Robert Rauschenberg

The property

“Robert Rauschenberg worked in a wide range of mediums including painting, sculpture, prints, photography, and performance, over the span of six decades. He emerged on the American art scene at the time that Abstract Expressionism was dominant, and through the course of his practice he challenged the gestural abstract painting and the model of the heroic, self-expressive artist championed by that movement. In his landmark series of Combines (1954–64) he mixed the materials of artmaking with ordinary things, writing, ‘I consider the text of a newspaper, the detail of photograph, the stitch in a baseball, and the filament in a light bulb as fundamental to the painting as brush stroke or enamel drip of paint.’ In Bed (1955), for example, he covered a large wall-mounted board with a pillow and patchwork quilt which he then marked with graphite scrawls and exuberant lashings of paint, the latter perhaps an ironic nod to Abstract Expressionism. Born in Port Arthur, Texas, Rauschenberg studied at a variety of art schools including the experimental Black Mountain College outside of Asheville, North Carolina, where the artist and former Bauhaus instructor Josef Albers was his teacher. There, his mentors and collaborators included the composer John Cage, the artist Cy Twombly, and the choreographer Merce Cunningham, with whom he would collaborate on more than twenty dance compositions. Rauschenberg’s engagement with performance was enduring and a defining influence in his work. As his career began to gather steam in New York in the mid-1950s, he also began a crucial dialogue with the artist Jasper Johns that shaped the work of both: together the two artists pushed each other away from defined models of practice towards new modes that integrated the signs, images, and materials of the everyday world. …”
MoMA (Video)
W – Robert Rauschenberg
YouTube: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Erased De Kooning

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Sometimes a Great Notion – Ken Kesey (1962)

Sometimes a Great Notion is Ken Kesey‘s second novel, published in 1964. While One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) is arguably more famous, many critics consider Sometimes a Great Notion Kesey’s magnum opus. The story involves an Oregon family of gyppo loggers who cut and procure trees for a local mill in opposition to striking, unionized workers. Kesey took the title from the song ‘Goodnight, Irene‘, popularized by Lead Belly. The story centers on the Stamper family, a hard-headed logging clan in the fictional town of Wakonda, Oregon in the early 1960s. The union loggers in the town of Wakonda go on strike in demand of the same pay for shorter hours in response to the decreasing need for labor. The Stamper family, however, owns and operates a company without unions and decides to continue work as well as supply the regionally owned mill with all the timber the laborers would have supplied had the strike not occurred. This decision and its surrounding details are examined alongside the complex histories, relationships, and rivalries of the members of the Stamper family: Henry Stamper, the elderly, politically and socially conservative patriarch of the family, whose motto ‘Never Give a Inch!’ has defined the nature of the family and its dynamic with the rest of the town; Hank, the older son of Henry, whose indefatigable will and stubborn personality make him a natural leader but whose subtle insecurities threaten the stability of his family; Leland, the younger son of Henry and half-brother of Hank, who as a child left Wakonda for the East Coast with his mother, but whose eccentric behavior and desire for revenge against Hank lead him back to Oregon when his mother dies; and Viv, whose love for her husband Hank fades as she realizes her subordinate place in the Stamper household. … Maurice Dolbier wrote: ‘In the fiction wilderness, this is a towering redwood.’ In his introduction to the Penguin edition, Charles Bowden called it ‘one of the few essential books written by an American in the last half century.’ …”
NY Times: Any Dream May Come True (1962)
[PDF] ANALYSIS: Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey (1935-2001)
‘Sometimes a Great Notion’: Sink or Swim

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The Midnight Hour: The Watts Uprising – Mike Davis

1965 will be the longest and hottest and bloodiest year of them all. It has to be, not because you want it to be, or I want it to be, or we want it to be, but because the conditions that created these explosions in 1963 are still here; the conditions that created explosions in ’64 are still here … Brothers and sisters, let me tell you, I spend my time out there in the street with people, all kind of people, listening to what they have to say. And they’re dissatisfied, they’re disillusioned, they’re fed up, they’re getting to the point of frustration where they are beginning to feel: What do they have to lose? Malcolm X gave this speech in Detroit on February 14, 1965, two weeks after a high-speed escape from would-be Nation of Islam assassins in Los Angeles, and a week before he was murdered in Harlem.2 He was often prescient, but what he was hearing on the streets could have been heard by almost anyone who bothered to listen anywhere in Black America—including on the streets of the South L.A. district of Watts. Previous chapters have sketched the chain of events—the LAPD attack on the NOI in 1962, the defeat of the 1963 united civil rights campaign, the social ecology of overcrowded schools and homes, and the white backlash embodied in 1964’s Proposition 14—that pointed inexorably toward Malcolm X’s predicted explosion in 1965. … Its famed labor education program trained hundreds of shop stewards and lower-rank union officials. Bullock, a labor economist, was the institute ’s point man in South Central L.A. and a much respected figure—especially in Watts, where he spent more than a decade conducting interviews with youth in the projects and eventually published a unique book, Watts: The Aftermath—An Inside View of the Ghetto by the People of Watts, in which he acted as amanuensis for community voices. His commitment to the community was profound and, after the 1965 rebellion, particularly irksome to politicians and poverty bureaucrats making false claims about the success of job-training schemes in the Watts area. …”
KCET – Every Ten Feet was a Soldier: Jazz and the Watts Rebellion (Video)
W – Paul Jacobs (activist)
1960s: Days of Rage – Watts riots

