Fated to Die Prematurely

“He was as fated as Byron, Shelley, and Keats to die prematurely, the same as James Byron Dean, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and his famous look-alike, the poet-singer of the perverse, Jim Morrison of The Doors”

Jack Fritscher
Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera

 

Self-Portrait, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1980

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Hymn of Pan

In the Glade, Fred Holland Day, 1905

The nude model is shown with a statue of Pan, a symbol of Nature. Day placed a statue of Pan in a glade at his property in Maine. He photographed many of his models with the statue, and it became a symbol for the community of friends that Day had built up at his Maine home.

 

“From the forests and highlands
From the forests and highlands
We come, we come;
From the river-girt islands,
Where loud waves are dumb
Listening to my sweet pipings.
The wind in the reeds and the rushes,
The bees on the bells of thyme,
The birds on the myrtle bushes,
The cicale above in the lime,
And the lizards below in the grass,
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus* was,
Listening to my sweet pipings.
Liquid Peneus* was flowing,
And all dark Tempe lay
In Pelion’s* shadow, outgrowing
The light of the dying day,
Speeded by my sweet pipings.
The Sileni, and Sylvans, and Fauns,
And the Nymphs of the woods and the waves,
To the edge of the moist river-lawns,
And the brink of the dewy caves,
And all that did then attend and follow,
Were silent with love, as you now, Apollo,
With envy of my sweet pipings.
I sang of the dancing stars,
I sang of the daedal Earth,
And of Heaven, and the giant wars,
And Love, and Death, and Birth—
And then I chang’d my pipings,
Singing how down the vale of Maenalus
I pursu’d a maiden and clasp’d a reed.
Gods and men, we are all deluded thus!
It breaks in our bosom and then we bleed.
All wept, as I think both ye now would,
If envy or age had not frozen your blood,
At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

*NOTES:

Tmolus: King of Lydia and husband to Omphale. He is the eponymous namesake of Mount Tmolus, which lies in Lydia.
Peneus: In Greek mythology, Peneus was a Thessalian river god, one of the three thousand Rivers (Potamoi), a child of Oceanus and Tethys.
Pelion: In Greek mythology, Mount Pelion (which took its name from the mythical king Peleus, father of Achilles) was the homeland of Chiron the Centaur, tutor of many ancient Greek heroes, such as Jason, Achilles, Theseus and Heracles.

Hymn of Apollo

Apollo, Cy Towmbly, 1975

 

I.
The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,
Curtained with star-inwoven tapestries,
From the broad moonlight of the sky,
Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,–
Waken me when their Mother, the gray Dawn,
Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone.

II.
Then I arise, and climbing Heaven’s blue dome,
I walk over the mountains and the waves,
Leaving my robe upon the ocean foam;
My footsteps pave the clouds with fire; the caves
Are filled with my bright presence, and the air
Leaves the green Earth to my embraces bare.

III.
The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill
Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day;
All men who do or even imagine ill
Fly me, and from the glory of my ray
Good minds and open actions take new might,
Until diminished by the reign of Night.

IV.
I feed the clouds, the rainbows, and the flowers,
With their ethereal colors; the Moon’s globe,
And the pure stars in their eternal bowers,
Are cinctured with my power as with a robe;
Whatever lamps on Earth or Heaven may shine,
Are portions of one power, which is mine.

V.
I stand at noon upon the peak of Heaven;
Then with unwilling steps I wander down
Into the clouds of the Atlantic even;
For grief that I depart they weep and frown:
What look is more delightful than the smile
With which I soothe them from the western isle?

VI.
I am the eye with which the Universe
Beholds itself, and knows it is divine;
All harmony of instrument or verse,
All prophecy, all medicine, is mine,
All light of art or nature; – to my song
Victory and praise in its own right belong.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Byzantium

Watercolor and gouache on paper by John Singer Sargent, ca. 1898

 

