Sunday, January 30, 2011

No President

These are some images from Jack Smith's final feature film, No President. Since the gallery which handles Smith's Estate seems even less willing to make his works available to those who want to view them than the Plaster Foundation did, I thought it might be interesting to present some small selections. My old friend Irving Rosenthal starred in this film as the infant Wendell Willkie. Jack broke his jaw with a two-by-four when he refused to shave his beard for the role (or possibly some other infraction, depending on whichever source one chooses to believe.)  Filming stopped, they parted ways for a time, but eventually Jack apologized and they resumed their friendship.  To this day, Irving continues to worship Jack. I saw a version of this film at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria Queens in 1997. This was during the rather ramshackle retrospective that was organized by Penny Arcade and friends at PS1. Irving told me that he preferred this film to Normal Love, but when he was sent a (bad video) copy of this restoration, he maintained that the film was lost, that what they were showing was not No President. For me, these fragments are mesmerizing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni

We go round and round in the night and are consumed by fire.

This series was painted more than fifteen years ago. Some of this group ended up in the possession of Michael Alago. He never did pay me for them, though I believe we had agreed on a price. Instead he sent me some little one of a kind collaged books. That ended my exchange of works with him. Now he's a well known photographer. At least he's well known in Chelsea, but I doubt that those books he sent me have increased in value. At the time he was best known for signing Metallica to Electra Records. Perhaps that is still what he is best known for. These are paintings which were painted very quickly and I priced them intentionally low, but they took a fair amount of effort and I'm happy with the results. I'm not sorry that this part of the series is still in my possession.

The first part of this series shows Rod Garetto in one of his first videos: Show It Hard. He does. He plays a young man posing naked for the first time. He of course ends up getting blown by the scuzzy photographer with a face like a demented rabbit. Rod even reciprocates. I prefer these images, though, which are supposedly what the photographer is shooting.

The paintings below are based on images taken from a Mike Lamas video called One Man's Poison. He gives himself pretty thoroughly to a rather unattractive white guy. One Man's Poison indeed! Still, Mike couldn't be more beautiful than when he is giving himself to another; especially when that other is so unworthy.