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David Cronenberg on Andy Warhol
09.20.2018
05:49 am
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The soundtrack CD from the Art Gallery of Ontario show
 
In between A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, David Cronenberg curated a Warhol retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario. ANDY WARHOL/SUPERNOVA: Stars, Deaths and Disasters, 1962–1964, a selection of work from Warhol’s first years at the Factory, also appeared at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, but the AGO show was special in at least two respects.

Only the Toronto iteration of the show presented Warhol’s death and celebrity paintings alongside his early films. For instance, Cronenberg set Silver Disaster #6, Warhol’s silkscreened image of two electric chairs, in the middle of a triptych, looping the movies Kiss and Blow Job on either side. The director also recorded a soundtrack for the exhibition which he narrated himself, splicing in contributions from Dennis Hopper, Amy Taubin, James Rosenquist, and Mary-Lou Green. In a masterstroke, Cronenberg included Elvis’ recording of the title song from Flaming Star on the soundtrack; as he pointed out at the time, the Don Siegel movie that was the source for Warhol’s Elvis I and II is “about racism, and everyone dies in it, including Elvis.”

Recall that the brilliant explosion characteristic of a supernova is the moment of a star’s death. With its Ballardian preoccupations, the show might as well have been called Death Drive. Fittingly, the Guardian marked the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by running an interview with Cronenberg about his contribution to ANDY WARHOL/SUPERNOVA.
 

David Cronenberg at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 2006 (via Seems Artless)
 
The show also provided an occasion for Cronenberg to reflect on the New York underground scene that inspired him as a young filmmaker. He told a wonderful story about Stan Brakhage’s first encounter with Warhol’s movies during a Q&A at the museum:

Stan Brakhage, who was a very hardcore—I think he just died recently, didn’t he—just very hardcore art-art-art-film maker, with work in Super 8 and 16 mm and ultimately in video, but very, very obscure, difficult, you know, not very well known except in his own circle. Andy really knew everything that was going on in New York. He knew the underground, he knew the music, and he produced the Velvet Underground’s first album, I mean, he was into everything. He knew what was going on with underground filmmakers at [Jonas Mekas’] Co-op, and at one point, once he had made a few films, Jonas Mekas told Stan Brakhage he must see this work of Andy Warhol’s.

So he watched about 16 hours of Andy’s stuff, and he came out, and he said, “This is trash! This is ridiculous, this is ludicrous, it’s nothing. I mean, it’s absolutely nothing, it’s bullshit.”

And then Mekas said, “Did you watch it at 24 frames a second?”

And he said, “Yeah.”

He said, “Stan, I want you to go back and watch it at 16 frames.” Which, of course, makes it longer. “Because if you’ve only seen it at 24, you haven’t really seen it.”

Being the hardcore guy that he was, he went back, and he sat there for, you know, 20 hours, came out, he said: “He’s a genius.” True story.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.20.2018
05:49 am
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Gorgo smash, Gorgo chomp, Gorgo roar: Gorgo comics 1961-65

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When Ray Bradbury wrote “The Fog Horn” he probably didn’t imagine the whole bestiary of monsters his short story would inspire. Though his beast from the deep attracted by the lonesome call of a fog horn made only a fleeting appearance, it was enough to encourage producers to turn Bradbury’s story into a hit movie The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in 1953. The creature in this film (designed by Ray Harryhausen) was a fictional dinosaur called the Rhedosaurus, which once set loose from its cryogenic sleep deep within the frozen Arctic laid waste to New York. The allegory of a hideous giant flattening whole cities and killing thousands of innocent lives was highly topical at a time when nuclear annihilation was a mere push button away.

This ole beast partly (alongside Edgar Wallace’s King Kong which had been re-released into cinemas in 1952) inspired Japanese movie makers to come up their own reptilian giant Godzilla in 1954. (Godzilla is apparently made up from the Japanese words for “whale” and “gorilla.”) Instead of using Harryhausen’s beautiful but time-consuming and finicky stop-motion animation, the Toho studios opted to use a man in a rubber suit smashing up balsa wood sets to save on time and money.

