Francisco Aragón: “Asleep You Become a Continent”

Photographers Unknown, Asleep You Become a Continent

asleep you become a continent—
undiscovered, mysterious, long,
your legs mountain ranges
encircling valleys, ravines

night slips past your eyelids,
your breath the swaying of the sea,
sprawled across the bed like
a dolphin washed ashore, your mouth

is the mouth of a sated volcano,
O fragrant timber, how do you burn?
you are so near, and yet so far

as you doze like a lily at my side,
I undo myself and invoke the moon—
I’m a dog watching over your sleep

Francisco Aragón, Asleep You Become a Continent (Francisco X. Alarcón), Glow of Our Sweat, 2010

Born in San Francisco in 1968, Francisco Aragón is an American poet, essayist, translator and editor. The son of Nicaraguan immigrants who settled in the United States in the 1950s, he earned his Bachelor of Arts at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Arts in Spanish at New York University. Upon his return to the United States.in 1998 after a decade in Spain, Aragón completed his graduate degrees in Creative Writing from the University of California at Davis and the University of Notre Dame.

At the University of Notre Dame in 2003, Aragón became the director of Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute of Latino Studies and a founding member of the Poetry Coalition. A winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize, he served on the board of directors of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs from 2008 to 2012. Aragón is the founding editor and director for the Momotombo Press, established in 2004. Named after the volcano in Nicaragua, the press publishes and promotes new works in Latino literature in the chapbook format. 

Francisco Aragón’s poetry places his personal experiences within the wider historical and cultural conventions of society. His writing process is often stimulated by sensory experiences that bring forth memories long forgotten. Aragón’s poetry has appeared in over twenty anthologies and a range of literary journals. In 2010 he was awarded with an Outstanding Latino Cultural Arts and Publication Award by the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education.

Aragón is the author of three books of poetry, the most recent being the 2020  “After Rubén”, which explores Latinx and queer identity through homage to the great Nicaraguan poet Rubén Dario. Throughout the text, Aragón intersperses English language translations with riffs from Dario’s poetry. His previous collections include his 2005 debut volume, “Puerta del Sol”, and “The Glow of Our Sweat”, published in 2010. 

Francisco Aragón is the author of three previous chapbooks of poetry: “Tertulia”, “In Praise of Cities”, and “Light Yogurt, Strawberry Milk”. His most recent chapbook is the 2019 “His Tongue a Swath of Sky”, printed in an edition of only two-hundred copies. In this work, Aragón amends the historical record by turning figures of modernista pastoral into an idealization of queer desire. All proceeds from the sale of this book were donated to Letras Latinas. 

Aragón is the editor of the award-winning 2007 anthology “The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry”.  His work as a translator includes four books by Francisco X. Alarcón, as well as work by Spanish poets Federico García Lorca and Gerardo Diego. More recently, Aragón has been rendering versions of the Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío. 

Note: Several interviews with Francisco Aragón on his translation work, and  the current state of Latino poetry, as well as readings from “Puerta del Sol” can be found at: http://www.franciscoaragon.net/interviews.html

David Lebe

The Photography of David Lebe

Born in Manhattan, New York in 1948, David Lebe is an American photographer whose work includes both figurative and still life images. His initial education began at the progressive, elementary-level City & Country School in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and later at Harlem’s High School of Music and Art. During these years, Lebe frequently visited New York City’s many art museums, particularly drawn to the Museum of Modern Art’s photographic exhibitions. His exposure to the photographs of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank, among others, generated a life-long passion for street photography.

David Lebe is best known for his experimental images. Among the techniques used are pinhole cameras, photograms made by placing objects directly on photographic paper and then exposing it to light, hand-painted photographs, and light drawings, an old technique which entails using a moving light source during a long-exposure photograph. In his photography, Lebe explores the issues of gay identity, homoeroticism, and living with AIDS. 

From 1966 to 1970, David Lebe attended the Philadelphia College of Art where he studied photography under Ray K. Metzker, known for his bold experimental, black and white cityscapes; Tom Porett, who pioneered work in the extended photograph, multi-media and digital photographic processes: and Barbara Blondeau, best known for her strip-print images created through different winding speeds, and various lighting and masking techniques. 

During  his studies with Barbara Blondeau in 1969 and 1970, Lebe began to experiment with pinhole cameras and built his own devices with multiple apertures which enabled him to record panoramic views from different angles. For his senior thesis, he created “Form Without Substance”, a series of high-contrast images with strong black shadows which were taken in Philadelphia and his childhood area of Manhattan.Two years after graduation, Lebe accepted a teaching position at the Philadelphia College of Art, where he taught photography until 1990. During his tenure, he exhibited his photography in private galleries and museums. 

A dissatisfaction with the results of color film printing led David Lebe to begin hand-coloring his gelatin silver prints, photograms and pinhole images, and traditional photographs. His first collection of these works was the 1974-75 “Unphotographs”, a series of meticulously hand-painted portraits and self-portraits. After the purchase of a townhouse and studio space in Philadelphia, Lebe began to create several series of photograms using plant material collected from his gardens and country excursions. His “Specimens” series featured plants, bones and other material combined into hybrid forms; the “Garden Series” contained images of plant material dissected and reassembled; “Landscapes” placed the hybrid forms in hand-painted settings.

In early 1976 still living in a cramped apartment in Philadelphia, Lebe created his first black and white light drawing . Standing before a 35mm camera on a tripod, he made a long exposure using a flashlight to draw an outline of his naked body and embellished it with points and lines of light throughout the room. This technique, originally used by photographers Étienne-Jules Marey and Georges Demeny in the 1800s, developed over time to include other people, objects and their surroundings. The long exposure time allowed Lebe to enter these images with his subjects and create events rather than moments of time. 

In 1987, following the death of a friend from AIDS and just before his own HIV diagnosis, David Lebe produced “Scribbles”, abstract images drawn freehand with a flashlight and which often featured light emerging from a glass vase. In 1989, David Lebe began a series of four shoots depicting adult film star and author Scott O’Hara. These sessions contained both nude and erotic images which, while documenting the effects of AIDS on O’Hara’s body, also presented his determination to embrace his personal sexual pleasure.

In 1989, Lebe met the ceramic artist and horticulturist Jack Potter. The two began a relationship that has continued to endure for over thirty years. Both men were HIV-positive when they met. They altered their lifestyle, their eating habits, and moved to the rural Columbia County of New York in 1993. The transition from city to country life inspired Lebe to create the still-life series “Food for Thought”, arrangements of various vegetables and foods shot against black background, sometimes with spirals of light around them. 

Despite their efforts at a healthy diet and lifestyle, both David Lebe and Jack Potter began to decline in their health in the mid-1990s. In 1994, Lebe documented his lover Jack’s daily self-care regimen with a series of small, intimate black and white portraits. In his 1996-97 “Jack’s Garden”, he made detailed studies of the gardens Potter had cultivated on the property. In 1996, Lebe and Potter began the newly designed combination-drug therapy that was showing success in extending the lives of HIV-positive patients. 

By 2004, David Lebe fully embraced digital photography and continued to photograph the environment around his and Jack’s home. He also began making new color prints of older work, including his early pinhole prints. In 2013, he started his ongoing series “ShadowLife”, images of shadows and reflections illuminated by early morning light streaming through the house’s windows, thus continuing his earlier studies of shadows. In May of 2019, Lebe had his first solo museum exhibition, “Long Light”, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which featured one hundred-forty five images spanning five decades. The exhibition represented both a historic achievement for an artist with AIDS and an important resistance to the dangerous tendency to historicize the disease.

David Lebe’s photography can be found in many private and public collections, which include, among others, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California; the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City; Houston’s Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe’s New Mexico History Museum, the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and a major collection of his work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Images of David Lebe’s work, prints for sale, and quotes from Lebe can be found at the artist’s site located at: https://davidlebe.com

Top Insert Image: David Lebe, “Unzippered, Paul, Philadelphis”, 1981, Light Drawomg Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Second Insert Image: David Lebe, “Self Portrait, Philadelphia”, 1981, Hand-Colored Light Drawing, Silver Gelatin Print

Third Insert Image: David Lebe, “Socks, (Renato, Philadelphia)”, 1983, Hand-Colored Light Drawing, Silver Gelatin Print

Fourth Insert Image: David Lebe, “Underpants, 1981, Light Drawomg Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Fifth Insert Image: David Lebe, “Paul After, 1981, Light Drawomg Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Bottom Insert Image: David Lebe, “Avalon (Barry Kohn, Boardwalk, Avalon, New Jersey)”, 1980,  Light Drawing Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Lew Thomas

Lee Thomas, “Time Equals 36 Exposures (Negative and Positive Sections)”, 1971, Printed 1989, 72 Gelatin Silver Prints Total, Each Section of 36 Clocks 122 x 122 cm Framed, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Born in San Francisco, California in 1932, Lew Thomas was an American  photographer, polymath artist, curator, critic and a bookstore manager. He is one of the most well-known conceptual photographers of the 1970s, a pioneer in the field whose photographic experiments created new possibilities for Conceptual art. 

