The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘portraits’

You Should Probably Buy This French Poet’s Gun, and Other News

October 21, 2016 | by

Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP.

  • I’ve been keeping a close eye on the collectible handguns of emotionally unstable French poets, and I have a good idea: if you’ve got sixty thousand euros lying around, consider bidding on the pistol that Paul Verlaine used in his attempt to murder Arthur Rimbaud. It’s a handsome gun, soon to be up for auction, and it’s sure to make a great Christmas gift for the one you love. Agence France-Presse explains, “Verlaine bought the 7mm six-shooter in Brussels on the morning of 10 July 1873, determined to put an end to a torrid two-year affair with his teenage lover … It was in a hotel room there at two in the afternoon where, after the lovers had rowed, cried, and got drunk—according to Rimbaud—that the suicidal Verlaine raised the pistol. ‘Here’s how I will teach you how to leave!’ he shouted, before firing twice at Rimbaud. One bullet hit him in the wrist, while the other bullet struck the wall and ricocheted into the chimney. But, having been bandaged up in hospital, Rimbaud again begged the author of Poèmes saturniens not to leave him. Verlaine, who was to be dogged by drink and drug addiction all his life, pulled out the revolver again and threatened him with it in the street.”
  • Hey, honest question—are you in an online cult? Think about it. The Internet is, in some ways, little more than a cult-delivery mechanism. As Linda Besner writes, “In the 1961 handbook Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, the psychologist Robert Lifton suggests that cults can be identified by, among others, the following traits: the creation of neologisms designed to reshape the adherent’s outlook, separation from family and friends, fostering cognitive dissonance, confessional pressure, and a charismatic leader. In other words, cults are about control … An online ‘cult’ would not need to kidnap you, or bring pamphlets to your door, or go to you at all; instead, you would go to them. Perhaps the greatest difference is how much of a self-starter the average follower needs to be. The onus is on you to indoctrinate yourself.” 

Read More »

Woman Power

October 3, 2016 | by

The Austrian painter Maria Lassnig moved to New York in 1968, leaving behind a thriving career to explore what she called “the land of strong women.” She lived in the city virtually unknown for twelve years, keeping a low profile and producing a protean body of paintings, drawings, watercolors, silkscreens, and animations. “Woman Power: Maria Lassnig in New York 1968–1980,” at Petzel Gallery through October 29, exhibits her work from this period. Lassnig, who died in 2014, is remembered for her self-portraiture and “body-awareness paintings”: her effort to translate physical sensations to the canvas. “The only true reality is my feelings,” she said, “played out within the confines of my body.”

Maria Lassnig, Woman Power, 1979, oil on canvas, 71.65" x 49.61". © Maria Lassnig Foundation / The Essl Collection, Klosterneuburg / Vienna.

 Read More »

Ulysses S. Grant Repaired My Parents’ Dryer

August 3, 2016 | by

Revisited is a series in which writers look back on a work of art they first encountered long ago.

He’s always watching.

In 1974, when they were honeymooning in Atlanta, my parents bought a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant—not the one pictured above, but something close enough. They spent fifty bucks on it: cash they’d won on a bet with my grandfather, wagering that Nixon would not see out his term.

The painting hung above our fireplace in northeast Ohio when I was a girl. It matters only peripherally that Grant was an actual man who lived and died in the nineteenth century; who was the eighteenth president of the United States; and who, as commanding general of the United States Army, led the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy in the Civil War. What matters is how single-minded I found his gaze, his eyes staring down at me—to say nothing of the distinguished crinkle of the eyebrows above them, those bright buttons on his jacket, that thick beard and head of hair, sculpted like cake frosting. Read More »

Self-Portraits by Raqib Shaw

July 15, 2016 | by

In his new exhibition at White Cube, “Self Portraits,” the painter Raqib Shaw insinuates himself into classics by the Old Masters. You’ll find him in the canvases below—carefully modeled after work by Antonello da Messina and Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger, among others—posing as a joker, a mime, and a ghost lying in his own coffin. Shaw, born in Calcutta, was raised in Kashmir and moved to London in 1998. In his paintings, the critic Norman Rosenthal has written, “Color achieves an almost blinding intensity and precision that exists in both a horrific, and beautiful universe derived from personal experience based on self-knowledge and dream psychology … mixed with a profound love and understanding of the history of visual and poetic culture of both East and West.”

Raqib Shaw’s self-portraits are at White Cube through September 11.

Raqib Shaw, Self Portrait in the Study at Peckham, after Vincenzo Catena (Kashmir version), 2015, acrylic and enamel on birchwood, 39 3/8" x 51 3/16". © Raqib Shaw. Photo © Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd Courtesy White Cube.

Vincenzo Catena, Saint Jerome in his Study, ca. 1510.

Read More »


June 30, 2016 | by


Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Marcelle Roulin, 1888.

Kathleen Ossip’s poem “Babyland” appeared in our Summer 2002 issue. Her latest collection is The Do-OverRead More »

Words in Light, and Other News

April 18, 2016 | by

Jenny Holzer, Xenon for the Peggy Guggenheim (detail), featuring Henri Cole’s poem “Blur” projected on the Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Granda, Venice, Italy, 2003.