Monday, May 31, 2010

Peter Orlovsky 1934-2010

Louise Bourgeois 1912-2010

The Great Direction + Details. 1985.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Open Box # 3 Detail Of Open Box #3. 1970. Mixed. 11 1/4" x 8 1/2" x 5 1/4"

Small Brick Structure In A Box 1971. Mixed. 7" x 5" x 4 1/4"

What’s The Matter Mata?

Mata Hari. 1931

What’s the matter Mata? Well for starters Garbo who plays the famous spy Mata Hari is about to be shot at sunrise by a French firing squad for her not so nice activities spying for Germany during World War I. And on top of that Ramon Novarro playing a Russian pilot with a strong Mexican accent ( If M.G.M. said that he was Russian then he was Russian) falls for her in a big way and because of her spying and dirty deals he goes blind in a airplane accident (not shown) while he’s trying to deliver top secret documents to Russia not knowing that Mata/Greta has played him big time to get her hands on those secret documents so she can hand them over to Germany. And you ask what’s the matter Mata? And did I mention that Garbo shoots Lionel Barrymore who plays her co-conspirator as he’s attempting to turn her in to the French authorities because she’s spurred his romantic affections. Barrymore is jealous of the love she has for Ramon and who could blame her for falling in love with Ramon and for shooting Barrymore. She should have shot Lionel in the head for his dreadful hammy acting and his chewing up of every piece of scenery and every stick of furniture that comes his way. In fact I only liked Lionel (the least interesting and least talented of the Barrymore dynasty) when he was in his wheelchair playing the crusty Dr. Gillespie in all those wonderful Dr. Kildare B movies that M.G.M put out in the 1940’s. I wanted to see this film because I had just read a bio of Novarro and was curious to see him in action, to try to understand why for a short period of time he was such a big star. And happily he’s actually pretty good in one of his few talkies. Small, compact, dark and very handsome with big beautiful eyes he was also very easy on my eyes. Navarro swoons over Garbo who also as usual was marvelous and simply gorgeous in her gowns by Adrian. What breathing man or woman would not fall for her? Although the film takes place during World War I its Art Decoville all the way with beautiful sets and moody cinematography by Garbo’s favorite cameraman the great William Daniels. Garbo enters the film doing an odd dance with silver pagodas on her head, and we know at that point that we are in never neverland and if you are seeking the true facts of Mata Hari you had better look somewhere else. Made in 1931 before the dreadful Hays Office had its reactionary way with our movies, it’s sexy and short running only 89 minutes with smooth direction by George Fitzmaurice who began making movies in 1914. The dvd transfer is just as gorgeous as it’s two stars.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Golub And Others

I spent the day in Soho looking at art and going to some bookstores. I took in the group show at O.K. Harris which like most large group shows of this sort are uneven, but did enjoy seeing Stephanie Brody-Lederman's small beautifully done lush paintings. I had no idea that they were so small. I found them very charming and embraceable, almost good enough to eat or at least lick. Also the Leon Golub show at The Drawing Center This is a large show of very small works on paper which because of the subject matter was unexpected but excellent. The drawings are mostly all violent, and angry and many have explicit sexual images along with handwritten words and some have images of animals. I knew Leon and his wife the late painter Nancy Spero in the the 70’s and one day a creep broke into their apartment on the Upper West Side and Leon and his son were brutally attacked. Luckily Nancy was not home. Leon was stabbed and left for dead, don’t recall if his son was injured, but Leon survived which was a miracle. I thought of this horrible incident looking at the violent images in the drawings, which were according to the press release unknown until his death. I also saw a show of homoerotic photographs and some drawings at The Leslie/Lohman gallery which is devoted to gay art. They always mount interesting and exciting (ha ha) shows. This one was very good with work by Warhol, Marsden Hartley, Peter Hujar, Mapplethorpe, Tom of Finland and many others. Then I went to Brooke Alexander to see a Josef Albers/Ken Price show which was also very good but I fail to see the connection that the gallery makes for these two artists who to them share a “similarity of sensibilities and a kind of parallel thinking.” I certainly like both artists but you can pretty much say this about any two artists if you put them together in a gallery. I just think Brooke Alexander was pushing it a bit this time, still I can always enjoy Albers and I’ve always liked the loopy ceramics and pottery of Ken Price. I also went to see a somewhat sloppy show at Fresh Art which is a non-profit organization devoted to providing workshops and studios for artists with special needs. I did some volunteer work for them recently and I love a lot of this kind of work that is now usually called outsider art. It is still possible to see good and interesting art in Soho in spite of the hoards of tourists, the lousy overpriced boutiques and the crummy street peddlers. Now I’m tired from looking.

illustrations are from the Leon Golub exhibition.