Thomas, who had firm working knowledge of art philosophy and theory, actually rejected the term ‘conceptual photographer’. He struggled to gain acceptance for his work as there was not a broad understanding of photographers who were working conceptually within the photo community. As photography was still seen as separate from fine art, the art world was not accepting those photographers who were grounded in that practice.

Lew Thomas, as a child, developed a love for books and language, a trait which would later influence the basics of his art practice. He attended the University of San Francisco where he graduated in 1960 with a degree in English Literature.In 1964, Thomas  became the manager of the Patrons of Art and Music Bookshop where he stayed until 1982. During this time, he developed his interest in photography and French Structuralism, a school of thought developed by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, in which cultures are viewed as systems and analyzed in terms of the structural relationships of their components.

Thomas initially studied under Joe Schopplein, a photographer with San Francisco’s de Young Museum, who taught him the techniques of shooting and printing film. Throughout his work, Thomas continued to investigate the relationship between word and image. Instead of being concerned about the aesthetic or psychological content of the image, he emphasized the capacity of a photograph to provide simple evidence of an image’s underlying structure. His art was a meticulous study of creating pictorial responses to understand how the meanings of words are conceived through their relationship with other words- a relationship without which they would have little significance.

Lew Thomas’s seminal work was the 1971 “Black & White”, a vertical diptych of photographs in which the word ‘black’ is printed in white on a black background above a print of the word ‘white’ on a black background. This breakthrough work was followed in 1972 with ”Opening & Closing the Garage Door”, which featured two vertical photo strips of a figure performing that routine. Although seeming quite simple on the surface, these two artworks by Lee Thomas were supported by his studies in structural linguistics, including his observations of his daughter’s speech development.

Thomas was also interested in the concept of time’s passage and how devices such as clocks form our relationships to it. In 1971, he created “Time Equals 36 Exposures (Negative and Positive Sections)”, a set of thirty-six exposures of a black clock shot at various times during the day, accompanied by an equal in size set of exposures of a white clock taken at the same times. For his 1973 “Light-On-Floor”, Thomas again used a six by six grid of thirty-six exposures to show the passing of a day as light shifts across a linoleum floor.

Starting in the early 1970s, Lew Thomas’s artwork began to be shown at major venues, including the Oakland Art Museum in 1972, San Francisco’s de Young Museum in 1974, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, among others. Thomas’s work, along with the work of conceptual photographers Donna-Lee Phillips  and Hal Fischer, was shown in the 2020 “Thought Pieces” exhibition held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. These three photographers became the co-founders of the “Photography and Language” movement, named after a book and group exhibition of the same name produced by Thomas in 1976. 

Thomas, Phillips and Fischer were all extremely active in the mid to late 1970s. In addition to making their own artwork, they published essays, reviewed shows and organized exhibitions. Under the name NFS Press, Thomas published a number of books designed by Phillips, including the 1978 “Structural(ism) and Photography” which featured Thomas’s work; “Eros and Photography” edited by Phillips and published in 1977; “Gay Semiotics” published in 1978; and the 1979 “18th Near Castro Street x 24”, a print version which paired young, gay Hal Fischer’s twenty-four hour study of a popular bus stop bench in the Castro district of San Francisco with texts drawn by him on the sidewalk every hour.

Lew Thomas, in addition to producing his art, engaged in the San Francisco art scene where he encouraged and debated fellow artists through salons, panel discussions, and workshops. He edited and published over thirty books and organized legendary exhibitions in California. The “Photography and Language” movement Thomas co-founded attracted many rising artists, including Dennis Adams, Peter d’Agostino, Meyer Hirsch and Cindy Sherman, among others. The work of this group exerted an influence beyond California and played a role in the conceptual photographic work of the 1980s. 

In 1985 Thomas relocated from San Francisco to Houston, Texas, where he served as the Executive Director of the Houston Center of Photography until 1987. His  artwork of the 1980s explored filmic representation, photography and human relationships as mediated through new technology, in particular, the newly popular VCR. From 1989 to 1995, Lew Thomas was the Visual Arts Coordinator at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. His work in this period was exhibited at New Orlean’s Galerie Simonne Stern. In retirement, Lew Thomas moved to Petaluma, CA, where he lived surrounded by family and friends until his death in August of 2021 at the age of eighty-eight

Note: There is a short video of Hal Fischer discussing the genesis and impact of his photographic book “Gay Semiotics” and life in the Castro district in 1970s San Francisco. The video is located  at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s website: https://www.sfmoma.org/exhibition/thought-pieces-1970s-photographs-by-lew-thomas-donna-lee-phillips-and-hal-fischer/

Top Insert Image: Lew Thomas, “White Motion/Black Motion”, 1972, Vintage Prints (Self Portraits), Two Parts, 25.4 x 21.6 cm, Private Collection

Second Insert Image: Lew Thomas, “Throwing-Nikomat”, 1973/2014, Four Gelatin Silver Prints, 74.3 x 59.1 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Lew Thomas, “Portrait Equals 36 Exposures”, 1972/2015, 36 Gelatin Silver Prints, 165.7 x 135.2 cm, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Fourth Insert Image: Lew Thomas, “Opening & Closing the Garage Door”, Two Perspectives, 1972/2015, Ten GelatinSilver Prints, 60.1 x 34,3 cm, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover

Bottom Insert Image: Lew Thomas, “Sink, Filling/Filled, Draining/Drained (9 Works)”, 1972, Nine Gelatin Silver Prints, 81.3 x 76.8 cm, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover

Carlos Cancio

Carlos Cancio, “Los Bañistas (The Bathers)”, 1989-1990, Acrylic on Paper Laid on Canvas, 230.9 x 175 cm, Private Collection

Carlos Cancio is a Cotemporary Puerto Rican artist; specialized in painting. After graduating from the University of Boston with a degree in fine arts, Cancio moved to Spain, where he set up his first studio. From 1991 to 2003, he lived in San Francisco, California; he currently lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cancio has traveled extensively, including India where he became more familiar with that country’s art and culture.

Cancio began to show his work professionally in 1981, and has presented his work in several cities in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.  He has had solo shows at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 1987, the Museum of Art and History in San Juan in 1988, and the Museo de las Casas Reales Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 2004. Cancio has also taken part in group shows in the United States and Puerto Rico. His work is characterized by his poetic style, the use of figuration and its inclusion of pan-Caribbean motifs.

Image reblogged with many thanks to: https://doctordee.tumblr.com

Elijah Burgher

The Artwork of Elijah Burgher

Born in Kingston, New York in 1978, Elijah Burgher is an American artist who produces both figurative and abstract colored pencil drawings, paintings and prints of sigils. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and his Master of Fine Arts at Chicago’s Art Institute. Burgher currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. His work is represented by the Horton Gallery in Dallas, New York’s contemporary PPOW Gallery, and Western Exhibitions in Chicago. 

In his work, Elijah Burgher uses ideas from occult and magic traditions to address queer sexuality, sub-cultural formations, and the history of abstraction. He also creates sigils, symbols of magical power, inspired by different esoteric systems, including the works of English illustrator and occultist Austin Osman Spare, who trained as a draughtsman at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington. Burgher’s sigils encode symbols of wishes and desires through their shape, and the compositions of their elements and color.

Burghers colored pencil drawings of nude male figures, often featuring images of friends,  illustrate scenes from his daily life and environment. Acting as ritual relics, they have an erotic quality that anchors their abstract components into reality. 

Elijah Burgher had solo exhibitions of his work in several galleries including the 2018 “Nudes in  the Forest” at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, Romania; “Bachelors” at New York’s Zieher Smith and Horton Gallery in 2016; and “Elijah Burgher, Topple the Table of Correspondences’ in 2011 at 2nd Floor Projects in San Francisco, among others. As a resident artist at Western Exhibitions in Chicago, Burgher has had several solo exhibitions in its gallery from 2012 to 2020. 