Director of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Eugène Lourié went onto make The Colossus of New York about a cyborg that wrecks the Big Apple, before coming up with his own story of gnarly sea monster, this time one of biblical proportions Behemoth (aka The Giant Behemoth) in 1959.

Lourié then forged ahead with making his first full-color monster movie Gorgo, which was in part a homage to Godzilla and to Bradbury’s original short story, but he also pushed a strong environmentalist moral. Gorgo is really just a revenge flick of an angry mom who comes to get even with those bad guys who kidnapped her baby son. Gorgo is the name given to the kidnapped offspring—in part inspired by Medusa and by the Spartan Queen Gorgo, who was an early cryptanalyst able to discern the secret message hidden on a wooden tablet covered with wax. Gorgo’s mom is called Ogra. While most think Gorgo does all the smashing and a-chomping, it was in fact mommie dearest Ogra.

The film also has a second moral message which in this case is that a man sows his own destruction, as the film’s central characters Captain Joe Ryan (Bill Travers) and Sam Slade (William Sylvester) who capture Gorgo off the coast of Ireland chose a sinful greed of money rather than what was best for the creature and the rest of humanity.

In an obvious nod to Godzilla, the film was originally set in Japan. However, this was thought too close to the Japanese mega-monster, so Paris then Australia were considered before producers picked London as the global metropolis marked for destruction.

American producers Frank and Maurice King saw money-making potential in having Gorgo merchandise ready for the film’s release in 1961. This included toys, posters, novelization, and a series of short-lived comic books that featured Gorgo as a cross between a chomp-and-smash monster and a sometime savior of humanity who can take on aliens from outer space and other monsters who want to wipe out mankind. Twenty-three issues of the Gorgo comics were published between 1961 and 1965 by Charlton Comics. Among the many artists who worked on this rare and highly entertaining comic was Steve Ditko, who went on to co-create Spider-Man. Gorgo also appeared in a comic book spin-off series called Gorgo’s Revenge/The Return of Gorgo between 1962-64.
 
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More glorious Gorgo covers, after the jump….
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.19.2018
07:50 am
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The grotesque and unsettling animated films and artwork of Erik Ferguson
09.17.2018
09:48 am
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Yeah, we know, social media has changed the way we view art. Galleries and exhibition spaces and even movie houses need no longer apply—just an Instagram or Vimeo account to post the latest work and receive an immediate response from viewers. Artist and filmmaker Erik Ferguson has been using Vimeo and Instagram to promote his work and engage with his audience for the past few years. He considers these platforms as “focus groups” where he can test concepts and use the feedback (“hundreds or thousands of comments” per post) to develop future designs. Neat.

But Ferguson isn’t your run-of-the-mill artist whose work can sit easily on your..er…Facebook timeline without comment as his work is decidedly strange—an unsettling mix of the grotesque, the bizarre, the preternatural, and the quasi-sexual. It’s what some people might term “icky.” One of his most (in)famous creations is a misshapen character called “Rasch,” who he describes as looking like “a tumor on legs”:

People are simultaneously repulsed, fascinated and amused by “Rasch“, to the point where I’ve had up to 700 000 plays and 15,000 likes for some of his images/videos on Instagram. One of my fans recently called Rash “scardorable”, because he is cute and creepy at the same time.


 
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Ferguson was born in Norway, when he was a child, his passion was soccer until his old man bought him a Commodore 64 and he got the bug for computer games. He moved to Scotland where he studied for a degree in Media and Cultural Studies at Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, but during this time, Ferguson became more interested in 3-D animation and would often stay up all night so he could focus on what he loved and what he had to do for college.

After graduating, Ferguson returned to Norway where he joined Bug, a production company specializing in motion graphics, visual effects and 3D animation. He stayed with Bug for eight years honing his skills as “Artist, Creative Lead and ultimately as a Head of Post-Production.” He then went freelance working with a range of clients across the globe in film (Guardians of the Galaxy, Pyromanen), animation (Rihanna MTV VMA performance), and design (The Horrors, P4/TRY/APT).

