Tag Archives: lucy lippard

Amalgamations and Collaborations

A week in the life of Blarty O’Dork

My Six Vessels Artists Book’s progress.
My new artist’s book, Inside This Earthen Vessel which is a re-write of the poem in my earlier book, G Batch about six men I call mystics, is nearly ready to go to press. I have set the ‘poems’ in Quark in the shape of pots or ‘vessels’ which makes them like concrete (or rather, ceramic) poems. I think I shall call them my ceramic poems. Concrete poems started by the likes of Apollinaire and Alfred Jarry are set on the page in various shapes rather than the traditional set in normal typographic layout. A friend of mine who has been big into typo for ages liked them so much that he suggested we do a collaborative publication in letterpress later on using the poems. I shall keep you posted on that progress. My version is all but completed ready for my printer to run off 50 copies, which is a mixed blessing cos I am going to be doing all the trimming and folding and that’s no easy task. Here is the first one.
INSIDE THIS EARTHEN VESSEL
Destination Dust
Dhona the Brahmin was a mendicant
monk….. Who asked Siddhartha (Gautama
Shakyamuni, Tathāgata) “Are you human, one
from Gandharva?……… Are you a god or maybe a
Yaksa?” “Brahmin everything that’s created passes.
Strive diligently into your transition, go peacefully to
ward your destination. Escape from the Spinning Wheel
of Samsara.” During dispute when Guatama passed away
Brahmin Dhona, intervening, did say….“The message of the
Blessed Buddha Is still peace & forbearance today.” Thereby
the Malla chieftans of Kusinara….. On whose soil Shakyamuni
had died. Reluctantly released the relics to be divided into eight
domains….. Thereby each claimant built a monument……Which
every time turned to rust Confirming Siddhartha’s message that
Every… thing… passes… to… ashes… and……………. dust
Up on the road near Montagnola… A Wandering Writer named
Hesse heard the tale from a Mendicant Monk…………….Then he
recounted the story to you and to me In a book which he called
‘Siddhartha.’
Tathāgata shewed how to escape the Swamps of Samsara and
Suffering. Tathāgata said “Namaste. The Light
in me Greets the Light in thee. I Am a Buddha Brahmin,
I Am a Buddha Now.”

The ‘a’s with the little ting on top just happened, so I have left them as I really like them.
Copies of the book should be available before the end of August. In time for the Oxford ‘Wayzegoose’ book fair where I have gotten a table near my birthday in October. “ Will you still need me. Will you still feed me. When I’m sixty four? Ba bum boom, les Beatells.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDt26gJYVB4
The new book has several mentions of key belief systems but it’s not any way a religious book. It’s about looking at the wonders of existence on this little globe using the insights of some men who spent their lives dedicated to trying to help human beings see more clearly, the six ‘thinkers’ (or maybe better called ‘tinkers’?) in it being:

G.iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev

B.euys Joseph
A.ngeli Silesii
T.enzin Gyatso
C.arl Gustav Jung
H.ermann Hesse

The first letters of each name give the title of my Introduction to the project in an earlier artist’s book, G Batch.I could have included others like William Blake, but my time was limited to one year to complete that project and I had to be selective. The nice ting is this new book and my collaboration both grew easily from all the work I did at the time. There is even a wider scope book in there but Thames & Hudson’s reader in ‘Spiritual’ etc books couldn’t imagine that anyone out there would buy it in big enough numbers. I believe they would, it’s just that the publishing world has little imagination, like the art world- galleries etc. I approached the Museum Of Modern Art NY with my image called variously Venus at the Stairs or Venus Stares because they own two of the images which inspired me to do that image, Schlemmer & Lichtensteins, but they send a rather rude and ignominious reply to anyone who has the temerity to approach them:
Sirs and mesdames,
at the end of April 2014 i send a package with my image of my picture to see if I could galvanise an interest on your part to buy one. I sent it by air mail to: The Museum of Modern Art
The Department of Painting and Sculpture
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
In the light of not having gotten a reply by today, 16July 2014 should i take it that your gallery has no interest?
Hello.
Thank you for contacting The Museum of Modern Art.
Please note that the Department of Painting and Sculpture’s acquisition and exhibition programs are developed from within the Museum. Due to the large number of unsolicited submissions we receive, we can only respond to those which the curators express an interesting in pursuing.
Sincerely,
The Museum of Modern Art

