Category Archives: Libraries / Museums / Archives

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Exhibit: contributions to “Cannabis Japonica” at Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Barcelona

Opening "Cannabis Japonica"
I’ve got this (almost) exact same outfit!

The Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum in Barcelona (also in Amsterdam) is featuring an exhibit called “Cannabis Japonica – A fashionable journey through Japan’s cultural ties with the cannabis plant” on display until 26/02/2023

I was invited by curator Ferenz Jacobs to contribute some stories and items from my extensive archive and numerous essays to which i readily agreed (though my work/research is not currently active/ambitious though i have a few lines of investigation for *some other time*).

Blurb: The highlight of the Barcelona Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum’s 10th anniversary celebrations will be the exhibition “Cannabis Japonica”. On view from May 12, 2022 to February 26, 2023, the presentation leads visitors on a fashionable and fascinating journey through Japan’s cultural ties with the cannabis plant.

Excerpt: 

A well-known Japanese children’s adventure story tells of a technique used by ninjas to improve their jumping skills. The student ninja plants a batch of hemp when he begins training and endeavours to leap over it every day. At first, this is no challenge, but every day the hemp grows quickly – and so must the ninja’s jumping ability. By the end of the growing season, the warrior can clear the 3 to 4-metre high hemp.

Continue reading Exhibit: contributions to “Cannabis Japonica” at Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Barcelona

Artifact: Tom Tom’s Volkwagen “Museum” / Moab, UT, 1990

Artifact: Tom Tom’s Volkwagen “Museum” / Moab, UT

My beloved 1974 Volkswagen van broke down in Moab on an ill-fated mission with friends – including a child – in tow. As such, I went in search of a replacement coil (a lil cylinder needed to fire the ignition) and after a few stops, ended up at Tom Tom’s “museum” which is really just a lot of great buses (with a great view) which he can’t decide if they’re for sale or for parting out.

The truth is, I was in a jam, no parts available anywhere, was push-starting the van, needed to get somewhere, was getting late on a Saturday (Sunday in Utah limits options) but he wouldn’t sell me sell me a coil despite having dozens and dozens.

Now in way of confession, after he left, I took one, stuck 10 bucks in the mail slot and left, found my friends (who were rather upset at that point) and drove back north. A miserable trip.

PS I shared the story in a rather pretentious Moab-area topical internet forum and was lambasted for being a thief, warned never to return to Moab (keep in mind this was 1990)  and called a coward for waiting out “statute of limitation” / yup for a $10 at best par / all this despite the people in the group regularly discussing their *renegade anti-establishment* views and clandestine “night work” activities. Such hypocrisy, but hey, goes with the territory. 

Artifact: Edward Abbey / cover of Mother Earth News, 1989

Artifact: Edward Abbey / cover of Mother Earth News, 1989

Note: I *know* I had (or have) this magazine “somewhere” but I’m not sure if this is my image, – if it’s yours, cool, might be – maybe I’ll find the magazine, if so will share the rest of the article, maybe I won’t… Who’s to say? Regardless, this is the best and i share this image all the time when folks ramble on about “not having free time” and “that one show on TV” in the same convo. #hint #shootyourtv

I have a few other Ed Abbey artifacts in my stash including a program from his “Arch-Druid” lecture in Salt Lake City, possible ticket stub from same, and obituary clipped from the newspaper and so on, in the meantime, this cover is such goodness of such a hero (plus handy as i share this all the time when folks complain about “nothing on TV”.

Exhibit: Michal Korman, paintings and global gathering

{In what seems like an entirely different lifetime}, in early March we went to the seaside village of Setouchi for an exhibit of paintings by wonderful youthful artist, Michal Korman – originally from Slovakia and mostly based in Paris but he’s wandering soul – going places to draw inspiration from “set piece” scenes created in a charming bright and evocative style. 

Note: The exhibit was organized by the effervescent Yoshida Yoshioka-san, A wonderful calligraphy artist with unique style who you may have met previously in this archive. (Also worth noting she shares a  kanji character for her name with my dear Ryoko but of course and obviously, a different pronunciation – Japanese is like that.)

Anyhow, I quickly realized Michal was a kindred spirit and we enjoyed barrages of convos and sips of tea in between him being whisked away to greet more and more people and i managed a bit of translation for him and his LOVELY MOTHER who brought back flashbacks of my dear late Mom supporting my endeavours. 

Dude speaks half a dozen languages, has travelled here in there and has an interest, again obviously, in culture, scenes and emotions. 

His art is crafted diligently, deliberately and carefully and thoughtfully (contrasting in this respect to my own technique of wild brushstrokes and barely tamed chaos) mixing techniques including pointillism (in a way) like Georges Seurat with scenes that somehow seem Renoir-ish and daring fauvist contrast of Matisse and controlled unmudded/mixed colour suggesting modern pop artists like Haring or ole Andy. 