The rest of the time Ferguson works on his own projects. These usually start out as an idea like making something with a beak as he did with his short animated film Blind Bird. He rarely sketches out his ideas preferring to spend a couple days working with digital sculpting tool ZBrush before moving everything onto the 3-D animation software Houdini.

Zbrush gives you great tools to sculpt realistic looking flesh, muscle and tissue. The key though is to animate the stills that I produce in Zbrush, which is where Houdini comes in. Movement has been instrumental to making my creatures more believable and more realistic.

The finished results end up as startlingly original images and deeply unsettling animations.
 
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See Erik Ferguson’s bizarre animations, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.17.2018
09:48 am
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The bawdy, bizarre (and sometimes bloody) ceramics of Barnaby Barford
09.11.2018
09:05 am
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“How Else Am I Gonna Learn?” by Barnaby Barford, 2011. 
 

“Ceramic is a fascinating material, it is steeped in such a rich history, and we have a unique relationship with it as a tactile material. We eat and drink from it every day, we decorate our houses with it, but we do not expect to be challenged by it, which is precisely what makes it fun to play with.”

—British artist Barnaby Barford on his preferred medium, ceramics.

Once he stepped into the creative realm, it didn’t take long for Barnaby Barford to discover an artistic medium which would allow him to create virtually “any form he wanted.” The material was ceramics and Barford would spend several years at various art schools and institutes including The Higher Institute for Artistic Industries in Faenza, Italy which specializes in the exploration and manipulation of ceramics. Barford has created a wide range of works such as an eight-foot polar bear made from 7,500 different pieces of porcelain (and other materials), and his legendary twenty-foot high “Tower of Babel.”

For this post, we will be diving deep into Barford’s world of wildly debaucherous and irreverent ceramic figures, which he has been creating for well over a decade. Many of Barford’s ceramic figures are presented as purveyors of perversion and violence. They are voyeuristic, and Barford’s little ceramic trouble-makers are meant to convey the artist’s observations of his fellow humans and what makes us all tick, or, perhaps, how we might behave when we get ticked off or turned on. Here’s Barford from an interview in 2016 talking about what sparks his creative process:

“Inspiration comes from everywhere—looking, seeing, listening, living. The human condition is the thread of inquiry connecting all my work, which means current affairs often influence me. How do we live now? What is happening now? Our hopes, dreams, aspirations, and, of course, our failures, fears, and frailties. Then finding parallels within history and questioning if we have always been like this? Will we always be like this?”

Barford’s creations have been displayed in galleries and museums all around the world, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why once you become acquainted with his diverse body of work. Of course, since I follow the lead of my deviant heart, I choose to feature Barford’s subversive ceramic figures, as I’m sure you are going to wish you could have one of your very own. If owning one of Barford’s original pieces is now a goal in your life, many pieces from his “Tower of Babel” (an interpretation of London’s many heterogeneous shops) can be purchased here for anywhere from $230 to $7,900. Some of the images that follow are NSFW.
 

“Mary had a little lamb” 2007.
 

“Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned.”
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.11.2018
09:05 am
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The extraordinary work of Frank Kelly Freas, the Dean of Science Fiction Art
09.10.2018
07:08 am
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“Just Around the Corner” by Frank Kelly Freas. This painting appeared on the cover of Fantastic Universe Science Fiction in 1955.
 
Frank Kelly Freas was known as the “Dean of Science Fiction Art,” and was the second artist to be inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. For fifty years Freas’ work appeared in all kinds of science fiction publications beginning with his first sale to Weird Tales in 1950. In 1957, Freas would hook up with MAD magazine painting nearly every cover of MAD until 1962. His spectacular artwork has appeared on the covers of books by some of sci-fi’s most celebrated authors such as Poul Anderson, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov. He has been nominated for the prestigious Hugo Award twenty times—winning eleven—more than any other artist in history. In addition to his work in sci-fi, Freas also contributed to another organization obsessed with outer space—NASA—and many of Freas’ posters done for NASA hang in the Smithsonian. Lastly, if you still need to be convinced of Freas’ impact to the art world, he also collaborated with Queen in 1977 at the request of Queen drummer, Roger Taylor.

