Check out Sarah’s website here
You are magic. We love you!
Crazy, strange portrait of Naomi Campbell in 1996 New York, for Danish TV.
Check out Sarah’s website here
You are magic. We love you!
via The Getty Center:
“Beginning in the 1960s select Los Angeles artists began to mimic the look and feel of commercial marketing strategies by treating viewers as consumers. In this vein, Allen Ruppersberg produced a series of books that demonstrate an interest in the products of popular culture. One of these was Greetings from L.A., the subtitle for which declares it to be a novel. A flip of its pages reveals only occasional bits of narrative, with the most of the pages left blank. The back cover, meanwhile, features a parody of the exaggerated and breathy prose used to sell airport fiction and cheap thrillers. The piece is striking for this contrast between its content, a high-culture exploration of text and spacing that nods to the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé, and its seeming appearance as low-culture pulp fiction.”
“Fig (Arm Stretch),” 2011
“Fig (Move),” 2011
Yantra - James Whitney (1957)
James Whitney (1921-1982) was an American film maker and abstract cinema pioneer. Yantra was made by hand, through a process of punching holes in 5x7 cards and painting through them onto other cards. James was also the younger brother of John Whitney, considered to be “the father of computer animation”.
Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was an American dancer, singer, and activist.
According to a 1928 NYTimes article, following one appearance in Vienna, the Vienna Roman Catholic Church Gazette announced that services would be held for three days “‘in atonement for outrages on morality’ allegedly committed by Josephine Baker and other performers in recent reviews ….
“Baker was much more than just a dancer with a risqué reputation, as she worked tirelessly to combat prejudice, racism, and intolerance. In 1937, she became a French citizen, and after the outbreak of World War II, she was recruited as a spy for the French Resistance and was eventually awarded the Legion of Honor, the Rosette of the Resistance, and the Croix de Guerre by the French government. She was also a vocal critic of racism, and her denunciations of segregation in the United States led her to be celebrated by some and vilified by others. When she returned to the United States on a performance tour in 1951, she was both labeled as a Communist sympathizer and greeted with rapturous ovations.” - via Yale Beinecke Library
The Aleatory Moment [223,704 words traveling at 90 MPH]
In January 2003, eighty-three students from York College cut out every word from Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and as every word was cut from its sentence it was spoken.
On 1st June 2003, the artist Simon Morris threw the words out of the window of a Renault Clio on Redbridge Road, Dorset.
“New Tendencies” is the title of an art movement and series of under-recognized exhibitions in Ex-Yugoslavia, now Croatia between 1961 and 1973. ”New Tendencies” and the print journal “bit international” dealt with the computer program as a tool for artistic research.
Jean-Claude Marquette (G.A.I.V.), Hommage à Khlebnikov, 1972
Manfred R. Schroeder, Eye, 1968
Marc Adrian, ct 2/ 66, 1966,
SONG OF THE WEEK:
PICTURES OF MATCHSTICK MEN by THE STATUS QUO
In his 1928 novel “Nadja,” André Breton cites an old French adage: “Tell me whom you haunt” - whom you befriend - “and I’ll tell you who you are.” Judged by this criterion, the English heiress Nancy Cunard, who “haunted” Breton’s Surrealists and countless other artists besides, is one of the biggest stars you’ve never heard of. T. S. Eliot put her in an early version of “The Waste Land”; Pablo Neruda celebrated her “lovely sky-blue eyes”; and Samuel Beckett praised “her spunk and verve.” All three future Nobel laureates had fraught romances with her.
Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Tristan Tzara, Ezra Pound and Louis Aragon were among her lovers. She played tennis with Ernest Hemingway, received house calls from James Joyce and modeled for Constantin Brancusi. Langston Hughes called her “one of my favorite folks in the world.” William Carlos Williams, who kept a picture of her in his study, deemed her “one of the major phenomena of history.”
This pedigree surely qualifies Cunard (1896-1965) as one of the 20th century’s most celebrated muses. But in her fine work, “Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist,” Lois Gordon, a professor of English at Fairleigh Dickinson University, shows that Cunard refused to be defined by her glamour or, for that matter, by the riches she enjoyed as heir to the Cunard shipping fortune. This unconventional child of privilege worked as a poet, a publisher, a journalist and, above all, a tireless supporter of the disenfranchised. “I’ve always had the feeling,” she explained, “that everyone alive can [do] something that is worthwhile.” Indeed, her whole life illustrated this principle, as Gordon’s biography - the first substantial study to be published in almost 30 years - reveals.
The only child of a British baronet and an American socialite, Cunard grew up in an English castle where “the living area alone covered more ground space than, say, the New York Public Library.” But she was unhappy there. Her father, Bache, cared chiefly about hunting, fishing and horseback riding, while his wife, Maud, whose “appetite for cultural and social advancement was voracious,” focused on cultivating the era’s leading writers. Maud’s socializing bred extramarital dalliances that, to Nancy’s astonishment, Bache passively tolerated. Appalled by their “ambiguous moral values,” Cunard “grew up to despise everything her parents and their class represented.”
