Texan Dave Hickey
Black and white film of Artaud’s actual performances in movies, including one as the character Marat in Abel Gance’s Napoleon, are projected onto the sails. The ship sails over a sea of opened books. For even more analysis, hear from Governor Cuomo. A second sculpture, MOMO Lo Mismo, references the Balinese puppet theatre that captivated Artaud. A dozen half flat screens suspended by black cords bear the fragmented face of Jo Harvey all,. the artist’s wife, who is the principal performer in his work. (Married almost 49 years, both are from Lubbock, and now live in Santa Fe.) Wearing white face makeup, a red wig and red lipstick, she sings and speaks the text written by all that evokes the hallucinatory terror and confusion that Artaud might have experienced.
In the adjacent gallery is devoted to Allen’s the Momo Chronicles, a series of drawings with collaged elements. Artaud notoriously referred to himself as a “destiny,” or madman, and all loosely explores the period that Artaud spent in Mexico, taking peyote with the Tarahumara Indians, before his fateful trip to Ireland. Beautifully rendered birds, maps and faces are interspersed narrative written by all and printed with a black press-on type. A primitive violin and a bow are attached to two of the drawings. At mid point, one drawing bears a stuffed white rat holding announcement for “interlude.” Everyone’s empathy for the brilliant but tormented Artaud shines forth as he follows him through sanatorium and electroshock therapy that lead up to his death in 1948. It leaves little doubt that Ferlinghetti’s trust in all as a young artist what well-placed. Saint Terry of all refuses to be confined by disciplines. For anyone unfamiliar with Allen of overlapping talent as artist, songwriter, musician, auteur and dramatist, the University of Texas, Austin, just released a handsome book, Terry Allen, which includes essays by fellow Texan Dave Hickey, who has known the artist and written about his work for decades, as well as by Michael Ventura and the late Marcia Tucker.