Archive for August, 2009

This weekend: Sex, Murder, and Anarchy at La Luz de Jesus in Hollywood!

Posted in Antique Fairs, Century Guild Contemporary, Century Guild Events, Silent Cinema, Transmission Atelier on 11 August, 2009 by Thomas Negovan

Still not sorted out from San Diego, we’re loading up the caravan again to head to Los Angeles for an exhibition of our most disturbing and sexy posters at the legendary La Luz de Jesus.

Billy Shire, founder of La Luz de Jesus, is Godfather of the whole LA art scene.  He was instrumental in the careers of Joe Coleman, Shag, The Clayton Brothers, Glenn Barr… his resumé reads like a “Who’s Who” of art legends.  Our favorite Gail Potocki shows at his elegant BSFA space, and he is one of the most gentle and inspired human beings I’ve had the honor and pleasure of meeting.  We’re holding our 2010 Dave McKean/ silent cinema exhibition at his BSFA space, but to properly appease the raunchy Gods of Victorian Sex and Murder, we need to be in- where else?- Hollywood…!

Syphilis, 1918

Syphilis, 1918

Voluptuaries & Vivisections:
A Celebration of Depravity

Guest Curator: Thomas Negovan

August 14 – 30
Opens Friday, August 14, 2009
8 – 11 PM

These are images that burned themselves into the minds and hearts of unwitting late 19th/early 20th century citizens, inciting unparalleled controversy all over Europe and beyond… and promise those same reactions in those who cross paths with them today. Decadence, dandyism, sex, and murder: more than mere posters, these are windows into the darkest corners of human compulsion.

In an event curated by Thomas Negovan and Century Guild, a Chicago gallery known for museum quality Art Nouveau and Symbolist Art, La Luz de Jesus invites you to be a part of an unprecedented event that explores the taboos that have titillated and tormented since the turn of the century. Masterpieces of lithographed poster art from 1880-1940 illustrating subjects ranging from seminal S&M literature to STD warnings to serial killers will be shown, all of which shall be sure to incite reactions of lust, terror, anger, nausea, and inspiration. NOT TO BE MISSED!

The Haunted Castle, 1924

The Haunted Castle, 1921

I would heartily agree with the “not to be missed” aspect… here are some of the other images that will be on display…  No excuses, get over to this show and say hello!!!

Carriage No. 13, 1921

Carriage No. 13, 1926

Mistresses of the Pope, seminal S&M literature from 1891

Mistresses of the Pope, seminal S&M literature from 1884

Grand Guignol, c 1920

Grand Guignol, c 1920

White Slavery, 1926

White Slavery, 1927

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July recap, part 2 of 2: San Diego Comic Con!

Posted in Antique Fairs, Century Guild Contemporary, Century Guild Events, Comic Conventions, Dave McKean, Gail Potocki, Jeremy Bastian, Olympian Publishing, Silent Cinema, Transmission Atelier on 9 August, 2009 by Thomas Negovan

I feel as though there should be some celebration for post number 13.  A party around a cauldron, perhaps?

We are getting ready for the LA exhibition, things aren’t slowing down a bit, and I have to get something up about San Diego Comic Con so that I can write a post before leaving for California again- we are all racking up the frequent flyer miles, that is certain.

Crowds begin to form at the San Diego Convention Center (photo taken by Dave from his hotel window)

Crowds begin to form at the San Diego Convention Center, from Dave McKean's hotel window

Ummm… what do I remember?  Setup was long but not too difficult, opening night was upon us before we could blink.  The big news opening night?  Kildanny.

I have footage somewhere of Jeremy Bastian‘s expression of surprise when he saw his character come to life thanks to my friend Lex Rudd of Primal Visions.  We publish Jeremy’s book Cursed Pirate Girl, and Kildanny is a character in a tale that Cursed Pirate Girl weaves to scare some young boys.  (Cursed Pirate Girls are known to like to scare boys.  For fun.)  Cameras were flashing NONSTOP all weekend, and the amount of photos online are wonderful.  Here’s one:

The dreaded pirate Kildanny, from Jeremy Bastian's Cursed Pirate Girl

The dreaded pirate Kildanny, from Jeremy Bastian's Cursed Pirate Girl

Jeremy Bastian, with Kildanny come to life!

