Friday, July 29, 2011

Lucien Freud 1923 -2011

British painter, grandson of Sigmund Freud, died this week.  See the article on Photo of the artist in his London studio.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

East Enders State of Mind: Catching Up With Anglo Hysteria

Brits and Americans have had a long-running obsession with the BBC show EastEnders. 

Larry Jaffee, author and publisher of The Walford Gazette puts these folks on couch for an analytical session that gets to the root of the matter. 

"It's escapism," says Jaffee.  "...but it takes place in a zone where neighbors actually talk to each other.  Yes, there's sex, drugs and everything you might imagine but there's a sophistication about it in the way reality shows are sophistication.  That's the working class in all its glory.  And, it's ours."

Purchase the book, Walford State of Mind on Amazon.  (Also in a Kindle format).

From the publisher's release on the book and its author:

Walford State of Mind: EastEnders As Reported By The Walford Gazette is an irreverent new book that tells the story of the popular BBC series from the perspective of a quarterly fanzine.


The new book (ISBN: 978-0-615-42920-5) features the best of the Walford Gazette’s first 18 years and 72 issues, including contributions from Radio Times’ Andrew Collins (who tells what it's like to be an EastEnders scriptwriter; and renown musician/author Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), who tells how EastEnders saved his marriage, twice!

Walford State of Mind features analysis of the series’ best episodes and characters, and is the follow-up to Albert Square & Me: The Actors of EastEnders, featuring 52 exclusive interviews with current and past cast members (ISBN: 978-0-615-41015-9). 

Editor & Publisher Larry Jaffee tells: • how he was banned from the studio for three years for publishing photos in the 'Walford Gazette' under the headline 'ALBERT SQUARE TRESPASSER!" of an American woman who talked her way onto the set;

• how he conversed with Rupert Murdoch on why News Corp. should acquire the US rights to EastEnders when BBC America cancelled it;

• how he encouraged readers to send teabags to the president of BBC America when he told an Associated Press that “The joke around the office is the lesson from [EastEnders] is `Life is miserable and then you die.'"

“The publisher of the Walford Gazette, Larry Jaffee, is the best friend on this side of the Atlantic that EastEnders has ever had, a tireless evangelist for the show fighting for its availability on public television and cable despite setback after setback,” wrote Vanity Fair columnist James Wolcott in his blog.   

Walford State of Mind is available on, bookstores everywhere through Ingram, and           

Monday, July 11, 2011


Yana Bystrova is giving new meaning to plein aire painting these days by French frying the great outdoors in a kind of liquid neon. The world should look this cool. The Paris-based, Kiev-born artist walks out into her own Strawberry Fields and serves up these fertile lands in a very hot juice. The results are graphic, hard-edged works that glow with an intensity that would have easily buzzed Van Gogh during his famous swoon in Arles.

A visit to Yana's Marais studio is a bit like an acid trip stoned on summer sunshine and lavender loaded breezes. Vibrating flowers, rolling and tilled fields populate the two-level loft creating open windows onto scintillating landscapes.

Newer works on round canvases fill the lower area, along with large Rorschach-test inspired canvases (pictured above) that combine abstract patterns with anagrams. Everything spills over in pop color, intimating seemingly drug-drenched puzzles that double as interior psych sessions. These canvases are a sweet industrial magic and light show for high IQs looking for a work out, a stroll through the magic mushroom kingdom.

But these are self-conscious art works, objects in and of themselves.  And Yana has long aimed at this kind of visual poetry, without the aid of any kind of hallucinogens.

The works also borrow from a range of printing notions and several of these works feel like they've been silkscreened or produced using woodblock printing. But no, says Yana, they are all done in "the middle of some field by my own hand."

These canvases typically sell for between 1000 and 3000 euros. You can contact the artist directly if you'd like to arrange a visit: Yana Bystrova Website.

Yana's electric landscares are currently on view in Champagne, France from 8 - 28 July in a group exhibition with the controversial theme of : Revolt of the Wine Growers.  Well it's actually Centenaire de la Révolte des Vignerons 1911 - 2011.  To visit: Coopérative Les Coteaux du Landion 10200 Meurville, France.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Cy Twombly 1928-2011

Randy Kennedy writing in The New York Times on the idiosyncratic painter who had lived and worked in Rome since 1957 : "But Mr. Twombly, a tall, rangy Virginian who once practiced drawing in the dark to make his lines less purposeful, steadfastly followed his own program and looked to his own muses: often literary ones like Catullus, Rumi, Pound and Rilke. He seemed to welcome the privacy that came with unpopularity."

The New York Times Obit :  American Artist Who Scribbled a Unique Path
Photo of Cy Twombly : CS GRAPHI