The Nobel Scandal Has Become a Swedish Foreign-Policy Crisis

By Isaac Herbert

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Members of the Swedish Academy, interrupt their weekly dinner to give a press conference announcing the cancelation of the 2018 Nobel Prize in litterature. The Permanent Secretary is here pictured turning into a werewolf during the press conference. It seems that disclosure is now absolute. (Photo: Getty Images)

STOCKHOLM — The crisis in the Swedish Academy, which started last November with sexual assault allegations against the husband of an Academy member and culminated last Friday in the cancellation of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, has been described in Swedish media as “the cultural conflict of the century.” But some Swedes are concerned that it may be more than that — namely, a national plague of lycanthropy. No one can explain the causality of events, except that the Swedish "werewolf epidemic" began around the time the scandal started rolling in the media.


Art Movements Ranked

By Björn

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1.     Surrealism

2.     Pop Art

3.     Cubo-Futurism

4.     Futurism

5.     Metaphysical Art

6.     Vorticism

7.     Dada

8.     Cubism

9.     Neue Sachlichkeit

10.   Baroque

11.   Mannerism

12.   Constructivism

13.   Suprematism  

14.   Symbolism

15.   Op Art

16.   Orphism

17.   Expressionism

18.   Cobra

19.   Abstract Expressionism

20.   Fauvism

21.   Impressionism

22.   Rococo

23.   Land Art

24.   Conceptual Art


And the Winner of the Death Mask Beauty Contest is...

By Andréa Ferrol

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...William Blake! Forget about L'Inconnue de la Seine, the unidentified woman whose putative death mask was all the rage around 1900. No death mask seems quite as charismatic as Blake's, emanating an uncompromising sternness of character. Except...this is not a death mask! Although commonly known as Blake's death mask, it is actually his life mask; the plaster cast of Blake's head was made by the sculptor James Deville around 1823, four years before Blake's death. It belongs to the National Portrait Gallery in London. 

Interestingly, Francis Bacon made a series of paintings based on Blake's life mask, the Study for Portrait I-IV (after the Life Mask of William Blake) (1955).

Apparently Bacon loved Blake's poems, but hated his paintings, undoubtedly owing to his dislike of "illustrative painting", documented in David Sylvester's book Interviews with Francis Bacon (1975). Strange, considering the somewhat "illustrative" quality of his own paintings. 


The Dreams of Youth Are the Regrets of Maturity...

By Darkness

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City of Women

By Moshe Gershon

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On this International Women’s Day, I would like to salute Federico Fellini’s 1980 film La città delle donne  (The City of Women), a film that is often referred to as “a flawed masterpiece”. Flawed or not, it remains one of the maestro’s most entertaining and dreamy outings.

When it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, it was rounded up, put up against a wall, shot down by critics and even maliciously pronounced “worthless” by the (otherwise) great Andrei Tarkovsky.

One curious behind-the-scenes event remains disturbing as few; apparently Ettore Manni, the actor who played Dr. Xavier Kazone in the film, killed himself during filming by shooting off his penis with a pistol, eventually dying from bleeding. Fellini blamed himself for pushing Manni too hard into his macho role and thus, out of respect for Manni, refused to re-shoot with another actor and had to change the ending.

The true cause of this tragic event is unknown. It is enough to say that in the film Manni comes across as a tragically beautiful cross between a man, a lion and a woman.  As to Fellini, his reaction is a reminder of his own feminine aspects, no more pronounced than in the surprisingly feminine qualities of his voice, its delicacy well-documented in countless filmed interviews - considering his physical appearance you would expect a deep baritone.

As surely as Fellini embodies the very fusion of anima and animus, a fusion arguably the crux of his art, does this example not call for an International the Woman Inside the Man's Day?  


Not Enough Has Been Said or Written About Fernando Arrabal's 1973 Film "Iré como un caballo loco" ("I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse")!

By Walter Raim

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Not enough has been said or written about Fernando Arrabal's 1973 film Iré como un caballo loco (I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse)!


This ain’t no Kvium, this ain’t no Lemmerz. This ain’t no fooling around.

By Andréa Ferrol

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Which artwork is more likely to be remembered: Naturkreds (1992) by Michael Kvium, The Undead  (2002-2003)  by Christian Lemmerz, or Richard Quine’s Bell, Book and Candle (1958)?

What these artworks have in common is that they all dabble with themes of metaphysical witchery as well as the role of art and the artist in society. The first one is an oil painting, the second is a marble sculpture, both courtesy of two celebrated Danish artists, while the third one is a a spellbinding romantic comedy directed by Richard Quine and based on John Van Druten’s Broadway hit. A beautiful technicolor gem, it stars Kim Novak and James Stewart, teaming up for the second time during the year that also brought us Hitchcock’s Vertigo, with cinematographer James Wong Howe giving us a glamorous vision of Manhattan, enhanced by George Duning’s sophisticated score.

In the movie, Greenwich Village witch Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak), a free spirit with a penchant for going barefoot, has been unlucky in love and restless in life. She admires from afar her neighbor, publisher Shep Henderson (James Stewart), who one day walks into her gallery of African art to use the telephone, after Gillian's aunt Queenie (Elsa Lanchester) put a spell on his phone. When she learns he is about to marry an old college enemy of hers, Merle Kittridge (Janice Rule), Gillian takes revenge by casting a love spell on Shep, and she eventually falls for him herself. She must make a choice, as witches who fall in love lose their supernatural powers. When she decides to love Shep, Gillian's cat and familiarPyewacket, becomes agitated and leaves.

