Tag Archives: Jack Smith

JAMES BIDGOOD — REVERIES

REVERIES—an exhibition of work by the highly influential photographer and filmmaker James Bidgood (try imagining Pierre et Gilles or David LaChapelle without him)—will be up for two more weeks at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan. The show was curated by Lissa Rivera and the artistic director was Serge Becker.

Bidgood’s work is so self-contained that it appears to exist outside of time. Historical referents and views of exteriors hardly impinge at all on his visual world; and yet Bidgood was very much a man of his era. He contributed lush color photographs to magazines such as Muscleboy and The Young Physique during their vogue in the early 1960s. He began work on PINK NARCISSUS in 1963. That year, Jack Smith finished Flaming Creatures and shot Normal Love, Andy Warhol began making films, and Kenneth Anger directed Scorpio Rising; the following year Susan Sontag would publish “Notes on ‘Camp.’ ” 

As the ’60s were happening outside his door, Bidgood was shooting mainly inside, in his cramped Hell’s Kitchen apartment, constantly augmenting and revising his elaborate sets and compositions to approximate the baroque ideal he envisioned. — William E. Jones

JAMES BIDGOOD—REVERIES

Through September 8.

Museum of Sex

233 Fifth Avenue (at 27th Street), New York City.

James Bidgood, from top: Lobster (Jay Garvin), from the series Water Colors, circa early 1960s, digital C-print; Pan (Bobby Kendall), circa late 1960s, digital C-print; Double Image (Kendall), from the series Test Shots, circa early 1960s, digital C-print; Willow Tree (Bruce Kirkman, detail), circa 1965, digital C-print; Street Scene from Pink Narcissus (1971), circa late-1960s; backstage during the filming of Pink Narcissus, contact sheet, circa 1960s; ; Cyclist Sprawled on Tiles in Front of Urinals from Pink Narcissus (Trate Farell), circa mid-1960s; Smoking, Sandcastles (Kendall and Garvin), circa 1960s, digital C-print; Bobby Kendall Seated in Chair Holding Phone, circa mid-1960s; Pearl, Water Colors (Garvin), circa early 1960s; Mythical Woodland, Snake Silhouetted by Moon (Blue Moon), circa late-1960s. Images courtesy and © the artist, ClampArt, New York, and Kelly McKaig.

JACK SMITH AT METROGRAPH

In conjunction with the exhibition Jack Smith—Art Crust of Spiritual Oasis, Artists Space and Metrograph present a retrospective of the visionary films of Jack Smith, along with rare and previously unseen documentation of Smith’’s live performances.

Smith’s work as an actor in the films of Ken Jacobs and Ron Rice will also be screened.

 

FLAMING CREATURES, SCOTCH TAPE, and OVERSTIMULATED

Saturday, September 8, at 7:30 pm.

I WAS A MALE YVONNE DE CARLO, NO PRESIDENT, SONG FOR RENT, and JUNGLE ISLAND

Saturday, September 8, at 9:15 pm.

BLONDE COBRA, THE WHIRLED, and CHUMLUM

Sunday, September 9, at 1:15 pm.

JACK SMITH IN COLOGNE (1974), THE SECRET OF RENTED ISLAND, and MIDNIGHT AT THE PLASTER FOUNDATION

Sunday, September 9, at 4:15 pm.

NORMAL LOVE and YELLOW SEQUENCE

Monday, September 10, at 6:30 pm.

JACK SMITH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO (1980)

Monday, September 10, at 9 pm.

METROGRAPH, 7 Ludlow Street, New York City.

Jack Smith at Metrograph

JACK SMITH—ART CRUST OF SPIRITUAL OASIS

Through September 16.

ARTISTS SPACE, 55 Walker Street, New York City.

Jack Smith at Artists Space

Top: Jack Smith, Flaming Creatures (1962–1963).

Below: Jack Smith, Normal Love (1963–1964).

JACK SMITH

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Jack Smith and Bennett Theissen conversation in 1982:

Smith: But I want to eventually become like Liberace and do Las Vegas night clubs. He makes six million a year from working half a year, twenty-five weeks.
Theissen: What do you think he does that gets people to come see him? Would you go see Liberace?
Smith: Oh, I wouldn’t pay whatever they pay. Well, maybe I would. The people that see him can afford it, you know. But if you’re that great I think it’s worth it. Once a thing is real, then there is no price that can be put on it—it can be a low price or a very high price. What he does is really his art and yet it’s so commercial.
Theissen: He uses popular products of the culture that already exist. He uses popular songs that other people made famous and he plays them, “Hello Dolly,” or—
Smith: Yes. It’s so easy for singers and pianists. It’s so easy.
Theissen: But you do your own material. Do you think you could take things that other people wrote and do them your own way?
Smith: I do that. See, I mix in stuff that has been used already, like Hamlet.
Theissen: Would people in Las Vegas want to see Hamlet?
Smith: Well no, I like just cribbing a little bit from each source and then making something new out of old ingredients.
Theissen: Like Artaud’s statement “No more masterpieces.” He meant use the past as material. Don’t treat it like it’s in a museum or keep it in a vault, make it new.
Smith: Yes. If you can’t make something new with it, then you don’t really have the right to use other people’s stuff. But if you can find something completely new in it, or make some incredible point with it, then it’s all right.*

For their final exhibition at their Walker Street location, Artists Space presents a retrospective of the work of Jack Smith.

