Chris Burden Saved From the ‘Clutches of History’

“America” featuring 625 painted-cardboard submarines [1987]

Roberta Smith really digs the Chris Burden show at the New Museum. "Extreme Measures" is not only "a superb survey, but also a kind of transfiguration," she writes in her NY Times review. "It liberates the Los Angeles-based Mr. Burden from the clutches of history." I'm uncertain of what she means by the "clutches of history." Perhaps it's nothing more than a grandiose way of saying that this is, as she also points out, "the first American solo museum exhibition of Mr. Burden’s work since 1988, and his first in New York." Smith's review … [Read more...]

19th-Century Balzac Meets 20th-Century Bellaart

Honoré de Balzac [by Gerard Bellaart, 1.XII,00]

Gerard Bellaart's masterly washed-pen drawing of Honoré de Balzac testifies to his great admiration for one of France's most prodigious writers. He is particularly fond of the 19th-century Balzac novel Illusions perdues, about a young poet living in Angoulême, a provincial town in "France profonde," who is desperate to make a name for himself in Paris. Gerard Bellaart in his studio. [JH, 2013] … [Read more...]

Seamus Heaney, R.I.P.


Seamus Heaney died today Fred just told me. that leaves very few of his caliber. attached an anatomical study as a sign of respect. the drawing was on the desktop when Fred brought me the sad news. I have mailed you the 'stone from delphi' which really sums up the poet and man. small precious stone from Heaney's 'station island' a day of mourning for eire -- Gerard Bellaart +++ Obituary in the Irish Times. … [Read more...]

Back-to-Back Writings From Underground Dos-à-Dos

Table of Contents for EAL's 'Stories That Will Buckle Your Knees ...'

+++ Incidental Intelligence: Anyone who cherishes raw truth, and especially those of us who were warmed by Carl Weissner's friendship, will appreciate EINE ANDERE LIGA as a mammoth achievement. But Milena Verlag ought to correct two claims on its Web site: 1) that this posthumous collection of his underground writings has a foreword written by Sean Penn -- it doesn't -- and 2) that Death in Paris (which comprises half of EAL in a German translation by Walter Hartmann) is Carl's "only novel in English." For the record, Death in Paris was the … [Read more...]

Brecht Never Taught at Podunk College

Bertolt Brecht

Two staff messages the other day led me to compare them. One went like this: I have a colleague who reads manuscripts for a literary magazine. Recently, I spent two hours looking at the contributions she has to vet. God, the bulk of them are awful. Actually, what makes them awful is their mediocrity. None of them are spectacularly bad, illiterate, crazy, or demented. That would be ok. Instead they're all submitted by these guys with MFAs. They all teach at some podunk college someplace. They all straddle a line between conventional novels … [Read more...]

Connecting Kim Dotcom and Edward Snowden

Image projected in protest on the U.S. Embassy in Berlin

To have a staff of thousands that keeps me informed is one of the privileges of this blog. Had I not been tipped about the projection of Kim Dotcom's face with the words "United Stasi of America" on a wall of the U.S. embassy in Berlin, I would not have made a connection between N.S.A. whistle-blower Edward Snowden and Kim Dotcom, the German-born Internet entrepreneur formerly known as Kim Schmitz. The "Stasi" reference will be obvious to anyone, especially Germans, familiar with the secret police of the former German Democratic Republic, aka … [Read more...]

This ‘Auteur’ Made Some of Hollywood’s Best Films

William Wyler

I just caught a screening of "Dodsworth" at the New York Historical Society, where Catherine Wyler mentioned in a pre-screening interview with AMERICAN MASTERS creator Susan Lacy that there are two new Wyler books due out soon: one by Gabriel Miller, the other by Neil Sinyard. She hoped it signals renewed interest in her father's work. I hope she's right. It might even give a boost to sales of my Wyler biography A Talent for Trouble, which was published back in 1996. (Miraculously, the paperback is still in print. Here's the NY Times … [Read more...]

Wrapping Up the ‘Dutch Mordant’ Series

1-neusheilige 5 7 2013_Layout 1

Cold Turkey Press publisher Gerard Bellaart writes that he "got rather carried away." There are now about 40 cards in the series. Consequently the 36 portfolios of 12 cards each "will differ slightly in composition." The "sacred nose" comes from the Bellaart family album, dated 1755.+++ A photo by Frederick Sommer illustrates the "kleine Welten" card. Sommer was born in Italy in 1905, grew up in Brazil, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1925. He lived in Arizona most of his life and died in 1999. The Getty Museum paid tribute to him with a … [Read more...]

Yannick Bouillis Spreads the Word on Twinpak

Pages 56 and 57 in ELSE #5, the current issue of ELSE magazine, published by the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In ELSE #5, the current issue of the photo magazine ELSE published in Lausanne, Switzerland, by the Musée de l'Elysée, Yannick Bouillis has dedicated a handsome double spread to Norman O. Mustill's Twinpak (Nova Broadcast Press, 1969). Bouillis, a former journalist and bookseller, is a member of the ELSE editorial committee and the founder of Offprint Paris, a bookfair for independent publishers. The spread shows three pages excerpted from "Song," which appeared in Twinpak with another work, titled "A Shockumentary." Here is the complete … [Read more...]

Planned Obsolescence Press to Big Data: Fuck Off

'The Collected Kulchur Book Reviews of Ted Berigan' [Planned Obsolescence Press, 2013]Published and edited by Jed Birmingham

In an unsigned Publisher's Note to Whale Drek: The Lost Footnotes of the Olympia Press Naked Lunch, Jed Birmingham writes: "Planned Obsolescence Press specializes in distributing small shiploads of K.Y. made of genuine whale drek. What better to grease the lines of communication? The Press recycles that which no one has found any use for. The lost, the forgotten, scraps from the dustbin. In short, footnotes to literary history." Contrary to Big Data, Birmingham's data is produced cheaply and primitively. The typed pages sometimes accompanied … [Read more...]

Antonin Artaud’s ‘Rotten Meat’

Antonin Artaud 'Execrations -- Le depossede' COLD TURKEY PRESS [2013]

I'd bet the quotes on this card from Cold Turkey Press won't be found in the search engines. +++ Here are some other recent Cold Turkey cards that quote Artaud: No Words, No Thought; Artaud’s Hammer; Plague of My Tongue, 1; Plague of My Tongue, 2. Additionally, Cold Turkey publisher Gerard Bellaart, writer and artist in his own right, has made stenciled texts using Artaud's words. This is one example: Artaud Fragmentations … [Read more...]

A New Poster from Cold Turkey Press

This Cold Turkey Press poster is published in a first edition limited to 36 copies.

The first flash mob in Europe Met in Rome on 24 June 2003. 300 people entered 'Messaggerie Musicali', A large book and music store, To ask its staff either for non-existent books, Or for the most obscure books By untraceable authors. One flash mobber asked for a copy of the New Testament Translated from Coptic into Latin by David Wilkins And published in 1716 by Oxford University Press. The book took till 1907 to sell its 500-copy print run. It was the slowest selling book in human history. 'Have you got it?' the book-lover … [Read more...]