Weekend links 299

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Starman (2016) by Nyahzul Blanco. From the Saint Bowie exhibition at Stephen Romano Gallery, NY.

• “…[Dashiel] Hammett’s first-hand experience of political sleaze, industrial violence and the everyday routine of an agent allowed for a realism that brought hard-boiled fiction to new heights.” Oliver Harris reviews a new life of Hammett, a history of the American detective, and a study of film noir.

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 177 by Vladislav Dobrovolski, The After-School Club by Melmoth The Wanderer, and Perfect Monolake by Rich Ears.

Inside High-Rise: product designs by Michael Eaton and Felicity Hickson for Ben Wheatley’s feature film.

Yeats is not the only respected writer to make use of the tarot: Italo Calvino, Salvador Dalí, and even Charles Williams, a novelist and theologian who belonged to the Inklings literary circle, also drew on the cards. Still, the cards remain firmly associated with the occult—and, while [Jessa] Crispin is sympathetic to that tradition, she aims to bring tarot to those who may be skeptical of that way of thinking. Her references are more literary than arcane.

Peter Bebergal talks to Jessa Crispin about making the Tarot literary again

Legowelt’s best free paranormal synth samples, occult instruments and lo-fi effects.

• At Dangerous Minds: a smorgasbord of sorcerous bad taste via Vintage Occult.

• Free download: Cavern of Anti-Matter live at Acad, Berlin, 2015.

• Conversing with your Subconscious: The Art of Adrian Cherry.

Diagonal Science is the debut album from Black Helicopters.

111 Photographs of 111 Westminster Street in Providence, RI.

• More magick: occult documentaries of the 1970s.

• A Bosch-themed fashion feature by Tim Walker.

Cycloid Drawing Machine

Dark Star (1984) by Harold Budd | Dark Start (1994) by ELpH vs Coil | Dark Star Blues (2004) by Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.

Cosmic eggs

1: The Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937) by Salvador Dalí.

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2: Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man (1943) by Salvador Dalí.

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3: The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality (1971) by Joseph Chilton Pearce.

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The art of Aleksandr Kosteckij

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This is the kind of fantastic art I like a great deal: nebulous landscapes whose vast forms may be some kind of hybrid architecture; implications of the alien and mystical that retain some ambiguity; dreamlike without slipping into post-Surrealist cliché. Monsieur Thombeau at Full Fathom Five (whose excellent eye I have to thank once again) describes the paintings of Aleksandr Kosteckij/Kostetsky (1954–2010) as being “like Gustave Moreau, Salvador Dalí, and Max Ernst put in a blender and left out in the rain.” I’d place them somewhere between Ernst Fuchs and Bruce Pennington but Moreau’s chimeras are certainly present. You’d think an artist of this calibre with a large body of work would be better known, most of the attention at the moment seems to be on Russian websites. Let’s hope that changes soon.

Update: Thanks to Joe for pointing the way to this dedicated website, something I missed in my haste.

Examples chosen from these sites:
http://vk.com/album-32941665_175452413 (139 images)
http://www.2photo.ru/en/post/18614

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Temptations

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Exhibition catalogue.

In one of the many recent features about Leonora Carrington I noticed a mention of her Temptation of St Anthony painting from 1945 (see below). This was one of eleven works on the theme submitted by different artists for a competition staged to promote Albert Lewin’s The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947), a film adaptation of the Guy de Maupassant novel. Carrington is often mentioned when this competition is discussed, along with the other big names, Max Ernst (the winner) and Salvador Dalí. But you seldom see mention of any of the other competitors, hence this post, an attempt to find all of the competition entries.

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Leonora Carrington. St. Anthony is often shown with a pig companion but only Carrington depicted the animal for this competition. When asked why the saint had three heads, she replied “Why not?”

Albert Lewin didn’t make many films but he had a predilection for arty subjects, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami being preceded by adaptations of The Moon and Sixpence (1942) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). All three films star George Sanders, and all feature special colour sequences when a painting is revealed. 1945 was the peak of America’s brief infatuation with Surrealism (Hitchcock had Dalí working on Spellbound at this time) so Lewin asked a number of Surrealists to take up the challenge. I was surprised to find that Stanley Spencer was one of the entrants, a name you almost never see in this company; less surprising was Ivan Albright whose painting of the decayed Dorian Gray is one of the highlights of Lewin’s earlier film. Leonor Fini was also asked to take part but she didn’t produce anything. The judges were Marcel Duchamp, Alfred J. Barr, Jr, director of the Museum of Modern Art, and art dealer Sidney Janis. Ernst won a cash prize variously reported as $2500–3000, while the other entrants received smaller sums. The paintings toured the USA and Britain during 1946–7.

As to the film, I can’t say what this is like because it’s one I’ve yet to see but Self-Styled Siren’s witty review goes into some detail. Hollywood apparently had problems with the adult subject matter (Sanders’ character is described as a sexually predatory social climber), and Lewin was forced to tone things down.

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Ivan Albright.

Albright’s contribution is so frenzied and detailed it approaches psychedelia. Best seen in this large view at Flickr.

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Cosmic art

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Cosmic Synchromy (1914) by Morgan Russell.

The cosmic in art, and a partial selection at that. Venture too far and you find yourself in a syrupy New Age firmament of pastel galaxies, unicorns and space dolphins. Beware.

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Cosmic Composition (1919) by Paul Klee.

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Cosmic Map (1930) by Bruno Munari.

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Lament Over the Cosmic Egg (1947) by Ernst Fuchs.

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