Archive for March, 2005

Goodbye – Robert Creeley RIP+Vincent & Nina

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

(This sad news came from Ron Silliman’s blog. More here, and here.)

Black Mountain poet fired by an elemental energy (from the Guardian)

Goodbye by Robert Creeley

Now I recognize
it was always me
like a camera
set to expose

itself to a picture
or a pipe
through which the water

might run

or a chicken
dead for dinner
or a plan
inside the head

of a dead man.
Nothing so wrong
when one considered
how it all began.

It was Zukofsky’s
“Born very young into a world
already very old…”
The century was well along

when I came in
and now that it’s ending,
I realize it won’t
be long.

But couldn’t it all have been
a little nicer,
as my mother’d say. Did it
have to kill everything in sight,

did right always have to be so wrong?
I know this body is impatient.
I know I constitute only a meager voice and mind.
Yet I loved, I love.

I want no sentimentality.
I want no more than home.
(Poem is from here).

Van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh was born in Groot Zundert, The Netherlands on 30 March 1853, (from here.)
Read his Letters on his birthday.

Read this article today. Olivier Assayas said, “Maggie is a mystery,” he says, finally. “I don’t know if I ever fully understood her. I thought I did, but she’s even more of a mystery to herself.”
A parting gift for Maggie (from here.)

Another (the) Long Goobye took place in Arizona.
Funny Long Face says goodbye to Nina this morning.

Rebecca Horn- Concert for Anarchy

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

The wild flowers are in full bloom in the desert and today is a birthday of Rebecca Horn and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Rebecca Horn, Body, Art installations

“Her discourse is charged with emotional tension but the representation is cool and calculated. Even the apparent contradiction between form and content helps to keep up the concentration her work demands. The most impressive piece in the Octagon room is Concert for Anarchy. A grand piano hanging upside down from the ceiling follows the pattern of the other sculptures: suddenly the keyboard cover opens and with spasmodic violence spills out the keys. After a few minutes it retracts back into itself with an extraneous release of energy, the absurdity and the violence of the piece creating a sense of uncertainty and a simple question: What is next?…”

More images are here.

Her early works – Berlin Exercises in nine pieces are here.

  • Concert for AnarchyConcert for Anarchy

  • Artaud’s Train is here.

    (Underwear, Unicorn body suit – previous post)

  • Rebecca Horn, Body, Art installations

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    Dreaming Stones – Rebecca Horn.

  • Rebecca Horn was born March 24, 1944, in Michelstadt, Germany. As a young girl, Horn read Johann Valentin Andreae’s Die chymische Hochzeit des Christian Rosenkreutz and Raymond Roussel’s Locus Solus, which cultivated the artist’s interest in alchemy, Surrealist machines, and the absurd. Studying at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg from 1964 to 1970, Horn was inspired by the writings of Franz Kafka and Jean Genet and the films of Luis Buñuel and Pier Paolo Pasolini. The most profound influence on Horn’s development as an artist, however, was a lung condition contracted in 1968 that forced her to stop using certain sculptural materials. A subsequent period of convalescence at a sanatorium inspired a series of sculptures concerned with the body, isolation, and vulnerability. Horn turned to soft materials, reminiscent of bandages and prostheses, and began making her body-extension sculptures.
    (Excerpts from here.)

    Rebecca Horn is Aires Monkey, the crafty chatterbox.

    Rebecca’s Sun and Moon are in Aries (the same as Marlon Brando and June Chang).
    The combination of your Sun sign and your Moon sign produces in you a truly explosive personality; dynamic, hard hitting, powerful, and magnetic. Independence and self-confidence may be so intensified that they become a stumbling block in personal relationships, if they are not somewhat tamed. You are an individualist first, last, and always. You are extremely impatient with people, sometimes to the extent of being intolerant. People may view you as hardboiled because of a tendency for you to be too matter-of-fact. You do express yourself readily and forcefully, with considerable dramatic effect. It’s painfully difficult for you to listen to and understand the woes of others. Your mind is always active: reading, talking, discussing. When it comes to getting things done and done rapidly, your talents can fill the bill (from here.)