“With his shadow looming over the development of avant-garde film, performance art, photography, and critical discourse in New York between the 1960s and 1980s, and through the formative years of Artists Space, Jack Smith nonetheless remains an outlier among the many artistic contexts within which he has played an important role. His virtuosic output is revered for its caustic humor, self-invention, and debasement of institutional authority, which intensified throughout his ever-evolving work. Yet, since his death from AIDS-related pneumonia in 1989, his artistic legacy has proven to be similarly incalcitrant and resistant to clean-cut narrativization. In history, as in life, Smith’s comprehensive ouevre exists in renegade defiance of the capitalist imperatives of commodification and containment, as vilified in his ideas of ‘lucky landlordism,’ ‘rented island,’ ‘clapitalism,’ ‘art crust,’ and so forth.

ART CRUST OF SPIRITUAL OASIS marks the first time that many of Smith’s performances—composed and chronicled in drawings, scripts, film fragments, ‘boiled lobster color slideshows,’ audio recordings, and costumes—have been articulated. Particularly, it will frame Smith’s time in exile, as described by film historian and Smith archivist J. Hoberman. This period was marked by the artist’s eviction from his legendary SoHo loft The Plaster Foundation of Atlantis in 1971 and, consequently, by a movement towards performances staged in ad-hoc theater spaces, clubs, and notably in the literal outside of a morphing urban environment, as the artist found himself at the margins of a professionalizing art world, with the city of New York transformed by a bullish real estate market.”*

 

JACK SMITH—ART CRUST OF SPIRITUAL OASIS

Opening: Thursday, June 21, from 6 to 8 pm.

Exhibition: June 22 through September 16.

ARTISTS SPACE, 55 Walker Street, New York City.

artistsspace.org/exhibitions/jack-smith

Audio disc of Smith and Sylvère Lotringersemiotextes.com/jack-smith

printedmatter.org/catalog

themoderninstitute.com/jack-smith-theater-and-performance-works

*See “Mysterious Thing”: semiotexte.com

Below: Jack Smith.

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RACHEL AMODEO’S WHAT ABOUT ME

At Jack Smith’s 1989 memorial service, director Rachel Amodeo and a group of friends put together a germ of an idea for WHAT ABOUT ME, her black-and-white, 16 mm, cinema vérité starring Amodeo as Lisa Napolitano, a homeless outcast who crosses paths—some of them through Tompkins Square Park—with Richard Edson, Nick Zedd, and Richard Hell.

With music by Johnny Thunders, this essential downtown document screens twice as part of MoMA’s CLUB 57 exhibition.

 

WHAT ABOUT ME

Wednesday, December 27, at 7 pm. Introduction by Rachel Amodeo.

Monday, January 1, at 7 pm.

Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53rd Street, New York City

Above: Rachel Amodeo in What About Me (1989–93).

Below: Nick Zedd (left), Richard Edson, and Amodeo. Images courtesy of the filmmaker.

SCHIZO-CULTURE EVENT AT OOGA BOOGA

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Sylvère Lotringer was in conversation with Dorothée Perret in the Paris, LA #10 article ‘The Importance of Being Unfinished,’ with an introduction by Barlo Perry.

On Wednesday night he was at Ooga Booga’s second space at 356 Mission Road, to celebrate the launch of Semiotext(e)’s new publication Schizo-Culture, along with Semiotext(e)’s Noura Wedell and Hedi El Khot. For those of us who were only somewhat familiar with Semiotext(e), as an independent publisher inhabiting a lofty space in the art world (Semiotext(e) is included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial) and academia, and who brought the work of many French theorists to the United States, the evening was only somewhat informative. A basis of knowledge and understanding of the topic was already assumed, so the panelists dove straight in.

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Chris Kraus introduces Schizo-Culture at Ooga Booga

The Schizo-Culture conference took place at Columbia University in November of 1975. Lotringer described it as a complete shock. He had expected about fifty people to show up, but instead there were a thousand. He said the conference erupted into creative chaos. Of those who presented at the conference were French philosophers and thinkers Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Félix Guattari, and a wide range of Americans such as William Burroughs, John Cage, and Judy Clark. Lotringer said that when he thinks about schizo-culture, it is all about New York City, and the good energy that was felt there at the time. At the time it was joyful to be in New York City with all of the creative people there, the “old art world,” the punks, the young radicals, and the young academics. “People were afraid to go to New York back then, and they could have never predicted that 42nd St would turn into Disneyland,” said Lotringer.

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Noura Wedell, Sylvère Lotringer, and Hedi El Khot

Three years later, Semiotext(e) published the Schizo-Culture issue of their journal. He described the issue as being very fun to put together, and introduces it in the book as being “…not the same as the Schizo-Culture conference. The issue was put together three years after the conference in a very different context with very different intentions and with different material. …[It] doesn’t recount the shock encounter that took place between French and American philosophers and artists at ‘the Event,’ but instead consummated the magazine’s rupture with academe. It also took Semiotext(e) one step closer to the New York art world at an exciting and innovative time. No one could have anticipated that in just five years it would mutate into an art market, and then into an art industry. It was more than anyone had bargained for.” (v)

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Jack Smith, Jungle Island, 1967

Lotringer’s introduction to the Schizo-Culture conference and the Schizo-Culture issue of the journal was followed with Jack Smith’s film Jungle Island from 1967. Lotringer said that Smith knew nothing about French philosophy, yet he embraced the same ideas. He said he had a presence and a simplicity, that you just need to look at the world around you. His beautiful film was a jungle island dream, a layering of images of tropical plants, water, and a drag queen in heavy colorful makeup sparkling in the sun.

After the film, Noura Wedell and Hedi El Khot asked Lotringer a few questions, trying to start a discussion, but it was mostly Lotringer who spoke. The questions were opened up to the audience, and with each one, Lotringer became more and more impassioned. Towards the end he stated, “We are taught to be individuals, to draw attention to ourselves. That is how we are raised. Subjectivity is a false problem. You have to break from individualism by being mad.”