Malevich and more

 

Never heard of him

One of Barney’s fully conscious life works was examining the cool ways of the artists he liked and making them his own in tribute. He was amplifying his art history classes, learning to ‘Paint’ his way. He learned in depth about Kasimir Malevich, of whom he said, “…we never heard of him at Twickenham.” He also really liked the idea of the Russian’s Agitprop fold out stages on trucks and traveling theater. As Kathy Moon says, “He didn’t judge, he looked to see what’s there.”

(This paragraph was edited by me [Wills] in response to the comment of Rebecca and Mike below, who wisely shewed me the error of my ways. They also laughingly pointed out that it is ‘”cheating” to correct the text after it’s been published, they say I should have corrected my words and put them in the Siberia of the comments department. I think it best to correct where folks are going to read it in context. Imagine this as a book with the joy of live writing.)

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From Yogi Bear…

Fulcher watched ITV, the Hanna Barbara cartoons especially, he followed the TV ads; and he liked that bright, flat, Western cowboy-artist in the ‘Boys Annual’ books, and then there was the deeper side to his interests…

One of our teachers was the sculptor Dow, bearded in the manner of his mentor, lean type designer Eric Gill, or an even a better likeness, Ezra Pound. Dow helped introduce us to Ginsberg’s Howl, to Burroughs and ultimately the idea of an alternative reality. You can see Dow’s version of Eric Gill’s deco angular style above what are, or were, the Jaguar showrooms in Piccadilly close by the Green Park tube station. Up in our aerie in the tower, in Mr. Dow’s class in cardboard construction, Dow told us about making the model for the planning of the WW2 Möhne ‘Dam Busters’ raid (see the movie) at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, cutting contour relief levels in mounting board with a scalpel. He intones, “One cut has to do it. Your knife must be sharp.”

… to Howl

Mr Dow often talked of life in a way us suburbanites had only read about. One day, a Thursday, back from documentary drawing at the Victoria and Albert Museum by bus, Colin and I are talking Burroughs and the Beats; we’d both read Ginsberg’s Howl.

Always first with hip, Fulcher had lent me his copy. He’s sitting on a stool, by the window behind a bench, first back from doc drawing at the V and A, by bus, late afternoon. I had thought there was a scene of a hanging and ejaculation in Howl, but I’m wrong, must be Burroughs somewhere (It’s in Burrough’s  Naked Lunch). Fulcher was inspired by that, is all “Ultimate!” Later, Dow, is chanelling Ezra Pound, who wrote, “I have always thought the suicide should bump off at least one swine before taking off to parts unknown.” Rambling on in conversation, Dow goes, “… and I’m gonna end it when I’m sixty.” Colin says to me afterwards, “I’m going to end it when I’m forty. We should have done it all done by then… Who wants to be old?” I often wonder if Dow, like Barney, followed through on his suggestion.

 

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