Dennis Hopper 1936-2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

New York Box #4 + Detail Of New York Box #4

New York Box # 4.. 1970. 15" x 3 1/4" x 3" Mixed.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New York Box #3 1969.

Mixed Media. This piece measures 9 1/2" x 5" x 2 1/4"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Women's Prison

This film gets off to a pretty good start with Phyllis Thaxter and Jan Sterling arriving for a stay in the Women’s prison. Thaxter (was there a duller actress in films than her?) arrives looking like she’s on her way to a luncheon at her women’s club. She’s in for 1 to 10 for running over and killing a little girl, and Jan is back again for writing bad checks. Jan throws off some nice zingers and calls everyone hon or kid or honey. Jan is swell. She’s tough but kind, and soon we meet some of the other broads in the pen. There’s Audrey Totter who is an innocent accomplice to her husband’s crime of robbery, but still got convicted, Cleo Moore who obviously is a girl of the night who wants to learn how to talk good English and Juanita Moore as Polyclinic 'Polly' Jones who we first see washing the floors and singing a hymn. Love Juanita and an actress unknown to me Vivien Marshall as Dottie LaRose who does some wicked imitations of Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead and Ida Lupino that serve as a plot device later in the movie. Also in the cast in a pop up cameo is Mae Clarke as a prison matron who is most known to movie audiences for taking a grapefruit in the kisser from James Cagney in Public Enemy. Then on comes Miss Ida Lupino playing very mean and nasty as the women’s prison warden Amelia van Zandt, and with a name like that you know she’s just going to be a bundle of trouble. Ida looking very nice in tailored shirts with Peter Pan collars ,slightly above the knee skirts and wearing a nice wig. (Ida was bald from a childhood illness, and always wore wigs) is just awful to the girls especially the fragile Phyllis Thaxter who is promptly thrown into isolation and comes very close to having a nervous breakdown. I mean what girl wouldn’t be close to a breakdown with Ida breathing down her neck. Ida is very mean to her and has Phyllis put into a straight jacket and thrown into a padded cell, where Phyllis literally bounces off the walls and freaks out big time. But thanks to the good but very dull doctor played by the not so good and very dull Howard Duff, who was married to Lupino in real life, she is put into the infirmary to rest and heal. Well when Ida finds out about this the shit as they say hits the fan and all sorts of hell breaks loose. There are also side plots with Totter’s hubby played by the attractive Warren Stevens finding a way to get from the men’s side of the prison (yes the prison is divided into men and women sections) into the women’s side so he can visit with Audrey and get her pregnant. And don’t ask what happens when Ida learns about this. Everything comes to a big fat boil that finally pops and the girls throw a hissy fit riot and take over the joint. Poor Ida who was not all there to begin with has a mad scene, in which she chews up every piece of the scenery she can get her hands and teeth on and winds up in a straight jacket and a padded cell herself. I kept seeing Charles Busch doing this role, in fact I kept seeing him doing all the roles, and maybe he has. No doubt this film has influenced many drag queens and camp plays and movies, and I think I’m making this lousy film sound better than it really is. Cheap looking, badly written by Jack DeWitt the screenwriter of such films as Bomba, The Jungle Boy, The Lost Volcano and Don Ricardo Returns. and with lackluster direction by hack Lewis Seiler and not a Lesbian in sight. If you do have a craving for a dames in prison flick stick with the very superior “Caged” from 1950

Late May Collage

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Landscapes 1976. Part 2

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm Disenthralled

This is really nice.
Disenthralled literary magazine asked the poet Petra Whiteley to write 5 poems inspired by five of my drawings. Two are from when I was a teen, including the only oil painting that I've ever done when I was about 14 years old. Its of the elevated subway.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Summer Landscapes 1976. Part 1

Friday, May 21, 2010

Early Sculptures

Two Early Sculptures.

The first one is Small Box with Yellow House and 4 telephone poles. 1969. 6 1/2" x 5" x 2" Mixed.
The 2nd sculpture is San Diego Box 1984. 8 1/2" x 3 1/8" x 4 1/2" Mixed.

Deborah Remington 1930-2010

Sorry to learn of the passing of the fine painter and old friend Deborah Remington. Although we lost touch with each other, I have fond memories of the time spent with her in the 1970's, and the encouragement she gave me as a young artist.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Going Digital

Finally bought a digital camera and I'm excited about the possibilities that this will open up for me. This is my first photo. Its a detail from my boxes I did in 1986 called kargo Largo.

