Came across Part Nouveau via Hint, which aims to give credit where credit’s due. Lilah Ramzi, a graduate student of fashion history, created the site in an effort to identify, “…anything within the creative field that borrows, reappropriates or is directly inspired by a work which preceded it”.
archive for the 'Books' department
Was on a Lovecraft pilgrimage in Providence, RI today when, summoned by air conditioning, I drifted in to the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art and overheard that today is free day. So the elevator breezes me up to the third floor, the doors open, and to my left there are blown-up 1954 René Bouché illustrations for Vogue and on the wall ahead are cycling movie clips of stylish people drinking. Whoa. Ok. It’s the museum’s “Cocktail Culture” exhibit. It’s outstanding, and tomorrow’s the last day (10am-5pm).
Red silk dress with cartridge pleats from the “Cocktail Culture” exhibit at the RISD Museum of Art. Designed by Norman Norell and Anthony Traina (under the Traina-Norell label), ca. 1949. From InStyle’s great slideshow of the highlights. The exhibit ends tomorrow (July 31st).
Don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s what we’re told. This applies to comics as well, as the cover artist is often not the illustrator. But while visiting the Comicshop in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighborhood last weekend I judged a book by it’s cover. Covers. Digging through boxes of deeply-discounted books (the Comicshop is moving after 30+ years in their current location, so a big sale) I found singles of Jack Katz’s The First Kingdom. Not being familiar with this book, I was blown away by one cover after another. Flipping through some of the richest art I’ve ever seen I knew my judgment was sound, that this surely would be a rewarding read. And so it is.
Jack Katz’s The First Kingdom Book 12, published by Bud Plant, Inc., 1980.
It is becoming more frequent that I hit roadblocks in my reading. I want to read things that haven’t been translated into English, and, at this moment, it’s Dmitry Galkovsky’s The Infinite Deadlock . I want to read his thoughts on V. V. Rozanov, and it looks like I’m not the only one looking for an English translation. Can minds be sophisticated if they’re chained to one language? Looks like I can’t read The Infinite Deadlock, but I can read Waggish. Good stuff.
Bumped into a great interview with writer Alan Moore (but aren’t they all, though?) on The Quietus, which is coincidental because I am currently swimming upstream through Moore’s Dodgem Logic #3. It arrived by slow boat two days ago:
Wraparound cover art for Dodgem Logic #3 (April/May 2010), drawn by Moore himself.
My reaction to The Quietus article’s title - referring to Moore as a hipster - was knee-jerkishly negative until I read through the interview and now understand the connotation: Moore as autodidact and not Fauxhemian (I prefer “Doucheoisie”):
[Hipsterism] used to be a fashion statement, but it was information as a fashion statement which is probably going to do you more good than the clothing you wear. I got an incredible education starting from the point at which I was thrown out of school. Now, I could probably hold my own intellectually with most people who have had university or college educations. And indeed some of them will have done courses on my books. So, despite the fact my ‘education’ ended at 16, I had hipsterism, which was wanting to be hip, and that led me to read this incredibly diverse array of books on science, mysticism, science fiction, literature, art… I would find out about these movements that I had heard about, and it’s given me a pretty comprehensive education. Now I am an autodidact, which is a great word… I learned it myself.
“Information as a fashion statement”? Can self-education be fashionable if it can’t be commodified; if it can’t be worn, drunk or tattooed on? (Interestingly, Moore is listed as a “Notable Autodidact” in the Wikipedia entry for “Autodidacticism”.)
“Ends are ape-chosen; only the means are man’s.”
I love this line. It’s from Aldous Huxley’s Ape and Essence, which I’m reading now:
Ape and Essence, Aldous Huxley’s lesser-known dystopian sci-fi novel published in 1948.
In Ape and Essence Huxley anticipates the central theme (or rather the central warning) of a book I just finished called, The Dying Self by Charles M. Fair. The Dying Self (1969) is as uplifting as the title suggests and is a loud reaction to the spirit of the times. However, Fair’s hypothesis is interesting, his references are encyclopedic and he uses some creative language. Some choice phrases: “gray intermediate mass”, “Man the Anxious Amorph” and “formal time zero”. Good stuff.
Halfway through Céline’s Death on the Installment Plan the ellipses started floating under my eyelids like retinal flotsam. I needed a break, a breezy intermission. Browsing the stacks I came across Richard Fariña’s Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me:
My copy of Richard Fariña’s Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. New York: Dell Publishing, 1969
Oh yeah. I keep meaning to read that. It’s got a Pynchon quote on the back. As it turns out, Been Down So Long has some of the most haunting prose I’ve ever read. Why did I neglect this book for so long?
The Autumn/Winter 2010/11 shows at Paris Fashion Week come - for better or worse - leather bound. Also, “tribe” and “tribal” are words that often get tossed about in reference to this season’s collections. Sarah Mower of Style.com quoted Rick Owens as saying that his women are, ‘a sect of nuns with inner discipline’. Well, naturally I think Dune:
Punk Bene Gesserits at the Rick Owens A/W 2010/11 show
All photos from Style.com
I meant to write about Lois Nesbitt’s Brodsky & Utkin: The Complete Works sooner, but until recently it was buried in one of my “to be processed” stacks of reading material (easily confused with my “to sit and collect dust” stacks, but I know the difference). Russian paper architects Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin formed a partnership in the late Seventies that lasted roughly a decade. Their fantastic work, according to Nesbitt, “constitutes a graphic form of architectural criticism” of the dehumanizing effects of Soviet utilitarian architecture.
Doll’s House 1982
from Nesbitt’s Brodsky & Utkin: The Complete Works (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003)
Living in Atlanta for three years helped to dispel many myths (no, the Tara Plantation has never been real and no, there aren’t any peach trees to be found in Atlanta) and reinforce a few stereotypes (yes, southern folk are hospitable and yes, it’s called the Dirty South for a reason). I miss the humid summer nights, live oaks, the curious ability of kudzu to engulf anything within a couple of weeks if not tamed and the steady stream of pleasant surprises. Coming across Oxford Comics was one of those pleasant surprises, and it still has my vote for best comic book shop. Through the owner’s well-organized, comprehensive inventory I stumbled onto many wonderful finds, like the fashion manga, Paradise Kiss.
Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss Volume 4, Los Angeles, Tokyo: Tokyopop, 2003. The cast of characters from left: Arashi, George, Isabella and Miwako - caged is “the heroine”, Yukari