Burgher has also shown his work in multiple group exhibitions from 2000 to 2021, including the 2014 Gwangin Biennial, Asia’s most important contemporary art exhibition which was held in the Republic of Korea; New York City’s 2014 Whitney Biennial; “The Temptation of AA Bronson” exhibition held in 2013 at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Netherlands; the 2020 “intimacy: New Queer Art from Berlin and Beyond” held at the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland; and “Secret Language” held in 2021 at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, among others.

In 2011, Elijah Burgher held a Residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in New York City and a Fire Island Artist Residency in Long Island, New York.

Note: an interview with Elijah Burgher can be found at the Inside/Within web art archive located at: http://insidewithin.com/elijah-burgher/

Elijah Burgher’s works can be found at the P.P.O.W. Gallery site located at https://www.ppowgallery.com/artists/elijah-burgher#tab:thumbnails

Bottom Insert Image: Elijah Burgher,, “Bachelor with Demons (Sleezy)”, 2015, Colored Pencil on Paper

Danez Smith: “This Need to Be Needed, To Belong”

Photographers Unknown, This Need to Be Needed, To Belong

this gin-heavy heaven, blessed ground to think gay & mean me.
bless the fake id & the bouncer who knew
this need to be needed, to belong, to know how
a man taste full on vodka & free of sin. i know not which god to pray to.
i look to christ, i look to every mouth on the dance floor, i order
a whiskey coke, name it the blood of my new savior. he is just.
he begs me to dance, to marvel men with the
                                                                                                dash
of hips i brought, he deems my mouth in some stranger’s mouth necessary.
bless that man’s mouth, the song we sway sloppy to, the beat, the bridge, the length
of his hand on my thigh & back & i know not which country i am of.
i want to live on his tongue, build a home of gospel & gayety
i want to raise a city behind his teeth for all boys of choirs & closets to refuge in.
i wnat my new god to look at the mecca i built him & call it dam good
or maybe i’m just tipsy & free for the first time, willing to worship anything i can tase.

Danez Smith, The 17-Year-Old & the Gay Bar, Poetry, February 2017

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Danez Smith is an American poet and author who was a First Wave Urban Arts Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 2012. They are genderqueer, non-binary and HIV positive. Their first collection of poetry was the 2013 chapbook “hands on your knees” published by Penmanship Books. Their chapbook “black movie”, published in 2015, won that year’s Button Poetry Prize.

Among other works, Smith is the author of three collections of poetry which received critical acclaim: the 2014 “(insert) Boy” which won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and was selected as a Boston Globe Best Poetry Book in the same year; the 2017 “Don’t Call Us Dead: poems” which was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Poetry; and the 2020 “Homie” which was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Poetry, and the 2021 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry.

In 2018, Danez Smith received the inaugural Four Quartets Prize from the Poetry Society of America for his sonnet sequence entitled “summer, somewhere”. Smith also became, at age twenty-nine, the youngest recipient of the Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection; their collection of poems “Don’t Call Us Dead” won over works by former Forward winner Vahni Capildeo and U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.

In addition to other awards for their collections, Danez Smith was the recipient of a 2014 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and a 2017 NEA Fellowship for Creative Writing. They currently serve on the board of directors for the Washington DC-based poetry non-profit Split This Rock.

Smith and poet and playwright Franny Choi are both co-hosts of the poetry podcast “VS” from the Poetry Foundation. Smith is also a founding member of Wikipedia’s Dark Noise Collective; other founders include Franny Choi, poet and screenwriter Fatimah Asghar, poet and singer/songwriter Jamila Woods, and poets Nate Marshall and Aaron Samuels.

Note ; Poetry Foundation’s VS podcast can be found at: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/category/142241

Guy Madison: Film History Series

Guy Madison (Sailor Harold E. Smith), “Since You Went Away”, 1944,  Selznick International Pictures

Born in Pumpkin Center, California in January of 1922, Robert Ozell Moseley was an American film, television and radio actor. He was one of five children born to a machinist father and raised in Bakersfield, California. Moseley attended the city’s junior college where he majored in animal husbandry, he worked briefly as a telephone linesman in California before joining the Coast Guard in 1942.

In Hollywood on a liberty pass in 1944, Moseley attended a Lux Radio Theater broadcast where he was noticed by a talent scout and brought to the offices of Selznick International Pictures. David Selznick signed Moseley to a contract and gave him several screen tests and his first film role. Moseley appeared as a lonely sailor in a three-minute bowling alley sequence with film stars Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker in the 1944 “Since You Went Away”. He filmed his screen time on a weekend pass under the name Guy Madison, a screen name composed by David Selznick and his assistant Henry Wilson. 

“Since You Went Away” was set in an American town where families dealt with loved ones fighting in the Second World War and the effects of that war at home. The cinematography was produced by Stanley Cortez, who would film Charles Laughton’s “Night of the Hunter”, Lee Garmes, an Academy Award winner for “Shanghai Express”, and George Barnes, Academy Award winner for “Rebecca”, and documentary producer Robert Bruce, the last two being in uncredited roles. The film was a success and generated thousands of fan letters for Guy Madison in his role as a lonely sailor. 

Guy Madison, after his discharge from military service, was cast in several roles by Selznick. He appeared in leading roles in the 1946 drama film “Till the End of Time”, co-starring with Dorothy McGuire, Bill Williams and Robert Mitchum, and the 1947 comedy film “Honeymoon”, co-starring with Shirley Temple and Franchot Tone. Madison’s early acting roles in these films was judged by critics to be amateurish and, by the end of the 1940s, he was no longer getting roles. Along with most of the Selznick International’s contract-players during this period, Madison was eventually released from his contract. 

Despite the bad reviews, Madison studied and started perfecting his art in the theater.His fortune changed when he was given the role of James Butler Hickok in the television series “The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok”, which ran from 1951 to 1958 and on the radio from 1951 to 1956. His co-star in the series was Andy Devine, a character actor well known for his distinctive raspy voice, who played the role of  the trusty sidekick Jingles. This popular series was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1956 for Best Western or Adventure Series.

Guy Madison’s popularity as Hickok led to a starring role in the 1953 western film “The Charge at Feather River”, a role which gave him a new start as an action hero, albeit mostly in western films. Films which followed include the 1954 Western calvary film “The Command”; the 1955 robbery film “Five Against the House”; “The Beast of Hollow Mountain”, a 1956 horror western with a prehistoric beast; the 1956 science fiction drama “On the Threshold of Space”; the 1957 western drama“The Hard Man”; and “Bullwhip”, a 1958 western film in which Madison co-starred with Rhonda Fleming. 

In the 1960s, Madison traveled through Europe and made several costume dramas, German adventure films and Italian westerns. Among his many European films are such films as the 1965 film “Das Vermächtnis des Inka (The Legacy of the Incas)”, the 1966 “I Cinque della Vndette (Five for Revenge)”, and the 1968 “I Lunghi Giorni dell’Odio (Long Days of Hate)”. In the 1970s, Madison returned to the United States and appeared in mainly cameo roles in film and television. In 1988, he appeared in a television remake of the western classic “Red River” along with western stars James Arness, Robert Horton and John Lupton. Madison’s role as rancher Bill Meeker became his final film role.

In his later years, Guy Madison’s work was greatly limited by physical aliments and the onset of emphysema. He eventually retired to a large ranch home he designed in Morongo Valley, California. Madison died at the age of seventy-four in February of 1996 at the Desert Hospital Hospice in Palm Springs, California. He was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California. 

Guy Madison, in addition to all his appearances on many television shows, appeared in over fifty films in his career. In 1954, he was awarded a special Golden Globe Award for Best Western Star and, in 1986, was awarded a Golden Boot Award given in recognition of his contributions to the genre of westerns in television and film. Madison has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for his work in radio and one for his television contributions. He also has a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in California.

Note: Character actor Andy Devine acted in many western films. One of his most notable roles was as Cookie, the sidekick in ten Roy Rogers feature films. He also appeared in several films with John Wayne, including “Stagecoach” in 1939, the 1953 “Island in the Sky”, and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” released in 1962. Devine appeared extensively in radio including seventy-five appearances on Jack Benny’s radio show between 1936 and 1942. He was also the host for “Andy’s Gang”, a children’s television show hosted on NBC during the later half of the 1950s. Devine has a star of honor on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Second Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Guy Madison”, Studio Photo for “The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok”, circa 1951-1958

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Guy Madison and Andy Devine”, Studio Photo for “The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok”, circa 1951-1958

Fourth Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Guy Madison and Robert Mitchum”, Publicity Photo for “Till the End of Time”, 1945-1946

 

Charles Dean Cornwell

The Artwork of Dean Cornwell

Born in Louisville, Kentucky in March of 1892, Charles Dean Cornwell was an illustrator and muralist who was a dominant presence in American illustration during the first half of the twentieth- century. He began his professional career at the age of eighteen as a cartoonist for the Louisville Herald. In 1911, Cornwell found employment with the art department of the Chicago Tribune and began studies at the Chicago Art Institute where he studied under educator and painter Harvey Dunn, a prominent student of illustrator Howard Pyle and a member of the Brandywine School collective.

