Viewing View

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“Convulsive beauty” continues to be the order of the day around here. Reading Deborah Solomon’s Joseph Cornell biography back in April I was wishing again that there might be a way of seeing back issues of Charles Henri Ford’s View magazine, a heavily Surrealist art journal published in New York in the 1940s with an incredible list of contributors. (See this post.) Cornell was good friends with Ford and his artist-partner, Pavel Tchelitchew, and provided material for several issues of the magazine, including a substantial contribution to the Americana Fantastica special of January 1943. So I was delighted—convulsed, even—when the generous Mr TjZ of Connecticut offered to send me a copy of View: Parade of the Avant-Garde, a 290-page reader compiled by Ford for Thunder’s Mouth Press in 1992. Ideal reading just now. Thanks, Joe!

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Previously on { feuilleton }
View: The Modern Magazine

Weekend links 198

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Bum (1966) by Pauline Boty.

Eleanor Birne on Pauline Boty, “the only prominent female Pop artist among a generation of famous men”. Ken Russell’s Pop Art documentary, Pop Goes the Easel (1962), which features Boty, may be seen here. Two years later Boty was back with Ken Russell playing the part of the prostitute from The Miraculous Mandarin in a film about Béla Bartók. That’s something I’d love to see. There’s more about her painting, and the work of other female Pop artists, here.

• Why Are We Sleeping? Mark Pilkington on the music world’s recurrent interest in the philosophy of GI Gurdjieff. Pilkington’s most recent Raagnagrok release with Zali Krishna, Man Woman Birth Death Infinity, was reviewed by Peter Bebergal.

• Cinematic details: Frames-within-frames in The Ipcress File (1966), and the typography of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

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A Jay Shaw poster for Ben Wheatley’s forthcoming film of High-Rise.

• “…a large cavity must be dug in the bird’s shoulder and filled with ball bearings.” Christine Baumgarthuber on the dubious delights of The Futurist Cookbook.

• Why Tatlin Can Never Go Home Again: Rick Poynor on the difficulties of finding a definitive representation of an artwork online.

Jay Parini reviews Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris by Edmund White. At AnOther Donatien Grau talks to White about fashion.

• At Bajo el Signo de Libra (in Spanish): the homoerotic and occasionally Surrealist art of Pavel Tchelitchew.

• At 50 Watts: Kling Klang Gloria: Vintage Children’s Books from Austria.

• The motorbike girl gangs of Morocco photographed by Hassan Hajjaj.

Geoff Manaugh on how LED streetlights will change cinema.

Stylus “is an experiment in sound, music and listening”.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen mix 106 by Senking.

• At Pinterest: JG Ballard

This Is Pop? (1978) by XTC | Pop Muzik (1979) by M | Pop Quiz (1995) by Stereolab

Weekend links 150

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One of A Pair of Peacocks (2012) by Feanne.

Jonathan Barnbrook reveals his package design for the new David Bowie CD. The Barnbrook studio has also designed the catalogue for the forthcoming V&A Bowie exhibition. And there’s more (don’t worry, it’ll be over soon): Jon Savage on When Bowie met Burroughs.

• “Witches have a fashion moment,” says the NYT. Nice clothes but the writing trots out too many of the usual lazy clichés. Related: A Tale of Witches, Woodland and Half-remembered Melodies…, a new mix by Melmoth the Wanderer.

Calidostópia! is a free album (FLAC & mp3) from Marcus Popp aka Oval: “an enticing 16-track collaboration…with seven wonderful singers/musicians from all over South America”.

Before meeting Moorcock in person, [Hari] Kunzru went on to say, ‘I didn’t realise the role he’d played in connecting so many different scenes and undergrounds together – the psychedelic music scene, the science fiction scene, the hip experimental literature scene around people like William Burroughs, pop art’.

Brave New Worlds: A Michael Moorcock Retrospective by Carol Huston. Moorcock’s Elric novels will be published by Glénat in new bande dessinée adaptations later this year.

• More art by Michael W. Kaluta at The Golden Age. And more fantastic comics/illustration by Philippe Caza at 50 Watts. There’s more Caza here.

• Mine and David Britton’s new book, Lord Horror: Reverbstorm, was reviewed at The Spectator.

Google Street Scene: “Moments of cinema captured by Google Street View cameras”.

