What’s Here/Queer/Modernist: Weekly Reads #4

What’s here/queer/modernist out in the world [wide web]:

Frido Kahlo gloves by Ishiuchi Miyako

Frido Kahlo’s gloves by Ishiuchi Miyako

Frida by Ishiuchi Miyako (2013) is a photographic record of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and belongings,” which includes images of over 300 items that Diego Rivero placed in a bathroom of the Mexico City house the two artists had shared, boarded up, and then instructed should not be opened until 15 years after his death. Miyako’s documentation of Kahlo’s personal effects is an delightful and revealing glimpse into what the artist herself regarded as her “visual armour.” The exhibition is running through July 12, 2015 at London’s Michael Hoppen Gallery.

Along similar lines, “Mirror Mirror … Portraits of Frida Kahlo” is currently on view at Throckmorton Fine Art in New York City, featuring the work of Carl Van Vechten, Gisèle Freund, and others.

An insightful and in-depth interview over at Weird Sister with writer/director Daviel Shy regarding the adaptation of Djuna Barnes’s Ladies Almanack, a project we are avidly following here at QM.

Callum James over at the essential Front Free Endpaper has a lovely new post on British illustrator Albert Wainwright with some new images and hints at what sounds like a new project (I highly recommend browsing through all the site’s posts on Wainwright for a quick and pleasurable crash-course).  Which also reminds me, I’ve had my eye on Albert & Otto: Albert Wainwright’s Visual Diary of Love in the 20’s, which James helped edit, since its publication was first announced; I really must order myself a copy one of these days.

Eslanda Robeson borderline

Eslanda Goode Robeson in “Borderline” (1920)

Over at the SF Bay View Malaika Kambon has a substantial and utterly fascinating overview of the life of Eslanda Goode Robeson (wife of Paul Robson) and her substantial body of photography, which I was previously unaware of. I’m most familiar with her through the late silent film Borderline, a very queerly-produced production staring not only the Robesons, but H.D. and Bryher. More info: Robeson’s page at Columbia University’s Women Pioneer Filmmakers Project.

Existential Ennui on the connection between Patricia Highsmith and Graham Greene.

And yet another reason to wish I was going to be in New York City at some point this summer: Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play is currently showing at Artists Space through August 23. (Via Feuilleton.)


What’s Here/Queer/Modernist: Weekly Reads #3

So it’s been a while–a looooong while–but we’re back!

Here’s what here/queer/modernist out in the world [wide web]:

Djuna Barnes Jezebel featured article

What a lovely and unexpected surprise to be scrolling through Jezebel.com last week and amid the usual ephemeral news items and celebrity gossip suddenly find myself accosted by the turbaned splendor and imperious gaze of Djuna Barnes. Laura June gives a detailed but accessible overview of Barnes’s life and career, and I particularly love the term “shocking modernist,” a most apt description for the divine Ms. Djuna.

The Modernist Studies Association (MSA) has launched the website for MSA 17, their annual academic conference. MSA 17 will be held this year in Boston, and take place November 19-22. One of these years I’ll manage to attend it myself, but in the meantime I’ll simply read in a longing manner about planned seminars such as the ones on “Modernist Jargon” and “Modern American Lit and Visual Culture.” Looking forward to the appearance of the full conference program.

The Beverley Hills estate owned by Countess Dorothy di Frasso (née American heiress Dorothy Taylor) and inhabited by Marlene Dietrich recently sold for $23.5 million(!), and the photos attest that the home has seen few changes since it’s 1930’s heyday. Designed and decorated by Elsie de Wolfe, the Art Deco-ish splendor is truly a sight to behold. In particular, I can’t stop staring at the photo of the living room below–I just want to sit on the couch, sip a martini or two, silently stare at the hand-painted wallpaper for a good day or so, and hope an apparition of Marlene eventually drops by. The Last Goddess Blog has a wonderful post of images of Dietrich inhabiting the home that I highly recommend as well. Alas, I can’t imagine that the home will stay with this way now that it has been sold, and that’s an utter shame.

marlene dietrich home elsie de wolfe

Elsie de Wolfe decor in Marlene Dietrich’s home

Indra Tamang, Charles Henri Ford’s artistic collaborator who runs The Charles & Ruth Project page on Facebook, recently organized a fundraiser to help victims of the earthquakes that have devastated his native Nepal. As well as Nepalese performers, Debbie Harry, Penny Arcade, and others contributed their talents to the evening.

andy warhol gold book“Almost as remarkable as Andy Warhol’s productivity, and ongoing ubiquity, is his variousness.” The Boston Globe surveys a number of recent exhibitions dedicated to Warhol’s prodigious and eclectic output (including the Montreal Museum’s “Warhol Mania” show I was able to catch several months ago) and spotlights “Warhol By the Book” currently running at Williams College Museum of Art until August 19. It reportedly showcases more than 400 objects, including unique and unpublished materials. I find A Gold Book by Andy Warhol (right) particularly arresting.

The Blue Lantern has a lovely consideration of les garçonnes, which “the French called them, using their gendered language to suggest that women in the decades between the two world wars had turned into some kind of hybrid of male and female, not androgynous exactly but definitely new.” (Off topic perhaps, but I can’t help but also recommend her evocative and illuminating post on Antonioni & Vitti’s films as well.)

