Thursday, May 31, 2012

Late May notebook drawing. 2012. Paint, collage and ink on notebook paper

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

photographs New York City and Brooklyn

Monday, May 28, 2012

Painting on paper 1978

painting on paper. 1977

Painting on paper 1996

Friday, May 25, 2012

Late May notebook drawing. Collage, paint and ink on notebook paper

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Late May 2012 Notebook drawing. Paint and collage on notebook paper

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Panic In The Streets 1950

This is a tough tight, tangy exciting norish thriller about the possibility of a plague hitting the city of New Orleans. The reason that this is possible is because an illegal immigrant named Kochak brought it in via a freighter and before he can actually die from it, he is shot down by some criminal cronies of his who wants the money that he won in a card game. The opening scene beautifully sets the action up and introduces us to the low lives led by Walter Jack Palance in his movie debut as Blackie and his stooge played by a bleating and sweating Zero Mostel. The two mensches of the film are a police officer  and a U.S. Public Health official played by Paul Douglas and Richard Widmark ,who were two of Hollywood’s finest post war actors.  At first they are at each other’s throats over what to do about this crisis, but they slowly come around to each other. They are both wrecks because they have only 48 hours to find the trail and the infected parties who threated the city, the country and the world with this Pneumonic plague. Directed with beautiful style and assurance by Elia Kazan who had already won an Oscar in 1947 for Gentleman’s Agreement, and filmed mostly on location at night in a dark and fetid New Orleans , this is not the city of and for tourists.  Everything looks wet, dirty and diseased.  Blackie who has a rundown Laundromat as a legitimate front (he should put his black soul in one of the machines for a good cleaning) has it in his head that Kochak’s cousin Poldi who is now also dying from the plague has something of value that Kochak passed on to him, yeah it’s the plague moron, and pushes and pulls at him in order to find out what the valuable merchandise might be. There is a shocking scene in the film when Blackie who is trying to get the dying Poldi out of his house so he can do terrible things to him to find out what he is hiding throws him down a flight of stairs when he is confronted by Widmark.  Kazan contrasts these dark scenes with ones of light and softness between Widmark and his wife played by the wonderful Barbara Bel Geddes and his young son played by Tommy Rettig. Also of note is the final chase where the rat like Blackie tries to escape his destiny and the beautiful inky black and white cinematography by Joseph MacDonald and the pounding music score by Alfred Newman. Winner of best original motion picture story Oscar . One of the ten best films of the year.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Late May 2012 Collage

Friday, May 18, 2012

Kings Row. 1942

Chances are good that if you mentioned the name of director Sam Wood to someone, you would be met with a blank stare.  But it turns out that Wood was responsible for some big box office hits of Hollywood’s golden years not too mention some of the most entertaining ones. Films of his included A Day At The Races, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Devil And Miss Jones, Pride of The Yankees, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Our Town  and 1942’s Kings Row. Based on a big novel about small town life at the beginning of the 20th century by Henry Bellamann, and I guess you could look at it as a precursor to Peyton Place. It included all sorts of issues that one would think would make it impossible to film in 1942. The novel included incest, insanity, nymphomania, sadism and homosexuality all of which were taboo topics back in 1942 when Warner Bros. tackled the making of this film.  Watered down somewhat, and with much of the forbidden subjects either played down or totally eliminated, (the sadism element is in the film),  the movie  still had enough implied  hot and forbidden stuff  behind its closed doors to hold 1940’s movie goers in rapt attention. The film opens with a beautiful traveling shot of children leaving school in the small town of Kings Row and we are soon introduced to the four young leads who will later grow up and become the main characters of the piece. Some of the dark secrets are also hinted at in this early part of the film nestled among the bucolic setting of small town life which will later hang in the air with dire consequences for all concerned. The cast was good, and especially fine were Ronald Reagan, (yes Ronald Reagan)  Ann Sheridan (ah Ann) and Betty Field all of whom have strong, indelible moving moments and scenes including Reagan’s famous where’s the rest of me bit.  The only actor who falls way too short is Robert Cummings who was not capable of bringing much depth or shading to the lead role of Parris Mitchell. It’s a shame that they didn’t cast an actor with more charisma in this part. Originally Tyrone Power was talked about, but his home studio 20th Century Fox balked at this idea and would not let him do it, a shame because he would have been far more believable and infinitely more attractive in the role than Cummings.  The film is beautiful to look at with great cinematography by James Wong Howe and classy set design by the great William Cameron Menzies. Also of note is the brilliant and memorable score by  Erich Wolfgang Korngold and I couldn’t help picking out parts of the score that reminded me of John Williams’s score for Star Wars, and made me think Mr. Williams was strongly influenced by it. The marvelous supporting cast included  Claude Raines, Charles Colburn, Judith Anderson and Maria Ouspenskaya. The ending which is somewhat abrupt and hokey doesn’t take away from this example of elegant Hollywood movie making at its very best.  Nominated for 3 Oscars including one for best picture of 1942.   