In 1915, Dean Cornwell traveled to New Rochelle, New York, well known for its established art colony, and studied under Dunn at the Art Students League in New York City where he eventually developed his own light-imbued style. In 1918 in Chicago, Cornwell married artist Mildred Montrose Kirkham, who also studied at the Chicago Art Institute. They had two children; however, due to Cornwell’s constant extramarital affairs, they separated after a few years but never divorced.

Possessing a strong work ethic, Cornwell often worked seventeen hours a day and through the entire week. His illustrations appeared in nearly every major publication in the United States including Redbook, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. In 1926, Cornwell signed a long-term contract with Cosmopolitan for an annual salary of one-hundred thousand dollars, equivalent to over a million dollars today.

Dean Cornwell illustrated the novels of authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Pearl S. Buck, W. Somerset Maugham, and short story writer Edna Ferber. He also illustrated posters to support the United States war efforts in three major conflicts, the Korean War effort and both the first and second World Wars. Through his career, Cornwell  did advertising for hundreds of companies including General Motors, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Goodyear, and New York Life; he also illustrated ads for such products as Coca-Cola, Seagram’s Gin, and Palmolive Soap. 

Deciding to dedicate the rest of his career to mural painting, Cornwell  traveled  to London in 1927, where he apprenticed to the painter Sir Frank William Brangwyn for a three-year study of mural painting. He assisted Brangwyn in a series of murals, including the British Empire Panels designed for the House of Lords. These panels, begun in 1925 and completed in 1932, were not hung in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords as intended. Considered too lively and colorful, the panels were housed in a specially built hall in Swansea. 

The most renowned of Dean Cornwell’s murals is the Los Angeles Public Library’s  twelve-panel “History of California” which encircles the Grand Rotunda. Painted on linen canvases and finished in 1933,  the forty-foot tall panels took five years to complete. Cornwell, having used all the funding after two years, took on illustrative work to finance the project to its completion. His other murals include, among others, those for the General Motors exhibition at the 1939 World’s Fair, New York’s Hotel Warwick’s Raleigh Room, the Easter Airlines building (now 10 Rockefeller Plaza), Boston’s New England Telephone headquarters building, and the William Rappard Center in Geneva, Switzerland.

Cornwell lectured and taught at New York’s Art Students League. From 1922 to 1926, he served as the president of the Society of Illustrators and was elected into its Hall of Fame in 1959. Cornwall was elected in `923 into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician and achieved full status in 1940. He served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters for four years beginning in 1953. Charles Dean Cornwell died at the age of sixty-eight in New York City on December 4th of 1960. A collection of his papers, correspondence, sketches, scrapbooks and photographs are housed in the Archives of American Art located in the Victor Building in Washington, DC. 

Note: A very extensive article on Dean Cornwell, complete with family history, can be found at the PulpArtists website: https://www.pulpartists.com/Cornwell.html

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Dean Cornwell in Studio”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Inset Image: Dean Cornwell, “Study of a Boy, for Water Mural”, 1927-33, Pastel and Charcoal Pencil on Paper, 58.4 x 38.1 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Dean Cornwell, Los Angeles Public Library”, 1933, Gelatin Silver Print

Bottom Insert Image: Dean Cornwell, “Study of a Boy, for Water Mural”, 1927-33, Pastel and Charcoal Pencil on Paper, Dimensions and Location Unknown

Benoit Prévot

The Artwork of Benoit Prévot

Born in the Ardennes region between France and Belgium in 1968, Benoit Prévot is a French illustrator and comic artist. A graduate of EMSAT, he has worked at various design and advertising studios. Prévot received formal training at the CFT Gobelins, a Paris school for visual communication and the arts,  after which he worked on several animated television series. Throughout his career, he has created artwork for comic books and fanzines, as well as illustrated book covers and promotional posters. 

Prévot’s more current and  personal work, reminiscent of illustrations produced in the 1920s, often displays a stylish homoerotic atmosphere. Although his favorite medium is ink and graphite on paper, Prévot has also produced works with watercolors and oil paints. 

Benoit Prévot is the writer and illustrator for Class Comics’s “Angelface”, a graphic novel series set in the 1920’s era of prohibition, which was epitomized by that era’s illicit liquor bars, swing music, and loose morals. The illustrated series combines the elegance of that era with Prévot’s stylish homoeroticism. The story of Alan, known as Angelface, and his lover Red conjures up the glamour of upper-class wealth and Trans-Atlantic ocean liner travel as well as the grime of the working class world which Alan and Red want to escape. 

Prévot’s work has been shown at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City and has been shown regularly at the Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festivals. Issues of the graphic novel “Angelface” were donated in 2011 to the Tom of Finland Foundation. Benoit Prévot currently lives and works in Paris. 

Bottom Insert Image: Benoit Prévot, “Décolleté”, Date Unknown

 

Igor Sychev

The Paintings of Igor Sychev

Born in February of 1987 in the northern city of Nadym, Igor Sychev is a Russian artist known for his Magic-Realistic figurative paintings. At the age of five years having shown an inclination towards the arts, his parents enrolled him in the city’s art school where he studied until the age of sixteen. Sychev left Nadym upon graduation and relocated to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, where he entered the Faculty of Industrial Design at the State Academy of Architecture, Design and Fine Arts.

After graduating from the Academy in 2010, Sychev moved to Moscow, which as Russia’s capital offered wider prospects for a career and self-expression. He soon obtained employment as an industrial designer and created designs for furniture and interior spaces. In 2011 while working in the design field , Sychev began a personal study of oil painting techniques. Over the next ten years, Igor Sychev gradually redirected his energies into pursuing a career as a painter. 

In addition to the primary medium of oil paints, Igor Sychev also produces works in the mediums of watercolor, pencil, sepia and charcoal. His work is inspired by the works of the recognized Master artists , such as Michelangelo’s “David”, who viewed the nude male body as a source of beauty, Other influences on Sychev’s work include the paintings of Lucian Freud and Egon Schiele, the large-scale expressive paintings of Paolo Troilo, painter Gregory Little’s boldly colored figures in everyday scenes,  and Portuguese painter Carlos Barahona Possollo’s male nude paintings.   

As the present politics and attitudes in Russian are predominantly homophobic, Igor Sychev has not been able to exhibit in galleries or museums. He holds his private exhibitions in establishments offered by friends. Sychev’s work is held in many private collections throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, and South Africa, among others. 

Images of Igor Sychev’s paintings, watercolors and drawings, as well as contact information, can be found at the artist’s website located at: https://www.igorsychev.com

Bottom Insert Image: Igor Sychev, “Concrete Colours” Sketch, Date Unknnown, White/Black Pencil and Pen on Paper, Artist Collection (Available)

Mark Doty: ‘What Do We Want In Any Body But the World?”

Photographers Unknown, What Do We Want In Any Body But the World?

When the beautiful young man drowned—
accidentally, swimming at dawn
in a current too swift for him,
or obedient to some cult
of total immersion that promised
the bather would come up divine,

mortality rinsed from him—
Hadrian placed his image everywhere,
a marble Antinoüs staring across
the public squares where a few dogs
always scuffled, planted
in every squalid little crossroads

at the furthest corners of the Empire.
What do we want in any body
but the world? And if the lover’s
inimitable form was nowhere,
then he would find it everywhere,
though the boy became simply more dead

as the sculptors embodied him.
Wherever Hadrian might travel,
the beloved figure would be there
first: the turn of his shoulders,
the exact marble nipples,
the drowned face not really lost

to the Nile—which has no appetite,
merely takes in anything
without judgment or expectation—
but lost into its own multiplication,
an artifice rubbed with oils and acid
so that the skin might shine.

Which of these did I love?
Here is his hair, here his hair
again. Here the chiseled liquid waist
I hold because I cannot hold it.
If only one of you
, he might have said
to any of the thousand marble boys anywhere,

would speak. Or the statues might have been enough,
the drowned boy blurred as much by memory
as by water, molded toward an essential,
remote ideal. Longing, of course,
become its own object, the way
that desire can make anything into a god.

