Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shallow Not Stupid

by Vivien Lash

Aunt Irene the Slut was my first dead glamorous role model. She ran away to New York to lead a Valley of the Dolls existence, occasionally coming home to London for a bit of detox. Mixing an extra dry martini for breakfast, she'd whisper seductively, "If you want to keep your looks, Vivs, drink vodka."

Irene walked the tightrope between a good death and a bad end when a garbage truck reversed into her while stuck in a traffic jam between Fifth and Madison. She had just posted a birthday card to me with this message in Schiaparelli pink ink: "You can drink and take drugs, but not at the same time."
Happiness writes white, whereas silent Rothko red is the shade of suicide. Besides, deaths are easier to remember than birthdays, and a bad end is sexier than dying in your sleep. Suicide is a blind date with a dark stranger, a way of shouting Cut! when you’re still young, thin or fabulous.

Sylvia Plath’s poetry is good, but her dark demise said more than her platinum summer. Her death was "a kind of pornography, at once exciting and unreal," to quote Al Alvarez. He was the last man to whiff Plath’s hair as she ascended the stairs ahead of him a few days before she put her head in a greasy English oven.

A good death never hurt anyone’s career, as Marilyn Monroe could testify, if dead saints could talk. She died "in the nude," as Elton John, fairy godfather to the famous and unhappy, sings. Naked except for a squirt of Chanel No 5, a free product placement Karl Lagerfeld could only dream of achieving now.

Suicide is not the only form of self-destruction. It was only a matter of time before Princess Diana died in a car crash. She nearly found freedom before becoming the unfortunate face of a billion tacky souvenir tea towels. Which goes to show, death and glamour go together like sluts and STDs; you can't have one without the other.

John Galliano, too, met self-destruction, but of a different kind. It’s hard to believe that a man with Gallo’s post-punk talent and taste could fall for the little dude with the funny stache.
But an Anarchy shirt isn’t going to upset anyone these days. Sex and drugs aren’t shocking even in the schoolyard. In an increasingly PC world, ideological anarchy could be the only way left to be disturbingly decadent.

I always walk a little faster when I pass Alexander McQueen’s old apartment in Mayfair, where the genius grandson of punk died in his closet, of all places, or when I look in the window of the empty apartment in Eton Square, where his friend Issy Blow lived before swallowing weed killer. Depression and self-loathing are still in the air. Sunday will be two years since McQueen's passing; at least he's missed the ugly CrossRail Station going up nearby for the Olympics.

Death is in the details and there’s a romantic attraction to leaving before the party ends. Who wants to hang around long enough to grow too many chins for even a cosmetic surgeon to hack off?

After death, glamour lives on with a greed for fame like an X-Factor contestant without a song. And sometimes emptiness is attractive, waiting to be filled by the reflection of one's own fantasies. As Aunt Irene the Slut used to say, while admiring her reflection in the bottom of a cocktail glass, "A dead glamorous obsession beats talking about the weather."


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Another Innocent Lost to Hollywood >Gabe Nevins

Having never acted before, 15-year-old Gabe Nevins scored the lead in Gus Van Sant's 2007 film Paranoid Park (opposite a pre-goth Taylor Momsen). During filming, he met photographer Nick Haymes, and the two began a longstanding collaboration, seeing each other sporadically over the next few years in New York and the actor-skateboarder's native Oregon. Those meetings comprise the first half of a poignant new book, GABEtm (Damiani Publishers), which contains a introduction by the director.
Soon after his 18th birthday, however, Nevins left home and made trips to San Francisco and Los Angeles in search of acting work. Eventually he suffered a breakdown and began sleeping on the streets. While the duo kept in touch, it wasn't until 2010, when Haymes got disturbing reports of Haymes living rough on Hollywood Boulevard, that he decided to track him down. That's the second half of the book, a painful series of photographs showing the down-and-out teenager living his own private Idaho, ironically, grappling with homelessness and sexual identity. To be continued.

(c) hint

Behind Beatlemania - BEATLES (The Fab Five)

These photos convey a really happy period for them and for me. It all comes down to music, they were without a doubt the greatest band of the 20th century, and that’s why these photographs are so important.
– Harry Benson, 2012

In early 1964, Harry Benson was getting on a plane for a foreign assignment in Africa, when he got a call from the photo editor of London newspaper The Daily Express. He was now going with The Beatles to Paris to document French Beatlemania and what followed was the biggest (ticket to) ride of his life.

Benson was warmly welcomed into The Beatles’ inner sanctum, resulting in some of the most intimate photographs ever taken of the band, then on the cusp of world domination. In Paris, he took the famous photograph of the Fab Four having a pillow fight at the George V Hotel; he shot their groundbreaking first visit to the United States, the full impact of New York hysteria, their famous appearance on The Ed Sullivan show, the band in Florida, including their surprising encounter with Cassius Clay; as well as on the set of A Hard Day’s Night. The relationship continued in 1966, including George’s honeymoon in Barbados and their notorious US tour, under the shadow cast by Lennon’s comment that the Beatles were “bigger than Jesus Christ.”

Benson’s luminous black and white photographs show at close quarters The Beatles composing, performing, encountering their fans, relaxing, and engaging with each other, while trying to cope with their increasingly isolating fame. In addition to hundreds of photographs, many previously unseen, there is an introductory essay by Benson as well as quotes and newspaper clippings from the period.

