Monday, January 31, 2011


I listened to some of Jason's advice:

Yup, I splurged and bought Bob Dylan's album Desire today.  Along with Easy Rider and the Ultimate Prince Collection.

Eclectic, non?

Meanwhile, at The Met....

While I am trapped in Ireland, resolute in studies, if at times listlessly, the art world in New York continues to thrive.  Millions pass through the halls of my beloved MoMA and Met each week unaware of how my heart is burning a hole in itself with desire.

My sister is profoundly taken, and perhaps stylistically inspired, by Georgia O'Keeffe.  One clear memory from the summer of '09 is hunting the upper floor of The Strand searching for a decent O'Keeffe anthology, that would not rob me of my pittance wages, to return to my saviour-kin with.

Yes, Georgia is the woman with the vulva paintings.

I see now that The Met is housing an exhibition of her husband Alfred Stieglitz's photography until April this year.  The restraint of his work is a fascinating contrast to the vivacious and, if you will allow, fertile arena of O'Keefffe's canvases.

Of the entire collection, the most evocative images to encounter are the portraits of O'Keeffe that focus predominantly on her hands.  Though her own iconography is so steeped in the sexuality of the female form, Stieglitz's chooses to portray her hands, the site of artistic creation, as the sacred organs.  They have been endowed with as much sexual ferocity as the overt sight of nudity may convey.

Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe - Hand and Wheel

Georgia O'Keeffe - Hands and Horse Skull

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'll Be Your Mirror

The Velvet Underground, pictured with Andy Warhol and some other Factory personnel.

Soundtrack to the afternoon.  

Stranger Than Fiction... Reality of Writer's Block

Perhaps not to the extent that Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson) experiences it.
Her's goes beyond writer's block and enters into the territory of existential crisis.
But it is frustrating.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Photo of the Day

Damien Hirst, With Dead Head
"It's me and a dead head. Severed head. In the morgue. Human. I'm 16. If you look at my face, I'm actually going: "Quick. Quick. Take the photo." I wanted to show my friends, but I couldn't take all my friends there, to the morgue in Leeds. I'm absolutely terrified. I'm grinning, but I'm expecting the eyes to open and for it to go: "Grrrrraaaaagh!" I was doing anatomy drawing. I took some photos when I shouldn't have done. To me, the smile and everything seemed to sum up this problem between life and death."  Exert from The Guardian

The Ghost Who Walks

Self-deceit, Rome, 1978

Francesca Woodman's portraits transfix the eye as you are all at once charmed and horrified by their Gothic tones.  She haunts the frame like The Nightmare of Fuseli.   One of the more playful aspects of these images, along with the distorting effects of the long exposure, is the manner Woodman composes the female form.  The body still possesses the feminine quality so revered by art standards, but she is unmistakably mocking the serpentine form that consistently connoted the female body as the site of exotic, predatory tendencies.  The tense, psychological fragility that caused her images to be so evocative, unfortunately pre-empted her early death by suicide at age twenty-two.

Untitled, New York, 1979

Angel Series, Rome, 1977 - 78

Eel Series, Roma, 1977 - ?

Self-Potrait with Lily, Rome, 1977-78

A new film, The Woodmans, open in Manhattan tomorrow. 
Go see it for me.

"Enigmatic, Mystical, Magical..."

"Hello.... how many messages are there of the band... talking, now?"

Just for you, because it is so amazing.

"I have a voice!"

Just back from seeing the magnificent cinematic treasure, The King's Speech.

Review to follow shortly.... after it has been published in the UCC Express.  I am loyal to my kin, after all. 

Friday, January 21, 2011


Ahh this past week has been crazy, no time for any real, profound posting I fear. 

But.... I bought new shoes.  Happy days.  They're basically that wedge work-boot variation that has been seen everywhere lately.  So while hardly original, at least I'll be comfortable.  As they're also black, and quite plain as design goes, I like to think of them as a blank canvas for outfits.  Here's to my happy future with my new favourite shoes.
New Look boots, paid about 26 euro due to student discount, yay.

Today, as I have been working on the dreaded college work, I was delighted in my futile attempts at research to come across some postcards I bought at Woodstock that I had completely and utterly forgotten about.  That was eighteen months ago now.... take me back America, please.  

I collect unusual postcards and use them as wall art, well, because I cannot afford the originals.