The unpurged images of day recede;
The Emperor’s drunken soldiery are abed;
Night resonance recedes, night walkers’ song
After great cathedral gong;
A starlit or a moonlit dome disdains
All that man is,
All mere complexities,
The fury and the mire of human veins.
Before me floats an image, man or shade,
Shade more than man, more image than a shade;
For Hades’ bobbin bound in mummy-cloth
May unwind the winding path;
A mouth that has no moisture and no breath
Breathless mouths may summon;
I hail the superhuman;
I call it death-in-life and life-in-death.
Miracle, bird or golden handiwork,
More miraclc than bird or handiwork,
Planted on the star-lit golden bough,
Can like the cocks of Hades crow,
Or, by the moon embittered, scorn aloud
In glory of changeless metal
Common bird or petal
And all complexities of mire or blood.
At midnight on the Emperor’s pavement flit
Flames that no faggot feeds, nor steel has lit,
Nor storm disturbs, flames begotten of flame,
Where blood-begotten spirits come
And all complexities of fury leave,
Dying into a dance,
An agony of trance,
An agony of flame that cannot singe a sleeve.
Astraddle on the dolphin’s mire and blood,
Spirit after Spirit! The smithies break the flood.
The golden smithies of the Emperor!
Marbles of the dancing floor
Break bitter furies of complexity,
Those images that yet
Fresh images beget,
That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea.

William Butler Yeats

 

Yeats certainly shares many traits with William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, and other, nineteenth century precursors. Nevertheless, despite all the intensity of its emotion and the rich intricacies of its imagery, Byzantium is hardly the sort of effusive outburst one has come to associate with the ode; the speaker seems to be more engulfed in his vision than in any attempt to share its emotional quadrants with the reader.

Yeats never abandoned the Symbolist tradition that shaped him as a poet in his youth. Though Byzantium is a product of his later years, written well after he had transformed himself into a modernist poet, surely the chief device that gives the poem its other-worldly ambiance is the symbol.

Yeats’s studies had taught him that the ancient Romans used dolphins to depict the spirit’s voyage from this world to the next; that the starry dome was symbolic of the soul’s astral destiny in the ancient mystery cults associated with Mithra and Orpheus; that a crowing cock carved on a tombstone was intended to ward off evil spirits and influences; that the Byzantine emperors had mechanical birds that sang to the delight of visitors; that the golden bough signifies that point at which the temporal and eternal mingle their mysteries.

Rejected By Those He Loved

Steel engraving for frontispiece to the revised edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, published by Colburn and Bentley, London 1831. The novel was first published in 1818.Illustration by Theodor von Holst.

Frankenstein’s monster finds Goethe’s Werther in a leather portmanteau, along with two others—Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, and Milton’s Paradise Lost. He sees Werther’s case as similar to his own. He, like Werther, was rejected by those he loved.

Monsters and Marilyns

CS Lewis once said “How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been”. This was the primary thought behind the series Monsters and Marilyns. Throughout history Fascists, Communists, Marxists, and Socialists have murdered and oppressed those who were under their rule, yet popular culture and propaganda have tried to make these monsters into heros and icons. Twisting peoples memories and brainwashing them into an Orwellian nightmare.

Andy Warhol’s silkscreen painting of Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic painting of the Pop Art Movement. Not many people know that the painting was meant to show the mask of popularity that a celebrity wears. On the outside there were different shades of happiness, but under all the paint and smiles there was something darker: depression, drug use, and suicide. I took this idea and reinterpreted it to speak truth into our popular culture. The hair and make-up from the Marilyn Monroe painting is placed on politicians, dictators, public officials, as well as old horror movie monsters that are liars, murderers, and tyrants. By doing this the statement is made that no matter how much popular culture or the mass media tries to dress up and beautify these people, they are still monsters. Saddam Hussein, Barack Obama, Frankenstein, Dracula, Stalin, Lenin, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Bill Clinton, Pin Head, Leather Face, Barney Frank, Mao Zedong, the Bride of Frankenstein, Hitler, Hannibal Lecter, Jack (the character from Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining),  and Jesse Jackson are only some of the people that I have Marilynized.

My goal is to force people to look past the media hype and celebrity masks of these people and see them for who they really are. Much like in George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984, people are too willing to give up their freedom and liberty to be taken care of and protected by the Government. They will believe anything that they are told to believe even if they know its a lie because they do not want to know the truth. As a society, we want to be lied to, we want to think that everything is normal even when it is crashing down around us. We want to believe in people even though they give us empty promises and lies every time they open their mouths. We need to wake up and realize that lying to ourselves does not change reality. We must recognize and accept truth. The truth will set you free, but it will not make you sleep easy at night.

