Opening this week in Paris at the Centre Pompidou, another big Beat exposition (see our announcement back in April). This ambitious multi-media exhibition (up until October 3rd) comprises over six hundred different items – photographs, texts, documents, films, videos, paintings, drawings – and objects and devices for reproducing text, image and sound. A high point is, of course, the presentation of the famous “On The Road” scroll, the thirty-six meter- (one-hundred-and-eighteen foot-) long roll of teletype paper on which
Kerouac typed up his fabled text. Another highlight, fitting for the Parisian location, is a focus on the so-called “Beat Hotel“ (one of its rooms is lovingly reconstructed, and a prominent feature is Harold Chapman‘s extraordinary set of photos from that period).
The curators have orchestrated the exhibition around a geographical as well as historical framework, so the show traces Beat cultural manifestation not only in Paris – (and, obviously, San Francisco and New York, its spawning ground) – but also, significantly, (amongst other central locations), Mexico
Light is shone on several neglected areas of Beat culture, the specifically West Coast muse (artists like Wallace Berman, Jay Defeo and Bruce Conner), the African-American Beat… Here’s Bob Thompson’s “LeRoi Jones and his Family” (1964), just one of the six hundred items on display
Previews and reviews are beginning to come in – Here’s several – First, en francais – “la retrospective vibrant” (Laetitia Cenac in Le Figaro), the AFP announcement, Tiphaine Dubled in ParisBogue – & here, a review/preview in Spanish – and here (and here) a notice of the event in German
and don’t miss the catalog, now available from the Pompidou Center – “Les nombreux documents reproduits (photos, manuscripts, pochettes de disques, dessins et peintures) témoignent de l’euphorie creative des membres du groupe, ainsi que de la pluridisciplinarité du mouvement (arts visuels, littérature, jazz, poésie sonore..)…Une dizaine d’entretiens inédits avec des protagonistes du mouvement, ainsi que des extraits de textes et poèmes (Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William Burroughs, notamment) viennent enrichir le catalogue” – (The numerus documents reproduced (photos, manuscripts, album covers, drawings and pantings) testify to the creative euphoria of the members of the group – thus (also to) the multi-disciplinary nature of the movement – (visual art, literature jazz, sound poetry). Ten previously unreleased interviews with the movement’s protagonists, as well as excerpts of texts and poems ( (by) Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William Burroughs, in particular) (also) enrich the catalog).”
Meantime, simultaneously, also in Paris, at the Galerie Semiose (up until July 23), there’s an exhibition of the art of William Burroughs. Here‘s two reviews/previews on that – here and here.
That one also has a collectable catalog, “Pleased to Meet You”- (see here)
Et aussi Jack Kerouac – and one to look out for – An intriguing notice appeared in Macleans (Canada) – The Secret Canadian Life of Jack Kerouac by Richard Stursberg, (regarding Kerouac’s recently-published French writings) – see here
The European Beat Studies Network‘s annual conference starts up again on Monday (this year in Manchester, England – the two central themes this year – music and science). Among the specifically Ginsberg-centric papers – Rona Cran, “Simultaneous Data – Collage in Allen Ginsberg”, Peggy Pacini, “Writing and Reading Kaddish – An Exploration of the Soundscape(s) of the Poem”, and Franca Bellarsi – “Ginsberg’s Poetry through the prism of Buddhist Theories of Mind”. Ginsberg biographer Steve Finbow will be chairing these Ginsberg sessions.
Cafe Dissensus, Issue 26 – “The Beat and the Hungry Generation – when losing becomes hip” – (a special issue on the Beats and the (Indian) Hungryalist movement, edited by Goirick Brahmachari & Anhimanyu Kumar) appeared on-line at the end of last week and there’s plenty there worth looking into. Among the specifically Ginsberg-centric pieces: Spring and Oblivion” – (“Indran Amirthanayagam revisits Allen Ginsberg’s Howl & Other Poems through his personal memory of the poet (who was close friends with his father), their interactions, the copy of the book gifted to his father by Allen and Ginsberg’s readings that Indran attended.”), “Mind Breaths – Learning Buddhism from Allen Ginsberg” (“Poet and Beat researcher, Marc Olmsted‘s essay investigates Ginsberg’s source and commitment towards Tibetan Buddhism and how he balanced it with his political views/socialism”), “The Ginsberg-Dylan Express – Tangled Up in Vomit and Blues (“Brinda Bose looks at two decades of collaborations between Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, through poetry, music and films”), “Talking Poetry – Ginsberg and the Hungryalists – Samir Roychoudhury – a retrospective” (“Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury writes a first-hand account of her visit to the Roychoudhury residence in Kolkata, where she meets and converses with Samir Roychoudhury about Allen Ginsberg and the Hungryalist Movement”)
& Malay Roychoudhury is interviewed about Ginsberg and the Hungryalist Movement in a previously-published interview – here
As with the EBSN conference, tho’ we cite the Ginsberg pieces, there’s plenty more – see Pamela Twining‘s “The Women of the Beat Generation“, for example – or Marc Goldin’s “A Sojourn in Tangier”
And, still on Beat scholarship, Josef Rauvolf’s recent presentation on Allen in Czechoslovakia (note – the presentation is in Czech) may now be found here
For more renditions of that epic chant of passion – see here