Frankly mine is better quality.  Minus the Life watermark.

I picked up my copy of The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage which was also bought at Woodstock, when those magnificent postcards revealed themselves.  One was of Pete Townshend during The Who's performance in 1969, the other was of the site owner, Max Yasgur.  He was pictured giving the peace sign to the high-spirited, mud-soaked crowd.  The legacy of Woodstock itself immortalized with his words, 

"You have shown the world what this generation is about."

Never a truer word spoken about what the 60s encompassed.  A decade of unrest certainly, but imperatively of progress .  

Then, I felt nostalgic, and relented to my inner-hippie momentarily:


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I am utterly drowning under the force of a horridly frustrating presentation.

My one shining light of today was the discovery of a new blog, well, new to me.

Avant Style and the writer is Sian. 

She is seriously fun and personal, as well as including plenty of gorgeous pics and outfits.

But most of all I wish I had her room.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Would if I Could

Interview magazine is my eternal envy of my sister, or all Americans for that matter.  It is there at their finger tips.  Accessible for a mere amount of change.  I say mere although it is a glossy so it will invariably make a dent in the pocket.  

Another reason my obsession probably exists is because this very magazine was established by Andy Warhol, the ultimate Fame Monster.  Lady Gaga should be grateful to have the ingenuity of his shadow.  Aah... I digress. 

My lamentation of course occurs as I have failed to procure Interview in Cork.  At least it is missing when I look.  

The first issue I bought on one balmy, humid day strolling home (I wish) on the Lower East Side.... Yeah OK I was staying at my cousins for the night. 

My first encounter with Interview was when January Jones was on the cover.  It also happened to be during the height of my Mad Men fever, after my sister had introduced it to me.  

She was interviewed by Jack Nicholson.  That is the premise of the mag, what truly distinguishes it from others, other celebrities questioning their fellow stars.  It will either be thoroughly empathetic or riotously narcissistic.  Anyway, the January/Jack experience was epic.  Exert here, an interesting tidbit on fa-fa-fa-fashion:

Nicholson: Well, what men found attractive in the early ’60s . . .
Jones: I think men are still attracted to what they’ve always found attractive, which is a woman [both laugh] who is feminine, soft, real, and . . . womanly. In the time of Mad Men, women were very polite and soft-spoken, and they didn’t express a lot of opinions. Now, I think women have become a little more rigid or hard—and I don’t think it’s because of men. I think it’s because women have become more masculine or we’ve forced ourselves to become more masculine. What’s in fashion now is very thin and hard.
Linkage to interview

So, pathetically enough, I have since been enthralled and fascinated by the magazine, so I attempt intermittently to gain a fix from the website, but much like reading a book from a Kindle, the content fails to satisfy in the same manner that the printed paper can.  The texture and olfactory senses are obliterated.  Leading to one very underwhelmed reader.

This is a great for broadcasting the independent fair as well as presenting the mainstream in unusual circumstances.

Buy it.  Explore.

This is so fitting considering my previous post.
From an editorial called my space.

Lena Dunham has an intriguing film called Tiny Furniture coming out, so glad she's getting face time.

Even Interview is celebrating the wondrous Elle.

Someday I will find this magazine.... or at least be able to afford a subscription...

Summer Mood

Though we are still in the depths of winter, and cold, and flu, the album of the moment has to be Best Coast's Crazy For You.  This will be the soundtrack to get me through these next few months.

Bethanny Cosentino, one cool lady

Bloggness:   Best Coast

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Get it Right Now, You're in Hollywood

W magazine has compiled a breathtaking collection of portraits by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vindoodh Matadin of stars whom they deemed worthy of the best performances in the last year.

Their little description encapsulates, I think, why the portraits are so powerful and the plaudits are so justified.

"The most remarkable moments in film this past year weren’t 3-D action sequences but characters so real they hurt. Here, the actors who made us believe."  More here.

Last year I think the pageantry of Avatar and major controversy surrounding one of The Hurt Locker producers and his infamous letter to members of the Academy quite frankly undermined the reason for the awards in the first place.

Another piece that really focuses on the performance rather than hype is the Fourteen Actors Acting, produced for the New York Times.  The title alone seems to satirize what a shambles the celebrities of the recent Hollywood generation have made of the film industry.  

Here's looking at you kid, good ole fashioned performance and direction.  