Therefore, by linking monsters to the mask-wearing Marilyn Monroe that Andy Warhol portrayed, I demonstrate that things are not what they seem. They are a mask, a lie, a perversion of the truth to allow people to lie to themselves in order to feel secure.”

Jesse Lenz

 
 

Series by Jesse Lenz, 2009

An Elegy on the Death of Keats and Brian Jones

Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, Author of Endymion, Hyperion, etc. /ˌædɵˈneɪ.ɨs/, also spelled Adonaies, is a pastoral elegy written by Percy Bysshe Shelley for John Keats in 1821, and widely regarded as one of Shelley’s best and most well-known works. The poem, which is in 495 lines in 55 Spenserian stanzas, was composed in the spring of 1821 immediately after 11 April, when Shelley heard of Keats’ death (seven weeks earlier). The title of the poem is likely a merging of the Greek “Adonis”, the god of fertility, and the Hebrew “Adonai” (meaning “Lord”). Most critics suggest that Shelley used Virgil‘s tenth Eclogue, in praise of Cornelius Gallus, as a model.

 
 

Dressed in a gender-bending white poet’s robe, Jagger quoted Shelley in memory of bandmate Brian Jones at the Stones in the Park concert in 1969. Photo by Mike Randolph

 
 

Before an audience estimated at 250,000 to 300,000, Jagger read the following verses from Adonais:

 
 

“Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep
He hath awakened from the dream of life
‘Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit’s knife
Invulnerable nothings. — We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments. — Die,
If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
Follow where all is fled!”

More Delight than Fifty Common Years

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”

John Keats
Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne

 
 

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones at the Brian Jones memorial concert at London’s Hyde Park on 5 July 1969

 
 

Jones, founder and guitarist of the Stones, had drowned 3 July 1969 in his swimming pool. Mick Jagger read a short eulogy on stage before the Stones’ set began, reading two stanzas of Percy Bysshe Shelley‘s poem on John Keats’s death, Adonaïs, from a calf-bound book.

After this recital, several hundred cabbage white butterflies were released, despite the Royal Parks authority having stipulated before the concert that any butterflies released by the Stones should be sterilized and should certainly not be of the voracious cabbage white genus. 2,500 butterflies were due to be released, but due to the hot weather, many of them died from lack of air in storage. Charlie Watts later said that the butterflies “were a bit sad, there were casualties. It was like the Somme.”

The Most Amusing Package

Sticky Fingers cover. Front and back cover

 
 

When The Rolling Stones were recording material for their ninth studio album in the early days of the 1970s, the anticipation and expectations must have been daunting. The 60s had come to a definitive close for the band at the December 1969 Altamont Free Concert, where a member of the Hell’s Angels (hired by the Stones as security) knifed a fan to death as the band played on. Five months prior, guitarist Brian Jones had overdosed and was found dead in his swimming pool at the age of 27.

Sticky Fingers was to be their first record of the new decade, their first without Jones, and the first for their newly formed label, Rolling Stones Records. The Beatles had just disbanded, leaving the group no serious rival. The band was presumably eager to maintain their bad-boy status, but at the same time distance themselves from the darker side of their image and move towards a more commercially viable controversy: sex.

 
 

Inside cover (LP format)

 
 

Knowing that the design of the album had to reflect this, and finally in control of their own marketing after leaving Decca records, Mick Jagger visited the Royal College of Art in London to find a design student to hire. He attended the degree show of John Pasche, and hired him to create a new logo for the group. The resulting lips and tongue logo, based on Jagger’s large pout, was intended as “a protest symbol and [to] have an anti-authority feel to it really, so that it would work well with them being the bad boys of rock and roll,” Pasche recently told MTV. This being the early days of rock band branding, the iconic logo never appeared on the cover of an album. It did, however, appear on t-shirts, mugs, key chains, buttons, belts and countless other promotional items, including recent urinals at the Rolling Stones Fan Museum in Germany.

The title “Sticky Fingers” was originally a working title for the second Mott the Hoople record. When the band decided on Mad Shadows instead, the Stones took the title, with the blessing of record producer Guy Stephens.

The cover graphic went through a number of possibilities, including having the band dressed in Victorian boating attire. Designer Craig Braun suggested releasing the album in a clear plastic jacket with heat-sensitive liquid crystals inside — “so you could make your own little Joshua Light Show”. Another rejected idea was a mammoth foldout cover of Jagger’s castle in the south of France (where the band had relocated to avoid paying taxes).