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    Buster’s Bedroom – just found out about this film today..

    Director: Rebecca Horn
    Starring: Donald Sutherland, Geraldine Chaplin, Amanda Ooms and Valentina Cortese
    Release: 1992
    Origin: Canada
    Genre: International, Drama
    Duration: 103 min.
    Language: English
    Price: $25.00

    A film student fascinated by Buster Keaton decides to visit Nirvana House, a sanatorium in the California desert where the actor stayed after the end of the silent film era. In charge is Dr. O’Connor (Donald Sutherland), an eccentric who experiments with venom and believes that great strength can be derived from complete inertia. The clinic’s oddball patients include an alcoholic former stuntwoman, an ex-pianist who believes that his ideal of silent music can be achieved by destroying his grand pianos, a former actress who collects her former lovers’ “souls” in the form of butterflies, and a man who thinks he’s a bee and goes around collecting nectar. Everyone soon comes to realize that the meaning of life resides in change, the source of true freedom.

    The Last Empress Besieged

    Thursday, March 17th, 2005

    Susan Sontag <><><>Susan Sontag  photography by Fred McDarrah
    Susan Sontag at a symposium on sex in 1962 at the Mills Hotel, now defunct, on Bleecker Street. (Image source from NY Times “On Self” by Susan Sontag)
    In previous posts on Sontag, I have emphasized how Susan Sontag expressed her wish to be remembered as a novelist. This view was reenforced after reading a hilarious and a touching article, a portrait of Susan Sontag with warts and all by a Stanford professor who used to escort Sontag from time to time. (Terry Castle – Desperately Seeking Susan)

    Susan Sontag is back in the public discourse recently in relation with the opening of Diane Arbus retrospective at the Met. Finally from a seasoned critic came this article on Diane Arbus by
    Peter Schjeldahl
    calling her a revolutionary artist. Peter illustrated how wrong headed Sontag was in her treatment of Diane Arbus.

    “Sontag’s notorious attack on Arbus, in an essay from 1973 that became the linchpin of her book “On Photography” (1977), passed one test of great criticism. It asked the right question—about photography’s claim to be a full-fledged and legitimate art—at the right time, when Arbus’s work had advanced that claim with unprecedented force. Otherwise, the essay is an exercise in aesthetic insensibility, eschewing description of the art for aspersions, often pithy, on the artist’s ethics…. (read more here).

    Susan Sontag was right when she said one must remember artists by their best work and not by their worst.
    I have many posting on Susan Sontag in this blog because I remember her for her best works and her forceful and tireless promotion of international talents in the arts and her high minded activisim but not for her controversial book on photography .

    Besieged Besieged

    Here is a photo based digital image, neither my best nor my worst, just created recently when I saw the groove of cement on the floor while my spouse was fixing the tiles in our bedroom.

    Elsewhere in the world,
    Matt (Pas au-dela) has great post on Wittgenstein’s Mistress, David Markson’s brilliant novel. Make time and read this delightful work.

    Two birthdays passed by on March 16: Isabelle Huppert and Bernardo Bertolucci.
    Isabelle Huppert – there are so many memorable films by her,
    she was especially brave and brilliant in “The Piano Teacher”.
    Thinking about the twisted relationship of mother and piano teacher, reminds one of our pathological repressed leaders .
    I will digress here, I often wished that our Secretary of State had stayed in the music world as a concert pianist or a figure skater. She is an amoral monkey performer, a consumate careerist. Astrologically speaking , Condi Rice and Laura Bush share the same Sun and Moon combo- Scorpio with Moon in Cancer – one in 144 – W is a Cancer. The threesome seems to embody the worst of Cancer trait – needy, cagey and ready to attack at any moment. W shares a birthday with the Dalai Lama, which I find kind of funny, like a story from Dumas the Iron Mask the exiled King and the fake King.

