1.31.2011

hey there lonely girl

These are some of more than 200 photographs* recently released by the Huntington Beach, California, and New York City police departments, taken by convicted serial killer and rapist Rodney Alcala. The images, gleaned from a cache of over 2000 found in a storage locker, were all taken before Alcala's 1979 arrest for the murder of a 12 year old. (I believe six more murder charges have been added over the years, with two coming just this month).

I like these photographs. Their provenance makes it virtually impossible not to see in them a predatorial eye. It gives them a lurid charge. But had I not known where they were from, I would still like them.//

Alcala, who passed himself off as a photographer, appeared on The Dating Game in 1978, about the same time he was to have killed the 12 year old. He was Bachelor #1 and won the date. Bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw decided not to go out with him.//

* These are not, to my knowledge, images of victims.

1.27.2011

Eric Ravilious Carried On

the Knife Grinder
Eric Ravilious’ unpublished design for the Adhesive Stamp Centenary, 1940

Some of the subject icons Ravilious created for Everyman's Library.
These and more at the Collecting Everyman's Library site

shopfronts done for High Street, 1938

Ravilious was attracted to the light and radiance of the Sussex Downs
Not to forget he was an artist during wartime, this landscape is titled "Shelling by night", 1941

Eric Ravilious (1903—1942), British painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver, was inspired by the Sussex Downs of Southern England. His watercolors of the chalk paths and gentle scenery of the area are both serene and slightly discomfiting. There's an echo of the American Regionalism style of the same time, but Ravilious never seems to veer into what I think of as the Americans' fairy tale robustness or swirling animism. His is a quiet mysticism, drawing power from the ancient landscape and particular light.

Ravilious' commercial art on the other hand has a homey cheerfulness. There's a wonderful "Carry On" celebration of Britishness and day-to-day life in his series of storefronts, published as High Street by the Curwen Press. (All 24 lithograph views from High Street can be seen
here.) He did work for Wedgwood with an extremely appealing child-like sensibility. He created wood cut spot illustrations, patterns and icons for the popular "Everyman's Library" imprint and designed for London Transport, among other highly visible —and quotidien—clients.

Ravilious was also an "Official War Artist"* during WWII  and received a commission in the Royal Marines. He was killed in September 1942 on a rescue mission with the Royal Air Force in the North Atlantic off the coast of Iceland.//


An excerpt from a beautiful essay by British essayist and travel writer Robert MacFarlane (which I found here):
Ravilious…Downsman, follower of old paths and tracks, lover of whiteness and of light, and a visionary of the everyday…’The Downs’, he wrote once, ‘ shaped my whole outlook and way of painting because the colour of the landscape was so lovely and the design so beautifully obvious’. ..He made expeditions, slept out and walked for hours following the lines of the Downs, their ridges, rivers and tracks…
The light of the Downs is distinctive for its radiance, possessing as it does the combined pearlescence of chalk, grass blades and a proximate sea. If you have walked on the Downs in high summer or high winter, you will know that Downs’ light also has a peculiar power to flatten out the view – to render scattered objects equidistant.... In these respects the light of the Downs is kindred with another flattening light, the light of the polar regions, which usually falls at a slant and is similarly fine-grained. The light and the path: the flattening (the light) and the beckoning (the path). These are Ravilious’s signature combinations as an artist.
* Did the United States have Official Artists for the war? Any war? It seems so odd— 'go out while people are getting killed and sketch.' But there were official photographers I suppose...

1.26.2011

snow day details

I feel sad for the horses
why do I like this so much?
cigar store Indian
fingerless gloves?
"shine downstairs"

It is snowing yet again here. 
Herewith, a snowy day, January 24, c 1900, "on the East Side."
I would say my favorite thing in this image is the cafe sign. Although it was a bright moment, too, when I recognized that is a true cigar store Indian laden with snow behind the the older gentleman. One other detail to puzzle over— are those sidewalk grates being uncovered? If so, that means the subway was up and running, no? Then this image has to be 1905 or later.
Enjoy.