Mark Doty, The Death of Antinoüs, Bethlehem in Broad Daylight, 1990

Born in August of 1953 in Maryville, Tennessee, Mark Doty is an American poet and memoirist who is best known for his 1993 volume “My Alexandria”, which won the T.S. Eliot Prize, Britain’s most prestigious award for a collection of poetry. Born into an army family, he spent his early life in various sun-belt cities in the western and southern sections of the United States. Unsure of his sexual identity, Doty married at age eighteen and divorced after completion of his undergraduate studies at Iowa’s Drake University. 

Doty earned his Master’s Degree in creative writing from Goddard College in Vermont. While at college, he met Wally Roberts who would become his first great love and lifetime partner. They lived together in Manhattan and Provincetown for twelve years. Roberts tested positive for HIV in 1989; his illness and death in 1994 became a pivotal event in Doty’s development as a person and a poet.

Known for his intelligent and elegant verse, Mark Doty composes well-formed and aesthetic free verse poems, honest and direct elegies to Roberts and others lost, and lyrical poems that examine urban gay life. Doty’s work is molded from his individual character and from the specific experiences he has uniquely endured. 

Mark Doty’s first collection of poems, entitled “Turtle, Swan”, was published in 1987. Written from a gay perspective, the volume explored themes of childhood memories and nostalgia, the fragility of life, fate, hope and survival. Doty published his second collection of poems “Bethlehem in Broad Daylight” in 1991. His poem from that collection “Tiara”, which critiqued society’s perception and treatment of homosexual AIDS sufferers, was printed earlier in the anthology “Poets for Life: Seventy-Six Poets Respond to AIDS”.

Doty’s third book of poetry “My Alexandria”, published in 1993,  was written before Wally Roberts developed symptoms of the HIV virus. In contrast to poems of remembered youth in his earlier works, these poems contemplate an adult view of the prospect of mortality and the desperate attempts to try to make impending loss even momentarily bearable. This third collection was chosen for the National Poetry Series and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Doty’s winning of the T.S. Eliot Prize for this work made him the first American poet to win Britain’s annual award.

Among Mark Doty’s many poetry collections are the 1995 “Atlantis”, a  mixture of his own memories and letters from friends written in response to the tragedy of Wally Roberts’s illness and death; the 2001 “Source”, a collection of lyrical works on the paradox of self-perception; and the 2008 “Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems”, a collection written over twenty years on our mortal situation, the transforming power of desire, and the ability of art to shape human lives. “Fire to Fire” received the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. All three collections received the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men’s Poetry in their published year. 

Doty’s memoirs include the 1996 “Heaven’s Coast”, a deeply-felt, painful account of his thoughts after learning Roberts’s AIDS diagnosis; the 1999 “Firebird: A Memoir” an autobiography of his childhood from age six to sixteen in Arizona and the American South; the 2007 “Dog Years” an poignant account of his adoption of the dog Beau as a companion for Roberts during his darkest days; and the 2020 “What is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life”, an exploration of Whitman’s life and poetry and the effect Whitman’s work had on Doty’s own work and experiences. “Dog Years” was a New York Times Bestseller and won both the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/Biography and the Stonewall Book Award. 

Mark Doty has taught at Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Iowa, Columbia University, Cornell, and the New York University. He is currently Distinguished Professor and Writer in Residence in the English Department of Rutgers University. Doty lives with his husband Alexander Hadel in New York City and in the hamlet of The Springs in East Hampton, New York. The couple married in October of 2015 in Muir Woods National Monument.

Notes:
An extensive 1998 interview with Mark Doty by Dale Boyer for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs on Doty’s life and craft can be found at: https://www.awpwriter.org/magazine_media/writers_chronicle_view/1689/an_interview_with_mark_doty

A collection of fifteen poems and two prose pieces by Mark Doty can be found at the Poetry Foundation, a resource for new and contemporary poets. His biography and poems can be found at: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/mark-doty

Gabrielle Garland

The Paintings of Gabrielle Garland

Born in New York City in 1968, Gabrielle Garland is an American painter whose work is centered on the elements of architecture, space, and design. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned her MFA from the University of Chicago. The daughter of artistic parents, Garland was influenced by her early participation in her mother’s profession of decorative painting. She currently resides in New York’s East Village and maintains a studio in Brooklyn. 

For the last decade, Garland has been creating a series of images based on rural American architecture. These surreal portraits of houses and apartments, devoid of people, feature exterior views seen from the street and interior scenes arranged with personal domestic furnishings. Executed with a bold palette, the paintings show a fluid, elastic perspective, often containing oblique angles, which gives each home a unique personality. Lacking distinctive architectural features or indications of geographical locations, these anthropomorphic structures could stand anywhere.

Gabrielle Garland has exhibited her work in many group and solo exhibitions at both galleries and public spaces. These include multiple solo shows at the Hap Gallery in Portland, Oregon; the 2014 exhibition at Chicago’s Logan Center; the 2015 group show at MoMA’s Clemente Soto Vélex Cultural Center; multiple showings at Expo Chicago curated by Corbett vs Dempsey; the 2018 Campbell Project Space exhibition in Sydney, Australia; the 2017 Postcards from the Edge: Benefit for Visual Aids held in New York City; and “Chasing Phantoms”, a group show in 2022 at The Pit in Los Angeles, among others. 

In addition to her paintings, Garland produced in 2014 the limited edition, black and white “Gabrielle Garland: Coloring Book”, created from a series of her drawings that became paintings of artists’ spaces. 

Gabrielle Garland’s website, which contains images of both paintings and drawings, as well as upcoming exhibitions and contact information, can be found at: http://www.gabriellegarland.org

Top Insert Image: Gabrielle Garland, “Untitled 160”, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas over Panel, 55.9 x 68.5 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Gabrielle Garland, Untitled 63 (Green Coffee Table), Oil on Panel, 40.6 x 50.8 cm,

Orla Muff

Orla Muff, “Nana”, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 45.1 x 55.3 cm, Private Collection

Born in April of 1903 in Copenhagen, Orla Andreas Heinrik Jacobsen was a Danish painter and illustrator. From 1917 to 1921, he received his formal art education at the Copenhagen Technical School under Carl Lund, the leading theatrical artist of the time. In 1917, he adopted a change in name to Orla Muff. 

In 1918, Muff was awarded a distinguished seat at the Day’s Drawing Concourse, an event held by Children’s Aid, and had his first drawing printed on a postcard. In the same year he drew one hundred different illustrations depicting gnomes for a series of postcards, which was released in large editions several times. Muff’s illustrations for the early postcards were signed with an intertwined O and J standing for Orla Jacobsen. He continued to design postcards until the late 1960s; these later works were signed with Orla Muff.

After his studies with Carl Lund, Orla Muff began a period of travel through Europe where he studied in Sweden, Holland, France and Germany. He achieved acclaim early in his career as a designer of elaborate Art Deco styled sets for prominent European revues and theatrical productions. Included among these designs were sets for performances at Copenhagen’s Folk Theater, Austrian-born theatrical producer Max Reinhardt’s Theater in Berlin, and Norway’s Mayol Theater in Oslo. 

In addition to his set designs, Muff began easel painting in the early 1930s; he created portraits, figurative works, and abstract paintings. His work is characterized by a refined sophistication and a predominantly light-toned color scale. Muff’s abstract compositions, executed in the styles of the Art Deco and Cubist movements, often contain mythologically inspired figures set in largely monochromatic backgrounds. 

Painted in his early thirties, Orla Muff’s 1934 “Nana” is an Art Deco derived, Expressionist oil portrait of a young, high-spirited woman, shown smoking a cigarette and set against a mottled turquoise background. Muff’s use of strong lighting effects produced a dramatic and psychologically penetrating portrait of this young woman.

During the course of his career, Orla Muff exhibited successfully in many European exhibitions and was the recipient of juried awards and prizes. Among his notable works are “Leda and the Swan” exhibited in 1940; the 1940 oil on canvas “Tropical Jungle Women”; a 1947 series of wooden sculptural figures based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales;  a 1957 series of illustrations from the Bible for use in films; and posters, costume designs, and theater decorations executed in 1921 and 1922  for performances of Anderson’s tales at the Mayol Theater in Oslo. 

Orla Muff died in the city of Copenhagen in December of 1984. A small collection of personal correspondence from Orla Muff to Dr. Raymond Piper, as well as a photo of the artist and photos of Muff’s artwork, can be found in the Special Collections of the University of West Georgia.