According to Taylor, he pitched the idea of using Freas’ artwork of a giant robot called “The Gulf Between” from the cover of an issue of Amazing Science Fiction published in October of 1953. After reaching out to Freas, the artist agreed to paint the cover for the band’s 1977 album News of the World with a few modifications. For the album cover, the robot, named Frank, naturally, is clutching the lifeless, bloody bodies of Freddie Mercury and Brian May, while poor John Deacon and Roger Taylor (Taylor is pictured on the back of the album) fall to the ground. In addition to the iconic album cover, Freas also created the poster artwork featuring his menacing robot for the News of the World Tour. And since I’m a special kind of Queen nerd, I should mention, to help further promote the record in the UK, EMI created a small number of four-and-a-half-foot Franks to be used as record displays in high-end record stores. In 1997 Sideshow Collectables put out a God Of The Robots Model Kit based on Frank—which is, sadly, nearly impossible to find just like the record store promotional Frank.

Much of Freas’ extraordinary work has been published in two books, 1978’s The Art of Science Fiction, and the 2000 book Frank Kelly Freas: As He Sees It.
 

1959.
 

1954.
 

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.10.2018
07:08 am
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Sound and vision: Scriabin’s Theosophical score for orchestra and ‘color organ’
09.06.2018
08:07 am
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Jean Delville’s title page for ‘Prometheus’
 
I’m no synesthete, so I’m still not sure what Eddie Van Halen meant by “the brown sound.” Sorry, Eddie: I’m the kind of literal-minded philistine who sees with his eyes and hears with his ears. Regular slobs like me have to make do with the pitch-and-color correspondences of Alexander Scriabin’s Theosophically inspired score Prometheus: Poem of Fire, which included a part for color organ.

(N.B.: As this article points out, a century ago, “synesthesia” did not exclusively refer to a neurological condition, but described “a broad range of cross-sensory phenomena” that could arise from mystical or aesthetic experience. So asking whether Scriabin himself was “really” a synesthete is beside the point.)

There’s ever so much bullshit about Prometheus on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Internet. As a corrective, let’s start with some heavy scholarship from the eminent musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky:

Scriabin made an earnest attempt to combine light and sound in the score of Prometheus, in which he includes a special part, Luce, symbolizing the fire that Prometheus stole from the gods. It is notated on the musical staff as a clavier à lumieres, a color organ intended to flood the concert hall in a kaleidoscope of changing lights, corresponding to the changing harmonies of the music. Unfortunately, the task of constructing such a color keyboard was beyond the technical capacities of Scriabin’s time. Serge Koussevitzky, the great champion of Scriabin’s music, had to omit the Luce part at the world première of Prometheus which he conducted in Moscow in 1911.

 

Alexander Wallace Rimington with Colour-Organ (an instrument that did not, in fact, perform ‘Prometheus’ in 1915)
 
The Russian Symphony Society gave the first performance of Prometheus with lights at Carnegie Hall on March 20, 1915, a little over a month before the composer’s death. James M. Baker’s “Prometheus and the Quest for Color-Music” sets Scriabin’s work in historical context and traces its path to Seventh Avenue. The essay overflows with detail on the particular system of correspondences Scriabin worked out, the history of synesthetic compositions, and Prometheus’ relationship to Theosophical lore. Significantly, Baker agrees with Slonimsky that, when Scriabin wrote Prometheus, he had no clue how the Luce portion of the score would actually be played (much less how “to flood the concert hall” with colors):

Although documents from the time are sprinkled with comments hinting that various color apparatuses had been tried and had failed in preparing earlier performances, in actuality there was no color organ ready and available for which Scriabin had conceived the part. It is true that Alexander Mozer, the composer’s friend and disciple who taught electrical engineering at a Moscow technical school, had constructed a small color device with which Scriabin experimented in his apartment, but this was merely a crude circle of colored light bulbs mounted on a wooden base.

