Heavy meta…).

The goalposts have moved quite a bit over the decades as “obscenity” has been redefined by culture, AND YET that vile, hilariously fucked up strip has lost virtually none of its power to offend. This is only one of the reasons to love S. Clay Wilson—whose work ultimately sets the tone of Zap because his is the wildest, most feral and least compromising—his willingness to basically puke on his reader’s sensibilities, no matter how “far out” they think they are. The sole purpose is to be brutally offensive, no more no less. You can look for something deeper, go ahead, but I’m not sure you’re going to find it in a piece like “Come Fix” (click for pdf) in which a lesbian biker chick injects semen intravenously with an interesting result.
 

The front and back cover of Zap #14 by S. Clay Wilson
 
In the context of the late 1960s that was something both sickening and ENLIGHTENING. And it had nothing whatsoever to do with flower power or hippie. Zap Comix was cynical and dark, twisted and perverted, full of “gags, jokes, kozmic trooths.” Zap wasn’t interested in persuading you of anything, it wanted to beat its epiphanies into you.

This is another reason I see Zap Comix as being aligned with punk, because philosophically-speaking it was. Indeed in its crudeness, lewdness and desire to shake its readers out of their complacency, Zap anticipates punk (and a lot of other things!) and surely would have influenced many of punk’s prime movers who undoubtedly were exposed to it.

Anyway, when I bought my one-hitter, I got into a conversation with the guy behind the counter and I mentioned that I used to buy Zap Comix there when I was a kid. Then the very next morning in the hotel I read an article in the New York Times about how Fantagraphics were publishing the complete run of Zap, along with a sixteenth and final issue, in a deluxe slipcase box set weighing over 20 lbs, complete with sixteen high quality giclée prints of each Zap Comix cover.
 

The front and back cover of Zap #13 by Victor Moscoso
 
I immediately wrote to Fantagraphics fab director of publicity Jacq Cohen and requested a review copy of The Complete Zap Comix. It was sent Fedex two-day shipping, which seemed to me to be the longest two days of my entire fucking life. An eternity. In fact, it ended up being a day late, and by that time, I was truly salivating over the prospect of its arrival. I was not disappointed. I’m a man with a lot of toys and The Complete Zap Comix went immediately into my “prized possessions” category. If you’re reading this thinking “Yep, I need that” trust me, you do need it. However, as far as pricey Christmas presents to yourself go, you might not want to wait for Santa to lay this one under your tree because it’s probably going to sell out. Only 2500 have been printed and from what I can tell anecdotally from how many friends of mine are buying it, it won’t last long.

The irony of turning something that was once sold in dirty bookstores into a $500 collectible is delicious, but I can’t think of a more deserving title than Zap. The production quality of The Complete Zap Comix is first rate and the pages are clearer than they’ve ever been, blown up to 9.75” x 13.25” and painstakingly cleaned up digitally. Everything comes in a sturdy, gold-embossed slipcase and there’s a separate book dedicated to “The Zap Story,” an oral history/scrapbook that also reprints some Zap rarities and “jams” where each of the artists would complete a frame or two—upping the ante in the process—and then pass it on to the next guy.

In the title here, I declare that The Complete Zap Comix box set “is the greatest thing in the history of the world, ever” and I’m only semi-exaggerating. Seeing the whole of the Zap run laid out like this, it seems obvious—so very, very obvious—what a profound and truly American cultural treasure this is. This is great art of historical and cultural importance that changed people, blew their minds and inspired them. I know that it changed ME. Zap Comix deserves to be reappraised and valued for what it’s truly worth and Fantagraphics has done an amazing job with this stunning box set.

Now the Smithsonian Institute needs to step up to the plate while the remaining Zap artists are still alive and kicking against the pricks and give them their due. It could happen. It should happen. Let’s hope it does happen.

Below, one of the greatest—and most eerily prophetic—comics EVER by Gilbert Shelton, “Wonder Wart-Hog’s Believe It or LEAVE It!”...Um… he could be talking about TODAY’s America, here, couldn’t he???
 

 
More classics from Zap Comix after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Baby and childhood photos of Frida Kahlo, taken by her photographer father Guillermo
11.21.2014
02:57 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Frida Kahlo


Age 2, circa 1909
 
Much of what interests us about Frida Kahlo’s art is very personal. Themes of disability, fertility, ethnicity, sex and gender, romance, love and communism pervade her work, adding to the romantic fascination that her life inspires. Less often considered are the strange and erratic circumstances of her family life—beyond, of course, the fact that her husband Diego Rivera had an affair with her sister Cristina, pictured below. 