Notes: An extensive collection of Orla Muff’s illustrated postcards can be found at the Danish Postcard Artists site located at: https://www.piaper.dk/postkortkunstnere/Postkortkunstnere/Orla_Muff/Orla_Muff.htm   

A collection of fifty-five images of Orla Muff’s music sheet covers is located at the online Illustrated Sheet Music site: https://www.imagesmusicales.be/search/illustrator/Muff/11874/ShowImages/80/Submit/

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Orla Muff”, Date Unknown, Collection of the Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen

Second Insert Image: Orla Muff, Music Sheet Cover for “Smaragden”, Composer Einar Cronhammer, 1923

Third Insert Image: Orla Muff, Music Sheet Cover for “Han är Söt och Rar”, Composer Harald Mortensen, 1925

Bottom Insert Image: Orla Muff, Music Sheet Cover for “Femina”, Composer Sven Rüno, 1923

Adrien Pelletier

Portraits by Adrien Pelletier

Born in Paris in 1981, Adrien Pelletier is a French painter whose work focuses on the art of portraiture. He earned his Bachelor of FineArts in Graphic Design at Paris’s Central Saint Martins in 2004 and his Master of Fine Arts at London’s Royal College of Arts in 2006. Pelletier also studied graphic design history and semiotics at Ecole Estienne in Paris. He has held the position of art director for many years at fashion magazines based in Paris and London.

For his Bachelor of Arts graphic design dissertation at Central Saint Martins in 2004, Adrien Pelletier produced “SWAG: The Talent of the Others”.  The home-printed book was a collection of fictional interviews around the theme of borrowing from others. The research investigated various dialectic oppositions, such as original versus copy, authentic versuss fake, author versus artist, legal versus legitimate, authority versss integrity, and the concept of you versus me.

Executed in the mediums of acrylic or gouache, Pelletier’s works  are intimate portraits of strangers, friends and lovers who are situated in outdoor or personal interior settings. These compositions, either innocent or sexual in nature, are painted using bold and complimentary colors in a straightforward, naive style. Pelletier uses personal photographs of people in his life as references for his work. His first exhibition in Paris was as part of Exposition Collective Libre N. 2 held at the 3537 Gallery in March of 2022.

At the invitation of Jean Pierre Blanc, the director of the arts center  La Villa Noaillees, Pelletier began in 2017 an Art Residency on the Île du Levant off the coast of the French Riviera. While there, he painted a series of forty-five portraits of the residents of the island’s naturalist village, a society of independent individuals who shun cars and clothes.

In Pelletier’s Despina residency project, a more documentary approach was developed in which he often combined interviews with the portraiture. The project was to portray the cultural resistance to the political far-right movement and the possibilities of interactions among local communities. Portraits of activists, artists, intellectuals and people on the street were combined with dialogues on the environment, the rights of the individual, LBGTQ issues, and the protection of the indigenous Amazon communities.

Middle Insert Image: Adrien Pelletier, “Andreas à Athènes”, 2021, Paris, Gouache on Paper, 15 x 20 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Adrien Pelletier, “Mathias”, 2022, “To Paint is to Love Again” Series, Paris, Acrylic on Canvas, 75 x 50 cm

Jeffery Beam: “Life Stings the Pale Horses of My Desire”

Photographers Unknown, Life Stings the Pale Horses of My Desire

I try to find the words to describe the body of your plea-
sure. A cool lnaguage of tundra or a language incandescent
as water, as the ocean. All words are rooted, forests and fields
overgrown with violets and acids, with physical properties of
an object seeded in lead or oxygen. Let the forest grow wings
and the incandescent populate the night sky! The web net
fabric of your pleasure is purple pink magenta. Your veins
spill over with blood and the blood is lava, rumbling into my
valley. When I enter the mangle of our sexes, the deepthroat-
ed hummingbird flies.

When I see you, there are visions before me that sunflowers
cannot expel, of dark roses of blood and terror pricking me
with thorns. When I see you, my life is invalid with gauze, a
screen of soft thickness, a desiring and bereavement found
and lost. To touch, have, share you. . .this is flow, or a dark
corrosion of the senses, like rust building a rainbow of stone.
What we give hatches the egg of an apocryphal bloom. Every
moment your breathe, life stings the pale horses of my desire.
Each moment the invisible arms of my love stretch across
mountains. The wild hawk delivers its claw into your chest.

Jeffery Beam, When I See You, Poems from the Golden Legend (1981), The New Beautiful Tendons, 2012

Born in the textile-town of Kannapolis, North Carolina in April of 1953, Jeffery Beam is an American poet, essayist, and musical collaborator. In his lyrical work, known for its simplicity and physicality, he creates conversations between the body and the natural and spiritual worlds. Until his retirement in November of 2011, Beam was a botanical librarian for thirty-five years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since 1984, he has lived with his husband, Stanley Finch, at their residence ‘Golgonooza at Frog Level’ in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

In his early life,  Jeffery Beam realized the connection between his spiritual understandings, his queer identity and his existence as a Poet. In the 1970s, he delved into Zen Buddhism, the Way of the Tao, and the teachings of the Vedanta. From the literary works of such writers as Walt Whitman, Jean Genet, Kabir Das, Frederico Garcia Lorca, and Rainer Maria Rilke, Beam gained a new perception of the nature of desire in the material world. His understanding and acceptance of his true nature as a spiritual, queer poet is carried throughout all of his many works.

In 1979 with the arrival of a postcard from nationally published poet Jonathan Williams, Beam began a long association with Williams and his life-long partner poet Tom Meyer, as well as other members of The Jargon Society and the Black Mountain College community of artists. Williams, through his encouragement and frequent correspondence, would become one of the most important influences in the development of Beam’s poetic work.

Jeffery Beam has been a judge in the Poetry Division of the Lambda Book Awards for ten years. He also judged the annual poetry contest of Durham, North Carolina’s “The Independent Weekly” in 2014. Beam began teaching workshops in the spring of 1996; among these were “The Dog of Art in the Garden of Toads”, and “Fossil Poetry: Seeing the Word, Hearing the World”, which was sponsored by the North Carolina Writers Network. 

Beam’s “An Elizabethan Bestiary: Retold” was published in January of 1999 by Horse & Buggy Press in an edition of one thousand copies. Illustrations by Ippy Patterson accompanied Beam’s poetry which reworked the bestiaries found in Pliny’s ancient Roman and Edward Topsell’s 15th century works as published in English translation in Muriel St. Clare Byrne’s 1926 “The Elizabethan Zoo”. The collection was awarded an IPPY Award in 2000 as one of the Ten Best Books of the Year and received one of the 50 Books 2000 Awards from the American Institute for the Graphic Arts. With grants and support from such organizations as the Duke Museum of Art and the North Carolina Zoological Park, as well as private contributions, the publication of the collection was complemented by exhibitions, readings and interactive presentations across North Carolina.

Jeffery Beam’s “Spectral Pegasus: Dark Moments” was a result of a six-month collaboration with the Welsh painter Clive Hicks-Jenkins. The 2019 collection, based loosely on an ancient Welsh folk tradition and the death of Hicks-Jenkins’s father, joined the two men’s understandings of myth and dream into a singular poignant but joyful design. “Spectral Pegasus” details a hero’s journey through death and resurrection, psychological and spiritual trials, and ultimately towards a revelatory, redemptive vision. Following its publication, Beam held a poetry reading and discussion of this work at the Museum Arts Center of the Black Mountain College in August of the same year. This poetry/art collection includes an audio CD and downloadable MP3 files. 

Beam’s “The New Beautiful Tendons”, a collection of queer poems from 1969 to 2012, contains previously published works, selections from his CD collection “What We Have Lost: New and Selected Poems 1977-2001”, and several unpublished poems that expressed his queer identity. The poems in this collection are written in spare and direct language that delights in the body’s beauty and show the connection between a naturalized gay man and a spiritualized nature.

In addition to his poetic chapbooks and collections, Jeffery Beam’s literary works include: his co-editorship of “Jonathan Williams: The Lord of Orchards”, a biography and a homage to the renowned poet; the 2008 “On Hounded Ground”, an autobiographical essay with poems; and the 1998 “Light and Shadow”, a monograph on the photographic work of Claire Yaffa known for her documentary work on homelessness and child abuse. Beam has also worked with mezzo-soprano Shauna Holiman, cellists Barbara Stein Mallow and Wendy Law, and pianist Brent McMunn on “Life of the Bee”, a work written by Lee Holby based on a cycle of poems by Beam characterizing the residents and activities of a beehive.

“Poetry, music and dance all started in the cave and were meant to pull down that Divine, mysterious energy in the universe that no one could quite figure out and felt that they needed to access. In this way music and dance and poetry are almost inseparable.  That’s why when I am on stage you see me sort of dancing as well as singing and reciting the poems.  I don’t think you can or should separate them. What I do is attempt to access the Divinity that permeates this world, that’s my role as a poet— it’s not the mainstream now but it’s an ancient mode of poetry— which is vatic, and for me also rooted in Vedic mysticism — the one-in-all, the Atman.”