August 1965: A makeshift sign urging drivers to “Turn Left Or Get Shot” during the race riots in the Watts area of Los Angeles.
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The Newsreel

The Newsreel, most frequently called Newsreel, was an American filmmaking collective founded in New York City in late 1967. In keeping with the radical student/youth, antiwar and Black power movements of the time, the group explicitly described its purpose as using ‘films and other propaganda in aiding the revolutionary movement.’ The organization quickly established other chapters in San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, and soon claimed ‘150 full time activists in its 9 regional offices.’ Co-founder Robert Kramer called for ‘films that unnerve, that shake people’s assumptions…[that] explode like grenades in people’s faces, or open minds like a good can opener.’ Their film’s production logo was a flashing graphic of The Newsreel moving in and out violently in cadence with the staccato sounds of a machine gun. A contemporary issue of Film Quarterly described it as ‘the cinematic equivalent of Leroi Jones’s line I want poems that can shoot bullets. The films produced by Newsreel soon became regular viewing at leftwing political gatherings during the late 1960s and early 1970s, seen in parks, church basements, on the walls of buildings, in union halls, even at Woodstock.’ … While the political left of those times often appreciated Newsreel’s films, some critics also recognized their quality and the talent involved. An investigator for the House Committee on Internal Security observed during Congressional hearings: ‘although they are very peculiarly dressed and look rather peculiar…they do have some film-making talent because many of those films are quality films although they are extremely propagandistic and distorted. They are well put together.’ Several founding members of Newsreel have written that it was the October 21, 1967 October 1967 antiwar march of 100,000 people on Washington, DC and the Pentagon that was the precipitating event leading to the formation of the organization. …”
Wikipedia (Video)

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Yvonne Rainer – Decade of Radical Experimentation

“As someone cursed with the wayward gait of a drunk learning to ice-skate, I’m prone to thinking of dancers as a special, slightly frightening breed of magical creature, like the earthly descendants of certain birds. How, then, to make sense of Yvonne Rainer’s ‘Dance Works’, which sends me into this familiar state of baffled awe but depends on something other than exquisite technique? (It even permits a certain carefully rendered clumsiness.) Bruce Nauman’s contemporaneous and uncanny trapeze act, Walking in an Exaggerated Manner around the Perimeter of a Square (1967–68), is a much more useful guide here than the heart-fluttering theatrics of Swan Lake. But maybe bewilderment is the desired response. This sprawling retrospective captured over a decade of radical experimentation stretching from 1961 to 1972, in which Rainer found the contours of her own enigmatic and slyly contorted form of choreography. In an inspired move, curator Catherine Wood juxtaposed a shifting sextet’s live recital of four pieces – two of them never before performed in Britain – with a programme of short films including various movement studies, recordings of rehearsals and Rainer’s first (and most ghostly) fiction film. It was a combination that illuminated the reticent strangeness of works half a century old then fully restored their modern shock. If at first its contents seemed thorny and hermetic, spun out of rhythms too maddeningly difficult to crack, then slow adjustment to its wavelengths revealed a mercurial, discreetly astonishing sort of art that encourages puzzlement, disorientation and awkwardness in the bodies of its dancers and the minds of its audience alike. There’s no obfuscating virtuosity here, only a set of riddling enquiries into dancing itself. The biographical prelude to this run of game-changing pieces is rich with seductive detail. Rainer began circulating in New York’s subterranean art world in the mid-1950s as Minimalism and performance art took shape.  …”
The Paris Review – Narcissism and Pleasure: An Interview with Yvonne Rainer
MUBI (Video)

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Ann Beat, “Junkie Culture ,” excerpted from Books and Bookmen, November 1963.