1.18.2011

foreign territory



Liking California artist Allison Schulnik's work is a complete anomaly for me. How it is that I've fallen for her? The crude anti-pretty harshness, the accretions of paint (impasto-- I hate impasto!) and did I mention the disturbing clowns? It reminds me a bit of Gaetano Pesce (ghastly), and of Paul Evans furniture (the horror). But I also see Francis Bacon and James Ensor and despite all the names I've mentioned, I also see a really singular vision that somehow I find really arresting. She has an emotionally uncompromising and focused style. Yet through sculpture, painting and claymation film I dont find her repeating herself. The work seems like a progression... and I like that it leads me to foreign aesthetic territory.

Do not miss her video for Grizzly Bear—it's mesmerizing.

I found Allison on my other discovery, the eminently likeable (and linkable) Teenangster. Teen' is wide-ranging: street style to street views, from obscure art, and vintage, to-- very importantly— cute kitties. Intelligent but not highfalutin', stylish without a self-conscious hipster demeanor. Check her out too.//

1.03.2011

Sexiest Men (no longer) Alive*

Baron von Richthofen, c 1917
80 direct hits. Need I say more?
Early aviator Harry Atwood, c 1910
Not exactly my type but flyboy's got something, too.
 Reverand Rollin Heber Neale, 1850
That is one nasty preacherman.
William Sydney Mount, 1853
A dastardly lout, a cad, a rogue. Tell me more.
Julius Caesar
Proving that "sexy is ageless" even at 2000+. Vici indeed.
Walter Sickert, about 1918
Walter Sickert is bad news in the best possible way.
Commander in armor, Anthony van Dyck, c. 1625
Long lush hair, beautiful features, armor. Taking command.
Vsevolod Garshin, Ilya Repin, 1884
Ok he seems like a mess but you know you'd want to help him edit his work, get him some new clothes and cook for him.
Adrien Brody would play him in the movie.
Theodore Gericault, Horace Vernet, 1822-23
He painted severed limbs, ship wrecks and the insane and he had tuberculosis. Quite a handful. Then again he looked like this.

Three Men and a Boy, le Nain brothers, 1647-8
Dark, sketchy, satiny long-haired fellows—lets have a beer and discuss.

Young Man at Prayer, Hans Memling, 1487
This young man and Michael Sweerts, below, are vying for Most Sensitive guy
self portrait?, Michael Sweerts, 1656

Portrait of a man against flames, Isaac Oliver, about 1600
The flames, the shirt down to there, the jewelry, this guy is almost too showy for his own good.
Were women throwing their farthingales and drawers at him?
first cousins, the future Tsar Nicholas and King George V
Sporting fellows if ever there were! double date!
Albert of Belgium, about 1917
Impeccably turned out for trench warfare; he can carry me to safety anytime.
Anton Chekhov, 1890s
Weasely, but then again...
a tailor, Giovanni Battista Moroni, 1565-70
Turbulence beneath the calm, no mere shopkeeper, he.
The heart of an artist strains beneath that finicky, micro-slashed doublet.

I see Jeremy Irons in the movie.

William Hogarth, Louis-Fran├žois Roubiliac, c 1740
Hogarth is more of a runner-up but I do love this bust. 
He's got a laddish humor and pugilistic intensity that wouldnt be out of place in a Guy Ritchie film.
I'd been collecting them on and off, images of men that seem incredibly appealing to me despite the century or two (or several) that might separate us. It started with that photo of Chekhov. Something about the greatcoat and the reed slim cane and that cocky, short man sensibility...  You may remember the electrifying Reverend Neale and the darkly dangerous Mr. William Sydney Mount from my Sartorialist, 1850s Edition post.


This is merely a trifling survey and part of on-going research... A good Regency-era Romantic is a must and I am certainly forgetting some entrancing 18th century fellow so please do let me know who should be on this list. [A Gentlemen's Edition will surely follow in the near future, with a selection of feminine pulchritude of the ages.]

* [with apologies to People Magazine]
Where is William Powell you might ask? Or Kurt Cobain? or any number of too-recent, too-recognized, or too-well-publicized men who could surely otherwise be on a list of Sexiest Dead Men? Well, this is an inexact science so let me know what you think.


PS: Someone asked why I skipped Lord Byron. I have to report that his reputation always seemed more attractive to me than he did.

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