 

Alexander Mozer’s ‘small color device’ at the Scriabin Museum in Moscow
 
Baker writes that Scriabin’s plans for English performances of Prometheus accompanied by A. Wallace Rimington’s color organ were scotched by the outbreak of World War I. In New York, the technical problem fell to the Edison Testing Laboratories, which invented a color organ especially for the show: the Chromola, a keyboard of 15 keys hooked up to a number of lamps behind color filters, with two pedals to control their intensity. While more impressive than Mozer’s “crude circle of colored light bulbs,” the projections on a gauze screen fell short of the composer’s desired effect. The May 1915 issue of The Edison Monthly represented the debut performance of Scriabin’s “special light score” as a modest success:

The theory of the production is roughly this: Following out the analogy of light and sound vibration, Scriabine [sic], the Russian composer, hit upon the notion of writing a color score to accompany his orchestral “Poem of Fire.” In theory, the audience was to sit bathed in floods of changing light whose variations in tint and intensity should follow the sound variations. In practice, however, this became more complex.

It was found impossible to achieve “floods of light,” and in their place a gauze screen was provided on which the changing hues were thrown, controlled from a cleverly designed “color organ” or “chromola.” Scriabine’s original color scale was found defective and a more scientific one was provided, based on rate of vibrations, each octave extending from deep red at one end of the spectrum to violet at the other. Thus pitch was made analogous to hue, loudness to shade and quality to the intensity of illumination. Advocates of mobile color feel sufficiently encouraged by their experiment to wish to attempt another production under more favorable conditions. And apparently one of these will be a score somewhat less bewilderingly dissonant than the “Poem of Fire.”

Below, a 2010 performance of Prometheus approximates the totally bitchin’ immersive light show Scriabin imagined, with the help of 21st century lighting tech and Yale’s massive endowment (that’s Ivy League coin, perv!).
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.06.2018
08:07 am
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Fictional View-Master reels for ‘The Shining,’ ‘The Warriors,’ ‘Taxi Driver,’ & more!
09.04.2018
08:50 am
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A sadly fictional View-Master package and reels for the 1980 film ‘The Shining.’
 
I came across a pretty sweet mock-up of a View-Master cover and reel for the 1982 film Fast Times At Ridgemont High posted on the Australian pop culture blog Repeat Viewing. Repeat Viewing even went so far as to create authentic-looking View-Master reels noting specific scenes from Fast Times, The Shining, An American Werewolf in London, Full Metal Jacket, and Jacob’s Ladder. This sent me off to find more reimagined View-Master covers and reels, and my Internet inquiries were rewarded with many more mock-ups of films which would be even more eye-popping, viewed through the specialized stereoscopes initially introduced in 1939.

According to the Wikipedia page on the View-Master, 65% of the world’s population is well acquainted with the brand name “View-Master.” If you didn’t have one as a kid, I’d be a bit confused because they still make variations of the little nostalgic slide-show device. And I don’t know about you, but if someone, ANYONE wanted to make adult-oriented View-Master reels, I would fully support the effort. The other images in this post were done by Nathan Martin of the blog CineCraze and Portland, Oregon artist Nate Ashley. Some are NSFW. YAY!
 

By Repeat Viewing. Other fantastic fake View-Master packaging and reels by Repeat Viewing follow.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.04.2018
08:50 am
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Undead, Undead: John Coulthart’s beautiful illustrations for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’
09.04.2018
08:50 am
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We all know what Dracula looks like. Bela Lugosi and innumerable Hammer horror movies starring Christopher Lee have fixed the Count in our imagination. He’s tall, gaunt, interestingly pale, with slicked back hair, and a set of unfeasibly large canine teeth. He sports a cloak, and what appears to be an evening suit which can often make him look like a nightclub doorman or a shifty croupier at a Mayfair casino dealing from the bottom of the pack. When commissioned to provide the illustrations for a new edition of Bram Stoker’s enduring tale, artist John Coulthart decided to keep his work faithful to the source material.