Norman Mailer describes Burroughs as ‘the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed of genius.’ An odd offshoot of the adding machine family, he lives in a squalid Paris room where he appeared to the Observer as ‘grumpy’ but to the Sunday Times as ‘gentle and courteous’. His books, THE NAKED LUNCH, THE SOFT MACHINE, NOVIA EXPRESS, and THE TICKET THAT EXPLODED, are published by Olympia Press, Paris, but liable to be seized if imported to Britain (although B&B receives review copies without trouble). Extracts from these books will be published in late March or April under the title DEAD FINGERS TALK (Calder, 25s). Man, this guy Bill Burroughs is really square. You know something? He’s produced a book specially for the British. Can you imagine anything more philistine? His downfall started last Fall when some smartipants young British publisher named John Calder got Bill along to some Literary Festival at a joint called Edinburgh. He didn’t know what a Lit Fest was but he’d heard that Henry Miller and Norm Mailer were going so he figured that Edinburgh was probably on London’s Left Bank and that they’d all sit around at some boulevard café near Battersea Power Station and natter over some vino and heroin. But what he didn’t know — and the crafty Calder obviously did — was that Henry isn’t interested in writing any more ’cause he’s gone commercial and made a packet out of publishing Tropic of Cancer in the States. And as for Norm, he’d just had a union-jacked baby by his new wife, Lord Beaverbrook’s granddaughter, which seems to be pretty well going to extremes with the respectability kick. Well, when Bill got to this Edinburgh joint he found it was a real bourgeois set-up with a platform, microphones. ‘Mr Chairman’ and all that sort of crap. Instead of the fraternity like Kerouac, Ginsberg and the rest, he found himself stuck up in a public peep-show alongside crazy antique dames like Rosamund Lehmann and Rebecca West. …”
Reality Studio

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Nоva – Samuel R. Delany (1968)

Nоva is a science fiction novel by American writer Samuel R. Delany and published in 1968. Nominally space opera, it explores the politics and culture of a future where cyborg technology is universal (the novel is one of the precursors to cyberpunk), yet making major decisions can involve using tarot cards. It has strong mythological overtones, relating to both the Grail Quest and Jason’s Argonautica for the golden fleece. Nova was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1969. … By the year 3172, political power in the galaxy is split between two factions: the older Earth-based Draco and the historically younger Pleiades Federation. Both have interests in the even newer Outer Colonies, where mines produce trace amounts of the prized power source Illyrion, the superheavy material essential to starship travel and terraforming planets. Caught in a feud between aristocratic and economically powerful families, a scarred and obsessed captain from the Pleiades, Lorq Von Ray, recruits a disparate crew of misfits to aid him in the race with his arch-enemy, Prince Red from Draco’s Red Shift Ltd., to gain economic leadership by securing a vastly greater amount of Illyrion directly from the heart of a stellar nova. … Within the future society, reading the Tarot is considered both scientific and accurate. The Mouse is actually ridiculed as old-fashioned and uneducated for his skepticism about such things. Much of the story revolves around a tarot reading Tyÿ gives Lorq at the beginning of the second mission, in which she rather successfully predicts the stakes and outcome. For example, The Tower appears, indicating that a powerful family (presumably the Reds or Von Rays) will fall, and the large number of pentacles indicates wealth. Prince and Ruby are represented by the King of Swords and the Queen of Swords, respectively. An anomaly in the reading, however, occurs when Tyÿ drops The Sun—which Lorq considered to represent a nova—and the Mouse pockets it, thus making it impossible for Tyÿ’s reading to include this card. Smaller Tarot readings dot the rest of the novel. …”
Samuel R. Delany: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Super-Nova

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KPFK (90.7 FM) is a listener-sponsored radio station based in North Hollywood, California, United States, which serves Southern California, and also streams 24 hours a day via the Internet. It was the second of five stations in the non-commercial, listener-sponsored Pacifica Foundation network. KPFK 90.7 FM began broadcasting in April 1959, twelve years after the Pacifica Foundation was created by pacifist Lewis Hill, and ten years after the network’s flagship station, KPFA, was founded in Berkeley. … In 1963, KPFK ran the very first Renaissance fair as a fundraiser called the Renaissance Pleasure Faire and May Market (the event was managed by Theme Events Limited). At the 1964 fair, Art Kunkin distributed The Faire Free Press, a one-shot eight-page tabloid with the Los Angeles Free Press‘ logo appearing on an inside page. While the outside pages were a spoof of the Faire’s Renaissance theme, featuring cute stories like one about a ‘ban the crossbow‘ demonstration, the inside contained legitimate underground community news and reviews. … In 1974, Will Lewis, the general manager of the station at the time, famously refused to turn over tapes acquired from the Symbionese Liberation Army after the terrorist group’s kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. After repeated requests by the FBI and being subpoenaed, Lewis cited the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press to no avail at a grand jury and was sent to federal prison for 15 days at Terminal Island. … Lewis’ progressive changes at KPFK during the 1970s turned the Pacifica station into one of the most popular in the nation, where many celebrity activists were able to express their views without censorship from mainstream media. Actors Martin Sheen, Paul Newman, Jane Fonda and her then-politician husband Tom Hayden, who stood trial in the Chicago Seven case, were among many high-profile visitors at the station during Lewis’ leadership. …”
KPFK, Los Angeles – October 1962, etc.
KPFK folio
LA Weekly: Left-Wing Darling Pacifica Radio Is Sliding Into the Abyss

