McDermott & McGough: Film History Series

McDermott & McGough, “If You Had Been the Moon”, April 2009, 10:16, Directed by Peter Mc  Gough, Starring Michael  Kavalus, Bryan Deckhart, Claybourne Elder, Christopher Le Rude, Alex Michael Stoll, and Andrew Lord

The art collective McDermott & McGough consists of the contemporary artists David McDermott and Peter McGough who are known for their work in sculpture, painting, film and photography. Their work examines such issues as religion, popular culture and art, medicine, advertising, fashion, and sexual behavior. McDermott and McGough are best known for their gay-themed paintings and the use of historical processing techniques in their photographic work, which includes film development with palladium, gum bichromate, salt, platinum, and carbon black.

Born in Hollywood, California in 1952, David McDermott studied at Syracuse University in New York from 1970 to 1974. He moved to New York City where he became famous in the downtown area for his odd manners and outdated formalwear, such as detachable collars, cummerbunds, and top hats. Born in Syracuse in 1958, Peter McGough studied at Syracuse University in 1976. He relocated to New York City where he briefly studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology. After dropping out from the Institute, McGough was employed to sell tickets at Danceteria, a famous, albeit illegal, nightclub with several locations in the city.

Peter McGough met David McDermott in a Manhattan theater at the end of the 1970s. As David kept Peter company during the early club hours before sunrise, a strong relationship developed between them  that also included an artistic alliance which would last forty years. In the 1980s, the gay couple became known in New York’s East Village art scene for their immersion in the Victorian era. McDermott and McGough questioned the ideas of nostalgia; they pursued an art form and lifestyle narrative of reorienting the past for the future. Dressed and living as early 1900s dandies with an air of erudition and impertinence, their lives and art became an exploration of time and history, as well as, a challenge to the boundaries of art history and cultural identity.

McDermott and McGough’s collaborative output was expressed through a proliferation of drawings, paintings, film and photographs, and architectural interiors. Their photographs and films, which appropriated images and objects from the late 19th century to the style of the 1930s, explored contemporary cultural issues but produced them through vintage materials and techniques. McDermott and McGough’s obsession with the past is reflected in the styles and subjects they resurrect; many of their works are titled with fictional dates that reference the latter years of the 1800s. 

The later work of McDermott and McGough was inspired by advertising motifs, Hollywood cinema, and the comic books of the 1950s and 1960s. They reinvented major works of twentieth-century photography, Pop Art icon images, and produced photo-realistic paintings of vintage film stars. During the 1980s when their work was selling well, McDermott and McGough were a major part of the downtown New York scene, where the attended clubs and mingled with Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol. They bought three properties including a 1860s French Second Empire style bank, owned horses and vintage automobiles, hosted lavish baroque parties, and bestowed expensive gifts to friends.

 In 1992, the art market began to feel the effects of the stock market crash of October 1987. Out of all the paintings McDermott and McGough had on  exhibit at the Armory Show, only one small painting sold. Their debts, which included framing costs for their exhibitions, came due; many of these debts were paid through the transfer of their existing artwork to galleries and other debtors, among whom was the Internal Revenue Service. Eventually everything the couple had was auctioned off except for a few pieces they managed to save and later shipped to the docks of Dublin, Ireland. David McDermott relocated to a small  rental house near Ballsbridge, Ireland, and in 1995 McGough reunited with him. 

McDermott and McGough started painting and soon were able to rent a small art studio in Temple Bar in downtown Dublin. Through Swiss art dealer and gallery owner Bruno Bischofberger, they received many silhouette commissions. With the assistance of the gallery’s director Andrea Caratsch, McDermott and McGough had an exhibition in 1998 entitled “The Lust That Comes from Nothing” at Paris’s Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont.

McDermott and McGough’s previous exhibitions include the Whitney Biennial, New York, in 1987, 1991 and 1995, and a mid-career retrospective at the Provincial Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Oostende, Belgium. In 2017, their work was the subject of the exhibition “I’ve Seen the Future and I’m Not Going’ held at the Dallas Contemporary Museum in Texas. Other solo and group exhibitions include such institutions as the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Centre Pompidou in Paris, New York City’s Galleria Gian Enzo Sperone, and the Frankfurter Kunstverein in Germany. 

