A provocative firsthand account delving into the importance of artist collectives, the making of hybrid art forms, and the...

INTERMEDIA, FLUXUS AND THE SOMETHING ELSE PRESS

SELECTED WRITINGS BY DICK HIGGINS

A compendium of writing from an innovative publisher and pioneering avant-garde artist of the 1960s and ’70s.

An experimental composer, writer, critic, editor, and visual artist, Higgins (Modernism Since Postmodernism: Essays on Intermedia, 1997, etc.), who died in 1998, did not subscribe to entrenched categories when it came to art; accordingly, he pursued a variety of aesthetic interests. A member of the Fluxus artist collective, Higgins sought to create hybrid forms of art, or what he called intermedia—cross-genre works like sound poetry, visual poetry, and happenings (live, interactive theatrical performances). Taking the form of manifestos and critical essays, these assorted writings set down the principles of Fluxus, including an emphasis on internationalism, experimentation, ephemerality, and playfulness, and also detail Higgins’ time as editor of Something Else Press, an independent publisher devoted to short runs of experimental art books and writing. Editors Clay, publisher of Granary Books, and Friedman (Chair Professor of Design Innovation Studies/Tongji Univ.), the former manager of Something Else and the editor of The Fluxus Reader (1998), have created an attractive book, with some of Higgins’ essays reproduced in facsimile and sample covers of Something Else books and pamphlets also reprinted. Higgins is strongest in his ability to convey the heady feel of an avant-garde arts movement and the haphazard zeitgeist surrounding an innovative small press. He also excels at explaining complex experiments in art in a straightforward, clear manner. However, few manifestos age well, and a dated quality occasionally arises here due to some jargon and the repetition of anecdotes. Nevertheless, anyone interested in the history of experimental arts movements in general, and Higgins and other Fluxus artists in particular, will find much value in these pages, particularly those seeking a blueprint for their own innovative arts community or advice about how to run a small press.

A provocative firsthand account delving into the importance of artist collectives, the making of hybrid art forms, and the trials of independent publishing.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-938221-20-0

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Siglio Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

INSIDE THE DREAM PALACE

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NEW YORK'S LEGENDARY CHELSEA HOTEL

A revealing biography of the fabled Manhattan hotel, in which generations of artists and writers found a haven.

Turn-of-the century New York did not lack either hotels or apartment buildings, writes Tippins (February House: The Story of W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof In Wartime America, 2005). But the Chelsea Hotel, from its very inception, was different. Architect Philip Hubert intended the elegantly designed Chelsea Association Building to reflect the utopian ideals of Charles Fourier, offering every amenity conducive to cooperative living: public spaces and gardens, a dining room, artists’ studios, and 80 apartments suitable for an economically diverse population of single workers, young couples, small families and wealthy residents who otherwise might choose to live in a private brownstone. Hubert especially wanted to attract creative types and made sure the building’s walls were extra thick so that each apartment was quiet enough for concentration. William Dean Howells, Edgar Lee Masters and artist John Sloan were early residents. Their friends (Mark Twain, for one) greeted one another in eight-foot-wide hallways intended for conversations. In its early years, the Chelsea quickly became legendary. By the 1930s, though, financial straits resulted in a “down-at-heel, bohemian atmosphere.” Later, with hard-drinking residents like Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan, the ambience could be raucous. Arthur Miller scorned his free-wheeling, drug-taking, boozy neighbors, admitting, though, that the “great advantage” to living there “was that no one gave a damn what anyone else chose to do sexually.” No one passed judgment on creativity, either. But the art was not what made the Chelsea famous; its residents did. Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Robert Mapplethorpe, Phil Ochs and Sid Vicious are only a few of the figures populating this entertaining book.

A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-618-72634-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

HUMANS OF NEW YORK

STORIES

Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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