Coulthart had previously been commissioned by the same publisher to illustrate Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with which he had similarly “opted for fidelity to the text and period details “:

Despite its epistolary form, Dracula is much more readable (in a contemporary sense) than Frankenstein, so more people will have read Stoker than Shelley; but the sheer scale of cultural mauling that Dracula has been subject to means that—as with Frankenstein—even the allegedly faithful adaptations often deviate from the novel. The lounge-lizard vampire that everyone knows was a creation of Hamilton Deane’s 1924 stage adaptation, the success of which led to Tod Browning’s film and Bela Lugosi’s performance (which I’ve never liked); film and theatre may have made Dracula universally popular but the Lugosi stereotype has overshadowed the more powerful and violent character that Stoker gives us, with his bearded face, hairy palms and glowing eyes. So that’s who you see here, although the restrictions of time and brief (one picture per chapter) meant that some of the moments I’d have liked to illustrate had to be forfeit. Poor old Renfield gets short shrift, and some of the minor male characters are out of the picture altogether.

Regardless of the constrictions of time and remit, Coulthart’s illustrations for Dracula are among the very best ever produced, as his detailed work fully captures the intense, eerie, menacing, and almost dreamlike atmosphere of Stoker’s novel where you can “believe in things that you cannot.”

See the complete set of John Coulthart’s marvellous illustration fro Dracula here.
 
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See more of John Coulthart’s superb illustrations for ‘Dracula,’ after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.04.2018
08:50 am
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The career of Penny Slinger, intrepid surrealist artist of the 1970s, is ripe for rediscovery
08.27.2018
08:48 am
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Penny in frame from 16mm film Lilford Hall, 1969, by Penny Slinger and Peter Whitehead
 
My reaction upon recently being exposed to the work of Penny Slinger, a bold and penetrating surrealist multimedia artist from the U.K. who produced her most striking work in the late 1960s and 1970s, was to suppose that there must have been a mistake of some sort. Slinger’s work, which spans photography, collage, and sculpture, uses techniques of surrealism to address highly pertinent topics of sexuality, gender, and identity in ways that make quite a few people uncomfortable—which is all to her credit, of course. What I could not comprehend, given the stunning clarity, precision, and power of her work, was her relative lack of recognition, a matter that a new documentary by director Richard Kovitch seeks to remedy.

The movie, called Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows, places the pressing question of the artist’s rediscovery—as well as a major theme of her work—squarely in its title. Born Penelope Slinger in 1947 London to a middle-class family, Slinger attended art school in the mid- to late 1960s, where she was exposed to the work of surrealist Max Ernst, whose art seemed to address many of the questions that Slinger felt most needed addressing. (Later she got to know Ernst.) In 1969, while still a student, she produced a book of ambitious and bracing photocollages, falling into the rubric “feminist surrealism,” under the title 50%—The Visible Woman. In 1971 Slinger became involved with a feminist art collective called Holocaust, which produced a theatrical work in London and at the Edinburgh Festival titled A New Communion for Freaks, Prophets, and Witches—one of Slinger’s primary characters in that production was called simply “The Shadow Man.” This evolved into Jane Arden’s groundbreaking movie, in which Slinger played a major part, entitled The Other Side of the Underneath, which to today’s eyes might come off as something like a feminist Zardoz without being either self-evidently funny or a failure. That movie was marred by a dreadful incident in which the husband of the cellist and composer involved with the movie immolated himself in an obscure attempt at protesting of the movie. Out of the residue of that experience Slinger produced the splendidly focused book of photographic collages based in an abandoned mansion in Northamptonshire, titled An Exorcism. If Slinger had produced nothing but An Exorcism, her career would be well worth celebrating. But there is much, much more.
 