Jackie and Cleo go boating

Over Exposed 1956

No this isn’t a film about Marina Abramovic, but another potboiler starring that little spitfire of a sex pot Cleo Moore. The film opens with Cleo who plays Lily Krenshka being asked by the police to leave town because she was working in a clip joint, not that Lily knew it was that kind of place. “I’m... innocent “Lily yells, but she still has to beat it out of town on the next bus one two three or go to jail. As she’s leaving the police station she is approached by a old down and out photographer who snaps her mug, and an incensed Lily wants the picture. “Come over to my studio and I’ll give it to you,” he replies. Lily being Cleo is distrustful of the old guy who appears to be a bit in his cups, but she goes anyway. Nothing dirty happens, and instead Lily in impressed with his photographs and what can be done with a camera and a darkroom. Lily then comes up with the idea that the old photographer should teach her the tricks of the trade so that she can become a photographer too and tells him that “photography is a good racket for a dame“. So Lily in a couple of months and some nice montage sequences turns into a regular Margaret Bourke-White. She changes her name to Lila Crane and takes off for Columbia Pictures New York City. No sooner has she arrived when in a blink of an eye she meets up with a very young and very bland Richard Crenna (the transfer is so good that you can see the acne scars on his face) who works for a photo news agency and falls for Lila in a big way. Very quickly Lila gets a job as a photographer in a high society nightclub called Club Coco snapping pictures of the rich and famous and selling some of her photos to a low life gossip columnist for publication in one of the tabloids. Lila is doing swell and well and before we know it she’s snapping her way into fame and fortune or as she says “Where there’s money, there’s Lila-green becomes me” Lila starts doing fashion spreads and what not and is making a fortune, and she even hires her old mentor to come to the big apple and work for her. But Lila soon becomes greedy, testy and starts acting like a diva "you'd use your grandmother's bones to pry open a cash register" someone says to her and she gets entangled in couple of bad scenes and scandals. She gets kidnapped and beaten up by some mobsters because of an incriminating photo she took and has her reputation ruined because she accidentally took a photo of a high society old dame dropping dead on the dance floor doing the Mambo. The photo falls into the hands of the gossip columnist who publishes it in a Confidential kind of rag. and Lila is in trouble. What next Lily/Lila /Cleo? But in the end it all ends happily (or does it?) as Lila gives up her lively career to marry dull Richard Crenna. Fool. This is more of a woman’s movie than Film noir, more gray than black. What I found intriguing about the film was not only it’s crumminess, and crummy it is, but it’s unconventional tough feminist storyline that was pretty brave and unusual back in the early and mid fifties. Sure Lila sells out and plays it safe at the end giving up her career and identity for a safe little life with dull Richard Crenna, but at least for a while she gave herself and me one hell of a ride and those Jean Louis gowns are nothing to sneeze at either. Part of the Bad Girls of Film Noir Dvd set.

Nurse Jackie

It takes no effort for me to easily recommend the new cable series Nurse Jackie season one, which I just finished watching. I’m not a big fan of hospital shows, in fact I never watch them, and I wouldn’t know one from the other, but because of Edie Falco and because a friend lent me the dvd set I gave it a try. The plot itself is simple enough life in an emergency room in a big New York City hospital and the lives of the doctors, nurses and the patients that they tend to. The extraordinary Edie Falcon as the title Nurse Jackie who is one of the most conflicted characters I have seen in quite a while heads the cast. Looking at times like a bruised piece of fruit her character is a liar, a drug addict, a adulteress but at the same time she's a compassionate soft caring woman and nurse, and a loving mother and wife. Go figure. I am convinced that these cable series are our new “B” movies and offer me the same pleasures that I use to get from the on the cheap movies that happily are now once again appearing on dvd. Nurse Jackie looks like it was filmed fast and cheap but with wonderful writing and great acting. Lets see besides Falco there is the superb Eve Best as the fashionista Dr. Eleanor O'Hara, a tall drink of water who I was lucky enough to see in the revival a few years back of “The Homecoming” and she doesn’t disappoint here. Her Dr. O’Hara happens to be best friends with Jackie and they both know all the secrets and skeletons hiding in their closets and it’s a pleasure to watch these two great actresses playing their roles and scenes together. I just sat there I purred like two of my facebook friends Ross Freedman and Joyce Godsey little kittens. Also marvelous is the taller than I thought she actually is Anna Devere Smith as Gloria Akalitis, the administrative head of the emergency department who can show distain and disgust better than anyone around by scrunching up her face into a tight little ball. The show is also very gay friendly and features the very handsome and hunky Haaz Sleiman who plays Mohammed the gay male nurse, who at times I thought was going to jump out of my TV and into my lap. I should be so lucky.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Blue Print Review has just posted two of my bug collages on their on line magazine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May Collage

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lena Horne 1917-2010

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Mom Egg

The Mom Egg is now available in print form and on line. Here is a link to one of the pages.

I'm delighted that they used 8 of my teenage drawings from when I was 18 or 19 years old.

you can order copies of the magazine at this link.
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