Recommendation to the Nation

Vincent Morisset's conceptual concert film charting Arcade Fire's Neon Bible tour in 2007 is a revelation.  Its
beauty, grace, and eeriness surpasses those of its contemporaries.  Well worth the expense.  Some images to feast you art-fetishistic minds on.

Let the Right Film In

I took a European film class last year which was, shamefully, my first real education (academically, but more importantly, personally) on foreign films.  Sure I have dabbled with some Japanese horrors, and with the odd foray into French phantasms, but the cinema I explored during those glorious few months transcended my expectations of what film, not simply narrative, could achieve.

Mmm, this is a little naive to have come from a third and, ahem, final year undergraduate, no?  I admit it, I was ignorant.  Which is daunting as I had previously regarded myself as something of a film buff.

However I have since committed to expanding my knowledge.  So when I saw Let Me In had been released, I was not going to be tempted by the Americanized version, I sought Tomas Alfredson's Let the Right One In in its stead Though I was skeptical.  Vampire films are after all the genre du jour.  If it is one thing more detestable than corrupt bankers and government officials, it is melancholic glittery vampires.

Let the Right One In tells the story of the complicated, burgeoning relationship between Oskar, a youngster tormented by bullying and emotionally torn by the separation of his parents, and Eli the mysterious vampire that moves in next door to Oskar.  By depicting Oskar's experiences with his bullies in numerous cold environments, and his solitude in the abandoned, snow covered playground, Alfredson illustrates Oskar's isolation in the depths of the world.  However, this alienation, mush like the one Eli suffers through in the attempt to keep her secret safe, is just that, a safety for them.

One of Oskar's many confrontations with his bullies.

The intimate encounters, or as intimate as prepubescent teens can be, are the focus of the film. The moment in where Eli climbs naked into bed with Oskar is undoubtedly uncomfortable, but the innocence of their ages forces you to see beyond the sexual undertones.  This moment clarifies the narrative intentions.  The characters have transcended, by no longer seeking comfort in solitude, they seek one another.

The sparse nature of the film and its action is what I find so attractive about the Swedish films I have seen, (not many I will admit).  They lack the urgency so prominent in the Hollywood formula, and that is a relief.  The narrative economy leads to a more startling connection to the film and, like Hitchcock cinema of old, suspense itself is a character.

The vampirish elements takes a back-burner to the proceedings of the film, and when Eli's sufferings do come into the fray they are a lot more realistic.  And bloody.  There is no such nonsense as vegetarian vamps, or True Blood.  When Eli is hungry Alfredson does not shy away from showing her pain and misery.  Eli's vampire is shown not simply to be the mythical killer, but the victim too.  She is a victim as she has been permanently been suspended in arrested development.

Victim-hood and its subsequent tragedies are Alfredson's primary reflection.  In the final act he bestows a glorious redemption upon his protagonists.  One that satisfies the true horror fans and the romantics.  

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Probably Shouldn't Have...

After one particular slog of a day last week, writing and researching, I decided I was not going to torture myself further by doing course reading that night.  Instead I rummaged through my own "leisure reading" drawer and settled on The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962.  Futile, I know.

Much like her novel, The Bell Jar, Plath diary prose are fused with the sinister undertones of her troubled psyche.  I have only made a dent in the immense document, but like with her poetry, the empathy I feel within the confines of her stifled narratives are overwhelming.  Plath was one of the great writers of the female mind, that part which was (is?) largely unexplored.  There is paradoxically an urgency along with a hesitancy in some of the entries, however, I am still exploring the early days.

It could be because I too am in the spring of my aspiring career in writing, but whatever it is, I find comfort in her words.  The art of balance is one I need to master.

"Some things are hard to write about.  After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important parts."

*Disclaimer - Originally published in my other blog girlwritesblog

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Star Gazin'

I attended a seminar this afternoon, misguided by an incorrect timetable, but I thought it would be rude to leave, so I stayed.  I endured.  Well it really was not that bad.  Just frustrating to waste precious time when you are busy, am I right?

One aspect of the presentation grabbed my attention, however, though because of the former studies in History Art, my interest was manipulated rather than satisfied.  The speaker ruminated over the meaning of "the Gaze", though unfortunately not referencing its place within art history.

