Lewis Carroll: Photographer

Helmut Gernsheim

“I confess I do not admire naked boys. They always seem to me to need clothes—whereas one hardly sees why the lovely forms of girls should ever be covered up.”
—Lewis Carroll
In his day, writer Lewis Carroll was a highly regarded pioneer of the new art of portrait photography. While the nude photographs of his young girl subjects were discreetly returned to their parents or destroyed after his death, many of his photos of both distinguished 19th century personalities (Tennyson, Rossetti, etc.) and the young daughters of his friends and colleagues are collected in this slim volume along with a selection of his writings on photography from his unpublished diaries and notebooks. SS

Publisher: Dover
Paperback: 127 pages

Lucifer Rising: Volumes 1 and 2


An exploration of the mythology of Lucifer in art and literature, seguing to an examination of the “applied mythology” of filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Lucifer Rising 2 is a recent interview which gets to the heart of questions relating to Aleister Crowley, Jack Parsons, Bobby Beausoleil and the missing Lucifer Rising footage, L. Ron Hubbard and the thelemic connection to Scientology, and other mysteries swirling around Kenneth Anger’s magickal and artistic pursuits. SS

Publisher: Aorta
Pamphlet: 24 pages

National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema, 1947-1987

Sumita S. Chakravarty

Unfortunately, this book contains “informed theoretical developments in film theory, cultural studies, postcolonial discourse, and Third World cinema.” Still, it seems to be one of the only existing English-language books to deal with that kaleidoscopic factory of celluloid iconography that is the Bombay movie world, which exceeds Hollywood in its annual output of films released and has an equally long history. In the filmis, Hindu myth gets choreographed by Busby Berkeley to a shimmering soundtrack of raga-pop which can induce involuntary ecstatic states in the Westerners who have had the good fortune to be exposed to it, and the undying devotion of a subcontinent of loyal viewers many millions strong. While valuable as historical background, this book does not aspire to bring to the Western world the wonders which would await it if Bombay were ever to become the next cinematic Hong Kong. SS

Publisher: University of Texas
Paperback: 368 pages

Neue Slowenische Kunst

Edited by NSK

Best-known outside its native Slovenia for the wittily bombastic pop music of Laibach and the eclecticist painting installations of the IRWIN painter group, NSK is a unique group of highly motivated painters, musicians, actors, directors and designers in Ljubljana who have been working collectively under the umbrella Neue Slowenische Kunst (New Slovenian Art) since the early ‘80s in an exhaustive exploration of the fertile intersection of art and politics. The NSK method of expression defies simplistic analysis; it is simultaneously confrontational, prophetic, analytical and aesthetic, seizing the most potent and mythic symbols of recent ideological constructs and their cultural heritage, and then wielding them for their inherent power over the psyche of the receiver.
NSK challenges the false dichotomy of freedom vs. totalitarianism with an intricate melding of revolutionary and totalitarian imagery and language. The artistic expression of NSK in its myriad forms is about the utopian impulse—its ephemeral triumphs, its hazards and its unending war of attrition with the commodifying forces of global capitalism as well as state terrorism. The NSK book is a uniquely self-designed and self-edited documentation of the first 10 years of this important artistic force, created on the brink of Yugoslavia’s bloody civil war and Slovenia’s independence. NSK is made up of hundreds of color and black-and-white reproductions of paintings, installations, posters, music and theater performances, album covers, film and video stills and architectural plans combined with manifestoes, speeches, epistles, theoretical writings, interviews, scripts and other NSK texts. SS

Publisher: Amok
Hardback: 286 pages

Prostitution in Hollywood Films: Plots, Critiques, Casts and Credits for 389 Theatrical and Made-for-Television Releases

James Robert Parish

From Inside the White Slave Trade to The Mack, from Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway to Gigi, this is the single comprehensive directory to onscreen whores (as opposed those behind the camera). SS

Publisher: McFarland
Hardback: 593 pages

The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film

Michael Weldon

Over 3,000 deranged classics of movie history, from unconscious surrealism to thoroughly degraded trash—axploitation, JD’s, catastrophe, freak-outs, bikers, Mothra, vampires, sadists, jungle goddesses and other mind-bending cinematic visions by the editor of Psychotronic Video. SS

Publisher: Ballantine
Paperback: 815 pages

Schwartzkogler: Martyrdom and Mystery


A short homage to Rudolf Schwartzkogler, the Viennese Aktion artist who created photographic tableaux of gauze, scalpels, tubes and razor blades which suggested strange sadomasochistic medical operations. The book is made up mostly of interviews with , Schwartzkogler ‘s girlfriend Edith Adam, his model Heinz Cibulka, blood-orgy fellow Aktion artist Hermann Nitsch and others who knew him. The interviews bring out the importance of Artaud’s ideas to the Aktion artists and dispel the lingering rumor of Schwartzkogler’s self-castration. SS