 
 

Theatrical poster

 
 

Then Jagger recalled that Andy Warhol had remarked to him at a party in 1969 that he thought it would be amusing to have an album cover feature a real zipper. There are differing accounts regarding the initial idea. Some credit songwriter Bob Goldstein, claiming that he proposed the idea for the cover of the soundtrack to Warhol’s 1968 film Lonesome Cowboys. Goldstein wrote the title track, which is sometimes credited as being the very first ‘disco’ arrangement, and an entire LP was conceived, but never completed. Singer and Factory Superstar Ultra Violet has suggested that the idea was Warhol’s and was intended for the film’s promotional poster.

 
 

The Velvet Underground and Nico. Front cover

 
 

The Stones agreed that the image of a pair of jeans and zipper would allow the band to retain their ‘outrageous’ aura, but shift things away from the violent and “satanic” imagery, or what Braun called “the evil thing”.

Warhol is credited with cover concept and photography, though some suggest Billy Name might’ve been behind the camera. Many assumed the cover model was Jagger, which he later denied:

Rolling Stone Magazine: There’s underwear on the back. Is that you?
Mick Jagger: No. It’s one of Andy’s… protégés is the polite word we used to use, I think.

 
 

Andy Warhol, Man’s Lower Torso, Clothed, 1971

 
 

Among the possible candidates, Jed Johnson, Warhol’s lover at the time, denied it was his likeness, although his twin brother Jay was considered a possibility. But according to Warholstars site user, Stylissmo:

“Jay Johnson famously has only one testicle, Jed wasn’t built like that… Corey Tippin was well known for his endowment… and was also known – along with his friend, the illustrator Antonio Lopez, for ‘showing basket’ – a real 70’s kind of gay display that involved bulging crotches in tight jeans. Attendees at the Sticky Fingers release party mention that of the aforementioned possible models for the cover – only Corey Tippin was at the party. At any rate all this has been told to me in various pieces by Jay Johnson, Corey Tippin, Jane Forth, Paul Caranicas (director of Antonio’s estate) and other characters who are still friends and living in and around New York.” Also known as Corey Grant, Tippin was the make-up artist for Andy Warhol’s L’Amour (1973) and Jay Johnson’s best friend.

 
 

Warhol with Jay and Jed Johnson

 
 

Warhol and Corey Tippin

 
 

Factory Superstar Ultra Violet believes that dancer Eric Emerson “who used to walk around the Factory half-naked” is the cover model.

 
 

Andy Warhol and members of The Factory, Richard Avedon, New York, October 30, 1969. From left to right: Eric Emerson, actor; Jay Johnson, actor; Tom Hempertz, actor; Gerard Malanga, poet

 
 

Art writer and early editor of Warhol’s Interview magazine, Glenn O’Brien’s has also been named as possible model. He recalls:

“I remember Andy shooting me in my underwear at the Interview office for the Sticky Fingers cover. He paid me a hundred bucks. Fred Hughes kept saying, “Can’t you make it any bigger.”” In an introduction to an interview O’Brien conducted with Joe Dallesandro for the magazine a few years ago he wrote:

 
 

“I always felt a connection to Joe. We were two Warhol scenesters who liked girls. Also, he filled the jeans on the outside of The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album, while I filled the briefs inside—our secret connection.”

 
 

Without a definitive account of who the front cover model was, Joe Dallesandro seems the most likely. Dallesandro met Andy Warhol and director Paul Morrissey in 1967 while they were shooting Four Stars, and they cast him in the film on the spot. Dallesandro also appeared in Flesh (1968), Lonesome Cowboys (1968), Trash (1970), Heat (1972), Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Andy Warhol’s Dracula (both 1974) also directed by Morrissey. Flesh achieved some mainstream crossover success and Dallesandro became one of the most popular of the Warhol stars.

He explained to biographer Michael Ferguson, “It was just out of a collection of junk photos that Andy pulled from. He didn’t pull t out for the design or anything, it was just the first one he got that he felt was the right shape to fit what he wanted to use for the fly.”