McDermott and McGough’s work is represented in numerous collections including the International Center of Photography in New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in Lawrence; Tampa Museum of Art in Florida; Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center; and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, among others.

Notes: In 2017, David McDermott and Peter McGough opened the Oscar Wilde Temple, a non-secular sacred space for LGBTQ people in a chapel at the Church of the Village located in New York City’s Greenwich Village. It is both an art exhibition space and a place for marriages; donations go to homeless LBGTQ youth. A second location at the gallery Studio Voltaire in London was opened in October of 2018.

In 2019, Peter McGough published his memoir “I’ve Seen the Future and I’m Not Going There” through Penquin Random House. Set in New York’s Lower East Side, the memoir chronicles his life withDavid McDermott during the 1980s and mid-1990s.

Top Insert Image: David McDermott and Peter McGough, “Portrait of the Artists, 1928, 1990”, Palladium Print on Paper, 35 x 26.5 cm, Private Collection

Second Insert Image: David McDermott and Peter McGough, “Love is Gone- So What Can Matter? 1966, 2008”, Oil on Linen, 152.4 x 122.2 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: McDermott and McGough, “Joel at Lower Baldonell House, Dublin, 1910, 2003”, Palladium Print on Paper, 50.8 x 40.6 cm, Private Collection

Fourth Insert Image: McDermott and McGough, “The Annointed”, 1991, Photographers and Friends Against AIDS Exhibition, Palladium Print on Paper, 16.5 x 11.8 cm, Private Collection

Fifth Insert Image: McDermott and McGough, Title Unknown (Reading Comics), Image from the “Detroit, 1958” Series,  2007, Carbro Print, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: McDermott and McGough, “Portrait of the Artist (With Top Hats) 1865”, 1991, Palladium Print on Paper, Collection of the Artists

Ted Shawn and Company

Ted Shawn and Company at Greek Theatre Pageant, 1918, New York Public Library Collection

“Know thyself deathless and able to know all things, all arts, sciences, the way of every life. Become higher than the highest height and lower than the lowest depth. Amass in thyself all senses of animals, fire, water, dryness and moistness. Think of thyself in all places at the same time, earth, sea, sky, not yet born, in the womb, young, old, dead, and in the after death state.”
Muata Ashby, Ancient Egyptian Proverbs 

Memories Frozen on Paper

Various Photogrphers, A Collection: Memories Frozen on Paper

“The scenes in our life resemble pictures in a rough mosaic; they are ineffective from close up, and have to be viewed from a distance if they are to seem beautiful. That is why to attain something desired is to discover how vain it is; and why, though we live all our lives in expectation of better things, we often at the same time long regretfully for what is past. The present, on the other hand, is regarded as something quite temporary and serving as the only road to our goal. That is why most men discover when they look back on their life that they have been living the whole time ad interim, and are surprised to see that which they let go by so unregarded and un-enjoyed was precisely their life, was precisely that in expectation of which they lived.” 

–Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms

Images reblogged with many thanks to :https://newloverofbeauty.tumblr.com

Ernest Tubb and His Texas Troubadours

Poster for Ernest Tubb and His Texas Troubadours, City Auditorium, Salem, Missouri, December 11, 1957

Born on a cotton farm in Ellis County, Texas, in 1914, Ernest Tubb spent his youth working on farms throughout the state. He spent his spare time learning to play the guitar, yodel and sing. In 1936, with the aid of singer and musician Jimmy Rodger’s widow, Tubb was offered a recording contract with the RCA Corporation, recording two unsuccessful records.. He switched to Decca Records in 1940, recording six records with the company. It was his sixth Decca release, the single “Walking the Floor Over You”, that gave Tubb stardom and a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America late in 1965.

Ernest Tubb and his band, The Texas Troubadours, joined the Grand Ole Opry in February of 1943. His first band members were Chester Studdard, Ray “Kamo” Head, and Vernon “Toby” Reese. Tubb and his band were a regular on the radio show for four decades; and Tubb hosted his own radio show, the Midnite Jamboree, which followed the Grand Old Opry each Saturday evening.

