The New York Artist Sets Isolated Nudes Against DayGlo Geometry
Black-and-white bodies in meditative poses are juxtaposed with geometric fluorescent forms in Thomas Dozol’s recent series of silkscreen prints. The New York-based artist began to experiment with the stencil technique about a year ago, evolving a practice that begins in the studio with traditional film, and ends with vivid pigments at the serigraph. “I was tired of the physicality of photographic prints,” explains Dozol of the shift. Working with a cast of models—friends, associates, some a mixture of both—the artist directed his subjects to gaze into the void prior to isolating the portraits from their original setting and placing them into bright, abstracted architectural contexts. “Most of our interactions are virtual and our bodies are these objects left behind,” he says. “So I asked people to be in a half-asleep zone, like sculpture, as though not completely alive.” The series will feature in Dozol’s solo exhibition Côtes d’Azurs, opening at London's French Riviera gallery this week, following a busy year for the artist that has included a solo show at the Jack Hanley Gallery in New York and a group exhibition at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. This time, the series will come to life beneath the glow of black lights: “I just want the space to mimic what the prints were trying to convey.”Thomas Dozol's Côtes d’Azurs will be on view from November 16 to December 16, 2012, at French Riviera, 309 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6AH.
Illustrator Christopher Darling Brings the Myth of the Legendary Blues Musician to Life
Today's premiere commemorates the 100th birthday of late bluesman Robert Johnson. The film, which features illustrations from Brooklyn artist Christopher Darling, centers on the urban myth of the singer-guitarist selling his soul to the devil, a tale fueled by his itinerant lifestyle, otherworldly talent and renowned prowess as a ladies' man. In celebration of the May 8 anniversary, Sony has released a new box set of Johnson's late 1930s recordings, The Complete Original Masters: Centennial Edition, which includes a double-disc CD, a DVD of the 1997 documentary The Life and Music of Robert Johnson: Can't You Hear the Wind Howl? and 12 vinyl reproductions of his original records. Johnson died tragically young at the age of 27, allegedly poisoned by a jealous lover. He was famous for his unusually long fingers, with which he nimbly performed complex compositions. "Bryan Jones first played these records for Keith Richards in the early 60s, and Richards said, 'But who's the other guy playing?' And the answer was, 'It's just one guy!'" says multi-Grammy-winning producer Steve Berkowitz, who helped to mastermind the project. Berkowitz compiled his top-ten list of blues talent from Johnson's era below.
"Blind" Willie Johnson
His best songs are "If I Had My Way I Would Tear This Building Down," and "God Moves On the Water." It's gospel music, but it's all blues and otherworldly. He was a guitarist and also sang with his wife; it's just the deepest, scariest most wonderful, uplifting, reverential music.
There are only four songs of hers ever known—all spectacular. No one knows much about her, other than she recorded with Son House and Charlie Patton. There's a story about a car ride from Memphis to Wisconsin: she was Patton's girlfriend, but they were in the same car as Son House, and by the time they arrived she was Son House’s girlfriend. Something was going on in the back seat!
He did one of the first guitar solos ever with Louis Armstrong, and is one of the greatest players that ever lived. I love his version of "September Song," which is right at the end of his life, on an album you can't really find anymore called The Living Room Sessions.
Carr is a piano player who was a great influence on, among other people, Ray Charles. He unfortunately drank himself to death, after recording hundreds of songs. The last he recorded was "Six Cold Feet in the Ground." And then he died!
There weren't that many solo guitar players in a group context. Scrapper's one of them. Scrapper Blackwell and Lonnie Johnson are two of the most seminal early guitar players, which extends from blues to jazz to country, to bluegrass to rock and roll and R&B, and forward. Listen to any of the songs he played with Leroy Carr.
Blind Willie McTell
A terrific songwriter. I love "It's Your Time To Worry." Bob Dylan wrote a very beautiful song called "Blind Willie McTell."
