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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for June, 2011


Network 21 TV


What was Network 21? It’s easiest to grab an explanation from the people responsible: NeTWork 21 was a pirate television station which broadcast a 30mns program on Fridays from midnight throughout April to September 1986 in London. It had never been done before, and has not been done since anywhere in the UK. The broadcasts […]

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Dekorative Vorbilder


Richard Kühnel. Some of the Art Nouveau plates from Dekorative Vorbilder, a series devoted to the decorative arts published in Germany from 1895 on. The interior design suggestion above has me wondering whether there’s ever been another period of design when it’s seemed quite natural (so to speak) to offer a giant insect and monstrous […]

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Muto: The Exterface Manifesto


In which French photographers Exterface extend their particular brand of erotic styling into the world of online publications. Muto is a typically high-quality production (requires registration with Issuu), the theme this time being the hothouse of the 1970s when the word “clone” was as much associated with gay bars as with the products of science […]

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Dead roads


Canon de Chelly — Navaho (1904) by Edward Sheriff Curtis. A few pictures from the substantial Flickr collection belonging to San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts. Many of these are views of the western states of the USA from a time when photographers were documenting the vanishing world of Native American tribes. A couple of […]

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Weekend links 64


The Sixteenth of September (1956) by René Magritte. To Magritte admirers, The Sixteenth of September is a deceptively realistic work painted in 1956, one of a series in which the artist plays tricks with light and time of day. It shows a crescent moon impossibly shining through the dark mass of a tree, against a […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {photography}, {politics}, {surrealism} | 1 comment »


Friedrich and Schinkel


Abbey among Oak Trees (1809 or 1810) by Caspar David Friedrich. More from the Google Art Project. In these views we get to see some of the subtleties in the work of Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840), a master at rendering fine gradations of light and shade. The paintings are from the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, and […]

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Morlocks, airships and curious cabinets


Things I was working on late last year continue to percolate or, if you prefer, build a head of steam. My cover for KW Jeter’s Morlock Night appears in a short piece by Rick Poynor in July’s Creative Review. That feature is prompted by the British Library’s Out of the World exhibition. Nice to see […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}, {magazines}, {science fiction}, {work} | 1 comment »


The Happy Hypocrite by Max Beerbohm


The spirit of the 1890s persists in this 1915 edition of a story the splendid Max wrote originally for The Yellow Book in 1896. Originally subtitled “A Fairy Tale for Tired Men”, The Happy Hypocrite is a typically light-hearted affair concerning the misadventures of one Lord George Hell. The setting is the Regency era so […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {illustrators} | 5 comments »


The art of Aloys Zötl, 1803–1887


Le caïman (1849). Two things that everyone seems able to tell you about Austrian artist Aloys Zötl is that his idiosyncratic bestiary was hailed by André Breton as a Surrealist precursor, and that Zötl’s paintings were published in a lavish edition by Ricci in 1977 with accompanying text by Julio Cortázar. Typically for a Ricci […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {science}, {surrealism} | 8 comments »


Max Reinhardt’s Dream


In which the great German theatre director goes to Hollywood to show America how to stage Shakespeare. Nearly everyone who was anyone in pre-war German cinema passed through Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theater in Berlin so it seemed natural that he’d gravitate eventually to film himself. The 1935 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was directed […]

Posted in {fantasy}, {film}, {music}, {theatre} | 8 comments »


Cthulhu under glass


Having had two separate visitors to the British Library’s Out of this World exhibition tell me that some of my work was featured there, it’s been a good to finally discover what was on display. Many thanks to John Keogh for notifying me of his exhibition photo set which includes the above shot of the […]

Posted in {books}, {fantasy}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {science fiction}, {work} | 1 comment »


Weekend links 63


Polish poster by Andrzej Bertrandt for Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film of Solaris. • Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris receives its first ever direct English translation by Bill Johnston (only on Audible for the moment), all previous editions having been sourced from a poor French translation. An all-too-common state of affairs for non-English fiction where bad or bowdlerised […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {drugs}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {politics}, {religion}, {science fiction} | 3 comments »


Land art


Spiral Jetty. Reading this story about an ownership dispute over Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in Utah had me searching out his celebrated artwork on Google Maps. It’s easy to find since Google have many of the well-known pieces of 1970s land art marked on their satellite views. Having found Smithson’s construction I went looking for […]

Posted in {art}, {music}, {photography}, {sculpture} | 7 comments »


Art et Décoration


Another Art Nouveau journal partially emerged from the world’s libraries, Art et Décoration was a French equivalent of The Studio, launched a few years after its British counterpart in 1897. The examples here are from a cover design competition in the first issue which yielded the usual complement of decorous muses and florid borders; The […]

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Joyce in Time


A post for Bloomsday. James Joyce made the cover of Time magazine on two occasions, each instance following the publication of his two greatest works. Ulysses was first published in France in 1922 but had to wait until 1934 to be presented in full to the American public after a trial for alleged obscenity. The […]

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Hello, sailor


Homotography goes nautical again this week, sporting shots of model Lukas Bossert in a session by Mustafa Sabbagh. I’m not sure whether these have any purpose beyond showing off Mr Bossert’s physique but we don’t really need any other reason, do we? Homotography has bigger pics should you require them. Incidentally, fashion photography is now […]

Posted in {eye candy}, {fashion}, {gay}, {photography} | 6 comments »


