Opening Saturday, July 5th at Spoke Art in San Francisco, California is the highly anticipated group show, “Quentin Vs. Coens,” an art tribute to the film masters Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers. Featuring over 60 artists from around the world the show is always a knock out of fantastic art as well as being a celebration of Pop Culture and the influence it has on this generation’s artists. Above and below I’ve featured some of my favorites from this year, take a look!
Detail “All Idols have clay feat!” Mural in Shoreditch, London for @stolenspacegallery show opens Thursday #Overthrone #pooringreign #cyrcle #achillesheel big thanks to @dface_official and @so rayingbricks
At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, you kids today have no idea how lucky you are cause of that damn Internets. When I was an arty teenager with dyed orange hair and a leather jacket we would read everything we could about the avant-garde of the 60s and try desperately to experience the period’s films, sound and art. We were hungry to know first hand the source of all that was cutting edge and dangerous in the sphere of culture. We would trek to screening rooms in dark and scary Soho to see surviving Warhol stars like Ondine introduce the films in which they had behaved in ways our parents would never have allowed. More than once projectors broke, or prints were scratched and unable to play. And in many cases I feared that the chance would never come again. Today you have Ubuweb.
One film I never managed to see screened was Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, a legendary provocation that was officially censored by congress for having broken every taboo imaginable. I had read so much about Jack Smith and the film that I imagined I had seen it. Until Ubuweb put it on permanent view I had never experienced the dreamy wooziness of the actual experience watching the film in real time. Yet in it’s washed out black and white tonalities and complete non-narrative structure it was a little difficult to get through. I agree with the majority of experts on film that Flaming Creatures is a masterpiece certainly but one that required fortitude.
But in the seductive depths of viewing Ubuweb offers they also allowed me to see the film Jack Smith started when his front-page infamy was at its zenith and his first in lurid color, Normal Love. Smith is a man who made a religion of Hollywood B-movies and Normal Love is in many ways his masterpiece. Tacky sideshow Mermaids, Werewolves and Priests cavort in gender bending mayhem, romping through some pastoral glen. There is a two-hour version that exists but the 57-minute cut on Ubu will satisfy most appetites. Supposedly Andy Warhol has a cameo on the Giant Cake that Claes Oldenberg built for Smith but I have not found him. This film harkens to a time when the most radical artists were all on a first name basis and when there was still a shockable bourgeoisie. Smith’s school of literate camp was hugely influential in the world of visual as any one who saw the Mike Kelley retrospective at MOCA LA or P.S.1 would have noticed . Yet the pleasures of Normal Love are manifold and his created mythologies will haunt your mind for a good while after viewing.
UbuWeb Founding editor Kennth Goldsmith is performing at CAMH on July 12. Learn more about the event here.
Join us for the opening reception of “More Real Than Reality Itself” featuring Andrea Geyer, Camille Henrot, Laure Prouvost, and A. L. Steiner next Friday (6/27) from 6:30-9PM. Learn more about the exhibition at camh.org. (at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston)
The series takes its starting point from a 17-volume book set, Library of Photography, published in 1970-1972 by Time-Life Books. Matt Lipps has selected, cut out and assembled almost 500 figures, unfolding a visual roadmap of 40 years of American picture taking. Using collage strategies, sculptural tropes, theater staging and complex still-life, Library pays tribute to and requiem for the analog medium while posing new questions about the future of digital media and imaging.