For those unsure, in classical paintings the Gaze signifies the patriarchal authority over the female body.  The female thus has no autonomy in and of itself.  Alexandre Cabanel's Birth of Venus, 1863, is one such painting, in the Neo-Classical genre, that illustrates female form in exaggerated ecstasy under the suppressive eye of her male counterpart.

Of course then Edouard Manet, in the same year no less, came along and put the art world in a head-spin with a female who was undoubtedly in charge of her subjectivity and stared unabashedly out into the audience, reverting the authority of the Gaze to her, changing the politics of painting with it.

I love this series by Ana Mendieta.  Not only is she embracing and claiming the Gaze, but she has distorted the institutionalized notions of feminine beauty here.  

Untitled (Glass on Body = Face), 1972. 

 Seriously all this was basically going through my head as I attempted to listen to a perfectly delivered presentation.  Blog posts, you never know where they will strike you.

15 Minutes

"In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

An enigma can be defined, by my standards, as Andy Warhol and the cult of celebrity.  Together.  Or separately.  Would celebrity have even existed without the subversive guidance of the Lexington Avenue darling?  I wold like to think not, but the history of the Hollywood system reveals otherwise.

But Andy (I will retain the right to call him Andy and pretend I am part of the family in The Factory making movies in the 60s, thank you very much) transformed the experience of fame.  Controversially making it both attainable, and dare I say cheapening its value.  Though I would say he turns in his grave with the existence of disgusting creatures like "Speidi" and that Jordan.  

His Screen Tests were one such artifice that Andy utilized to prove that Ordinary Joe, or in Factory vernacular Ondine and Edie, could too be projected into the stratosphere of recognition.  

Forty-five years later and now MoMA has organised a new exhibition of a select number of Screen Tests.  Not only that but they have given the opportunity to you and me to contribute our own screen test.  You can make like Lou Reed and drink some coke, or maybe even falter under the relentless lens like Ana Buchanan and tear.  

I can feel my fifteen minutes coming any day now.  Screen test to follow.... soon.

For now though, will leave you with a Bowie song that was not even planned, but is nonetheless extremely fitting.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thin White Duke

He inspired the naming process.  Because he's the Duke.

Furnish the Mind

I am looking for a new place to live.
Not that there is anything wrong with the room, house, heating, location (well), or people (meh...), where I currently reside.
The bane of my academic existence this past five months has been my lack of defined study space, for I have no desk.  I had this intention of buying a cheap desk since I moved in last September but have stalled to the point where I would rather move to a place not only nearer to college, but with a desk. 

Who would have known this would be such a burning ambition, to have a desk?
For not I, in all my wild fantasies of adulthood, could ever have anticipated that a prominent concern that would litter my brain would be the desire for a good, solid, dependable desk.

My lamentation was further agitated over Christmas break, when I headed home to the confines of my childhood abode, to my old school desk, which my family acquired in New York back in the 70s.  Its origins remain a mystery.  

For my mother often either inherited amazing furniture, or household bits from friends or even employers.  Sometimes she gave sidewalk-rubbish a new home.  While one of my favourite thrift-acquisitions goes to my mother's butcher knife.  A neighboring couple who lived in their building were squabbling (the censored version of what was going on, I believe), when the female threw the knife and the male.  It was forgotten, perhaps discarded in an effort to mend relations.  My mother was willing to provide the knife a place to crash.  Thirty-plus years later and its still in the family.  More treasured than I, I dare say.

Back to my the desk however.  Of course, I am now obsessed with the idea of the perfect desk, and indeed, work space.  Especially after I saw how Dodai Stewart did it so so well.

I simply love my parent's desk.  Its genuinely vintage, something my style yearns to be, but cannot afford.  Something like this would complement and encourage me, don't you think? 

Apologies for studious/general mess in peripheral area of desk....

As if fate has intervened, my interest were piqued further, when for the first time in all my eight years of using the desk, I noticed this:

So who was John Stuart?  Or at least is the furniture still purchasable?  All signs point to no.  After fruitless Internet searching.  Plenty pictures, and mentions, but no dedicated site.  All I could really pertain was that the label is antique, we have the real article here, my friends.  

So for now, other antique John Stuart Inc pieces that would look good in my life.  Mad Men anyone?  Santa, I hope you are reading.

This here is described as a "Gentleman's Chest", but fuck 50s sexism, I want it. 


Hell's to the yeah.