—Jeffery Beam, “Nantahala Interview” with poetry editor Mark A Roberts, North Carolina Literary Festival, Chapel Hill, April 2002

Note: Jeffery Beam’s website includes interviews with the poet, poetry readings and songs composed on his work, recent publications, contact information and works about poet Jonathan Williams. The site is located at: https://jefferybeam.com

Jeffrey Beam’s papers, which among other items include correspondence, poetry notebooks and recordings, are housed in the Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina

Top Insert Image: Bernard Thomas, “Jeffery in the Woods”, 2000, Durham Herald

Third Insert Image: Stanley Finch, “Jeffery Beam at William Blake’s Grave, London”, 2017

Fifth Insert Image: Kyle Hodges, “Jeffery Beam at Golgonooza”, 2015, The Daily Tar Heel

André Durand

Paintings by André Durand

Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1947, André Durand is a Canadian photographer and painter of Irish ancestry who works within the European Hermetic tradition. At the age of seventeen, he left Canada with his wife Ludmilla to emigrate to Europe. Through its history, Hermeticism was closely associated with the idea of a primeval, divine wisdom that was revealed to ancient sages. Hermeticism remains influential within esoteric Christianity, particularly in the  Christian mystical tradition of Maartinism. The anonymously written 1967 French tome “Meditations on the Tarot”, later edited and published by Robert Powell in 1980, summarizes the theory and practices of Christian Hermeticism.

Best known for his allegorical portraits of such figures as Princess Diane, Durand’s mythologically inspired paintings are the foundation of his work. These pieces display his deep understanding of the rituals and myths of both Christian and Classical traditions. Influenced by Michelangelo, Rubens and Titian, Durand tries to unite his religion with his art; however, he approaches the subject with the objective and philosophical criteria of a Neo-modernist. 

In 1970 André Durand painted a series of images inspired by the dancers of the British Royal Ballet. His 1972 portrait of Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen, whose work often bears heavily on the psychology of its characters, is housed in London’s National Portrait Gallery. Durand  has also received international acclaim for his official portraits of Pope John Paul II and the fourteenth Dalai Lama.

In 2000, Durand became artist in residence at London’s Kingston Upon Thames University. A major exhibition in 2006, entitled “Durand Wholly Pictures” and which covered six years of work, was displayed in churches and cathedrals in the county of Sussex. These works depicted devotional Christian narratives set in traditional  Sussex landscapes. In November of 2007, André Durand produced his oil on linen “Daniel in the Lions’ Den”; the sale of the painting and its limited edition prints benefited the Demelza Hospice Care for Children, a charity in Kent that provides support to life-limited children and their families.

After his return to Italy, André Durand visited the commune of Torre del Greco in Naples and the coastal town of Sperlonga, known for its sculptures and Roman sea grotto at the Villa of Tiberius. At the invitation of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Sperlonga, he opened a studio at the museum as artist in residence for two years. From 2010 to 2012, Durand began a series of round formal paintings on the subject of the Stations of the Resurrection, many of which contain the Grotto of Tiberius in the background.

Durand published several art photography volumes of his work in 2012. Most notable among them is the “Fotograf ando Statue per Anno”, an image collection of the statuary in Sperlonga’s National Archeological Museum. Containing text co-written by the museum’s director Marisa de’Spagnolls, this volume of sculptural work is the only comprehensive photographic archive of the museum’s collection. 

André Durand’s work has been featured in many solo exhibitions in Italy and England. These include, among others, “Frammenti Classici” in 1995 at London’s Archeus Fine Art; the 2000 “Soggetti Italianizzati” at the Galleria Albemarle in London; and “Via Lucis e Lagrime di San Pietro” at Galleria Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Durand’s work is in many private collections and the permanent collections of the Scottish National Gallery and London’s National Portrait Gallery. He currently lives and works in Sperlonga, Italy.

Images of André Durand’s work, a manifesto on Neo-modernism, enquiries for commissions, and contact information can be found at the artist’s site: http://andredurandportraits.com

Second Insert Image: André Durand, “Saint Christopher Cynocephalus”, 2010, “Sacred” Series, Oil on Linen, 167.5 x 112 cm

Third Insert Image: André Durand, “Narcissus”, 2001, “Mythology” Series, Oil on Linen, 61 x 48 cm, Private Collection, Rome

Bottom Insert Image: André Durand, “Giordano Bruno Burning”, 2000, “Profane” Series, Oil on Linen, 203.2 x 167.6 cm

Burgess (Jess) Franklin Collins

The Artwork of Jess Collins

Born in Long Beach, California in August of 1923, Burgess (Jess) Franklin Collins was an American visual artist best known for his elaborate collages that addressed science, mysticism, sexuality, history and popular culture. In his early years, he read books which ranged from Proust to L. Frank Baum, listened to classical music, and constructed scrapbooks with a great aunt. 

In 1942, Jess Collins entered the California Institute of Technology to study chemistry; however with the start of World War II, he was drafted in 1943 into the Army Corps of Engineers.  Collins worked in a junior position at the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the production of plutonium for atomic bombs until 1946. Upon his release from military service, he continued his education at California Institute and graduated with honors in the field of radiochemistry. Collins was given a position at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project located on the Columbia River in the state of Washington.

During his employment at the Hanford site, Jess Collins began adult education classes to study painting. Due to his growing concerns about the nature of his work in the atomic energy sector and the future of the industry, he left his position and decided to pursue a full-time career in the arts. Collins moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began to study art: first at the University of California at Berkeley and later at the California School of Fine Arts. Due to an estrangement with his family, Collins changed his name during this period of study to the singular Jess.

At the California School of Fine Arts, Jess studied with visual artist Elmer Bischoff, a forerunner of Abstract Expressionism in the Bay Area; abstractionist painter Edward Corbett, known for his use of the color black in his work; painter Hassel Smith, whose work went through a succession of art forms from plein air to figurative expressionism; and Clyfford Still, whose work encompassed a wide range of materials. Jess quickly became a member of the 1950s San Francisco art scene and was actively engaged in exhibitions, poetry readings and other creative activities in the area. 

In 1951, Jess met poet Robert Duncan, a member of the Black Mountain College and one of the most influential post-war American poets. They began a lifelong romantic relationship that evolved into a domestic household and an artistic collaboration that became central to the development of their art and poetry. This relationship lasted until Duncan’s death in 1968, thirty-seven years later. Along with abstract expressionist Harry Jacobus, Jess and Duncan opened the King Ubu Gallery in 1952, a venue which became an important exhibition space for alternative art in San Francisco.

Inspired by a gift from Duncan of “ Une Semaine de Bonté”, Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book, Jess began making collages, or Paste-Ups, in the early 1950s. These works, which combined text and image fragments from engravings, photographs, jigsaw pieces, and comic strips, became increasingly more complex over time. Eventually the Paste-Ups would contain thousands of distinct pieces. In 1959, Jess began a series of thirty-two works, entitled “Translation”. Each of the works were painted, enlarged reproductions of found images, such as children’s book illustrations and scientific drawings from old Scientific American periodicals, After being copied on new canvases, the paintings were combined with literary texts from such authors as William Blake, Gertrude Stein, and Plato.

The “Scavenger” series was based on painted or repainted canvases found in  thrift shops. Thick layers of paint were applied covering parts of the former works while leaving other image areas exposed for viewing. Built in layers, the thick new paint reinterpreted the existing work with its added texture and images. The 1959 “Narkossos” began as a pencil drawing for a painting that was based on the myth of Narcissus. This initial drawing became a large scale mixed-media work of graphite rendering and paste-up fragments featuring references from literary and popular culture. This large-scale work with original artist’s frame is currently housed in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

For the remainder of his life, Jess lived and worked in San Francisco except for a period of travel with Duncan in the mid-1950s to Europe and the Black Mountain College. The couple entertained their extensive but intimate circle of friends at their large Victorian home in the Mission District. The household was filled with artworks by Jess and their many friends, Duncan’s vast library, the couple’s recorded music collection, and many beautiful domestic objects salvaged by Jess from thrift shops. Jess had a major retrospective of his work in 1993-1994 which toured museums in San Francisco, Buffalo, and Washington, DC. 

Jess died of natural causes at his San Francisco home on the second of January in 2004 at the age of eighty. His work appears in major museum collections around the country including: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco. His work is now represented by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York City.

