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September 6, 2014

Jack Pierson: Tomorrow’s Man

A Scrapbook Study of Masculinity from the American Artist

“Kids these days don’t get things that are harder to come by than a Google search. People had to maraud around to find magazines like this in the 1950s and 60s, in their smalltown drugstores or porno shops,” says Jack Pierson of the appeal of mid-century, physique-focused magazines such as Tomorrow’s Man. Reappropriating the publication’s title as well as its retro bodybuilding aesthetic for his book project of the same name, Pierson takes viewers on a dizzying visual journey of homoerotica. For the second edition, previewed here, Pierson referenced his own vast archives and championed the work of gay artists as well as his own students: highlights include sci-fi-imbued illustrations courtesy of 1970s Playboy contributor Mel Odom and surreal assemblages from the New York-based artist Tibi Tibi Neuspiel. The resulting visual remixes rebel against the photobook format, leaving work straddling page breaks and genre definitions. “I’m hoping to do a dozen of these each term, and part of the idea is to keep some people consistent throughout the whole thing, so that it gives a feeling of addition and subtraction,” he says. “Hopefully something radical will happen along the way.”

Tomorrow’s Man 2 is published by Bywater Bros Editions September 30. The book will be launched at the Whitechapel Gallery during London Art Book Fair, from 26 through 28 September.

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Spotlight

Stella Schnabel Gets Down

The New York Actress Pulls Out Her Best Moves at Her Father's Studio

Stella Schnabel teases out her inner dancehall queen for photographer Rachel Chandler’s debut film. The hypnotic short was captured earlier this year in the balmy August heat during a five-hour dance-athon at Stella’s father, artist and director Julian Schnabel’s Montauk studio. “I had wanted to film her dancing for several years,” says Chandler, a contributor for Vogue.com, Purple Diary and Dazed Digital. “She would come to my nights when I was a DJ and I would just watch her.” The haunting score comes from Paris artist and agnès b. collaborator Charles Derenne’s musical project, 1982. “I was asking a lot of her and her openness exceeded my expectations,” continues the filmmaker, whose intimate, on-set crew included Schnabel’s Chihuahua, Little Joe. Read on for the actress' thoughts on dance.

What type of music do you like to dance to?
Stella Schnabel: Any Aphex Twin album, Nas, Mobb Deep and of course the original New York OG Lou Reed.  

Where do the dutty vibes come from?
SS: I've been going to Jamaica since I was a kid; it’s a reliable source to get my mood in a good spot.

Favorite dancing memories?
SS: My first rave was outside of London when I was 14 with my old pal, Dan Macmillan. Since then, dancing with my girlfriends from Brooklyn at their block parties.

Who is your dream dance partner?
SS:
Bez! And Nancy Sinatra, Tina Turner, James Brown, Chris Walken, Yolandi Visser.

What do you do to get in the mood to dance?
SS:
There is never a moment I don’t want to.

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Spotlight

The Book of Derek

Simon Fisher Turner Reflects on Derek Jarman's Life in Collage and Ink

The diaristic sketchbooks of Derek Jarman tell the story of a live-wire creative mind in this photo series, ahead of the forthcoming exhibition Pandemonium at King’s College London, courtesy of the King's Cultural Institute. The show marks 20 years since the artist died of an AIDS-related illness, and reflects on his fascination with London’s abandoned docklands. Jarman's figure looms large over the film and art worlds. He played a big hand in the careers of Tilda Swinton and composer Simon Fisher Turner—below, the latter reminisces on his time spent with his influential old friend. 

Whenever Derek was working on something he’d have his amazing books lying around everywhere. All of his diaries are just beautiful art works. He made them pretty meticulously every dayideas just popped out of him all the time. He was an impulsive and positive artist, he loved to work and got really excited. It was like we were terrorists, film terrorists. I remember being down at his place in Dungeness in Kent in Army uniforms and balaclavas with machine guns and cameras, attacking a man dressed as a woman. 

We were fighting against the pricks, and he had his political and sexual agenda. It was very punk: it was definitely fuck Thatcher, fuck BFI, fuck everybody because nobody was giving us any money. I first worked with him as an extra on his 1978 film Jubilee, and later scored his films Caravaggio, The Last of England, Blue and others. I’ve never met anybody who wrote, painted, filmed and drew as much as him. He opened my mind completely, to art and politics. As a friend he was certainly the biggest influence of my life.

I have contributed a piece to the exhibition called “Silence”. It’s a recording of him that I made a sound collage around. He was very ill at the time and had become quite frail. He talked to me about the only time in his life that he could remember silence. It was during a total eclipse of the sun, when the lights went out: the birds stopped singing, and everything went completely quiet. When an eclipse happens, they think it’s night so they all just switch off. Life stops.

Pandemonium runs at Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing, Strand Campus from January 23. Derek Jarman's Sketchbooks edited by Stephen Farthing and Ed Webb-Ingall is published by Thames & Hudson.

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