Sidney Redlitch (Ernie Kovacs), the author of the best-selling book Magic in Mexico, arrives in Shep's office (thanks to a little magic) after Gillian discovers Shep's interest in meeting him. Redlitch is researching a book on witches in New York, and he acquires an "inside" collaborator when Gillian's warlock brother Nicky (Jack Lemmon) volunteers his services in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.

Gillian uses her magic to make Shep lose interest in Nicky and Redlitch's book, and then confesses her identity as a witch to Shep. Shep becomes angry, believing she enchanted him just to spite Merle, and the two quarrel. Gillian threatens to cast various spells on Merle, such as making her fall in love with the first man who walks into her apartment, but she finds that she has lost her powers because of her love for Shep. Meanwhile, Shep finds he literally cannot leave Gillian, because of the spell. To escape, he turns to another witch, Bianca De Pass (Hermione Gingold), who breaks the spell. Shep confronts Gillian and leaves her heartbroken. He then tries unsuccessfully to explain to Merle that Gillian is a witch. Months later, Shep returns and discovers Gillian has lost her magic powers because of her love for him. When he realizes her love is true, the two reconcile.

As to the initial question of which artwork is more likely to be remembered, time - and perhaps a little witching trickery - will tell. 


The Triumph of Finnish Surrealism of the 1940’s

By Edouard Frenhofer

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I will readily admit that I took it for an elaborate joke, upon first hearing of the discovery of the Finnish village of Kaskinen in the Ostrobothnia region as a stronghold of surrealist art. As it turned out, the joke was on me, the work of Kaskinen's hitherto obscure artistic community now widely considered the most fruitful expression of surrealist art in history, far surpassing what in retrospect seems to be the vague formal exercises of Dali, Magritte and Ernst. This, however, was only the first of a series of remarkable events that have unfolded since the discovery of Aku Hämäläinen, Aki Koskinen and the rest of their group, whose members all mysteriously disappeared in two swipes, curiously coinciding with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 5 and 9, 1945. Now, thanks to the research and groundbreaking discoveries of art historian Chaim Aronin and his team, revealed to an unsuspecting art world four years ago, their legacy lives on.

The mind-altering effects of the 70+-year-old paintings of the Kaskinian surrealists on a contemporary audience has been likened to that of the first film screening of the Lumiére brothers’ Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat to a Parisian theater audience in 1896, where, overwhelmed by the moving image of a locomotive driving directly towards them, the audience panicked and ran to the back of the theater; judging from the initial psychological and physiological reactions to the Kaskinian artists’ work, painting suddenly seemed as fresh and new as cinema did in 1896. Needless to say, the paintings of Hämäläinen, Koskinen and Järvinen created a splash and within a couple of years after their rediscovery almost every important modern art museum in the world had acquired their works, which also became the subject of much-hyped exhibitions, such as the now legendary MoMa exhibition - named after Hämäläinen’s 1944 work “Green skin of Heaven in a Drought, Kindled by Velvet Curtains – The Supranatural Taste of Spring, Not Yet Oceanized Blue, Blue”.

The subsequent events can be roughly summed up as follows: at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, a hall was devoted to the Kaskinian surrealists. A month after the installation of the works, the paintings and sculptures in the neighbouring hall - mostly Picassos - could be observed changing, day by day. The curious thing was that not only did they change, they changed in a specific way that somehow increasingly, and finally undeniably, made them more surrealistic.  Over the course of a week, Picasso’s painted wooden sculpture Head of a Woman (1954) turned into a pink mushroom cloud, then expanded into a Dalisque desert landscape filling the entire floor of the hall. The body of Venus, in his oil painting L’Aubade (1942), swelled up to double - then thrice - its size, finally protruding out of the canvas like a puffed-up balloon. Several eyewitnesses observed the bloated, yet seemingly weightless, body gliding silently into the hall containing the Kaskinian surrealist’s work; here it disappeared into Koskinen’s painting The Origin of the Purple God Who Holds Reality on His Tongue (c. 1943), to become part of its scenery.

This form-altering effect continued into other halls of the museum, turning several Matisse paintings into pieces, the pieces then turning into color blots, staining the floors and walls of the Pompidou. The geometric abstractions of Kandinsky and Kupka fled their canvases, to become mutating fleshy beings haunting the halls of the museum, and especially the terrace of the Georges restaurant on top of the building. Elsewhere, many works of conceptual art shown at the Tate Modern in London evaporated into atoms, as if the ‘surrealist take-over’ would not materialize, and so the parasite instead decided to simply destroy all traces of its would-be host. 

Amazing and beyond belief as these events may appear, they nonetheless dwindle in comparison with the latest reports, of the Kaskinian surrealist works being directly linked to the resurrection of the bodies of several dead artists; William Blake has been spotted at the Tate in all his naked splendour, first as a spectral being, transparent and flying through the halls and stairways of the museum, then a week later as a fully materialized being of flesh and blood. Witnesses two weeks ago saw Van Gogh exiting the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, carrying his painting equipment.  

Needless to say, this is most likely not the last in the chain of remarkable events linked to the 1940's artworks of the surrealists of Kaskinen, Finland. I, for one, will be monitoring this case closely in the near future.