 
 

Joe Dallesandro photographed by Warhol

 
 

The inner underwear photograph was a matter of necessity; designer Craig Braun realized there had to be an extra layer of cardboard to protect the record from the scratching of the zipper. Regardless of this, during shipment the zipper ended up pressing into the album stacked on top of it, invariably damaging the song Sister Morphine. Atlantic Records, whose subsidiary Atco Records were distributing the disk in the US, threatened to sue Braun for all the damage. After getting “very depressed and very high,” he came up with the solution to pull the zipper down before the record was shipped. This way it would only damage the inner label, and not cause any song to skip.

 
 

Inside cover

 
 

The solution saved Sister Morphine, but not in Spain, where Francisco Franco’s government deemed the song offensive and insisted it be removed from the disk. A Chuck Berry song Let it Rock, originally a b-side from the Brown Sugar single, replaced it. The drug references in the song were not the only concern for the Spanish censors, they also found the cover “too sexually explicit” so it was replaced with the “can of fingers” graphic, severed body parts being more socially acceptable than a man in pants. Many American department stores also found the cover inappropriate and initially refused to stock the disk.

 
 

Alternate cover (Spanish version)

 
 

For others, the problem with the packaging was not enough package: Wolfgang Fritz Haug, a now-retired professor of philosophy, took issue with the lack of payoff. In his book 1986 book Commodity Aesthetics (Chapter 3: “THE PENIS ENTERS THE COMMODITY ARENA”) he writes:

 
 

“whoever buys the record, purchases with it a copy of a young man’s fly, the package identified by the graphic trick which stresses the penis and stylizes the promised content. It is a reversal of the tale of the Emperor’s new clothes: the tale of the buyer’s new bodies. They buy only packages which seem more than they are…..the buyer acquires the possibility of opening the package, and the zip and finds… nothing.”

 
 

 
 

These criticisms notwithstanding, the graphic is now considered one of the best album covers of all time. A Rolling Stone Magazine readers poll in 2011 voted it the 6th best album cover of all time. Warhol appeared twice in the top ten, the other being the tenth pic for his Velvet Underground and Nico cover. The recording itself made the #63 slot of another Rolling Stones Greatest Albums of All Time list and in 2003 the design was named by VH-1 as the best album cover of all time.

Jagger called the cover “the most original, sexy and amusing package that I have ever been involved with”

Andy Warhol was paid 15 000 pounds remuneration, which (using a crude conversion of currency and inflation) would amount to approximately $126,000 CDN today. The figure seems on the high side for album cover design, but he was apparently dissatisfied. Warhol biographer David Bourdon writes “In April the album sold a half-million copies, and Warhol liked to think that his cover contributed greatly to the success. ‘You know’, he later complained, ‘that became a number one album and I only got a little money for that’.” With the Stones being one of the biggest bands in the world at the time, and the record including the hit songs Wild Horses and Brown Sugar, it is doubtful that Warhol’s cover disproportionately contributed to the financial success of the record. His equally acclaimed peelable banana cover for The Velvet Underground and Nico did not propel that record to any financial success – it spent only a few weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at #171. It’s influence would not be felt for years to come, leading Brian Eno to quip “The Velvet Underground‘s first album only sold a few thousand copies, but everyone who bought one formed a band.” Warhol also complained about not receiving compensation for his production and cover graphic for that disk (“I never got a penny for that first Velvet’s album”).

The promotional photograph may have inadvertently invented what would later become the Sleeveface internet meme, with fans posing with album covers obscuring parts of their body.

 
 

Different of Himself

“Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with diverse kind; thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed; neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.”

LEV 19:19

 
 

There are three laws Yahweh gave Moses, rejecting unions and mixes practiced by pagan peoples and held by the Jews as aberrations. The first forbids creation of monstrous animals; the second is metaphorically taken to be the banishment of bisexuals. They carry a notion of impurity pointing to the spiritual confusion of the gentiles. Christianity, in turn, interpreted them as laws against wickedness.

These ancient prohibitions are engraved in some of our subconscious, and are the reasons for some of our atavistic fears expressed in “antinatural” visions of monsters and prodigies. These, at the same time, are images of temptation, like the hermaphrodite, the sphinx, the ram with a man’s torso, the foetus begot by Frankenstein, today’s eugenic beings and clones, creatures of undefined sex, marked beings.