Jeremy Bastian, comparing moustaches with Kildanny-come-to-life

So as you can imagine, he was very happy, which made me very happy!

The rest is a bit of a blur.  We’ll make a formal announcement soon about our new artists, but in brief: Lisa Black’s sculptures were a massive hit and everything sold, with them entering some pretty impressive collections.  Boingboing.com and Wired put them in their Comic Con review, and io9.com listed them under “The 17 most expensive things at Comic Con“…

Lisa Black's Fawn, from her Fixed series.  Taxidermy, metal and clockwork parts, 2007

Lisa Black's Fawn, from her Fixed series. Taxidermy, metal and clockwork parts, 2007

I was very happy that my sister/sweetheart/partner-in-crime Sioux Sinner drove in from Las Vegas to help out.  Her Doctor Who-related tattoos of a Dalek and an Adipose were quite the conversation starters for the boys.  Something that happens a lot at these shows is that pretty girls get hired to be “booth babes” and pass out postcards for whatever crap someone is promoting, so the ongoing joke with how successful our show was that obviously all we needed was a booth babe.  (Just to be clear, that was a joke.  Sioux is very smart and was there for non-booth babe reasons.)

Reason number one being David Tennant, current lead in the legendary BBC programme Doctor Who, who was at the show, along with producer Russel T. Davies and cast members from the fantastic spin-off Torchwood, which has become massively successful in the US.

Doctor... Tennant?

Doctor... Tennant? Not really. (Notice the girl in the back pointing at him?)

I am one of the people who has come to like Torchwood perhaps even MORE than Doctor Who, and was happy that Sioux brought star John Barrowman (affectionately known to the world as Captain Jack Harkness) to our booth.  He had just watched the movie “Freaks” with his sister, and was SO excited about Gail Potocki‘s new Freak series that I wish I had it on camera… he was very charming, and explained that as he and his sister watched the film they looked up facts on the internet.  Gail had done quite a bit of serious research, and he knew trivia that even she didn’t about her subjects!

The charming John Barrowman looking at Gail Potocki's Freak paintings

The charming John Barrowman discussing Gail Potocki's Freak paintings

'Pip' from Gail Potocki's new Freaks series.  (Who, thanks to John Barrowman, we now know was incontinent- hence the dress...)

'Pip' from Gail Potocki's new Freaks series. (Who, thanks to John Barrowman, we now know was incontinent- hence the dress...)

During set-up, we teased Gail that her Freaks prints were going out in the hallway because she was “old news” behind Jeremy Bastian and Dave McKean.  After the hysterical fun that the VERY charming John Barrowman brought into our booth she joked, “Don’t underestimate Pip- he saved the day!  Even though you tried to stick me out in the hallway.”

When John said that Gail should paint his portrait, she joked that she should do him as a 'Freak' with two heads

John Barrowman joking with Gail Potocki

Freak Appreciation Society

Founding members of the Freak Appreciation Society

Of course, the painting “Destiny” by Dave McKean was a huge hit, and the Transmission Atelier prints of Dave’s Nitrate series sold VERY well.  When Dave approached the booth, he said, “Hmmm… I like my billing- over Klimt, not too bad!”, something Gail had joked about during set-up…

Dave McKean's 'Destiny' painting (plus that guy Klimt)

Dave McKean's 'Destiny' painting (plus that guy Klimt). Jeremy Bastian and Jack help a customer, Emily appeears to be... reading? I'm not sure.

Century Guild booth: Opium, Cocaine...

Century Guild booth: Opium, Cocaine...

Gerard Way, looking at Symbolist artifacts

Gerard Way, singer for My Chemical Romance and author of The Umbrella Academy, appreciating the Symbolist artifacts

Sioux seemed to run into the most random people while she wandered; Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, cast members from Torchwood, True Blood, Twilight… the best story of all is when she pushed Stan Lee’s wheelchair around, but it’s sunrise here and I need to sleep.

Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer (creators of The Venture Brothers) with Sioux Sinner

Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer (creators of The Venture Brothers) with Sioux Sinner, right after she unknowingly crashed their interview- Not kidding.