And from a gallery in Germany which happens to be having a Schlemmer show right now, a fact I was as usual blissfully unaware of when I suggested they buy my pic:
Dear Mr. Kennedy,
Thank you for this information on your work inspired by Schlemmer. However: as you may presume, our exhbition is already fully set and it is a retrospective on the artist Oskar Schlemmer only.
Sincerely,
I.Conzen Kuratorin für Klassische Moderne
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

I remember back in the early 80’s on their first(?) album Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits mentioned a friend who had made it, ‘In the Gallery’. At the time I was an ‘artist-bloke’ making and teaching art and related skills and I recall thinking well am not ‘In the Gallery’ yet, maybe one day? That never happened. I’m flagging up my chagrin cos it’s no good me saying in 20 yearns time ‘Why did you not let me in?’ and you telling me you didn’t know I wanted to be considered. In fact, my old mate IEPW has reminded me that ‘galleries’ are commercial enterprises, they are never going to let anyone in who isn’t ‘recognised’ and/or in one way or another, famed. So, I am barking up the wrong tree again. They are never going to let me in, in fact my biggest claim to fame is my ‘originality’ and that my friends is exactly what they do not want. They want the things which have been tried and tested, vetted and decided upon by key decision makers like Saatchi, the money, the last ting they want is someone who is always changing tack, always searching for the new.

There are those who tell me that being in the gallery is not all it’s cracked up to be (whatever that is; being ‘seen’, bought, considered, added to the list etc). Like Lucy Lippard who started, after gaining a degree in curating (?), at Momany and spent much of her life advocating being ‘outside the gallery’, I heard her say it in a talk a year or two ago, albeit from the stage in one of London’s ‘important’ galleries.

VIP I have to correct the mistake above. Lucy has gently informed me that she got ‘just an MA in art history’ rather than curating. I had carelessly assumed her degree to be in curating from her early role at MOMA. (As you will suspect I am trying to avoid digging a deeper hole here when I say) I have only respect for Lucy and her long standing relationship within and without the world of art. I first came across her writing in relation to Eva Hesse, an artist whose work I love and of whom Lucy was a friend and advocate, I think…be careful now…take nothing for granted Pete. Since then I have studied, slightly, her work in relation to the likes of Robert Smithson and her Numbers Shows. I was lucky to listen to and draw her at the Whitechapel gallery a couple of years ago. When I say I drew her it was without her knowledge or consent as I draw folk when the institution dis-allows photography so I have a visual record of a person at an event. As you may guess visual memory is important to me.

lucy for blog 29714 smkb

I’m a sad bastad me. Sad cos I tried so hard to break through into the world ofart, I mean you gotta be sad to even try, why not get a proper job?

What’s interesting is how tings move on. I never used to see my ‘writing’ as part of my ‘art’ but recently I have learned to understand they are one. In the same way, for many years I saw my ‘comic’ or graphic drawings (of Apulhed and Friends) as separate from my oil paintings and now I understand they are one. I used to wonder how I could amalgamate one skill or form in with another across a wide range, then I realised they are not separate, they are one. In my last blog I did a newstyle ‘comic’ in which I began to incorporate the photo-image with the drawn image. Expect to see more amalgamations, and collaborations, as the stopper is out of the champagne bottle.

A Blake workshop
On Saturday I went to a workshop by a Blake scholar whose prints from his own re-makes of Blake’s copper plates are in every important Blake collection all over the woild. The workshop ‘Printing in the Infernal Method’, led by Professor Michael Phillips, took place on Saturday 26 July 2014, at Morley College. Michael explained the mystery behind Blake’s method of creating the prints for his books. He dispelled myths about Blake’s techniques. Fundamentally Blake could mirror write on the tiny plates (c.70×112 mm) from his youth. Michael carries his own little bottles of pigment, limited to the exact colours Blake used, and linseed oil. He mixed the ink to its optimum mix. He then applied the ink to the small copper plates which he explained were created from a number of sources close to the original plates all of which are lost. He told us of a little boy who Blake taught how to make a plate.
http://williamblakeprints.co.uk/making_the_plates.html

michael phillips daubing

Michael the master Blake printer daubing delicately.

