Thursday, 16 September 2010

random shades

Had some things to do, with family and otherwise, and trying not to overwhelm myself with the ever-increasing number of draft posts I seem to be conjuring up but haven't completed. Yet. 

Meantime, I've still found time to dig up plenty more distractions, like the new Vincent Price Art Museum, which upgrades the original East LA college site into a shiny big new modern building. Vincent's lifelong love and collecting of art is pretty well-documented, but basically he donated hundreds of pieces to the East LA college over several decades from the 50s. Vincent also spearheaded the Sears catalogue venture into selling fine art, and you can watch him instructing Sears salesmen on how to pitch the collection to their average Joe customers. I'm guessing most salesman would've preferred having Vincent Price on hand to deliver the pitch himself, but it all reminded me of one of the TV interviews where Vincent talking about making films in Britain in the 60s and how he used to go to Portobello Market on his time off to look for art. It's too tempting in London to walk around and imagine a street scene as it was, and this just adds another location for that kind of walking in someone else's footsteps.

I'm rereading Marina Warner's exploration of spirit and soul since the enlightenment, Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors And Media Into The Twenty-First Century, and would happily quote whole pages of it, except that's probably bad form copyright wise, so I'll have to pluck out some soundbite echoes. Just for good measure though, I added a hefty heap of books to the reading pile courtesy of my friend Nick Abrahams stall at the Wills-Moody Jumble Sale, including Caligari's Children: The Film As Tale Of Terror, Francis King's Ritual Magic, Witchcraft At Salem and The Cross And The Drum, a pulp voodoo tale. 

Will Kane (thank you) gave me a heads up on the pre Halloween night by the fantastic Flipside at the Bfi, Mysterious Britain  - John Betjeman, standing stones and more - which, when it's actually listed on the Bfi site I'll post properly about.

I sorely wish I could've made it to the Magic Show exhibition at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, which looked at the connections between art and magic, illusion and perception, but although the show finished on the 12th September, there's a batch of photos that show off what they had, from vintage posters to playing cards with a lock through them and an unnerving dark wood box that looks like an early robot.

And then it's Open House this weekend, so I can get my urban traces fix with a mix of brutalism, expressionism and Span houses. The Brunel Uxbridge looks like the best big treat though. I might need a bowler hat and some milk for that one.

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