To Be Read, and Re-Read

To be read:

Tess of the Baskervilles – Nella Evades
Nadia Took the Night-Train – Lucien de la Grepes

To be re-read:

Sanctified Elders in the Semiotic Scrofulous Larboard – Martin Brunt
The Loudness of the Hummingbird Meets the Silence of the Ghostdriver – Kirios Quebec
Rabbit Pie – Ka Naurauch

To be tossed away:

Collected Essays – Aldous Egg

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Seventeen Years Apart

As promised, the ever-informative art historian D H Laven has returned to our obscure shores with a lengthy piece on the forgotten sculptor Basil Harker.

There are only four known sculptures by the German-American sculptor Basil Harker. I say ‘known’; in fact, Harker’s oeuvre is not widely recognised at all, owing to the fact it is so small. There are two further impediments; a couple more trees blocking the highway of public interest; a final pair of flies swimming in the habitual ointment. Firstly, Harker’s four pieces are strikingly similar. Secondly, they were created seventeen years apart…

Read the rest here.

Read more by (and on) D H Laven here.

The Gecko Awakes

I keep returning, like a restless dog, to the oft-sucked bone of strange search terms. I claim a literary interest (the procrastinater’s habitual excuse), but it is probably a mere thirst for the absurd, or the simply silly, that draws me back to this peculiar well. And why not assuage this chaotic thirst of mine? Especially when there are so many bizarre search terms shuffling around the ruffled fringes of this blog.

To explain. Someone has found their way to this site by typing the words ‘gecko waking up’ into a search engine. Why they have done this I cannot say. How they found themselves here, well, I can only guess. I suppose it must have been this rather ancient post on the subject of Art Gecko. This, as far as I can recall, is the only occasion on which I have evoked the name of the famous sticky-toed lizard. I don’t remember, all the same, ever dealing with the issue of a gecko emerging from a somnolent state. And why would I?

Perhaps I am missing something. Perhaps the sight of a newly waking gecko would overturn the old bucket of my tiresome life. Perhaps it would tear a hole in the dirty blanket of my existence. Perhaps it would offer a bloody kick to the rough shins of my most cherished traditions.

Or perhaps it would amuse me, briefly – to be forgotten, gladly.

Last Lavens

The last two articles by eminent art historian D H Laven have been republished over at Underneath the Bunker. To whet your burgeoning appetite, here is a quote from his piece on Laetitia Blauman:

As the age of x-ray has revealed, there is often more beneath the skin of our paintings than a skeleton. Sometimes there is another body altogether. Paintings that get a lot of attention are often covering others – now forgotten. And these hidden worlds are neither rare nor, as many would think, have they been opened up to the public as freely as you would suppose. Believe it or not (and trust me, it isn’t hard to believe) some of the bigwigs operating our national centres of art are somewhat reluctant to tell the truth about their wards. ‘Underdrawing’ they mumble, when asked what lies below the surface of many paintings: ‘Just underdrawing’. But there is rarely any ‘just’ to these paintings. By no means. And yet there is sadly little talk these days of the aardvark below the Mona Lisa – badly painted though it is. Nor does anyone seem to have the confidence to describe the rather odd abstract painting below Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. And so they ignore it.

Further to this, I have been promised yet another excerpt from Laven’s forthcoming work The Story of Forgotten Art. I have been informed that it deals with an artist whose work appears in seventeen-year cycles. That much I know. The rest, as they say, is supposition.