Audio: Patty Hearst tapes excerpt KPFK (Audio)
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The Complete Stax / Volt Singles: 1959–1968

“Understanding the music from Stax is easy, understand the business of Stax could probably take you a lifetime, as the label has been intermixed not only with the old Atlantic record label, Gulf Western, Concord Records but that of the newer Rhino Disc company and its affiliates. In 1991, Atlantic released The Complete Stax Volt Singles Collection 1959 through 1968, on nine discs, containing all of the Stax ‘A Sides’ from the Atlantic era. This boxed set consists of 243 singles, measures 12 X 12 inches by 2 inches deep, and along with the nine discs [which are broken down chronologically], comes with a very large soft cover book, containing sixty four pages of information and pictures of the artists, recording sessions, and those who orbited these sessions, including the engineers and technicians. As far as the book is concerned, it is one of the better that I have come across, all of the information is laid out in a concise manner, following the time line of the music’s release. The Atlantic years were the most successful and those which will be remembered the most, due in great part to such legends as Booker T. & the MGs, who were not only the house band for Stax, but artists in their own right … much the same as the Funk Brothers were to their main competitor, Motown Records. Much has been made regarding the sound Stax Records was to achieve … many attributed this to the quality of the musicians and technicians who worked for Stax, but truth be told, the sound was a pure accident. The recording studio Stax used was actually a converted movie theater, with the usual sloping floor where the seats had once been. The imbalance of this large room created a sort of acoustic anomaly that found its way onto the sound of the recordings … giving them a deep, huge sound, unlike anything heard before, and it was all accidental … just proving how much can not be factored into a recording session. … Some of Stax’s best artists included: The Bar-Keys, Booker T. & The MGs, The Mad Lads, Sam & Dave, The Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Otis Redding, Luther Ingram, Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd, The Emotions and many, many others. … – streetmouse”
Rate Your Music
YouTube: Stax-Volt: The Complete Singles 1959-1968   1 / 235

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Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by American toy company Mattel, Inc. and launched on March 9, 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration. Barbie is the figurehead of a brand of Mattel dolls and accessories, including other family members and collectible dolls. Barbie has been an important part of the toy fashion doll market for over six decades and has been the subject of numerous controversies and lawsuits, often involving parodies of the doll and her lifestyle. Mattel has sold over a billion Barbie dolls, making it the company’s largest and most profitable line. … The first Barbie doll wore a black-and-white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail, and was available as either a blonde or brunette. The doll was marketed as a ‘Teen-age Fashion Model’, with her clothes created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson. … Barbie has had over 40 pets including cats and dogs, horses, a panda, a lion cub, and a zebra. She has owned a wide range of vehicles, including pink Beetle and Corvette convertibles, trailers, and Jeeps. She also holds a pilot‘s license, and operates commercial airliners in addition to serving as a flight attendant. … ‘Colored Francie’ made her debut in 1967, and she is sometimes described as the first African-American Barbie doll. However, she was produced using the existing head molds for the white Francie doll and lacked distinct African characteristics other than dark skin. … Mattel developed this collection in response to mothers concerned about their daughters having positive female role models. Dolls in this collection include Frida Kahlo, Patti Jenkins, Chloe Kim, Nicola Adams, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Bindi Irwin, Amelia Earhart, Misty Copeland, Helene Darroze, Katherine Johnson, Sara Gama, Martyna Wojciechowska, Gabby Douglas, Guan Xiaotong, Ava Duvernay, Yuan Yuan Tan, Iris Apfel, Ashley Graham and Leyla Piedayesh. …”
Inventing Barbie, Barbie Goes Mod: The Sixties
Vintage Barbie Dolls: 1959 to 1966
YouTube:Barbie 1960s Commercial – If You Were A Fashion Model Like Barbie, 1959 First EVER Barbie Commercial High Quaility HQ!


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