"Liquid Sky is one of the most visually ambitious films ever made about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers, ordering Chinese food and having them put it on your tab, the Empire State Building, androgyny, neon and tin foil. The 1982 cult classic may be the perfect embodiment of camp. " The Awl talks to the director of the film about his plans for a sequel.
Greer Lankton, darling of the 1980s East Village art scene, made glamorous and grotesque dolls that reflected her struggles with anorexia and drug addiction as well as her fascination with sexuality and gender in all their mutable permutations. She died of an overdose only a month after completing her final masterpiece, a recreation of her Chicago apartment inside Pittsburgh's Mattress Factory. [more inside]
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.[more inside]
Think you're an alcoholic? Not by the standards of great artists and writers! "As for Balzac, he was definitely a coffee kind of guy – he sank 60 cups a day. Samuel Beckett slurped red wine every night til 5am. Pablo Picasso liked opium (he claimed opium has the “least stupid smell in the world”). Across Paris, Jean Paul Sartre guzzled four pints of Burgundy for lunch, liked his barbiturates, and was addicted to Corydrane, a mix of aspirin and amphetamine. The recommended dose of this now-prohibited tablet was 1 a day, Sartre took 20."
Love's Secret Ascension: Coil, Coltrane & The 70th Birthday Of LSD. "Author and new Quietus writer Peter Bebergal celebrates the original synthesis of LSD with a thoughtful look at acid and transcendent, magickal music." [Via Technoccult] [more inside]
Francesco Francavilla is an artist who has been producing minimalist posters for each of the last 8 episodes of Breaking Bad.
Art, so difficult to value, is an ideal currency if you want to frustrate the banking regulations of the Patriot Act. So much easier than shipping honey. But who keeps this market orderly? And why would such an important person branch into other illegal activities such as gambling operations? Did he bore of backgammon?
I was born in Washington DC. I was potty trained at one and a half. Was reading at age two. Saw my first porn at a drive-in when I was six, in the back seat. Started getting in trouble with the law when I was about ten. And then kept getting in trouble until twenty one I went to prison and then when I got out came to Tennessee and went to college here in Johnson City and then I’ve just being doing art ever since. Art has saved my life, it’s like the best therapy in the world. Jon Ronson meets Bryan Saunders, who has created 8,700 self-portraits including, including most notably, 50 whilst under the influence of various different drugs (previously)
During the Golden Age of Hollywood and until 1967, mainstream movie studios were banned by the Production Code from depicting taboo topics like drug addiction, explicit murder and venereal disease, or even showing explicit nudity. But in the 1930's and 1940's, films marketed as "educational" could and did fly under the radar, and three of the best known 'educational' propaganda exploitation films are: Sex Madness (1935), Reefer Madness (1936) and The Cocaine Fiends (1938). [more inside]
'On March 30th 1995, I started doing at least one Self-Portrait everyday for the rest of my life. At present I have over 7,900 of them. [...] After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of the self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence.'
The Smoke Filtration Systems are a series of sculptures that are also working marijuana water pipes. The mechanics of each pipe are thoroughly tested, but the actual sculptures are presented in clean, unused condition.
Surrendering to the Spirit Vine. Artist Alex Grey (previously) describes his experience with "the champagne of ayahuascas."
Meet St. George Absinthe Verte, "the first American-made absinthe on the market in almost a century." Since Absinthe was legalized earlier this year, various brewers have moved into the market--but is is really the same thujone-enhanced drink that drove many-an-artist to madness?
Inner City Youth, London "In 2002, Simon Wheatley began photographing London's publich housing developments...and was able to obtain a level of intimacy with his subjects that provides a true picture of the daunting project of growing up in the intimate confines of drug use, societal neglect, and poverty." This (Flash-based) narrated slideshow features Wheatley's work, and is a look at the culture...and also the music (grime) "as an artistic response to the place and circumstance, an expression of the violence, bleakness, and neglect..." (via Future Feeder)
The Cheerful Transgressive Ever since 1971, when Larry Clark published Tulsa, an austere series chronicling his meth-shooting pals in sixties Oklahoma, Clark has made it his mission to document teenagers at their most deviant, their most vulnerable, their most sexually unhinged (possibly NSFW). And now “Larry Clark” the first American retrospective of Clark’s work, currently on display at the International Center of Photography, demonstrates the richness with which he’s mined this single subject (NSFW). More inside.
The American Gallery of Psychiatric Art. 'Sanity For Sale: 1960-2000'. Magazine advertisements for psychiatric medications in the latter half of the twentieth century.
The War on Drug Wars. "Ashkan Sahihi is a photographer who is infuriated by the hypocrisy of the war on drugs. It is this hypocrisy that inspired Sahihi to take eleven people out of their daily environments, get them high, and photograph them." Does this project warrant attention as a political statement, as an art project, as all of the above, or as none of the above? Please explain your answer. Partial credit will be given.