The art of Andrey Avinoff, 1884–1949

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Man Emerging from a Tree Stump (no date).

Yet another artist I’d be unlikely to have come across had it not been for the web. Andrey Avinoff’s art manages to be both mystical and homoerotic in equal measure and there’s a good selection of his paintings and drawings to be found in a collection at the Kinsey Institute. Avinoff was an entomologist and worked as director of the Carnegie Museum along with that other famous butterfly enthusiast, Vladimir Nabokov. He was also a friend of Alfred Kinsey’s for many years and the art which Kinsey collected seems (perhaps inevitably) more sexual than the artist’s mystical work or his butterfly pictures. As with other artists discussed here, we learn that “he may have been homosexual”, an equivocation which seems particularly silly when looking at his study of a (naked) young man entitled My Special Longing. He was also a Nijinsky enthusiast and one of his portraits has the dancer as a naked faun bestride an overgrown butterfly.

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left: Standing Nude Man with Figure of Saint (no date); right: Nijinsky (1918).

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Jeff on Bldgblog

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Ambergris by Scott Eagle.

Jeff VanderMeer is interviewed by the excellent Bldgblog, discussing “English cathedrals, ‘fungal technologies’ and architectural infections, the Sydney opera house, Vladimir Nabokov, ‘The Library of Babel,’ Monsanto, giant squids and geological deposits, nighttime walks through Prague, and even urban security after the attacks of 9/11”. The interview includes some of my designs for City of Saints and Madmen and provides a great insight into Jeff’s work, avoiding the usual discussions about contemporary fantasy writing for something far more interesting and thought-provoking.

Previously on { feuilleton }
An announcement redux

A literary recluse: The mystery of Pynchon

pynchon_simpsons.jpgThe cult writer is about to publish his first novel for nine years. But the best-selling author of V and Gravity’s Rainbow remains an enigma to his millions of fans. By Louise Jury

August 17, 2006
The Independent

He is so elusive a writer that he makes Harper Lee appear a socialite. He gives no interviews and shuns all photo opportunities. Thomas Pynchon, cult figure of American prose, is a nightmare for his publicists.

But the mystery surrounding the 69-year-old author will serve only to increase the clamour when his next novel, Against the Day, is published in December simultaneously in the UK and the US. It will be his first novel in nine years and only his sixth—plus a collection of early fiction—since his astonishing debut with V in 1963.

Finally announcing the date yesterday, Dan Franklin of Jonathan Cape, his British publisher, said that to have a new work was “incredibly exciting”. He added: “Against the Day is an epic that is awesome in its scope and imagination.”

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