Being an inveterate Kubrickphile I was naturally pleased to hear that some of the excised scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey have survived in a watchable form, even though I’m often ambivalent about the restoration of such material. While it was good to see at last the missing French compound sequence of Apocalypse Now, for example, that sequence added nothing to the film as a whole and its inclusion was spoiled by music which Coppola used for sentimental reasons. In Kubrick’s case, there’s a longer version of The Shining which the director allowed to be screened on UK TV in the 1980s but, again, most of the unseen material was incidental and added nothing to the film.
• Related: Roger Ebert’s review of 2001 from 1968; Olivier Mourgue, designer of the Djinn chairs seen in the film’s space Hilton scenes; Magnificent obsession, a Vanity Fair piece from 2002 about the search for the missing scenes from The Magnificent Ambersons. Meanwhile, the trailer for Terrence Malick’s new film, The Tree of Life, features some surprising cosmic moments among its scenes of family life.
The separate history [of gay and lesbian artists] has been kind of edited out of art history but in fact art history is very much interwoven with gay or queer history. In a way the two can’t be separated. America doesn’t like anything uncomfortable. I find in my dealings with museums that if I ask a question and the answer is ‘no,’ they don’t answer. If the answer is ‘yes,’ I get these amazingly enthusiastic responses. I find it sort of strange sometimes, not being American myself. In a way what they’re doing is editing out the uncomfortable. David Wojnarowicz’s work can make you uncomfortable — and they’ve edited out that possibility in the show.
Canadian artist AA Bronson (see below).
• More on the Smithsonian versus David Wojnarowicz affair: Frank Rich examined the train of events in a comment piece, Gay Bashing at the Smithsonian, for the NYT; the Andy Warhol Foundation threatened to withdraw their funding for future Smithsonian events unless the work is reinstated, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation will be doing the same; another artist featured in the National Portrait Gallery exhibition, AA Bronson, requested that the gallery withdraw his work from the show in protest; the NPG refused, citing a contractual arrangement; among the increasing number of galleries showing support for Wojnarowicz, Tate Modern, London, will host an event in January which will feature a screening of the contentious video; lastly, there’s a protest event in New York City today (Sunday, December 19th) at 1.00pm, details here.
• More censorship in America: Jeffrey Deitch Censors Blu’s Political Street Art Mural. In the book world, writer Selena Kitt finds her erotic incest stories removed from Amazon’s Kindle store. Other authors, Jess C Scott and Esmerelda Green, have had their erotic titles removed from the store. Selena Kitt says:
When some of my readers began checking their Kindle archives for books of mine they’d purchased on Amazon, they found them missing from their archives. When one reader called to get a refund for the book she no longer had access to, she was chastised by the Amazon customer service representative about the “severity” of the book she’d chosen to purchase.
Can you imagine buying a paper book and the bookstore then paying you a visit to forcibly reclaim it? To date no adequate explanation from Amazon has been forthcoming but they’ll be happy to sell you a Kindle edition of the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom.
Galaxy M51 aka The Whirlpool. One of the Top Astronomy Pictures of the Year from a selection by Bad Astronomy. Photo by the Hubble Heritage Team & Robert Gendler.
• More cosmic events: there’ll be a total lunar eclipse this coming Monday, visible in much of the Northern Hemisphere.
• “Heterosexuality is the opiate of the masses!” The Raspberry Reich (2004), a film by Bruce LaBruce.
• New editions of Borges poetry. Fine so long as you accept that the translations can never truly satisfy.
• Just the thing for the winter weather, illustrations for Pushkin’s Queen of Spades from 1966.
• Another Ghost Box download: Radio Belbury Programme 1: “Holidays & Hintermass”.
• Monsters, Inc: Arcimboldo and the Wunderkammer of Rudolf II.
• Silent Porn Star found some burlesque lamps.
• Giant airship powered by algae.
• Space Oddity (1969) by David Bowie.