Anyhow, I noticed this painting of a Kyoto garden with a bridge and well,… I felt strongly that this painting should remain in Japan as it instantly evoked feelings of van Gogh’s remixes of Hiroshige plus Hokusai prints we’d seen at his museum a while back. 

I wasn’t packing a big wad of cash, and the amount wasn’t readily available from a machine or by bank transfer so, with a calligraphy pen and the wrapper from a bar of fancy chocolate, I wrote up a contract – which was duly duly witnessed by another exceptionally interesting community ringleader at the gig (i know his name as well… really… ummm).  I duly made a down payment on site by PayPal (which required him setting up/resurrect in his account) and we had a deal. Hooray!

So we picked up “Warm Autumn night in Kyoto” from his hotel a couple days later as he rushed to the train station > airport amongst an avalanche of fond goodbyes from his well-wishers.

While this painting seemed absolutely and immediately perfect, there were several others – really all of them – which were very tempting. Certainly any wise collector will be eager to get their hands on one of his masterful, nuanced and whimsical originals.

This fine gentleman ^ (umm i know his name…) saying a song and so then Ryoko did one as well – she selected a Chinese song with references back to a plant which appears in one of the paintings. Yep, she’s clever like that.

As is our custom, Ryoko and I gifted Michal with some various postcard treats of original art that we had brought along. He was very gracious about our offerings.

Michal himself shared tender sentiments from the event: 

One month ago the ” Inner Garden” Show held in Setouchi City Museum of Art! I’m still so moved by memory of this wonderful event, new friendships with all the marvellous supporters and helpers, all this thanks to amazing artist Yoshiko Yoshida and the great members of the friendship committee from Okayama-shi and beyond! Thank you dear friends for offering me and my mother such a wonderful time in your company, thanks for the hard work.

Worth nothing that Michal headed to Osaka after this event for another exhibit (minus the painting now hanging in our genkon) then to Sri Lanka for a commission, and then had a perilous journey bumping full-on into the pandemic/ quarantine situation when arriving in Europe which involved in walking across borders and being sequestered in strange places with no art supplies and the like.

Ryoko and 2 watercolours by MIchal Korman

Regardless, with his cheery disposition position and intrepid spirit, he organized a little Instagram contest (spoiler: i won!) to score his watercolours. 

The paintings safely arrived (despite various postal restrictions) and will soon hang (once safely framed) in Ryoko’s “Kimone” office where she does her work for arborist/garden design business.

Find Michal at Michal-Korman.com and follow his work via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – by doing so, you’ll see that he seems to be settled back into to “work mode”. Nice to see ya pal!

Artifact: Michal Korman’s painting at Tsuchida Cottage

Art, treasured, from Michal Korman (@korman.artist on IG) greets (imaginary) visitors to Tsuchida Cottage / a wonderful fella we met at his exhibit in Okayama seaside as he journeyed from Slovakia/France > Sri Lanka to turn folks onto his unique style.

More to share from his original exhibit *and* some watercolours recently received, plus other ephemera, but hey… just priming the pump/ clearing the deck/ getting ducks in a row and other mixes metaphors. 

PS hangs next to print VvG’s remix of Hiroshige and a Hokusai print – all three with bridges to welcome folks into our adorable home. 

Inspiration from Japan – Van Gogh Museum

Notes / excerpts:

Vincent adopted these Japanese visual inventions in his own work. He liked the unusual spatial effects, the expanses of strong colour, the everyday objects and the attention to details from nature. And, of course, the exotic and joyful atmosphere.

Vincent did more than simply copy Japanese prints. He was influenced in part by his artist friend Émile Bernard, who developed new ideas about the direction of modern art. Taking Japanese prints as his example, Bernard stylised his own paintings. He used large areas of simple colours and bold outlines.

Inspired by Bernard, Vincent began to suppress the illusion of depth in favour of a flat surface. He combined this pursuit of flatness, however, with his characteristic swirling brushwork.

“After some time your vision changes, you see with a more Japanese eye, you feel colour differently. I’m also convinced that it’s precisely through a long stay here that I’ll bring out my personality.”

Vincent to his brother Theo from Arles, 5 June 1888

++

“All my work is based to some extent on Japanese art…”

Vincent to his brother Theo from Arles, 15 July 1888

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Vincent bought his first stack of Japanese woodcuts in Antwerp and pinned them to the wall of his room. He described the city to his brother with these exotic images in mind.

My studio’s quite tolerable, mainly because I’ve pinned a set of Japanese prints on the walls that I find very diverting. You know, those little female figures in gardens or on the shore, horsemen, flowers, gnarled thorn branches.