Cosmic Sentinels and Spiral Jetties: JG Ballard, Robert Smithson & Tacita Dean

• Strange Flowers showcases the heads of Pavel Tchelitchew, 1949–1952.

Setting in the East: Diamanda Galás on Women and Real Horror

Little Joe: “A magazine about queers and cinema, mostly.”

Nanoparticles loaded with bee venom kill HIV.

Treatises on Dust: Antic Found Texts

The Wizard Blew His Horn (1975) by Hawkwind (with Michael Moorcock) | Brothel In Rosenstrasse (1982) by Michael Moorcock’s Deep Fix | Running Through The Back Brain (1983) by Hawkwind (with Michael Moorcock)

The Secret Life of Edward James

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From the earliest days of YouTube there were two films about Surrealist art that I’d been hoping would one day be posted somewhere so I could watch them again. One was José Montes-Baquer’s collaboration with Salvador Dalí, Impressions de la Haute Mongolie – Hommage á Raymond Roussel (1976), which eventually turned up at Ubuweb; the other was Patrick Boyle’s The Secret Life of Edward James, a 50-minute documentary about the wealthy poet and Surrealist art patron that was screened once, and once only, on the UK’s ITV network in 1978. Boyle’s film, which was narrated by James’ friend and fellow Surrealism enthusiast, George Melly, was my first introduction to a fascinating figure who was one of the last—if not the last—of the many eccentric aristocrats that these islands have produced. I knew James’ name at the time from Surrealist art books where the Edward James Foundation was credited as the owner of paintings by Magritte and Dalí, but had no idea that James was the model for three of Magritte’s paintings, including La reproduction interdite (1937), that he’d abandoned his huge ancestral home to create a Surrealist house at nearby Monkton, and had also commenced the construction of a concrete fantasia, Las Pozas, in the heart of the Mexican jungle at Xilitla. Boyle’s film explores all of this in the calm and uncondescending manner that used to be a staple of UK TV documentaries. I’ve been telling people about this film for years, hoping that somebody might have taped it (unlikely in 1978) but no one ever seemed to have seen it.

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In 1986, two years after James’ death, Monkton was up for sale so Central TV sent George Melly and director Patrick Boyle to revisit the place. Monkton, A Surrealist Dream, was the result, a 26-minute documentary which relied heavily on the earlier film to fill out the details of James’ life. The original resurfaced for me again, albeit briefly, in Brighton in 1998. A Surreal Life: Edward James (1907–1984) was an exhibition at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery which featured many works from the James art collection, including major pieces by Leonora Carrington (who appears in Boyle’s film), Dalí, Leonor Fini, Magritte, Picasso, Dorothea Tanning, Pavel Tchelitchew and others. A tape of the 1978 documentary was showing on a TV in one part of the exhibition but the people I was with were reluctant to stand around for an hour so all I got to see was a minute or so of Edward in his jungle paradise. Happily we’re all now able to watch this gem of a film since it was uploaded to YouTube earlier this month (my thanks to James at Strange Flowers for finding it!).

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For anyone whose interest is piqued by all of this, two books are worth searching for: Swans Reflecting Elephants, My Early Years (1982) is an autobiography which George Melly compiled from conversations with its subject (and which apparently finished their friendship). James’ propensity for invention means it can’t always be trusted but then that’s the case with many memoirs. A Surreal Life: Edward James (1998) is the 160-page exhibition catalogue which explores James’ life and aesthetic obsessions in a series of copiously-illustrated essays. Both books can be found relatively cheaply via used book dealers.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Las Pozas panoramas
René Magritte by David Wheatley
Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dalí
Mongolian impressions
Hello Dali!
Return to Las Pozas
Dirty Dalí
Impressions de la Haute Mongolie revisited
Las Pozas and Edward James

View: The Modern Magazine

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Portrait of Charles Henri Ford in Poppy Field by Pavel Tchelitchew (1933).

View magazine was an American periodical of art and literature, published quarterly from 1940 to 1947 with heavy emphasis on the Surrealist art of the period. The astonishing list of contributors included Jorge Luis Borges, Alexander Calder, Albert Camus, Marc Chagall, Joseph Cornell, Jean Dubuffet, Lawrence Durrell, Max Ernst, Jean Genet, Paul Klee, Henry Miller, René Magritte, André Masson, Joan Miró, Georgia O’Keefe, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Edouard Roditi, Yves Tanguy, and Pavel Tchelitchew.

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