Thursday, May 17, 2012

paintings from the 80's and 90's recently photographed

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Carlos Fuentes 1928-2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Collected Poems Joseph Ceravolo

It won't be available until dec. 2012 but thought I would post this anyway. Joe was a friend of mine who along with his wife Rosemary was an important part of my life in the early 70's. He was a highly regarded poet, and I know that this collection will elevate his stature in the poetry and art world. He died quite young in 1988.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lucio Fontana at the Gagosian Gallery. May-June 2012

This is a superb exhibition of the important Italian artist who might not be so well known in this country. His most famous works are probably his slashed and lacerated canvases, and they are well represented here, but there is much more in this marvelous show. The only things that I didn't care for were the Ambienti Spaziali  which are environments that play with light and which the gallery has lovingly reconstructed. In order to view them you have to enter small black rooms which turned me off immediately because of my claustrophobia and my trepidation made me stay clear of them after I had ventured into one, and besides I haven't been in any small black rooms since 1984, and I wasn't about to start going into them at this late date. Otherwise I was completely spellbound by his work and was surprised by what a wonderful an artist he was, because quite frankly I haven't given Mr. Fontana much thought in all my years as an artist. This is easily one of the best shows I have seen in 2012.

Friday, May 11, 2012

James Ellroy’s Feast of Death. 2001

Homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic, right winger and hater of the Kennedys and the Clintons, he’s also one of the best writers working today in the crime detective genre. This rabid pit bull bully can be intimidating  and I honestly don’t know that I would like him if I ever met him, but as a writer I generally do. That being said and out of the way I can spend some time writing about this compelling documentary about James Ellroy and his dark fascination with the horrible murder of his mother when he was 10 and the Black Dahlia murder case that has held his interest for many years. Both murders are capital letters  L.A. crimes. Palm trees and cheap road houses, booze, cars and Hollywood starlets fast and loose and both remain unsolved to this day.  Ellroy has been sparked and goosed by these two murders and they have fueled several books by him and made him a wealthy man. Good for him. Murder does pay. The movie shows him giving book store readings, (he sure has his shtick down pat), having dinner with L.A. detectives, revisiting his mother’s murder, and cruising by his past checking and pointing out childhood landmarks of his youth in L.A. He was a bad boy. He would sneak into homes when empty and smell the panties of the young girls who lived there.  Junkie and alcoholic at a young age and a champion voyeur in his teens. This guy was brilliantly fucked up, and he survived all this shit to tell us the story of his mother who he loved and hated and to spell and spill out her tawdry life for us. The film is sometimes grisly as when we are shown crime photos of his mom lying dead on the side of a road, and especially those horrible photos of Elizabeth Short all chopped up in pieces with the blood drained out of her and a sardonic smile carved into her once pretty face. This stuff hurts, it’s a rolling bolder coming at us at high speed, and believe me this documentary is not for everyone, hell it might not be for anyone, but hey if you’re up for it and can handle your nightmares that poke at you even during the day, then I say see this bitch of a movie but don’t come crying to me afterwards.

Notebook drawing May 2012. Collage, ink and paint on notebook paper

Monday, May 07, 2012

Paintings on paper from the 80's & 90's recently photographed.

