Francesca Woodman’s photographs have an awful intimacy about them. As if you’d been let in to see something… dreadful. It is a storyline. About pain. Reminds me of some of John Lennon’s music on The Plastic Ono Band.
Frances Woodman committed suicide at the age of 22.
Yoko Ono is an iconic figure in American culture. Her relationship with John Lennon has made her one of the most despised women in the world. And yet she has done little to deserve it. Her art seems pretentious. Or brave. She has been a very provocative figure. Never warm and fuzzy.
Most of her work is conceptual art. By nature, it is controversial. She is also part of the installation art world. And then there is her audio work. A lot of her singing sounds like screaming. You have to listen to a little of John Cage to get an idea where she’s coming from.
Yoko may not be your cup of tea. I admit there is a bitter taste to her ideas and her art. An acquired taste. But like most artists/or non-artists who put themselves far out there, I shall give her the benefit of the doubt. As long as they don’t take themselves too seriously. And I’m a big John Lennon fan.
I don’t know why. Like many people of my generation I was buried in Beatles lore. When the Beatles broke up everyone felt they had to pick a camp. I picked Lennon. I’d always found McCartney’s songs a bit sappy. I thought that Paul was the song and dance man and that Lennon was the artist. Turns out I was wrong. They are both artists. You have to investigate McCartney. He has taken an interest in all kinds of artistic endeavours. They have not been greeted with wild enthusiasm. But then everything these guys did after the Beatles was judged by a different standard.
I love McCartney’s art. His paintings are really interesting. They have both an earnestness about them mixed with fun. He does not seem to have taken himself too seriously. But he does take his work seriously.
Sometimes I’d wake up and would have happily strangled my mother. She was singing. And she was so damn cheerful about it. Joan Miro’s work is like that. Cheerful. I’m sure if you went to an art historian cheerful is not one of the words he would use to describe an artist. Well, then, Miro’s work sings. How’s that? And the images he uses. Its like putting funny faces on pictures of sperm. Some of it reminds me of John Lennon’s drawings. And Henri Rousseau innocents.
I remember we all went to see this animation. And loved it. We went to see anything with the Beatles. And we were stoned. Yellow Submarine was not really a Beatles’ creation. I think they took some of the creature ideas from John and music from the group. I don’t know that any of the music was written specifically for the movie. But it had a huge affect on people. Animation for one thing was taken more seriously as an art. It popularized paisley. And it made ‘LSD’ seem like a harmless drug that could only lead to peace, love, and patterns. It was a terribly naive view of life. Although I would say that the ‘blue meanies’ still scare me today. Especially in their offices. In the bank.
“In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview. 38 years later, Levitan, director Josh Raskin and illustrators James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina have collaborated to create an animated short film using the original interview recording as the soundtrack. A spellbinding vessel for Lennon’s boundless wit and timeless message, I Met the Walrus was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short and won the 2009 Emmy for ‘New Approaches’ (making it the first film to win an Emmy on behalf of the internet).”
Besides the interesting thoughts of Lennon is the wonderful illustrations that in many ways are parallel to Lennon’s own drawings.