The photographer:
Glasgow-born Harry Benson has photographed every US President since Eisenhower, the Civil Rights movement, and was next to Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated. As well as The Beatles, he has shot some of the biggest personalities of the last 50 years, including Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Her Majesty The Queen. In 2009, he was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE). 



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Art>Surrealist Vocab & Visual Registers

Broken fractured and at times disjointed, the surrealistic artworks of Baroda-based artist Suneel Mamadapur emerge from his experience of a contemporary and a claustrophobic world, ironically indicated in his artworks. The artworks reflect his state of mind. He explains, "I paint what I feel like painting. I love to express my feelings about the natural, social and political situations of the country.

Born in 1975 in Bijapur, Karnataka (India), Suneel  Mamadapur's
works, are primarily built around an edgy Surrealist vocabulary with its associated shifts and substitutions of images and visual registers, are deeply concerned with the ethical dimensions of contemporary life. My vehicle of choice to stage the dilemmas that face Modern man is the fable, a genre that has had the capability to marry topicality with a populist and didactic aspect that can address a wider audience. And allegorical imagination is tied to an urgent moral imperative, and utilizes all the linguistic means that the genre puts at his disposal in order to uncover the iniquities that lie hidden beneath the codes that govern social life. The works resemble parables in their structural and linguistic organization, drawing upon the minutiae of everyday life which are often combined and recombined in surprising and unusual ways in order for it to be able to deliver its ‘message’ in as succinct and unmistakable a form as possible. Fables, however, by their nature are not wordy; requiring a rather stringent economy of means for it to be effective, and by that same token is not really fertile territory for ‘interpretation’. buttresses the possible weaknesses of chosen method by significant recourse to the Modernist tradition.

The love for colours is well amplified in his vibrant narratives with curious cast of characters that dominate his canvas and convey a fine balance of colour, form and space. The essence of the theme seems to be well preserved in the colour scheme through out the suite of paintings. Says Suneel Mamadapur, "I have tried to rearrange the contradictions on plane surface to depict a puzzling fable with meaningful metaphors. No matter how illogical or demented the relation of objects and animals with the situation appear in the work, it presents an innate unity among them. And this is the observation of my enigmatic mind."

The works resemble fables that draw upon the details of everyday life, often combined in an unusual way, to deliver a strong message. What is more noticeable is that the meaning remains obscured, as there is no beginning or end. The narration is completely fragmented, which has its different layers superimposed with different contexts.

However, some of his paintings show a relationship between religious intolerance, nationalism and violence portrayed by a group of crippled figures perched on an assortment of ambulatory devices. The truncated figures and distorted life-forms highlight the disasters of war or nuclear fallout.
 "The presence of the anthropomorphic (non-human creatures or abstract concepts) images are central to my work. It depicts the spoilt human traits and depleting human life", says Mamadapur, who prefers to choose the modern man as the protagonist of the fable combining didactic aspects as well as allegorical imagination. The use of animal imagery is best exemplified in his painting titled "The Blue Monkey" where the figure is situated at the horizon of a landscape filled with a sense of uncertain dread.

Mamadapur's works draw inspiration from The Theater Of Absurd (a form of drama that emphasizes the absurdity of human existence)—which describe vaudeville, circus, and the shop of horrors, staging format, props, backdrop and lighting—and largely the works of Max Ernst and other surrealists.

Though these works do not necessarily have a common theme or a thread that binds them together but they still have a contemporary feel to them.

Educational Qualification:

2001 – 2002- Post Experience Program (Sponsored by the Commonwealth Foundation) in GLASGOW Print studio.  Scotland U. K

2000- Post Diploma in Graphic's Arts in Faculty of fine Arts. M S .University of Baroda, India

1997- Diploma in painting at KEN school of art Bangalore

Solo Show :

2010-“  Cognitive Dissonance Palette Art Gallery, Delhi

2007-“Desert of the present” at Art Musings, Mumbai                  

2006-“ Song of the abandoned road” Palette Art Gallery, Delhi

2002-Gallery III in GLASGOW (U.K.) sponsored by Common Wealth Foundation, London.

Grants & Awards-

2002-“45th National Academy Award “, Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi

2003   Camlin Art Foundation 5th Southern Region at Bangalore

2001-     K.K. HEBAR Art Foundation Scholarship. Karnataka  

2001----ARNAWAJ Arts Foundations Scholarship, Karnataka

1999 to 2001-Human Resource Development Research Grants

1998-  Bombay Art Society's 106th All India Annual Art Exhibition

1997&98-Karnataka State and Central Lalit Kala Academy, "A Special Art Exhibition " in Bangalore

Group Exhibition:

2010  'Dali's Elephant’ aicon gallery London.

2008-“Live wires” Visual Arts Center Kennedy Road, Hong Kong.

2006-“Nomenclature 2 Who’s who” Red Earth Gallery, Baroda.

2004-International Bharath Bhavan, Biennial, Bhopal, India

2002-Glassgow Art Fair, U.K

2002-Thi Pai International Art Biennial. Japan

2002-“Voices against Violence” Group Exhibition, Baroda.

2002-“Don’t ask me Why” Group Exhibition, Nazar Art Gallery, Baroda.

Studio & Correspondence-
A-49,vrundavan duplex, near L&T colony, B/h nandavan society new Sama ,
Baroda-390008-Gujarat. Email-  (m)-09913805887  (R) 0265 3920596