    Isabelle and Bernardo are Pisces Snakes.
    Bernardo Bertolucci old films inspired me and gave me the title of this post. His film “Besieged” was not appreciated as well as his other films. His earlier film “The Conformist” influenced Coppola, dark, brooding operatic style so well incorporated in the first two Godfather. Bertolucci’s Birth Chart

    Diane Arbus – Bus Ride Like in the Ghost World

    Monday, March 14th, 2005

    I knew that Diane Arbus lived in the gloomy factory like artist residence called Wesbeth where she died and that she occupied a prestigious place in that complex, as she was one of the few recognized and respected artists of the time. There was a competition of sort among artists as to who should take over her space. Apparently these artists did not worry about ghosts or residual spirtual influences.

    Found this writing online ,
    A meeting with Diane Arbus on a hot summer day one month before her death by Allan Porter.

    “Our discussion started with August Sander and her close affiliation with his work in spite of the fact that she had started photographing long before she had come in contact with his pictures. I neither recorded the interview nor took notes, and the fifteen allotted minutes went by about ten times. In fact, it seemed that I was the one who was being interviewed, for she questioned me unceasingly for about an hour-almost as if she were visiting me in my house rather than the other way round. Her questions were naive and her answers sophisticated.”

    Diane Arbus was born on March 14, 1923 (Pisces with moon in Aquarius), the same birthday as Albert Einstein. Like Simone Weil whose brother was a famous mathematician, Diane’s brother was Howard Nemerov, a respected poet, unlike Simone Weil, Diane’s parents were strange and cold. Maybe to esacpe them Diane married early to Allan Arbus and had two daughters.

    Here is an article by Van Riper, Revealed and Rediscoverd “It has taken decades, but finally the life’s work of Diane Arbus – as well as her life – has been chronicled, after a fashion. This stunning book from Random House, accompanying what promises to be an equally stunning exhibition, doubtless will be the standard by which subsequent work on Arbus is measured.”
    Diane Arbus Diane Arbus

    “At Arbus’s funeral, her brother gave the eulogy, and later composed the poem,

    “To D—Dead by Her Own Hand.

    My dear, I wonder if before the end
    You ever thought about a children’s game –
    I’m sure you must have played it too – in which
    You run along a narrow garden wall
    Pretending it to be a mountain ledge
    So steep a snowy darkness fell away
    On either side to deeps invisible;
    And when you felt your balance being lost
    You jumped because you feared to fall, and thought
    For only an instant: That was when I died.

    That was a life ago. And now you’ve gone,
    Who would no longer play the grown-ups’ game
    Where, balanced on the ledge above the dark,
    You go on running and you don’t look down,
    Nor ever jump because you fear to fall.

    –Howard Nemerov-
    (from Modern Kicks)
    An interview with Howard is here. (if you would like to know his poetry.)

    Jayne Jayne and her daughter and her daughter

    Take a look at 4 great photos from this page, titled – Diane Arbus, Noah’s Ark of Humanity.
    Jayne Mansfield died of car accident – in the manner of David
    Cronenberg Crash
    . (The film was adapted from the fiction by J.G Ballad)

    A photo by D. A. we have not seen before, Name that baby from Tyler Green.

    Cartoon Arbus Cartoon Arbus
    The above cartoon by Pino Antonelli from an Italian site.

    Japanese Grandmothers – Past, Future and Overseas

    Sunday, March 6th, 2005

    “Mama and Neighbors” by Tatsumi Orimoto.

    “My Grandmother” a project where young women were asked to imagine what type of women they would become in 50 years, by Miwa Yanagi. (click on the stars to see 19 photos and stories by Miwa Yanagi).

    Yanagi: When I was in high school, I happened to meet an elderly woman. She was hospitalized and didn’t have much time to live. When I went to see her in the hospital, she talked about a coming election. Of course, she passed away before the election. But, I was surprised to realize that she was seriously concerned about the future of the society after she was gone, even if she knew she wouldn’t live long, and was physically restricted. I really respect elderly women or men in their 80’s and 90’s who care for others, and have opinions about the society and beyond until they die. There are only few people who can do that. They move me and I would like to be like them. (from here.)
    Miwa expressed her desire to adopt a child from other nationality.