July recap, days one, two, and three: Dave McKean/ Nitrate and Kinogeists

Posted in Century Guild Contemporary, Century Guild Events, Dave McKean, Silent Cinema on 5 August, 2009 by Thomas Negovan

I keep waiting to make a post until I’m properly recuperated, but it doesn’t seem that it’s ever going to happen; the leviathan of Century Guild is rolling forward, picking up velocity and branches and leaving happy kids everywhere, just as Sammy Davis, Jr. predicted.  If I don’t take a moment now I’ll never catch up.

After weeks of preparation for the one-two punch of Nitrate and Kinogeists in Chicago and SDCC in San Diego (the materials headed for SD had to be prepared packed to leave well in advance), Dave McKean arrived on Thursday July 16th, which was the beginning of the public phase of the military operation.  We stopped for a moment at home, then on to the book store.  The signing at Challengers was wonderful, lots of friendly faces (as evidenced below!)

At the end of the night, Jack cornered me on the subject of this being the beginning of a long, long two weeks of public appearances…

The next morning, Dave and I met artists Alex Ross, Doug Klauba, and filmmaker John Terendy for a magnificent lunch at a dramatically underrated Logan Square restaurant, Real Tenochtitlan.  (Dave knew how to pronounce it, I didn’t.)

Then off to the Portage Theater to begin the weekend…

Marquee at the Portage Theater

Marquee at the Portage Theater (photo, Jeff Millies)

When Dave and I arrived, the line stretched all through the theater; he hadn’t prepared to be signing as we thought the first day would be a casual artist’s reception, but he was graceful and everyone left more than a little bit happy.  We were lucky that Allen Spiegel sent us a nice selection of rare and out-of-print Dave McKean material; treasures were found by all.  In addition to the exhibition of five massive Nitrate paintings by Dave McKean, this event also launched the Transmission Atelier editions of Dave’s homages to early cinema, the Nitrate series.  (For the earlier post on these breathtaking prints, see here.)

Dave McKean signing at Portage Theater

Dave McKean signing books at the historic Portage Theater

Dave signing his Tarot books

Dave signing his Tarot books; (here and above photographed by VAM- go to aisforaccident.com and visit him, you'll be glad you did.)

The night (d)evolved into a wonderful cocktail party, one of the nice things that can happen in an old theater that serves up alcohol.  A huge sea of friendly faces wandered through, studying the giant Dave McKean paintings and rare antique European Silent Film posters, and after a few hours we all moved into the theater.  The three photos below were taken by Dave, from his twitter:

'Original poster and my painting of The Student of Prague from the Portage show last night.' -DM

'Original 1926 poster and my painting of The Student of Prague.' -DM

Oona Tramps and Michelle L'Amour onstage before Faust

Oona Tramps and Michelle L'Amour performing onstage before Faust

'Faust painting and the moment in the film that it is based on, the live organist is the dot of light below right.' -DM

'Faust painting and the moment in the film that it is based on, the live organist is the dot of light below right.' -DM

The high point of the weekend for Dave was learning from John Terendy the name of the film for the painting that until now had been called “Méliès (Untitled)”.  Thanks to John, original materials were presented to Dave that showed the still that inspired the painting to have come from the 1901 film La phrénologie burlesque.  Both Dave AND the painting were happy!

Copy #1 of the now properly titled 'La Phrénologie burlesque', a gift to John Terendy for his sleuthing.

Copy #1 of the now properly titled 'La phrénologie burlesque', Transmission Atelier edition on special paper- a gift to John Terendy for his sleuthing.

More photos below; thanks to everyone who came.  It was a wonderful weekend!

Signing the first Faust print

Signing the first Faust print (photo, Jeff Millies)

Oona Tramps

Oona Tramps (photo, Jeff Millies)

Dave McKean and Thomas Negovan

Dave McKean and Thomas Negovan (photo, Jeff Millies)

Guitarist David Cano and Michelle L'Amour

Guitarist David Cano and Michelle L'Amour (photo, Jeff Millies)

Dave McKean introducing his film MirrorMask

Dave McKean introducing his film MirrorMask (photo by VAM)

Thomas Negovan, David Cano, Michelle L'Amour

Thomas Negovan, David Cano, Michelle L'Amour (photo, Jeff Millies)

Michelle L'Amour

Michelle L'Amour (photo, Jeff Millies)

Thomas Negovan, Dave McKean, and Stuart Tomc

Thomas Negovan, Dave McKean, and Stuart Tomc (photo, Gail Potocki)