Beyond the Pale
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POETRY

poems of the month

fish

vagabondage

measuring my face

ostracism

old clothes

ostracism

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

confession from belgrade

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

leda and the swan

gloss on rilke's ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa: a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir: an ironic mystic

the love of pierre de ronsard

imagepoem

 

TRANSLATIONS

 

BETWEEN POETRY AND PROSE

the maxims of michel de montaigne

400
revolutionary maxims

nice men and
suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper

disgusting

art, truth and bafflement

 

SHORT STORIES

godpieces

the three bears

three albanian tales

odorous underwear

a little creation story

 

ESSAYS & MEMOIRS

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

happiness

londons of the mind &
dealing death to the caspian

genocide

a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

a holy dog and a
dog-headed saint

an albanian ikon

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

diogenes
the dog from sinope

shoplifting

this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

combatting normality

fools for nothingness:
atheists & saints

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

the visit

 

PHOTOGRAPHS

prelude

metamorphotos

 

MUSIC

tombeau de kurt schwitters

three movements of melting ice

 

MY PAINTINGS


 

Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

megalith of the month

houses for the dead

ireland and the phallic continuum

irish cross-pillars

irish sweathouses

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths

 

'western values'

 


 

combat necrophagy

 

 

 

reverence for life

 

this site only

 

 

ART, TRUTH
and BAFFLEMENT

 

 

Of all lies, art is the least untrue.
- Gustave Flaubert

 

Pictures deface walls more often than they decorate them.
- William Wordsworth

 

Art has increasingly become the business of the artist
and the bafflement of the public.

- Paul Gauguin

 


William McKeown: The Morning Room

 

Almost everyone has heard a definition of modern art which goes something like:

Modern art is produced by the talentless,
promoted by the unscrupulous,
and bought by the clueless.

None of that is true.



William McKeown: The Waiting Room


The creators are certainly not talentless - because they have a flair for self-promotion.

The art-galleries are not more unprincipled than any other dealers in goods.

The buyers know very well that the monetary value of what they have bought
will decrease only in such circumstances as the final months of the second world war.

Even though what they have purchased is no more than a little studio experiment
or visual joke, marketed as a 'work of art'.


So it would be slightly more accurate to say that:

Modern art is produced by the unscrupulous,
promoted by the clueless
and bought by the talentless.



William McKeown: The Paradise [click for a close-up]


And even more accurate to say that:

Modern art is produced by the clueless,
promoted by the talentless
and bought by the clueless, talentless and unscrupulous
-

such as banks, depressing modern art museums, overpriced hotels,
and advertising agencies



William McKeown: The Field (Buttercups)


Though even that is much too glib.

However, it is safe to say that the appeal of much 'modern art'
is hardly greater than that of 'Modern Jazz'.



William McKeown: The Well
click for another painting in the same vein


I was, for a few months when he was living in Belfast in 1985-6,
William McKeown's friend and sex/cuddle-buddy.
He was at that time interested in fabric-design,
and wove on the Jacquard loom in the beautiful old weaver's cottage
at the Ulster Folk Museum.

 

Here is a painting of his from that time which shows his interest in fabrics.


William McKeown: Pink Sleep.
click for another design from the same period


William was very taken by one of my pictures, painted in 1975, white on white, titled
'The Bland, the Blind Totality of White".

I cannot help but think it influenced his paintings of white flowers on white backgrounds.


William McKeown: Tobacco Flower.

 

Click here to read vacu-art-promo-prop.

 

In 1985 we both experimented with fingerprint designs,
following my early Metamorphotos based on Irish passage-tomb engravings.
The picture above is typically meticulous, whereas mine are messy
and textural, like this one:


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

'Now for something completely different...'

Here is my portrait of William taking a bath in my rustic hermitage...
a homage to Bonnard...



...and sitting in a chair - with removable, jokey add-ons.


In the pictures on this page there are two extremes of modern painting:
one (meticulous)) which was bland, conformist, acclaimed, bought by museums,
banks and places run by committees
winning its creator a place in Aosdána, a kind of Irish mini-Académie française,
which Wikipedia describes as 'the exclusive Irish Arts Academy'.

The other (impromptu, neo-primitive) was (because of its creator's horror of trade,
self-promotion and the beau-monde, and his admiration
for the philosophy of the brothers van Gogh
)
iconoclastic, painted for private spaces,
and rarely exhibited or bought. The only review received
for his only (shared) exhibition in a private gallery was, however, favourable -
and was generously written by William McKeown -
whose frequently-stated ambition was
to own a Porsche.

"At the Fenderesky Gallery, Anthony Weir, Dora McAvera and Tom Bevan were on show.
Weir is a colourist unequalled among Ulster artists.
This admirable quality, spun against the elementary awkwardness
of his forms creates, at its best, epicentres of oscillatory tension. [!!!]
Weir handles well the æsthetics of decay well..."

[and so the artspeak goes on]

Shortly after he wrote this, William made a very beautiful and (of course) well-sewn
shirt for me to give as a present to my hairy French boyfriend, Pierre,
of whom I painted four portraits, including this one holding Paul Cézanne's hat.


William was strongly of the opinion that presentation was vital for artistic success.
I, on the other hand, antagonised by the hideous frames so often found in museums,
and by the trendy ones in art-galleries, have always - with my Shakerish functionalist
mind-set, have gone for the simplest frames, none at all,
or (as in the painting above) nice old battered ones.
Frames often seem to trap paintings, whereas I think they should be something
that the painting leaps out from.

I remember how William laughed (repeatedly)
at my seemingly-paradoxical description 'bright black'.

He died in 2012.
I guess that, by then, he was driving his own Porsche.

I joined the Artists' Collective of Northern Ireland for one week.

Here is another member of Aosdána whose portrait I painted,
a closeted, drunken lump of clingingly-uncloseted self pity without a milligram of humour
- but with a ravaged face which was a gift to any painter.


And h
ere is another portrait of William, in another totally-uncommercial medium,
the Metamorphoto.

The only exhibition of Metamorphotos took place in a small café-gallery
in West Berlin in 1986. None was sold.

 

Home page

 

Art is either the decoration or the stripping down of what we see.
Often, it is both.
- Anthony Weir

 

We have art in order not to die of the truth.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Planes and Textures, 2010, Anthony Weir.

 

Bad art is easier to escape than bad music - which is, alas, everywhere.

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