    Mie Japanse Grandmother from Miywa Yanagi

    The Floating world was my introduction to Cynthia Kadohata‘s writing. The novel opens with a quirky description of a Japanese American grandmother. Here are excerpts from the first two paragraphs of the Floating World. “My grandmother has always been my tormentor. My mother said she’d been a young woman of spirit: but she was an old woman of fire. In her day it had been considered scandalous for young Japanese to smoke, but she smoked cigars…. (skip to next paragraph)
    “My grandmother surprised my family by dying one night in a motel in California. Neither of my three brothers liked her any more than I did, and none of us cried at the funeral. My grandmother used to box our ears whenever she pleased, and liked to predict ghastly futures for all of us. We traveled a great deal, and sometimes in the car she talked on and on, until even my mother became annoyed and told her to keep it down, just as if she were one of us kids. When she got mad she cursed me. “May you grow hair on your nose!” she would say, and I would run to check my mirror. ”
    Cynthia adopted a son from Kazakhstan in 2004 and her story for teenagers “Kira Kira” won an award recently. Her web site includes photos of her son and her dog.

    One memorable grandmother from the past was Yukio Mishima‘s grandmother. She might have had a great deal to do with Mishima’s life long quest for masculinity.
    “Mishima was born to a family dominated by his petulant and oppressive paternal grandmother, Natsu. Less than a couple of months after his birth, he was snatched away by Natsu from his mother, Shizue, who was allowed to see her infant son only when she was summoned to breast-feed him under her mother-in-law’s supervision. Natsu seldom allowed him to be taken out of her room. Since she disliked boys’ roughness, she forbade him to associate with other boys, and his companions were limited to women or girls. As a consequence, he picked up (in Japanese male chauvinistic terms) feminine patterns of speech, as well as women’s taste and sensitivity… read more here.

    Magdalena Jetelova – Light, Water, Mud and Wood

    Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

    Magdalena Jetelova
    Domestication of a Pyramid

    Magdalena Jetelova, a Czech installation artist/architect has a website. (Need to follow instruction to navigate this site and requires patience. Go to Global and visit Iceland then go to Pyramid and click the corners of the pyramid). She is an impressive and formidable figure who used to show at John Weber gallery in Soho in the late 80’s.

    Magdalena's installationMagdalena Jetelova

    Go to this PLACE to see her old piece in a particular location. (The Royal Forest of Dean is situated on the English and South Wales border in the UK, 120 miles west of London,65 miles from Birmingham (via the M5), and 35 from Bristol to the centre of the Forest.)

    “My sculptures go for the basics. I am interested in getting through to the essence, to reach the origins. That is why I am fascinated by the Middle Ages.”

    Two pieces from Atlantic Wall, see this page (click to enlarge).
    “Magdalena Jetelova’s show, Atlantic Wall, at Derry’s Orchard Gallery, consists of ten large black-and-white photographs of concrete bunkers on the Jutland coast – relics of Germany’s defence strategy of the second world war. Lasers are projected onto the constructions to form short textual phrases, descriptions of their significance, quoted from French philosopher Paul Virilio‘s book Bunker Archaeology. They look like documentary records of a performance/event, until one discovers that they were made with no audience. The final photographic product is the art work and we receive the theatricality of its construction second hand.” (Read more from Atlantic Wall).
    10 photos of the Atlantic Wall from the German site are here

    How much should we know?

    The Atlantic Wall, (ever heard of the Siegfried Line?), were huge fortifications made by Hitler during WW2 along the coast of the Atlantic. What does that knowledge change? How different is the spectator’s position? Now go a step further in the mythological aspects of the Atlantic Wall. And now, go for an informed review. How does your response to the work change as you discover the various layer? Does it necessarily get «better»? You don’t need a spoiler to make it a spoiler.

    From Bubec, a Czech web page showing the process from material to its finish.

    Then there was the devastating flood.
    Rhino from Prague Flood
    This rhino was saved but the Chair was lost. “A giant chair worth one million Czech crowns was swept away by the river, reads the headline in Pravo. The wooden chair was a unique work of art created by the well-known artist Magdalena Jetelova and was exhibited outside the Sovovy Mlyny Gallery as part of the riverside gallery’s collection. Unfortunately, the chair was not removed in time and Pravo carries a vivid photograph of the chair sweeping downstream in the middle of the river.”
    (from here.)