Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A face on buttocks

This mural by famed Dada artist Marcel Janco is seeing the light of day for the first time in half a century. The discovery of the mural came as the Janco Dada museum in Israel began a restoration project of Janco's art studio in the village of Ein Hod. Eli Shaltiel is performing the restoration work and discovered the mural behind a layer of plaster. Mural Restorer, Eli Shaltiel, saying (Hebrew): "I suddenly reached a black dot, I continued to expose it further and we realized it is in fact a line. I continued following that line that day, following it wherever it will take me. I already realized it is a painting and was very excited. At the end of the day I exposed a fragment of about 30X30 centimeter, showing some kind of shape made of lines. Retroactively it was a knee and a small part of a breast." Janco was born in Bucharest in 1895 and adopted an art movement known as "Dada"-- an anti-conformist style that encouraged the use of irrational ideas. In 1941, he moved to Israel and formed a close-knit community of artists in the village. Museum curator Raya Zommer-Tal says Janco plastered over the mural himself. Director and Curator of the Janco Dada Museum in Ein Hod, Raya Zomemr-Tal, saying (English): "It wasn't done as something that a museum should exhibit it. And this is a different kind of a work of art, that you do and you know that you are going to demolish it. And we also found protocols about it, because there was a time that they wanted to leave it, but Janco said 'no, I don't mind. I am an artist but it's ok to repaint a work of art." It's believed more murals are hidden under layers of paint, which will further reveal Janco's off-beat humor, such as painting a face on human buttocks.
Andrew Schmertz, Reuters

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Smut: Barnet Lee "Barney" Rosset, Jr. (May 28, 1922 – February 21, 2012)

IFQ Magazine recently caught up with legendary book publisher Barney Rosset to discuss his storied career and ventures into film and political opinions ; the occasion was marked by the DVD release of Obscene, a documentary on Rosset by filmmakers Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O’Connor, made available courtesy of Virgil Films and Entertainment alongside Arthouse Films. With both Grove Press and his literary magazine The Evergreen Review, Rosset introduced American society to a who’s who of iconic writers including Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Jean Genet, David Mamet, Tom Stoppard, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, among many, many more. His progressive politics and belief in freedom of speech led him to champion such banned books as Tropic of Cancer, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, and Naked Lunch, all of which were subjected to obscenity trials that Rosset subsequently won, thus opening up free speech to a then-unparalleled degree. Below are some brief words from our conversation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

1812 and Farting Japanese

Most people would look on this Japanese art - depicting various men and women engaged in flatulent combat - as 200-year-old toilet humour.
But the artwork, known as 'He-gassen' (or 'fart battle'), is in fact a pointed comment on political and social changes in Japan.
Made by an unknown artist or artists, the scroll depicts a number of different scenes - all linked by the fact that at least one character is directing a debilitating blast of flatulence towards another character.
They may be riding on horseback, or directing a foul wind through a gap in a wall, but the meaning is the same.
This scroll and similar drawings were created in response to increasing intrusion of Europeans in Japan during the Edo period - between 1603 and 1868.
Just like renaissance painters left hidden meaning in their work, or modern-day cartoonists provide humorous takes on serious political events, the He-gassen scroll has specific meaning that would have been instantly interpreted at the time.
Read more....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Janco's Women

Meticulous restoration work in the studio-home of the late Marcel Janco in Ein Hod has revealed bold, beautiful and forgotten frescoes by one of the fathers of the 20th-century of Dada movement.

The story dates back to Purim 1956 in Ein Hod, a village whose establishment Janco had spearheaded three years earlier. Among the pioneers of the revolutionary 20th-century art movement called Dada, Janco exhibited at important museums around the world and his work continues to fetch high prices; dozens of houses he designed as an architect grace his birthplace, Romania.
In honor of Purim, Janco decided to adopt an old Italian festival tradition of decorating houses with frescoes, usually inside, to lend the Ein Hod ball a festive atmosphere. Other artists-in-residence joined the effort, and Tel Aviv's bohemians migrated north for the event, which was widely talked about.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flying Books

Books have the power to transfix a reader. A turn of the page provides an alternate story to live, be it a line prose or a hefty epic. Moonbot Studios' animated short "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" highlights the delight of literature through its very own story.
"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" was one of five nominations for the 2012 Academy Awards' Best Animated Short category, announced Jan. 24. The Shreveport, Louisiana-based studio released the short as its first animation project.
Directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, the 15-minute film draws from Hurricane Katrina, "The Wizard of Oz," Buster Keaton and, of course, a love for books. The story starts in New Orleans with the Keaton-like Mr. Morris Lessmore writing a book on the balcony of a hotel. A menacing storm swirls into town, blowing away houses and street signs, taking Mr. Lessmore and his unfinished book with it. Lessmore is transported to a land filled with fluttering novels; a land where he can dedicate his life to filling his book with the abundance of words he is now surrounded with.
"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" has already won 13 awards, including "Best Animated Short" and "Audience Award Winner" at the Austin Film Festival, and "Best Animated Short" at the Cinequest Film Fest.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mississippi Delta & Hill Country

Mississippi Delta & Hill Country (1978):
Bluesmen; fife-and-drum ensembles; former muleskinners and railroad tie-tampers; and tall-tale reciters. Performers include Skip James collaborator Jack Owens, diddley-bow player Lonnie Pitchford, former Mississippi Sheik Sam Chatmon, fife legend Otha Turner, and R. L. Burnside in his first film appearance. Camera by John Bishop; fieldwork in collaboration with Worth Long