Vincent to his brother Theo from Antwerp, 28 November 1885

+++

And we wouldn’t be able to study Japanese art, it seems to me, without becoming much happier and more cheerful, and it makes us return to nature, despite our education and our work in a world of convention.

Vincent to his brother Theo, 23 or 24 September 1888

Source: Inspiration from Japan – Van Gogh Museum

Engelbert Kaempfer on the old roads of Japan via The Japan Times

“Japanese travel more often than other people,” wrote Engelbert Kaempfer, the 17th-century physician, scholar, naturalist and explorer whose “History of Japan” (1712) was the first full-length foreign-language portrait of the nation.

An illustration from Engelbert Kaempfer's 'The History of Japan,' (1727 version) translated by Johann Caspar Scheuchzer. | PUBLIC DOMAINAn illustration from Engelbert Kaempfer’s “The History of Japan,” (1727 version) translated by Johann Caspar Scheuchzer. | PUBLIC DOMAIN

Source: Engelbert Kaempfer on the old roads of Japan | The Japan Times,  Feb. 2, 2020

“These Are the 66 Best Documentaries of All Time” via Vogue

These Are the 78 Best Documentaries of All Time, October 6, 2021 via Vogue Magazine

What makes a documentary “important”? What makes it worth referencing, or remembering, or even watching in the first place? Why, in this time of seemingly perpetual sociopolitical strife, would we veer away from the vaunted, glorious escapism of big feature films and go see something small and rooted in the real, instead?

Documentaries can be a hard sell, but it’s one that’s getting easier all the time. Once viewed as something stiff and obligatory, documentary film has, in recent years, risen to the top of the heap—thanks in no small part to some of the earth-shaking, needle-pushing, and ultimately world-changing films that are listed here, which find their focus in war, love, sex, death, and everything in between. And as for this list—its only qualifier is that these are the critically acclaimed, historically important, and pivotal films that a person who cares about film (and in doing so, often cares about humanity, in general) should really get to know.

Source: These Are the 66 Best Documentaries of All Time | Vogue

Angus MacLise – The Kathmandu Cycle | Sea Urchin Editions

This cassette is SOLD OUT, but i want it and to learn more about Angus MacLise, ergo::

American poet, percussionist, calligrapher, actor, occultist and publisher Angus MacLise (1938-1979) counts as one of the central figures of the ‘counterculture’ of the 1960s and 1970s. MacLise was a member of La Monte Young’s The Theatre of Eternal Music, contributed to the early Fluxus newspaper VTre, founded the Dead Language Press together with his friend Piero Heliczer (in some of whose films he appeared), was the Velvet Underground’s first drummer, and co-founded the legendary Spirit Catcher bookstore in Kathmandu. MacLise produced scores for the underground classics Chumlum by Ron Rice and Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda by Ira Cohen and, together with his wife Hetty McGee, edited Aspen Magazine #9 in 1971. Maclise married Hetty soon after he had left (or some say had been kicked out of) an early incarnation of the Velvet Underground in 1965 and had moved to California, where Timothy Leary led their wedding ceremony in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. No sooner had the couple finished their work for Aspen Magazine in 1971 than they travelled to British Columbia, where they wanted to settle down but were refused visas. They eventually found a new home after having followed the hippie trail to Kathmandu, Nepal, where their son Ossian was recognised as a reincarnated Lama by the Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu. Angus MacLise was a heavy drug user and his addiction to opium and heroin in combination with a relentlessly creative and fiercely uncompromising lifestyle proved fatal. MacLise, only 41 years old, died in Kathmandu in 1979 and was cremated there according to the traditions of Tibetan Buddhists.

During his stay in Kathmandu in the 1970s, MacLise occasionally made trips to the west. Together with his wife and son and in the company of Ira Cohen and Petra Vogt, he travelled to Paris in 1975. And one year later he read poems during the Millennium Poetry and Multimedia Performance in New York City. The recording of this reading, dubbed directly from the master tape, has now been released on cassette by Counter Culture Chronicles. Against a background of Nepalese music recorded by MacLise himself, the poet is heard reading seminal works in a sensitive, at times even vulnerable voice. This cassette is in all respects a genuine and rare countercultural gem from René van der Voort’s amazing label.

Source: Angus MacLise – The Kathmandu Cycle | Sea Urchin Editions

 

東京物語, Tōkyō Monogatari – Tokyo Story (1953) Yasujirô Ozu (via YouTube)

2h 16min | Drama | 3 November 1953 (Japan)

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Writers: Kôgo Noda (scenario), Yasujirô Ozu (scenario)

Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura

See full cast & crew » https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046438/