Benjamin Péret’s Leg of Lamb
Benjamin Péret was a founding member of surrealism, a card carrying surrealist – if there ever was such a thing – and he was Salvador Dali’s favorite poet; as well as a revolutionary and a rabble rouser who stirred the pot of literary movements as well as political ones. Péret, like his writing, led an almost automatic life. Entering world war one in order to avoid persecution for defacing a statue and whilst in a fox hole one day he discovers the writings of Dadaist Guillaume Apollinaire - a Dadaist poet who coined the word surrealism. After the war Péret found his way in to the heart of the burgeoning surrealist movement and subsequently into the heart of its founder Andre Breton. The surrealists found it best to stay close in the early years of its founding in order to protect their brilliant, insane, and sometimes infantile visions of the world – a vision that if proclaimed by a solitary person would most likely lead to confinement for insanity in a world that saw if perfectly fine without all the sliced eyeballs and flying tigers.
“…a smorgasbord of automatic writing.”
But Benjamin Péret was one of the only surrealists, beside Andre Breton, who stayed a surrealist even after the mirage wore off. Péret’s Leg of Lamb: Its Life and Works, which is available now on Wakefield Press, is a “foundational classic of Surrealist literature.” Almost entirely written in the 1920s, Leg of Lamb is a collection of brilliant, absurdist visions - twenty-four narratives in short prose - a “smorgasbord of automatic writing.” Visit the the Wakfield Press website and pick up a copy for your collection – its a must for your library. www.wakefieldpress.com
David Bowie, Artist
This summer, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York presents David Bowie, Artist, a multi-platform retrospective re-framing Bowie’s daring, multi-discipline career as that of an artist working primarily in performance. From his roots in such performance-based practices as cabaret, mime, and avant-garde theater, to Ziggy Stardust, his revolutionary tour that synthesized theater, music, and contemporary art into a rock spectacle, as well as his innovative video collaborations, and his work in cinema and theater, David Bowie, Artist presents Bowie as one of the most iconoclastic cultural producers of the 20th century. On view until July 15th – www.mademuseum.org
Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde
American expatriates in bohemian Paris when the 20th century was young, the Steins — writer Gertrude, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael’s wife, Sarah — were among the first to recognize the talents of avant-garde painters like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Through their friendship and patronage, they helped spark an artistic revolution. This landmark exhibition draws on collections around the world to reunite the Steins’ unparalleled holdings of modern art, bringing together, for the first time in a generation, dozens of works by Matisse, Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and many others. Artworks on view include Matisse’s Blue Nude (Baltimore Museum of Art )and Self-Portrait (Statens Museum, Copenhagen), and Picasso’s famous portrait Gertrude Stein (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde is on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from May 21 to September 6. www.sfmoca.org
The only paradise is paradise lost….
Los Angeles, California. From a photo spread to be published in the upcoming printed edition of Pas Un Autre. Sign up for the newsletter to be informed…
In the Light of Mexico
Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata were stealing back Mexico for the people. Freedom was being won with blood. Mexico was in the throes of a revolution. The great first quarter of the twentieth century Mexico was fertile ground for not only revolutionaries, but also artists. Mexico was indeed succeeding to a modern world. Mexico, always the symbol and champion of the underdog, the poor, the hungry has always held on strong to its icons. They were roughhewn in their prismatic, threadbare ponchos, sombreros, and dark mestizo skin that glowed amber under a romantic, warm desert sun in a landscape of infinite flowers, cobble stone, and chirping monkeys. And like inventing memories from photographs, our images of Mexico have been always invented by this imagery. It’s the murals of Diego Rivera, the gardens and portraits of Frida Kahlo and the poems of Octavio Paz that paint of landscape of a bygone Mexico – poorly preserved by kitsch, refrigerator magnates, and theme restaurants. We always wonder what happened to the good old days when they’re seemingly gone forever. Certainly one of the most influential icons of Mexico’s good old days is the photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo. (READ MORE….)
“they say nothing is wasted: either that or it all is.” Dark Night Poem, Charles Bukowski
Houdini: Art & Magic
Magician, escape artist, and showman extraordinaire Harry Houdini (1874–1926) has remained an object of fascination for generations. Combining biographical and historical artifacts with contemporary art inspired by his physical audacity and celebrity, Houdini: Art and Magic explores Houdini as an individual and an enduring cultural phenomenon, documenting the period in American history when the young Jewish immigrant helped shape the cultural landscape and became an acknowledged mass-market star. Featuring more than 150 objects—including film clips, stunning period posters, dramatic theater ephemera, rare photographs, original props (including a straitjacket, milk can, and Metamorphosis Trunk used by Houdini), and the work of select avant-garde artists—the exhibition reveals Houdini’s legacy as an iconic figure, both in his time and in ours, who has inspired artists today to reconsider his role as a daring persona. On view at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles until September 4. www.skirball.org
The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy
The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy features thirty-seven sculptures from the tomb of John the Fearless (1342–1404), the second duke of Burgundy. His elaborate tomb, once housed at a monastery on the outskirts of Dijon, is now one of the centerpieces of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. On view until July 31 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. www.lacma.org
Another Day in Paradise
Adarsha Benjamin and Oliver Maxwell Kupper in the pool, Los Angeles, California – year of our lord two thousand and eleven. Photography by Bethany McCarty.