Luckily for posterity the boy had kept what was a postage stamp sized plate in his box and it passed to descendants. On the back of it was an old Blake image which has given Michael an exact measure of the depth of cut Blake used to incise the image then use two dips into sulphuric acid. 1.125 mm deep is all he did. Michael scotched the rumour that Blake had used rollers to ink up his plates, no because they were not invented whilst he was working. He used a leather dauber. We were allowed to have a go and man is it difficult. I used my most delicate touch and that was too much, I got well told. Then Michael did four prints from each of 5 plates each diminishing in tone until the final pull, which now had 3 mini-blankets on whereas the first pull had one, was almost inkless. I learned so much from Michael and have to thank him for his patience and knowledge.

blake chimney sweep print smkb

The Chimney Sweep.
You can see how kak-handed my daubing was where the grain shows in the ‘white’ areas.

Also
I love the work of Stephanie Wright http://www.sculptgallery.com/item/single/2282/stephanie_wright_compot which i saw in the new summer show at Sculpt gallery near Tiptree in Essex. Her pots cum found objets sculptures are refreshingly original and humour-filled. If you care to go to her website she does quite a range of ceramics but the ones in this gallery are my favourite.

Happy in my own skin.

fish montage sm kbI looked at a man called Charles who was talking to me on a London bus, that is his job, talking to passengers, and the more we talked the more relaxed he became and the simple thought crossed my mind that he was, ‘Happy in his own skin’, his happiness, or relaxedness was contagious which can only be good for London transport’s passengers. Now Charles’ skin happens to be black, my skin is termed white and we were getting on like a house on fire and I believe that is not only the way it should be but it’s only natural. We are two men inhabiting the same planet with very different histories but more likely than not we are descended from the same woman who roamed the plains of Africa over 40 thousand years ago. So why do we ‘look’ so (apparently) different? Well of course, skin colour. According to internet sources:
‘The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet or 2 square metres, it protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.
Cells in the deepest layer of your epidermis , (the outer, nonvascular, non-sensitive layer of the skin), divide constantly to make new cells. The new cells are pushed towards the surface of your skin. They eventually die and become filled with keratin, an exceptionally tough protein. Keratin provides your body with a durable overcoat, which protects deeper cells from damage, infection and drying out.
Cells on the surface of your skin rub and flake off steadily and are continuously replaced with new ones. About every 30 days, your body produces a totally new epidermis.
Skin colour
Your skin contains specialised cells called melanocytes are located in the epidermis, covering the true skin or corium. They produce the pigment melanin, a brown substance, which absorbs some of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Fair-skinned people only have melanin in the lower layers of their epidermis. People with dark skin have larger amounts of melanin in all layers. Freckles and moles are nothing else but small patches of skin with more melanin than in the surrounding area.’

I love all that. In those words from the Net are so many levels. The ‘outer layer’, that is what we see and seeing is not understanding, in fact really seeing is a form of mis-understanding, or pre-conception. You see, the skin which covers Charles and me is only temporary, it changes every 30 days. Now his and mine genetic and ‘social’ history do not change, they stay where they were, our ancestry and the trail our predecessors traipsed is written in the sands of time, or more legibly and often mistakenly, in the ‘his-story’ books. History is frequently written in a skewed, one-sided way, often to give a slant to show the superiority of one group over another. So, for example, the imperialists we refer to as the ‘Romans’ re-told or rather, re-wrote, the recent history they ‘re-membered’ and like previous ‘empires’ they put a slant on things. They omitted the Hannibal’s lot, probably because the Carthaginians (Hannibal (247-183 BC), Carthaginian general, son of Hamilcar Barca*, whose march on Rome from Spain across the Alps with his 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and up to 40 elephants remains one of the ‘greatest feats in military history’) gave them such a fright they couldn’t bring themselves to remind themselves of how close they came to being totally defeated in 217 BC rather than 500 years later. *That’s interesting, Barca being the name of Hannibal’s dad. BECAUSE they always say they don’t know where the Catalonians came from and there it is the answer. Hamilcar Barca’s family came from Carthage and conquered Spain! From there they were able to take a pot at Rome. But it’s not such a big leap to see how their descendants took over the ‘Barca’lona area, is it? Now the Carthaginians were descendants of the Phoenicians who were once a great powerful group in the Mediterranean who spread culture trade and the alphabet we use. They too were written out of history, this time by the Greeks who only overcame the more cultured and powerful people of Crete and Thera after a cataclysmic upheaval in 1420 BC totally destroyed the latter and brought the Cretans to their knees so the Mycenaen Greeks were able finally to overpower them and take their craftsmen, including metal workers who designed great helmets and suits of protective wear for battles, into slavery.
So, the outer layer of his-story is merely that, a layer. And it rarely goes deeper than skindeep. Skindeep is really only another word for prejudice, preconception, misconception, misinformation, misunderstandings. And, I believe, the trick is to look inside, to delve deeper than the outer skin to perceive the human being there inside. Things are frequently not what they appear to be and this appears to be a blog about skin, colour and all but in fact it is really about my visit to London last Saturday. Charles also told me that he had seen the Christian and Muslim faiths from each inside and now claims no religion except a certain benevolence toward his fellow humans. It was refreshing to meet Charles as I wended my way back home after a day built around a little workshop in print at the Courtauld run so well by MA student Marian Casey and RA schools tutor Hen Coleman.