Frida’s photographer father Guillermo, who took these pictures, was a compelling character in his own right. He was born in Germany as Carl Wilhelm Kahlo (Frida insisted he was Jewish, though evidence indicates he was actually Lutheran), but he hispanicized the “Wilhelm” to “Guillermo” upon moving to Mexico. Guillermo’s father actually footed the travel bill because his son did not get along with his stepmother. Before marrying Frida’s mother, he had two daughters with his first wife, who died giving birth to their third child. Scandalously, Guillermo asked Frida’s maternal grandfather for permission to marry his daughter the very night his first wife died, and then sent his children from the marriage to be raised in a convent, shortly after the wedding.

Despite all of this, Frida was raised in a home of relative comfort and was close to her family. Her father appears to have been very supportive of her, even allowing her to dress in men’s clothing for a family photo. Even as a baby, her face is unmistakable—right down to the strong brows.
 

Age 4, 1911
 

Age 4, 1911
 

Date unknown
 

Age 5, 1912
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Balloon art wizard creates a balloon art version of a Keith Haring classic
11.21.2014
07:08 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Keith Haring
balloon art
Robert Moy
balloons


 
I never thought much about balloon artists before, but this Robert Moy fellow has given me a whole new respect for the pastime. In this remarkable time-lapse video he twists and bends roughly 150 black balloons to pay homage to a 1987 painting by Keith Haring called Five Dancing Guys.

Garage Magazine asked Moy for a demonstration of his art, and he came up with the idea of imitating a Haring. Garage says it took Moy two days to do it. The little marks on the ground apparently aren’t balloons, or they would drive the balloon count up to 247. (Yes, I counted.)

Here’s the Haring original, you can compare the results for yourself:
 

 
Moy runs the Brooklyn Balloon Company. Of his mural, he said, “I’ve always been a big fan of Keith Haring and thought his work would translate well using balloons. ... Haring’s kidlike, playful qualities relate strongly to my balloon sculptures.”
 

 
via Vulture
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Painting by Adolf Hitler expected to fetch over $60,000 at auction
11.21.2014
06:14 am

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:
Adolf Hitler

ahpntng321p.jpg
 
It’s strange to think that when Adolf Hitler was struggling to eke out a living as an artist in Vienna during 1913 and 1914, he was residing in the city at the same time as Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky and Josip Broz Tito. With this in mind, it’s not too difficult to imagine that Hitler and Stalin could have easily passed each other on the streets during their early morning walks. While Hitler painted, Stalin was in hiding as a wanted revolutionary, Trotsky was writing political tracts as editor of Pravda and Tito, the future dictator of Yugoslavia, was working as a chauffeur and part-time gigolo.

One of those paintings done by Adolf Hitler in Vienna is expected to make over $60,000 when it is sold at auction this Saturday. The picture is a 100-year-old watercolor by the future Nazi leader of Munich’s old city hall. According to Kathrin Weidler, director of the auctioneers Weidler who are handling the piece, the painting has raised considerable global interest because it is a signed work by the Nazi leader.

The painting is being sold by two elderly sisters whose father originally purchased it in 1916. The picture is being sold with its original bill of sale and a signed letter from Hitler’s adjutant, Albert Bormann, who was the brother of Hitler’s private secretary Martin Bormann.

Bidding is expected to start at around $5,000, but Ms. Weilder believes the painting will reach over $60,000 and perhaps even double this figure. However, she says the painting is of minimal artistic merit and is uncertain if bidders for the Führer’s artwork will attend the auction in person. Which raises the question, who would want to spend over $60k on for something on the level of a doctor’s office painting by such an evil man?
 
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ahpnting123.jpg
 
Via the Independent.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Sister Mary Corita, nun, teacher and Pop art pioneer
11.20.2014
03:30 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Sister Corita Kent
pop art
nuns


 
Corita Kent—known as Sister Mary Corita until her departure from religious servitude in 1968—is one of the great unsung trailblazers of pop art. As chair of the arts department at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, Sister Mary Corita’s approach to arts pedagogy touched Saul Bass, Alfred Hitchcock, Buckminster Fuller, Charles and Ray Eames, and John Cage (whom she quotes in her famous “10 Rules for Students,” below). Her work is known for its political content and explicitly anti-war messaging, but there’s more to her artistic legacy than her identity as a radical nun.

Although her most public pieces are a really bad stamp and a giant natural gas tank of the same ilk, they pale in comparison to her larger body of work—primarily serigraphs (multi-colored screen prints). She used bright shades, thick lines, deconstructed advertising design and erratic typography. She often including literary quotes or her own poetry in scrawl, producing elegant political messaging without heavy-handedness, sanctimony or literalism. The work is bold, triumphant and sometimes spiritual, but never preachy.

Corita Kent died of cancer in 1986 in Boston, where she relocated after leaving the order. She would have been 96 today. I highly recommend you give her classroom rules below a look, and check out the short 1967 documentary, We Have No Art, at the end of the post for her brilliant insight into the creative process.
 

RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.

RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.

RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)

HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.

 

“Come Alive,” 1967.
 

From the “Circus Alphabet” series, 1968. Kent made multiple prints of this particular Camus quote.
 

“Stop the Bombing,” 1967.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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