Poster for Penny Slinger, Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows (2016), featuring Bird in the Hand, 19.25” x 13.25”, collage from An Exorcism (1977), courtesy Riflemaker Gallery, London. Copyright Penny Slinger.
             
In 1977, Slinger, following her muse, largely abandoned the world of bracing high art in favor of authorial explorations into Jungian sexual archetypes and the introduction of Tantra into the modern world; works include Sexual Secrets: The Alchemy of Ecstasy, Erotic Sentiment in the Paintings of India and Nepal, and The Pillow Book.

One would have thought that a female artist with work as profoundly arresting as Slinger’s would have become a household name, but in many ways the chameleonic and elusive nature of her work resulted, perversely, in lack of recognition. It could be argued that her work fits in much better with our notions of art today than they did back then, in other words that we’ve caught up to her, rather than the other way around.

As I stated earlier, a new movie about Slinger is on the horizon that has the potential to transform the artist’s currency among the art aficionados (and regular art fans) of our own day. Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows is still currently playing on the festival circuit in the US and Europe and screened earlier this year at the Tate St. Ives. The movie takes as its subject Slinger’s life and career from her birth up to the late 1970s, after which her visibility as a cutting-edge, provocative artist regrettably diminished. Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows investigates in detail the themes of Slinger’s work as well as the salient biographical details of her life, which (I assure you) readers of Dangerous Minds are well-nigh guaranteed to find of great interest. We get to see a great deal of Slinger’s work, which (as already stated) has a knack for holding viewers’ attention. Slinger herself is on hand for interviews in which she clarifies how things looked from her perspective, as are several of her key collaborators as well as a handful of commentators from the art world or academia to supply valuable context.

Kovitch has told me that he is hopeful that a DVD/VOD distribution deal will solidify in the near future. Speaking personally, I cannot wait for this movie to find a broader viewership because it does such an outstanding job of placing Slinger’s career in context and teasing out the manifold ways in which her work speaks to us in the second decade of the 21st century. For anyone tracking the intersection of surrealism and gender, it’s an essential work.   
 
An interview with Penny Slinger, after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.27.2018
08:48 am
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Captain Beefheart rips your head clean off in this ‘74 TV concert with the ‘Tragic Band’
08.23.2018
08:59 am
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Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, June 1974 (via WalesOnline)
 
Don Van Vliet was capable of vocal ferocity. He commanded extremes of volume and timbre that murdered microphones. In the program below, he summons a growl that has mass and weight; it seems to gather physical force as it whizzes through the mike cable to the little paper cone in your TV, where it shoots into the air and lodges in between two of your cervical vertebrae, shivering the teeth and brains in your head. It has the texture of grooved pavement. Why, he made Barry McGuire sound like Wayne Newton!

One YouTube user identifies this show as Toronto, winter ‘74, but Beefheart didn’t play Toronto in the winter of ‘74 as far as I can tell, and the set list from his Toronto date that spring doesn’t match. Almost certainly it is the Cap’n's performance in Paris on May 24, which was broadcast on French TV. The picture that has come down to us from that faraway time is so-so; the sound is bitchin’.

Because I am blessed with the gift of clairvoyance, I can peer into the Akashic records and read comments not yet written by the future people of tomorrow, dismissing this show as a “Tragic Band” fiasco. A word of advice for these wiseacres: they should try listening to music with their fucking ears rather than their fat, saggy buttocks. No, this group is not as good as the Magic Band that played on Safe as Milk or Trout Mask Replica or Lick My Decals Off, Baby or Clear Spot or Doc at the Radar Station. Thanks for pointing that out. I hear Dom Pérignon 1989 really sucks, too.

The set list:

Mirror Man
Upon the My-O-My
Full Moon, Hot Sun
Crazy Little Thing
Sweet Georgia Brown
Peaches

This version of the broadcast is cut short. To see the encore (“You’re Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond/Keep on Rubbin’/Who’ll Be the Next One”) and appreciate how much worse the picture could be, click here. And if you like this material, pick up London ‘74.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.23.2018
08:59 am
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