I had a couple of hours to spare before I joined the group so I wandered down Charing Cross Road peeking into the bookshops. To my delight I found a pop art book (T&H) edited by Lucy Lippard about whom I wrote an article in UWE’s recent Blue Notebook for a meagre £5 which I could afford. Saw a book of poems by Peake which was £20 but resisted it. Then popped into a rare books shop where I found a copy of Bukowski’s poem, ‘Crucifix in a Deathhand’, priced at £650. It’s a very beautifully made book from an edition of 3100, signed in dayglo ink by Buko himsen. Listen to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiEHzCs2W3o, Tom Russell’s rendition of the poem.
Strange, Bukow is a good poet, he cuts thru all the crap and even throws crap at you. My most popular blArt is the one I posted on Bukowski. Seems to attract visitors from all over the world. Buk is truly not what it seems when you see pictures of him, read his writing etc, by all perceptions he’s an ugly brute, yet no, within his poems often there is a deep humanity and understanding of the human condition. Interesting he uses crucifix…Roman empire crucified tens of thousands, but only four or five are remembered, Spartacus, Jushua Ben Genasareth & Barabas who was a Zealot- a freedom fighter v Roman occupation to name but three. The Roman Empire had an horrific track record in uman rights, yet those same nerds who denigrate Buko worship their ‘Classical’ lit etc. Whereas, Carthage, and Crete both produced stuff far superior to Rome. Not a lot of people know that.

fish wet sm kb

not alot o peeple know this song by the late great jackie leven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThH0bMhZ7Jg

I love it particularly when the poet David Thomas comes in with his strangely sad tale of the fishes’ tail, ‘the bridge is too twisted I’ll fall off the side….’ Beware next time you look at koi.

The lovely ting about the Courtauld doing tings like dis print workshop and another poetry one soon is revealing how that institution is itself not what it appears to be at first sight (which reminds me, Bruce McKlean (who won the John Moores award for his painting of koi, which he told us took him about half an hour to paint, maybe my 14 years spent on my new work of Venus  Stares is a little excessive, never mind, i just won a prize on wordpress which was the honour of being allowed to answer a question which was would i recommend wordpress to others? well I wouldn’t use something I won’t recommend, would i? and there is a fish or two in my picture too, luckily it’s swimming under her arm)

venus an some fishes

is at first site gallery in Colchester on Saturday July 12th). It’s not a staid place at all, it’s brim full of life and activity. Anyways I found myself joining in with all the others who were inspired by their new MA show (see my previous blArt about the pull & push of print)

fish polystyra sm kb

this was a print made using the mould material to take a mould and then printing from it. The idea of taking a pull from a surface was inspired by the work in the MA show.

 

and suitably provoked into running round the Courtauld making rubbings to make prints from. I had snapped some beautiful images of Koi in a park nearby on the way in so I found various fish like shapes in stone, wood and metal and did a montage of the results. It makes me feel very happy in my own skin too.

fish rusty sm kb fish wood sm kb
ps I know this blArt is being posted a little later this week but I bin bizzy an oi? We also went up to Norwich to see the Art BA shoiws and I shall do a little blart abart thart too soon, like and interim blog (sumtin abart a bog in Jamie’s place there).