Sibylle Ruppert revisited


Empusae Raptus (1977). Another post about this astonishing artist (I’ll keep talking about her if no one else does…). The pictures here are taken from the catalogue for the 2010 Sibylle Ruppert exhibition at the HR Giger Museum, Gruyères, Switzerland. Leslie Barany was good enough to send me a copy of this, and the pictures […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {magazines}, {painting}, {science fiction} | 10 comments »


The Isle of the Dead in detail


More from the Google Art Project where a couple of paintings by Swiss Symbolist Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901) may be explored, one of them an 1883 version of cult favourite The Isle of the Dead. No need to repeat the history of that work when I’ve already written about it. The version here is from the […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {symbolists} | 9 comments »


Weekend links 62


A plate from Tales of the Amur by Dmitry Nagishkin, a 1975 edition illustrated by Gennady Pavlishin. • The week in Surrealism: Opera of the surreal gives Dalí an encore: Yo, Dalí, a previously unperformed work by Xavier Benguerel, receives its premier in Madrid. Meanwhile Tate Liverpool’s summer exhibition, René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle, is […]

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Alchemy & Inquiry


The Dust Blows Forward, The Dust Blows Back (2011) by Fred Tomaselli. Artistic alchemy has been thriving in New York for the past few weeks. Alchemy & Inquiry is a show which has been running at the Glyndor Gallery, Wave Hill, the Bronx, since April, featuring paintings by Philip Taaffe, Fred Tomaselli and Terry Winters. […]

Posted in {art}, {drugs}, {occult}, {painting}, {psychedelia} | 1 comment »


Sibylle Ruppert, 1942–2011


La Bible du mal (1978). Another painter gone, and a really extraordinary one at that. I wrote something about German artist Sibylle Ruppert two years ago, and only heard about her death this week following an email from Leslie Barany of Barany Artists. Leslie also sent copies of recent exhibition material from a Ruppert show […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {painting} | 11 comments »


Everything old is new again


Thomas Negovan. Music journalist Simon Reynolds has been garnering attention over the past couple of weeks with his new book Retromania, an exploration of the thriving revivals and resurrections in the musical world and an examination of what this may mean for the future. There’s an astute discussion along these lines between Reynolds and Colin […]

Posted in {electronica}, {music}, {technology} | 2 comments »


Martin Rushent, 1948–2011


Pop music is one of the best forms of time travel when it summons a memory that returns you to a specific time and place. All I need to revisit the summers of 1981/82/83 is a blast from one of these albums, each a Martin Rushent production that benefited from his expertise with synth and […]

Posted in {electronica}, {music} | 3 comments »


Polish Book Cover Contest Winners


50 Watts (formerly A Journey Around My Skull) followed its 2009 Evil Orchid Bookplate Contest with a contest to design a Polish book cover. The results were announced a few hours ago, the winner being the above design by Ben Jones who happens to be from Manchester. The rest of the entries can be seen […]

Posted in {books}, {design} | 3 comments »


Carl Corley


The Purple Ring (1968). I’ve not read any of Carl Corley’s novels but their covers become familiar once you start searching through archives or articles devoted to the gay pulps of the 1960s. Corley was unusual in this field in authoring his books under his own name (most gay and lesbian pulps are credited to […]

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Weekend links 61


Marbles and Butterflies (2011) by Jennifer Knaus. • “Cutter’s Way is a cinematic masterpiece” says John Patterson. Yes, it is, and it’s often been difficult to see (although it’s now on DVD) being one of those cult films that rarely surfaced on TV or video. Another cult film surfacing at last is Jerzy Skolimowski’s Deep […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {drugs}, {electronica}, {fantasy}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {sculpture} | 1 comment »


Miwa Yanagi’s fairy tales


Rapunzel (2004). Emphasising the “grim” in the Brothers Grimm is what Japanese artist Miwa Yanagi achieves with Fairy Tale, a series of staged photos. It’s a familiar approach, of course, mining childhood for a darker subtext, and the effect is reminiscent in places of earlier explorers of this disturbing territory such as David Lynch and […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {fantasy}, {horror}, {photography} | 2 comments »


Franz Stassen’s illustrated Hoffmann


Endpaper design with an ex libris plate by the artist. Another prolific illustrator with a clear-line style, Franz Stassen (1869–1949) here decorates the pages of Musikalische Schriften, a book devoted to the musical works of writer ETA Hoffmann. I haven’t checked but I’m fairly sure that Stassen was featured in Jugend magazine a few times, […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {gay}, {illustrators}, {music} | 3 comments »


Valenti Angelo’s Salomé


And still they come… Valenti Angelo (1897–1982) was an American printmaker, author of several books for children and the illustrator of an estimated 250 classic works of fiction including this 1945 edition of Wilde’s Salomé for Heritage Press. Angelo has an engagingly simple style in this and other works, reminding me of David Sheridan’s Tarot […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {illustrators} | 2 comments »


Dalí’s Salomé


Queen Salomé (1937) by Salvador Dalí. Of all the Surrealists, Salvador Dalí had his fingers in the most cultural pies—designing for film and theatre, writing books (including a novel, Hidden Faces), even performing occasionally, or at least making a public spectacle of himself—so it’s no surprise to find him adding to the stock of 20th-century […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {surrealism}, {theatre} | 1 comment »







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