“Los Angeles’ Queer History: Living the Legacy,” an informative post from the Windy City Times, pinpoints a number of unexpected queer historical sites to consider visiting in the City of Angels.

As always, if there’s anything of note I should be aware of, please feel free to drop me a line!

What’s Here/Queer/Modernist: Weekly Reads #2

Here’s what here/queer/modernist out in the world [wide web]:

Stein Van Vechten Toklas

Gertrude Stein, Carl Van Vechten, & Alice B. Toklas, January 4, 1935.

Well, it certainly seems to have been a very Carl Van Vechten week. Not everyone might be pleased with the latest Edward White biography, but it has certainly seemed to spark a lot of reinterest in his life and his work. Here’s a rundown of some CVV things that appeared this last week:

Most substantial was White’s long essay for The Paris Review, which specifically focuses on his relationship with Gertrude Stein: “Stein knew how crucial Van Vechten was to her career—not merely in the practical aspects of getting her work into print, read, and discussed, but in helping create and disseminate the mythology that surrounds her name. ‘I always wanted to be historical, almost from a baby on,’ Stein freely admitted toward the end of her life. ‘Carl was one of the earliest ones that made me be certain that I was going to be.’”

Two things I never expected to have to write in the same sentence: Carl Van Vechten made an appearance on Craigslist this last week. Here in San Francisco first edition copies of Music and Bad Manners (1916) and Interpreters and Interpretations (1917), owned by the same family for nearly a century, showed up on the popular classifieds website. Place in the “if I had a spare $600 just lying around…” file.

“Carl Van Vechten: Photographer to the Stars” is an exhibition opening this week at Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the local museum of CVV’s hometown. It features a collection of photographs that CVV himself donated to the museum in 1946 and which was later augmented by his estate, and runs through September 7.Van Vechten Photographer of the Stars

This spotlight topic at glbtq.org this month is the Harlem Renaissance, which features a number of queer modernist luminaries, including Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Countee Cullen, and, of course Van Vechten himself. Why Richard Bruce Nugent, the most overtly out of this circle doesn’t have his own page at this point, however, remains something of a mystery.


lunch poems o'haraCity Light Books will be publishing a 50th anniversary edition of Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems, which was first published in 1964 as part of the publisher’s famous Pocket Poet Series. The new edition will feature a forward by O’Hara’s friend, the poet John Ashbury. The also point to a feature over at The Atlantic regarding the collection, as well as a reading of the entire book taking place in New York City on June 11.

Modernist Cultures has just released their May 2014 issue, with a focus on modernism and dance. Featuring Nijinsky (of course), Josephine Baker, Pavlova, Massine, etc, etc.–can’t wait to dive into this! (Not sure what the access issues are, email me if you’re having issues.)

An essay titled “Kleist’s Cycle of Consciousness: Modeling Identity in Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood by Karen Lively has been posted by The California Journal of Women Writers, a publication I clearly need to start paying attention to.

What did I miss? Please let me know!

What’s Here/Queer/Modernist: Weekly Reads #1

Several of the blogs I regularly read present a weekly–or at least occasional–list of items of interest on the web, and I thought I’d follow suit. Also, I thought this would be a good place to include information on events that aren’t specifically or solely related to queer modernism, but would be of interest to anybody in And if you have any leads on material of interest, please let me know in the comments section!

So here’s what here/queer/modernist out in the world [wide web]:

The Quill Cover - Clara TiceBand of Thebes reminded me that I missed Lincoln Kirstein’s birthday last week, on May 4. Shame on me, but luckily he was there with a celebratory post.

Bookplate Junkie shares a flea market discovery: an October 1919 copy of The QuillA Magazine of Greenwich Village. The issue is dedicated to illustrator Clara Tice, who has a wonderful Beardsley-meets-Djuna Barnes quality. True to form, he also includes some bookplate examples of Tice’s work.

“A bio represents a selection of facts. But, as Nancy Mitford argues, ‘It should not be a mere collection of facts.'” Sketchbook reviews the new Carl Van Vechten biography by Edward White over at Goodreads, and he is not particularly impressed with it (and that’s more than a bit of an understatement).

“As a lesbian writer, even as one who has known many interesting people, I have very little in common with [Edmund] White.”  A skeptical Janet Mason takes on–and is ultimately won over by–White’s latest, Inside a Pearl, My Years in Paris.

In “how did I miss this?!” news, here in San Francisco there was a commemoration of the centennial of the publication of Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, which also promoted the release of Tender Buttons: The Corrected Centennial Edition, published by the iconic City Lights Books. Happily, audio of the event has been made available for those of us who missed it.

Speaking of Stein, Poets.org has shared some archival footage of the great iconoclast.

I don’t think that Susan Sontag was a great film critic; to hear her tell it, she wasn’t really a critic at all. But it’s still hard to overestimate her importance as an American writer in relation to movies.” Jonathan Rosenbaum has posted his remembrance of Sontag written after her passing in 2005.

The Ezra Pound Society has announced that they have a new virtual home.


blast-at-100 event posterJust another reminder that the H.D., Jean Epstein, and Queer Modernism, Spectatorship, and The Specimen lecture(s) are coming up this Friday (05/16/14) at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York. I wrote up the event here, and the actual event page can be found here.

Trinity College is hosting a “Blast at 100” this summer to commemorate the Vorticist literary magazine, and just announced their plenary speakers for the event. Details and registration can be found here.