“I was struck by poems made of lines that are poems all on their own—even as they unstack into melodic steps from top to bottom . . . Some are as spare as Chinese widsom. In Herman’s poems you know you are certainly ‘somewhere’ but maybe it’s somewhere only in atavistic memory, the realm of dreams. He writes with what Lavinia Greenlaw called ‘unsettled language,’ which brings less obvious aspects of imagination or observation to the fore . . . teasing, holding attention by where they might be heading. A doubtful adventure? A seductive noire? An obscene history lesson? And of course, mortality raises its knowing head more than once.” — Jay Jones
“The penultimate superstition of mankind is the State, and until the state has been rejected man will be a slave to darkness and ignorance: for fatherland, nation, country, patriotism, government are all black magic brewed in the witch’s cauldron of World History. The State Conscience, like its founders, Remus and Romulus, has always been suckled by wolves . . . ” — Edward Dahlberg
Ran into a tough opponent the other day. Took a header. I hit the pavement and it knocked me cold. Disfigured my face. An entire crew of firemen pulled up in full regalia, ladder engine included, had a look and got me a deluxe ambulance ride to the emergency room, plus a brainscan, a 24-hour overnight on a hospital gurney—the place was fully booked—and a bunch of stitches by a well-meaning young doc. Now home, condition improving, I got to thinking of Edward Dahlberg’s “Can These Bones Live.”
“I’m holed up in Superville … flat broke … what happened is this: I took off with Dick (you know him) in his Dyno … The idea was to sell it here & score for the uh amenities … By the time we got to Cuneo Lingo the engine broke down … it cost us 200 to get it fixed … That was all the dough we had between us … I tell you we crawled into town on all fours … So we sit in this café nursing a glass of lemon juice & trying to figure out what next … when out of the blue this chick appears & sits down at our table: Suzie Wong (you know her!) … & now dig this: she’s got a Dyno & … well, you can guess the rest … This hick country is strictly from General Motors … & anyone trying to get rid of a European car invariably finds himself facing a solid wall of hostility & suspicion … shoved around by rude inspectors, searched at customs, the works …”
“Now and again a poet is found who is a complex of many capabilities and patterns, all relating but none so isolating in its practice that the one is lost to the other. I have marveled for years at Gerard Malanga’s articulate endurance as a poet.”— Robert Creeley
“Some memoirs feel more trustworthy than others. Nhi tells her stories not in a straight line but more like a roundelay. Outsider, refugee, immigrant, outsider again…. Some of her memories are horribly sad, others are funny, and all are recounted with a simple grace and an admirable survivor’s strength.” — John Stausbaugh, author of City of Sedition and Victory City.
MoMA’s redesigned galleries have put some great previously unseen pieces on display, like Wolf Vostell’s antiwar art. Lipstick tubes replace bombs in a “widely circulated war photograph” of a B-52 dropping its bomb load over Vietnam. I won’t argue with MoMA’s explanatory description that Vostell was “equating mindless consumerism with apathy toward contemporary injustices and violence.” Of course he was. But I would go much further than those abstractions. Seems to me he was equating it with mass murder and genocide. Coincidentally, a friend sent me a 50-year-old “telegram collage” about the Mi Lai massacre of March 1968, which he happened to see in some library archive. No abstractions here.
“The art world has disfigured the legacy of the Puerto Rican Lower East Side artist Angel ‘LA2’ Ortiz by failing to acknowledge his contribution to Keith Haring’s work. Nobody has dealt with the racist issue of his exclusion from the Keith Haring legacy. Nobody of any consequence in the art world has the internal strength to deal with this ‘oversight.’ We all know what it is like to be cheated out of our rightful credit. But years’s worth of credit? Even though Ortiz’s art is clearly visible for all the world to see in Haring’s work? Ortiz has been cheated out of his credit in shows at prestigious museums, in books published by powerful institutions like the Whitney, and in credit left off Haring’s work at a world-famous auction house. Just totally ignored. Would that happen to a white artist?” — Clayton Patterson.
The Something Else Factor: Alison Knowles, Barbara Moore, Martha Wilson and I will be participating this evening in a panel about the glory days of Something Else Press, moderated by Hannah B. Higgins, at the Emily Harvey Foundation. It’s the first of four discussions organized by Christian Xatrec and Alice Centamore. The events are free. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Born in 1948, underweight, no ears, and on Christmas Eve dumped on a church step. In the ’40s and ’50s people were afraid of the deaf. Imagine the mental isolation. The system had no way of dealing with a deaf orphan. He was placed in Pressley Rigeway for Disturbed Children and Home for Cripple Children, and seven foster homes.
Other works by Ligia Lewis include Sensation 1/This Interior (High Line Commission) (2019); so something happened, get over it; no, nothing happened, get with it (Jaou Tunis) (2018); Melancholy: A White Mellow Drama (Flax Fahrenheit, Palais de Tokyo) (2015); minor matter (2016), a poetic piece illuminated by red; Sorrow Swag (2014), presented in a saturated blue; $$$ (Tanz im August) (2012); and Sensation 1 (sommer.bar, Tanz im August -2011, Basel Liste- 2014).
A painter I know had this to say about Brion Gysin’s
work as an artist. “Pleasantly surprised by his watercolour. First thought was an early Yves Tanguy, whom I admire very much. But the calligraphies are outwitted any time by one little Michaux. That doesn’t invalidate the man’s effort, but I see too much repetitive strain there. Gysin’s calligraphies are paintings and, as such, can and should be viewed within a comparative context. There is of course André Masson to begin with—right up to Lee Krasner.
Richard Aaron writes in an email: “Here is a work by Brion that I have in front of me. He did very many of these. Around 1958 the calligraphic element began to appear, but this is from 1951. I used to own a large bunch of his surrealist work from the 1930s. Typical of the period. He was fortunate to have been tossed out of the movement by Breton.”