Capricorn it is merely a zodiac sign that combines in its dual image the pull to the mountain (the goat) and the abyss (the fish). But read between the lines of our atavistic fear which the ancient prohibition fosters in us, this sign could also be a mating of two beast of different species, separated by a line: the ram and the fish, in other words… Satan and Christ.

The Shaman’s Collection defies bisexuality or hemaphrodytism by attaining an open, almost graceful, almost levitating, almost superhuman asexuality, albeit carnally disquieting and vile. In sealing the male/female partition, the shaman transcends the duality that preys on common man, and sheds it as he would a corpse’s shroud.

Medusa, on the other hand, shows the frightening evil version of the androgyne as a bald (masculine) and shaved (obscene) black-mass priestess sporting a fancy shawl at her bosom as if in contempt of the pious mantilla. A sliding drop of semen stains the picture, reminding us –more to our terror, we are not quite sure in what way– of that Levitical prohibition: “Thou shalt not wear a garment mingled of linen and woolen”. We find ourselves facing the old supernatural horror that undoubtedly divides us into two: attraction and repulsion which makes us different from ourselves.

The bipartition of the picture we mentioned in the dividing line of Capricorn is also the axis of The Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dogson’s Fantasies, in which Arturo Rivera alludes to Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll’s passion for photographing little girls. The child figure, now spurious and morbid, discovers her nakedness. She wrenches away the ample piece of clean cloth to reveal on her skin the line of an excrescence. Here, I should like to mention a “magic” experience that appears over and over in Arturo Rivera’s painting: significant coincidence. I asked the painter whether the bat drawn in the upper part of this painting referred to Lewis Carroll’s photographic studio, where, among an ample collection of toys and dolls for little girl’s comfort, was a wing-flapping, flying bat the writer himself had made. No, said Arturo Rivera; he knew nothing about that bat. I record this as one of many coincidences that abound in this artist and his work. I have noticed a whole string of them, one after the other. They apparently are not motives at the same time necessary, and they bring me to a very enigmatic aspect of his painting: nature and the distribution of objects in his pictures.

Updating a myth rather than portraying symbols, the appearance of a wide range of figures like geometric bodies, plants, dissected animals, organs, etc. could hardly be considered a sign of a purely compositive or simply polysemic reasoning or ratio: These figure are synchronized. As in the bones that a soothsayer throws on the ground, or a flight of birds at the moment a question is asked, or the interpretation of a sacrificed animal’s entrails, or the three coins disbursed with a consultation of I Ching, the essence is in the coincidence, not in cause. Reading and interpreting Arturo Rivera’s pictures cannot, then, be based on artist’s intentions so much as on the speculation the paintings inspire. As if before an oracle, one is looking at a conveyance of truth rather than a strict revelation of truth.

Three pictures bear me out on this: The Island of the Dead, an extraordinary conveyance of what Arturo Rivera saw in Arnold Böcklin‘s homonymous work, a vision. In North, bipartition again mates animals of different species, not to produce a monster but to depict a re-orientation, expressed here by the archetypical change of skin, and the image of mature man overcoming death and ascending to a higher plane of existence. Legatee, conveys androgyny offering milk from the breast. Arturo Rivera’s paintings revive one of art’s ancient functions: making the viewer experience something that surpasses him in space and time, keeping the myth alive.

Text by Jaime Moreno Villareal

 
 

Fall, 1997

Gesso colors on canvas

 
 

The Island of the Dead (Homage to Böcklin), 1997

Oil on paper/linen

 
 

North, 1997

Oil on wood

 
 

Legatee, 1996

Water-colored pencil and water color on paper

 
 

Capricorn, 1996

Sanguine on paper

 
 

Saturn, 1997

Water color and oil on linen

 
 

The Empty Room, 1997

Gesso colors on paper

 
 

July 17, 1975, 1 p.m. : On the Docks of New York, 1996

Cold encaustic on canvas

 
 

Medusa, 1996

Oil on canvas/ wood

 
 

The Temptations of Saint Anthony, 1997

Egg tempera and oil with metal inlay on paper/wood

 
 

Epilogue, 1997

Gesso colors and oil on canvas

 
 

The Shaman’s Collection, 1997

Oil on wood

 
 

Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dogson’s Fantasies, 1997

Oil on canvas

 
 

Arturo Rivera (Mexico City, 1945). Assiduous visitor as a child to the Chopo Natural History Museum, from an early age he coupled his taste for drawing with a passion for dissecting animals and studying bones. He studied painting at the Mexican National School of Plastic Arts, the San Carlos Academy (1963-68), and serigraphy and photoserigraphy at the City Lit Art School of London (1973-74).