Note: The Jess Collins Trust established an archive for Jess’s papers and writings in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The Trust, which contains images of Jess’s work, exhibition and event information, and information on Robert Duncan’s work, can be found at: https://jesscollins.org

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Jess, Berkeley, California”, 1956-57, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Helen Adam, “Jess Collins, Beach Near Pidgeon Point”, Date Unknown

Third Insert Image: Jess Collins, “Untitled (Car and Male Nude), Date Unknown, Collage, 30.5 x 20.3 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Jess Collins and Robert Duncan, Stinson Beach”, 1958-59

Tim Dlugos: “You Draw Your Own Breath, Then I Draw Mine”

Photographers Unknown, You Draw Your Own Breath, Then I Draw Mine

Underneath your skin, your heart
moves. Your chest
rises at its touch. A small bump
appears, every
second. We watch for what appears
to be hours.

Our hands log the time: the soft
light, darkness
underneath your eyes. Our bodies
intersect like highways
with limitless access and perfect spans
of attention.

We pay for this later. I pay
for breakfast. We
can’t stay long. We take off
to the museum
and watch the individual colors
as they surface

in the late works of Matisse.
They move the way
your heart moves, the way we breathe.
You draw your own
breath, then I draw mine. This is
truly great art.

Tim Dlugos, Great Art (For Donald Grace), A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos, 2011

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts in August of 1950, Tim Dlugos was an American poet know for his openly gay work infused with pop-culture references. Raised by adopted parents in Massachusetts and Virginia, he joined the Christian Brothers, a Catholic religious order, in 1968. The next year, Dlugos entered the order’s La Salle College in Philadelphia where he started writing poetry and became active in the anti-Vietnam War movement. In 1971, he made the decision to leave the Christian Brothers and embrace an openly gay and politically active lifestyle. With his interest in academic life lessened, Dlugos left La Salle College in his senior year and relocated to Washington DC.

Dlugos became active in the city’s Mass Transit poetry scene and regularly attended poetry readings at Dupont Circle’s Community Book Shop. Among his associates were Irish-American poet and author Terence Winch, Language poet Tina Darragh, writer and historian Mícheál Lally, and Bernard Welt, an author and professor of cultural dream studies. While in Washington DC, Dlugos worked on Ralph Nader’s newspaper “Public Citizen”, a position that led to a successful future career with liberal and charitable organizations.

In 1976, Tim Dlugos moved to New York City where he settled in Manhattan and became a prominent poet in the downtown literary scene, particularly the Poetry Project of the East Village’s St. Mark’s Church. His poetry, with its openly gay topics and allusions to popular culture, was well received. In 1977, Dlugos began a correspondence and friendship with author and artist Dennis Cooper, the founder of the punk “Little Caesar Magazine” and the author of the semi-autobiographical series “The George Miles Cycle”. Dlugos published two books through Cooper’s Little Caesar Press: the 1979 poetry chapbook “Je Suis Ein Americano” and the 1982 “Entre Nous”

During his New York years, Tim Dlugos became friends with artist and writer Joe Brainard, who experimented with the use of comics as a poetic medium; biographer and novelist Brad Gooch; poet Eileen Myles who served as artistic director of St. Mark’s Poetry Project; poet Donald Britton, a member of the New York gay avant-garde poets who is best known for his 1981 “Italy”; and author, journalist and librettist Jane DeLynn whose 2002 “Leash” is considered the definitive portrait of lesbian life in the late twentieth-century.

In New York, Dlugos edited and contributed to such journals as Christopher Street, New York Native, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. After his HIV positive diagnosis in 1987, he decided to return to train for the Episcopalian priesthood. Dlugos relocated in 1988 to New Haven, Connecticut, where he enrolled at the Yale School of Divinity. However, he was unable to complete his degree. Tim Dlugos died of complications due to AIDS on December 3rd of 1990 at the age of forty.

Tim Dlugos published five books of poems in his lifetime; three books of his work have been published posthumously. He is widely known for the poems he wrote while hospitalized at Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hospital. Published in The Paris Review a few months before his death, Dlugos’s poem “G-9”, entitled after the hospital’s AIDS ward, celebrated life while accepting impending death. His close friend David Trinidad edited the posthumous “A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos”, which won the 2011 Lambda Literary Award.

Note: In addition to his poetry, Tim Dlugos kept a diary, from June 3rd to November 23rd in 1976, of his daily life as a gay man in New York City. It was published posthumously in 2021 by Sibling Rivalry Press. The following is an excerpt:

“Yesterday sunned on roof in a.m., read Diane di Prima’s Memoirs of a Beatnik in about 2 hours, then walked to Pier 51, where people sunbathe nude (among other things). Caught the eye of someone tall with reddish hair & freckles [this makes me think of Frank again], and we sat in a window on the second floor watching the cruise ships go by (incl. The Statendam, bearing Rob to Bermuda) for hours. Then came back here (my apt.), had coffee & went to bed—clean salt-water taste of his body. We had dinner together at a great looking restaurant w/ OK food called Chelsea Place, just up Eighth Avenue—ducks swim in their garden, “real ducks!” as every group of diners passing our table near the garden entrance exclaimed.”

Niels Smits Van Burgst

Paintings by Niels Smits Van Burgst

Born in Maassluis, The Netherlands in 1970, Niels Smits Van Burgst is a figurative painter whose work reveals moments of his personal life experiences and those shared with close friends and acquaintances. He currently lives in Rotterdam where he works in a large studio near the Sparta Stadium.

Niels Smits Van Burgst attended the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hage where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1993 and his Masters Degree in 1994. He committed himself in 1994 to depicting the experience of life awareness in his paintings. Initially he concentrated on painting private and personal experiences; over time, he gradually extended his work to include friends and people casually met through the course of life. 

The main emphasis of Van Burgst’s work is to show an identity, an understanding of what it means to be alive in Western society. His paintings, with their broad brushstrokes and cool palettes, provide the memories for their subjects’ life experiences. In many of Van Brugst’s works, he presents images of men existing in a civilized world where their excesses, such as lust, aggression and euphoria, are personally suppressed. In society, however, excesses are still experienced by individuals through sylized media channels such as television, the internet, and film.

Niels Smits Van Burgst’s  paintings have been exhibited in New York, Berlin, Amterdam, Brussels, and many more cities across Europe. A retrospective of his work was held in 2013 at the Museum ‘de Buitenplaats in Eelde, Netherlands. Van Burgst won the Van Ommeren de Voogd Foundation Prize for Fine Art in 2007 and the Aku in 2011. His paintings are in collections both private and public.

Niels Smits Van Burgst is represented by “De Twee Pauwen Gallery in The Hage.

Complete collections of Niels Van Burgst’s work, including contact information, can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/nielsSvanB and https://www.instagram.com/niels_smits_van_burgst/

Middle Insert Image: Niels Smits van Burgst, “De Schilderkunst (The Art of Painting)”, 2003, Oil on Wood, 30 x 22 cm

Yuris Nórido Ruiz Cabrera and Lester Vila Pereira

Photography by Nórido and Vila

Initiated in 2011, Nórido and Vila is a photographic collaboration between Cuban photographers Yuris Nórido Ruiz Cabrera and Lester Vila Pereira. Their oeuvre explores portraiture, fine art, architectural, and theater and dance photography.

Born in Violeta, Ciego De Ávilavila, Yuris Nórido is a journalist and a photographer who currently lives and works in Havana. He attended IPVCE Ignacio Agramonte in Ciegode Ávila and studied  Social Communication and Journalism at the University of Havana. As a journalist, Nórido wrote for various publications, including Periodico Trabajadores, Portal Cubasi, and Noticiero Cultural. He is currently a professor at Havana’s University of Arts of Cuba.

Born in Santa Clara, Lester Pereira is an author and photographer who currently writes articles on culture, communication technology, and media for the online On Cuba News. He studied at the University of Havana and worked with the National Ballet of Cuba. In addition to his writing and photography, Pereira is press director for the Acosta Dance Company which performs both ballet and contemporary dance.

The Nórido and Vila website contains an extension library of their photographic work and can be found at: https://noridoyvila.wordpress.com

Lester Vila Pereira’s site can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/lester.vilapereira

Yuris Nórido Ruiz Cabrera ’s site can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/Yuris-Nórido-Fotograf%C3%ADa-344685632312078/?ref=page_internal

Top Insert Image: Yuris Nórido and Lester Vila, “Mario Sergio Elías, Dancer”, 2018

Bottom Insert Image: Yuris Nórido and Lester Vila, “Javier Castillo”, Atrapado Series, 2018