Ernest Tubb surrounded himself with some of Nashville’s best musicians. Guitarist Jimmy Short added to the Tubb sound with his single-string guitar picking and clean, clear riffs. Steel guitarists Tommy “Butterball” Paige and Jerry Byrd, who eventually replaced Jimmy Short, added their sounds to Tubb’s recordings. Billy Byrd, who brought jazzy riffs to the instrumental interludes of the songs, joined The Troubadours in 1949 and added the four-note riff at the end of his guitar solos that became a recognizable part of Tubb’s songs. Billy Byrd would remain with Ernest Tubb until 1959, when he left to make several solo albums, later returning to play again with Tubb.

In 1949 Ernest Tubb teamed up with the famous Andrew Sisters to record a cover of Eddy Arnold’s “Don’t Rob Another Man’s Castle” and the western-swing “I’m Bitin’ My Fingernails and Thinking of You”. This two-song record sold 750,000 copies. Later that year, he teamed up with singer and musician Red Foley, recording “You Don’t have to Be a Baby to Cry”. The duo of Tubb and Foley released seven albums together, maintaining a friendly ‘on-the-air” feud over the years. 

Known for having one of the best bands in country music history, Ernest Tubb was inducted into the County Music Hall of Fame in 1965. In 1970, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Tubb inspired some of the most devoted fans of any country artist; his fans loyally followed him though out his career, long after his songs stopped making the charts. He remained a fixture at the Grand Ole Opry and continued to host his Midnite Jamboree radio show. Tubb appeared as himself in Loretta Lynn’s 1980 autobiographical film “Coal Miner’s Daughter” along with fellow country stars Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl. 

Tubb’s singing voice remained intact until late in life, when emphysema developed. He still continued making over two hundred appearances, traveling with an oxygen tank, shaking hands and signing autographs with every fan who stayed after the show. His health problems eventually halted his performances in 1982. Ernest Tubb made his final appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on August 14, 1982. He died in 1984 and is buried in Nashville’s Hermitage Memorial Gardens.

Judge Magazine

H. A. Petersen, “The Flying Liner”, Date Unknown, Illustration from the Judge Magazine

The “Judge” was a weekly satirical magazine published in the United States from 1881 to 1947. I was launched by artists who had seceded from its rival magazine “Puck”. The founders were cartoonist James Albert Wales, dime novels publisher Frank Tousey and author George H. Jessop.

This illustration shows the optimism at the time that science and innovation can overcome the forces of nature that affect man. Here a modern ship, the Aerotania, is given the ability through the wonders of scientific advancement to jump over icebergs, one of the deadly hazards to shipping.

Murders in the Zoo

Advertising Poster for “Murders in the Zoo”, 1933, Directed by A. Edward Sutherland, Paramount Pictures

“Roars, shrieks, and cackling of the wild animals on the screen at the Paramount yesterday were echoed to an amazing degree by the audience, at times driven to a mild state of hysteria by scenes in ‘Murders in the Zoo’.”         – John Scott, “’Murders in Zoo’ Opens on Screen”, Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1933

Battle in the Sky

Artist Unknown, “Severe Battle in the Sky”, The Illustration of the Great European War, Plate 110, Shobido and Company, Tokyo, Japan

The Shobido and Company, a Tokyo printing firm, produced many series of illustrations of World War I battles and maps. Each series was done by a different Japanese artist, and were presented in sets of eight lithographs. These were printed from 1914 through 1918.

Kellar the Magician

Keller the Magician Poster, “Levitation”, 1900-1909

Harry Kellar was an American magician, a predecessor of Harry Houdini and a successor of Robert Heller and Isaiah Hughes, under whom he apprenticed. Referred to as the “Dean of American Magicians”, he is shown here performing one his most memorable stage illusions, the “Levitation of Princess Karnac”.

Cigarette Cards: The Parisian

The “Parisian”, 1888, Commercial Color  Lithograph,  Issued by Allen and Ginter Cigarettes, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This trade card was from the “World’s Smokers” series (N33) issued in 1888 in a set of fifty cards to promote the Allen and Ginter brand cigarettes; the company was located in Richmond, Virgian. Printer’s samples were included in the set, as well. The printer’s sample cards are on a thinner card stock without printed text.

Each card in the series measures 2.75 x 1.5 inches. One card was packed in each box of ten cigarettes.