Rivera traveled through South America and the Galapagos Islands. He lived four years in New York (1976-79), where he exhibited in the Francis Gallery and the Jack Gallery in Soho, as well as in the Walton Gallery in Chicago. In 1979 he met the Surrealist painter Max Zimmermann who invited him to be his assistant for the courses he was giving in the Kunstakademie of Munich. There he increased his knowledge on traditional painting techniques and how to handle them. During his stay in this city (1980-81), he exhibited in the Haus der Kunst. Rivera returned to Mexico in 1981 at the invitation of Fernando Gamboa to exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art (1982). Since then he has had a number of one-man exhibitions in Mexico and cities abroad.

Tales of Doom and Gloom

 
 

The video was strategically released when some people were afraid of Mayan prophecies about the world ending. The opening shots of the video images of an Atomic explosion, images of war, and critics to the wrong side of consumerism like a “hellfire and brimstone” preacher would do in front of subdued churchgoers is nothing, if not perfectly timed.

 
 

Noomi_Rapace_1624164a

 
 

The Rolling Stones Doom and Gloom video was conceptualized by costume designer and fashion stylist Susie Coulthard, who from 1994 to 2001 designed and built costumes for London’s acclaimed Hull Truck Theater. Among the more notorious plays she designed were Tennessee WilliamsGlass Menagerie; William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. All of this was accomplished while she studied for her degree in fashion and as she opened her first shop, which she had done by the time she graduated (with honors). She also designed contemporary and period dramas for the BBC. Coulthard supports what is referred to as “ethical fashion” and her editorials have been published in glossies like Wallpaper*, Tatler and 125.
 
Her design roster includes work with visionary musicians such as Mark Ronson, Dame Shirley Bassie, Kaiser Chiefs, Siouxie Sioux and The Kooks, just to name a few. She has been nominated twice at the UK Music Video Awards, winning Best Stylist for Cops and Robbers performed by The Hoosiers. She has also performed art direction for The Libertines.
 
Make-up artist Darren Evans assisted Coulthard in capturing all the unique looks that Swedish actress Noomi Rapace rocks throughout the visually stunning video  . Rapace is best known for playing the angry heroine, Lisbeth Salander, from the Millenium film series, (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Girl Who Played with Fire; The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest).

 
 

 
 

Listening to Mick Jagger singing lyrics railing against capitalism is certainly ironic. A protest song doesn’t ring true coming from Sir Mick’s mouth but we appreciate his good intentions and are reminded of Salvador Dali’s statement “…Picasso is a communist, neither am I”.

 
 

 
 

D.A. Pennebacker titled his documentary, which featured Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg as special guests, “Dont Look back.” It may be the best advice for curing any homesick feelings. On the other hand, it’s hard for a rebel – no matter what age they are- to take any advice into consideration.

 
 

 
 

We should remember, Doom and Gloom is almost at the end of the track list of a compilation album and as such it offers us a perspective of the RS’ lifetime. There are resemblances to the friends who collaborated with them, by instance, Andy Warhol (Have you noticed the t-shirt wore by Noomi?) and moments made famous or successful by the Stones. The opening riff of Doom and Gloom has a taste of Brown Sugar with a twist of Jumpin’ Jack Flash, (a song which was the departure of Beggar Banquet’s concept), although finally wasn’t chosen for the album. Visually we can feel a likeness to the artwork from that classic Stones’ album.

 
 

rain fall down

 
 

In 2005, Swedish Jonas Åkerlund directed the first music video for the Stones’, Rain Fall Down; a single from A Bigger Band. Darkness, filth, pessimism, diluvium and graphic content related to war or sex… those are his remarkable hallmarks. Come Undone (2003) by Robbie Williams; Ray of Light (1998) and American Life (2003) by Madonna; Try, Try Try (2000) by The Smashing Pumpkins; et al. Mick Jagger himself was featured as an actor in the dystopian Sci-Fi movie, Freejack (Geoff Murphy, 1992).