Publisher: Aorta
Pamphlet: 32 pages

Suture: The Arts Journal

Edited by Jack Sargeant

Volume one of a proposed series of compilations, this is a survey of the work of artists who lie mostly beyond the pale of the gallery world, presented largely in the form of interviews. Sargeant and his contributors make a valiant effort to inject some adrenalin into the quavering carcass of “art” before it completely expires. They do an astounding job of allowing these colorful and focused (if through their own unique prisms) personalities to tell their own stories, all fastidiously footnoted with entertaining explanatory texts in the margins. In most cases, the fiercely individualistic visions of these artists must at this point in history reside by necessity far below the radar of the art flacks and curators, who have just begun to fawn over such stale offerings as brilliant-Black Flag-cartoonist-turned-tedious-high-art-poseur Raymond Pettibon.
Girls (of the Lewis Carroll not the Baywatch variety), dolls, sex and their relationships to each other form an important libidinous undercurrent linking some of the genuinely intriguing artists covered in Suture, from Victorian-absorbed cartoonist/banjo player/cult figure Dame Darcy of Roller Derby and Meat Cake fame to Trevor Brown, who is perhaps best known as graphic designer for the industrial noise-terror unit Whitehouse. Brown relocated to Tokyo and has been churning out a series of highly technically accomplished airbrushed Japanese girls, dolls and war toys in perversely ominous juxtapositions. The remarkable life and career of French collage artist/photographer Romain Slocombe is explored at length; his charm and dedication bring a transcendent grace to his erotic obsession with the collision of Japanese girls and auto accidents, yielding some of the most startling photographic images of our time.
While Suture stumbles out of the opening gate with an extended reminiscence with evergreen bad-girl Lydia Lunch concerning her portrait photography, by the finish line it has explored some truly “world-class” fringe culture production as well as presented some criminally neglected creative territory. Particularly inspiring is the heroic story behind the Australian cold-sweat maximum-security prison flick Ghosts of the Civil Dead, which was directed by John Hillcoat from a script he wrote with Nick Cave (who also appears in the film). Other highlights of Suture include a discussion with painter Joe Coleman about “Devil Anse” Hatfield, leader of the warring Appalachian clan, and Romain Slocombe interviewing the king of manga psych-out Suehiro Maruo (yes, he seems to have a thing for Japanese schoolgirls in uncomfortable situations too). SS

Publisher: Creation
Paperback: 192 pages

Viennese Actionism 1960-1971: The Shattered Mirror

Edited by Herbert Klocker

“Through my art production (form of a live devotion) I take the apparently negative, the unsavory, the perverse, the obscene, the lust and the victim hysteria resulting from them upon myself to save YOU the polluted, shameless descent into the extreme… Comedy will become a means of finding access to the deepest and holiest symbols through blasphemy and desecration. The blasphemous provocation is devotion. It is a matter of gaining an anthropologically determined view of existence, through which grail and phallus can be considered two qualified extremes. A philosophy of intoxication, of ecstasies, enchantments shows as a result that the innermost of the living and intensely vital is the frenzied excitation, the orgy, which represents a constellation of existence where pleasure, pain, death and procreation are approached and permeated.”—Excerpted from the “Manifesto of the Blood Organ,” Hermann Nitsch, 1962
Vienna in the ‘60s spawned a group of four artists—Hermann Nitsch, Otto Mühl, Günter Brus and Rudolph Schwartzkogler—who sought to literally reverse the psychoanalytic concept of sublimation into a torrent of blood, aggression, sexuality, shit, pain and self-mutilation which would puncture the tidy categories of Art and Life, and enact Antonin Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty on a smug, postwar Austrian public. Their unbridled artistic “actions” were the means to their end of unleashing the Catholic bourgeois Viennese psyche in a healing “abreaction,” wreaking the revenge of Freud on his picture-postcard hometown. This sublimely designed collection (the in-print half of a two-volume set) documents with photos, drawings, chronologies and essays show how the four very different artists played out the rigorously psychoanalytical yet visceral ideas of their Aktion school—the meditative Schwartzkogler in his medical-mutilation photo tableaux, the masochistic Brus in his cathartic “body analyses,” the communal Mühl in his messy, bawdy happenings, and the ritualistic Nitsch with his dionysian, sacrificial “blood orgies.” SS

Publisher: Ritter Verlag
Paperback: 392 pages


Kurt Schwitters

A recently discovered recording of Schwitters reciting his legendary Dada composition Ursonate, on CD. And it goes something like this: “Fümms bö wö tää Uu, pögiff, kwiiee. Dedesnn nn rrrrr, Ii Ee, mpiff tilff toooo? Till, Jüü-Kaa…” SS

Publisher: Wergo
Audio CD