History favored her rebellion, as her 1914 debut in London society coincided with the start of World War I, which for Cunard ushered in “a period of overt defiance of parental and social demands” and “artistic and sexual experimentation.” Taking her cue from Maud, Cunard assembled a “Corrupt Coterie” of artists, most of whom “sooner or later” became her paramours. In this milieu, she met Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot and Wyndham Lewis, who were then spearheading a “literary revolution” in England. According to Cunard, this movement “changed my life,” imbuing her with a belief “in the sacred mission of art to change history.”
In 1916, Cunard impulsively married a wounded veteran, only to separate from him 20 months later. In 1921, she began a five-year affair with Pound; she soon seduced Eliot too. “Dazzled” by both men’s achievements (and even though Eliot mocked her in his verse: “But women intellectual grow dull”), she wrote three books of poetry in the 1920s. Gordon maintains that “Parallax” (1925) was “favorably compared with” “The Waste Land,” although the claim is based on a single remark by one of Cunard’s friends. In truth, her verse in no way rivals Eliot’s.
Still, Cunard’s stabs at poetry furthered her ties to “strange people in faraway lands” - like the avant-garde community in Paris, where she moved in 1920. Here she encountered not only Hemingway and Williams, but also the Dadaists and Surrealists, who shared her belief “in the sacred mission of art” and her “commitment to exposing the false dreams and hollow values” of the ruling class. But Cunard had her reservations. A self-described anarchist, she never embraced the Communist worldview. She also chafed at her own image as a mere siren, and “yearned for a more meaningful identity.”
In 1928, this impulse led her to found the Hours Press. Located in the Norman countryside, this small publishing house issued books by prominent authors like Aragon and Pound and by lesser-known writers like Samuel Beckett, who won an Hours contract in a contest at 23. But she was distracted when she fell in love with Henry Crowder, an African-American jazz pianist who “introduced Nancy to the complex and agonizing situation of blacks in the United States.” Her eyes now opened to racial injustice, she discovered “the sense of purpose that would define the rest of her life.”
She edited and published “Negro” (1934), an almost 900-page anthology of black history and culture and a call to “condemn racial discrimination and appreciate the … accomplishments of a long-suffering people.” Its 150 contributors included Theodore Dreiser, Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes. Cunard herself wrote the preface, denouncing the “oppression” of “14 million Negroes in America.” Despite its urgent message and extensive scope (Gordon supplies generous excerpts), the press greeted the book’s publication with indifference and condescension.
The world proved even more judgmental about Cunard’s romantic ties to a black man. When she traveled to America in 1932, “she was maliciously attacked in the media” and in a barrage of hate mail. In England, her mother, now a widow, had “embarked upon a ruthless campaign” to separate her from Crowder. When Cunard failed to cooperate, Maud all but disinherited her.
Unbowed, Cunard continued her crusade, which by the mid-1930s took aim at fascism as well. She wrote dispatches for The Manchester Guardian, The Associated Negro Press, Crisis and other publications about Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia and Franco’s coup in Spain. In August 1936, she moved to Spain to cover the civil war there. Presciently, she warned that “events in Spain were a prelude to another world war.” Exasperated by the international community’s failure to intervene, she used her reporting to denounce Franco’s brutality and demand help for his victims.
Cunard was especially concerned about those Spaniards who, in fleeing the fascists, landed in concentration camps across the French border. In addition to exposing this situation in the international press, Cunard established a shelter where “hot meals were prepared daily for as many as 3,000 to 4,000 people.” She also walked as many as 40 miles to visit the camps. By 1939, these efforts took a toll on her already fragile health and she returned to Paris to convalesce.
Admirable though it was, Cunard’s selflessness contained, according to her intimates, a manic undercurrent that became worse with age. Yet even as she relates Cunard’s decline into severe mental illness (exacerbated by excessive drinking), Gordon does not editorialize. “One night in Frascati, Italy,” she writes, Cunard “emerged drunk and bull-like from a cafe with a cigarette inserted in each nostril and began pelting dogs with tomatoes.” While the unruffled tone of such pronouncements may reflect the author’s refusal to judge (or romanticize) her subject, they also suggest a hesitancy to acknowledge the full extent of Cunard’s appetite for self-destruction.
And self-destruct she did. In 1960, after some drunken scuffles with London authorities, she was declared insane and placed in a mental hospital.
After her release, a destitute Cunard spent five years drinking heavily, eating almost nothing and ranting against bigots (“How I should like to machine-gun the evil whites”) and fascists (“Damn Spain and all its doings”). In March 1965, just after her 69th birthday, she went on an extended alcoholic binge in Paris. Friends saw with alarm that she “had lost her reason” and looked “thinner than a Buchenwald corpse,” but she eluded them, only to resurface when the police found her unconscious in the streets. She could not remember her own name, and died two days later. Restrained to the end, Gordon quotes Neruda’s plainspoken eulogy: “Her body had wasted away in a long battle against injustice in the world. Her reward was a life that had become progressively lonelier, and a god-forsaken death.” But perhaps an even more suitable epitaph comes from Cunard herself: “All that remains is a furious sense of indignation.” Indignation that, however harrowing, the reader cannot help but share.
Nancy Cunard by John Banting
Happy Birthday to our fearless leader, Jade Lai!!
In the 1970’s, a petroleum pipeline firm commissioned french film-director Claude Lelouch to make Iran (1971) as a gift for the Shah’s wife. He apparently shot six miles of film in order to make the film, which is an incredible example of juxtapositional editing. The score was composed by Francis Lai.