Notebook drawing. May 2012. Collage and paint on notebook paper

Sunday, May 06, 2012

David Bowman 1957-2012

I am absolutely heartbroken over this. We met when we both worked at Cinemabilia in the late 70's and became fast friends even though I was 10 years older than him. I haven't seen or heard from him in years, and had no idea about his terrible accident. David is on the right in the photo booth photos that we took one summer day in New York City. Horrible.

this is the link to the new york times obit on him.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Broadsided Press

Broadsided Press has this thing where they ask people to print out their broadsides and post them around. These are seven of the broadsides that I did that various people have printed out and posted.  You can view all the broadsides and more at their link

Patricia Medina 1919-2012

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

I went to some galleries

I went to some galleries today, well more than some, and I wish I could say that I loved everything I saw. I didn’t. In fact I saw very little that I did like. I guess I should start with what I thought was worth my time and maybe yours. The Bryan Hunt show at Danese has some marvelous pieces, beautifully crafted and intriguing. They kinda reminded me a bit of Brancusi which is funny because right before seeing the Hunts I saw a show of photographs by the master. Most of course I had seen before, and I love his work, but as photographs these are basically documentations of his studio and I could just as easily look at them in a book as I could on the white walls of a gallery.  Getting back to Hunt, I especially liked the sculptures that he’s call dirigibles and are attached to the walls way above the viewer and seem to float in space. Really nice stuff.  I can’t believe that Michelangelo Pistoletto is still doing the same boring mirror paintings that he’s been doing since 1962. I mean come on Michelangelo don’t you have anything new to say? I suppose if one has never seen one of these things that are images on top of a reflective surface then they might offer some amount of surprise and pleasure, but not for me. The Pier Paolo Calzolari double show at Pace and Marianne Boesky Galleries in which a wall was knocked down to join the two galleries has been touted as if the Berlin Wall had come down once again or detente was happening in Chelsea, big news big deal. It seems that it’s Italian month in Chelsea and Calzolari who was a member of the Arte Povera group in the late 60’s ain’t so povera anymore. The drama and surprise of these pieces have pretty much been removed by placing them in a blue chip gallery all cleaned up and snazzy looking. The point of these pieces was the rawness and use of the unusual and ephemeral materials that these guys used, but they have now been Paced up. Some of the pieces are still good and full of humor, but please don’t bother me with cute mechanical dogs trying to get behind a large door that is placed against a wall. The show of Ronnie Bladen’s early paintings from 1955-1962 at the Loretta Howard Gallery (this is fast becoming one of my favorite galleries) is a jolt because he’s known as being a minimalist and these oil paintings are anything but, plus I love the fact that he hid them away for years behind a wall that he built in his studio. These are big and colorful and have enough oil on them to keep the country supplied for the next 100 years. See this show. I also was very much taken with Brice Marden’s new paintings, which are small pieces of marble with oil paint applied to them. They’re as elegant as one would expect from him, but they also took me by surprise, not what I was expecting to see.  I really wish that I could say that I like Cindy Sherman’s photographs since everyone in the world seems to. I don’t. They bore me and I’m not moved or even annoyed by them. For me they are like billboards along the road, only without the depth that a billboard can offer sometimes, and I am going to avoid her show at the Moma like the plague. Also disappointing was the Gilbert and George extravaganza at Sonnabend. This is a dreary dull and dank show in which they fill the huge space with row after row after row of expensive looking framed works that use tabloid headlines from the British Press in bold red and black typeface along with some sappy images. Repetition guys do not necessarily make for compelling viewing. You can pick up a signed copy of the catalog for only $15.00, which is a statement about this work in itself. And then we have the great big Claes Oldenbury/Coosje Van Bruggen show at a different Pace space, that I was really looking forward to but I left very disappointed. The pieces are mostly props from a theatre piece they did from 1985-1990 and they have all the elements that we expect from Oldenburg, big scale, puns, great draftsmanship, but the fun is missing and so is the looseness of his imagination. Ok maybe I was expecting 1960 but these works are dead man, they just lay there like so many beached whales. Maybe too much money is not such a good thing for an artist to have, they start having their work fabricated and cleaned up. What I use to love about his work was his messy way of making things, taking stuff off the streets, and sadly those days are long goner. So I walked around looking at these huge representational things that were trying to look like big overgrown puppies that seem to be calling out to you to pet them. I didn’t.
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