The Mississippi Sheiks
The supergroup of the blues. Their song "Sitting On Top of the World" has been copied by everybody. They're at a crossroads of blues, jazz, folk, ragtime and bluegrass.
One of the earliest on the scene in Chicago. He was a guitar player and a singer, idolized by Muddy Waters and a lot of the then-younger Chicago blues musicians who had moved up from the South. His song "You've Got To Love Her With a Feeling" is wonderful. He also had a band and went electric pretty early.
Big Maceo Merriweather
He sings one my favorite songs of all time, which is called the "Poor Kelly Blues." Big Maceo was an original, and the most important piano player in Chicago.
The Jimi Hendrix of harmonica, a beautiful singer and writer. At first he was in Muddy Waters's band, and then he left and had his own hits. He had a short, tragic, alcohol-filled life. "Can't Hold Out Much Longer," "You Better Watch Yourself," and "Blues With A Feeling" are some of my faves.
Part 1: The Iconic Auteur Photographs the Inner Sanctum For His Carte Blanche Series
Legendary filmmaker David Lynch captures the opulent interior he designed for Club Silencio in these photographs taken exclusively for NOWNESS. Hidden six flights below ground level at 142 rue Montmartre in Paris, the filmmaker, artist and musician christened the club after the eerie cabaret in his noir-infused Mulholland Drive. Responsible for pitch-black and surreal celluloid visions such as Blue Velvet and cult TV series Twin Peaks, Lynch has conjured a bewitching atmosphere inside the curved network of basement rooms. Accessed through a glittering tunnel leading off the cocktail bar, Silencio has an art deco cinema, reflective dance floor, a Fire Walk With Me-style stage, and a 50s art library featuring a selection of the director’s most treasured books from Kafka to Dostoevsky––not to mention the smoking room disguised as a mini indoor forest. During the week-long Carte Blanche festival, Lynch will be programming events at the club, with live shows from the likes of The Kills and Lykke Li, and screenings of his favorite films, from Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard to Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita. Ahead of hosting Silencio Fragments, an exhibition of the Lynch photographs premiered here, NOWNESS met the director over coffee at Foundation Cartier in Paris to talk dreams, memories and why you won’t find him on the dancefloor.
What appealed to you about creating a real club?
The idea of designing something and making a mood that was warm and safe, where a person could feel good just sitting and being in the space.
Are you a nighttime person?
No. Well, I am, but I don't like to go out. I like to stay home. I like to work. I’m not a dancer. But I like the mood at night. Time gets funny at night.
When do you do your best thinking?
There's daytime thinking and nighttime thinking, and both can be good. But mostly I do like nighttime thinking. When the sun goes down, it just pushes us all more inward. It makes kind of a dream come over you. There are certain things that you start thinking about, that you don't think about in the daytime.
What's your earliest memory?
The B36 bombers or B52 bombers flying over in the sky of Spokane, Washington, when I was little; they’re giant propeller planes and they make a low, droning sound that thrills the soul. And they move slowly across the sky but they're giant, they cast a huge shadow, giant shapes in the sky making this droning sound––it puts you in a dream. If it were any stronger, it would put you to sleep.
Do you remember what propelled you to move from the canvas to film?
Yes, I remember exactly. I was in a studio, painting a picture of a garden at night, so mostly black, but coming out of the black was some green. And I was sitting back, probably taking a smoke, looking at it, and from the painting came a wind and the green started moving. And so I said, “Oh! A moving painting!” And that's what got me going.
How does it feel when you catch an idea like that?
Many times it's just a little minnow, and everybody has lots of minnows for sure. We all have ideas. But if you get a little minnow that's got gold flecks and a violet tail, and when you look at it, it shoots light into you and when you hold it, it makes you vibrate with happiness, that's a special little idea and you start falling in love with it.
Come back for part 2 tomorrow and hear Lynch muse on the lure of the woods, and why he loves smoking.