Simon Doonan's 'Keith Haring' biography

In case you missed it, Simon Doonan wrote a biography on Keith Haring which came out in February. It’s part of a series of pocket-sized biographies about great artists called Lives of the Artists and examines Haring’s inspiring life and work during the 1980s:

Revolutionary and renegade, Keith Haring was an artist for the people, creating an instantly recognisable repertoire of symbols – barking dogs, space-ships, crawling babies, clambering faceless people – which became synonymous with the volatile culture of 1980s. Like a careening, preening pinball, Keith Haring playfully slammed into all aspects of this decade – hip-hop, new-wave, graffiti, funk, art, style, gay culture – and brought them together.

Grab a copy of the book on Bookshop and let me know what you think in the comments.

It's vichyssoise, sir. It's supposed to be cold.

vichyssoise

When you think of cold soup, your mind immediately goes to gazpacho, a Spanish soup comprised of stale bread, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, tomato, and cucumber. But fans of Batman Returns will think of another kind: vichyssoise.

In the famous scene with Bruce and Alfred, the butler hands Bruce the bowl of creamy soup to which he spits it out—”it’s cold!” And the immortal line:

It’s vichyssoise, sir. It’s supposed to be cold.

I didn’t understand the concept of cold soup as a kid and I still wouldn’t try it but the backstory of vichyssoise gives an indication of why it’s a thing.

Vichyssoise is a potato and leek soup created in 1917 by French chef Louis Diat of the Ritz-Carlton. He made it cold for restaurant guests to keep cool during the summer (which is ironic as the winter of 1917 in New York produced the temperature recorded in the city: 2°F or −17°C on 30 December 1917 at Central Park).

Given the fact that Batman Returns has a 1920s/1930s vibe to it and Bruce is a billionaire who you wouldn’t expect to get a drive-thru burger (which is funny because Michael Keaton later played former McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc in The Founder), vichyssoise seems like a logical choice.

In terms of recipes, this one from Simply Recipes looks like a good one as well as Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Vichyssoise recipe. Or if you’re desperate for something quick and maybe hot during the winter, you can get a can of potato and leek soup and add any extras you feel it needs.

Batman Returns and soup related: a Turkish hangover cure made from tripe, Hungarian dishes and recipes, and did Danny DeVito eat a real fish in Batman Returns.

The Black Caribbeans of the Harlem Renaissance

claude mckay

As the son of a Black Jamaican woman and Black Bajan man and an admirer of the Harlem Renaissance, I was intrigued by this JSTOR article by Matthew Wills.

Black Caribbeans in the Harlem Renaissance examined some of the Black Caribbeans that had an influence on the 1920s movement including:

  • Claude McKay (Jamaica)
  • Eric Waldron (British Guiana; raised in Barbados)
  • Arturo Schomburg (Puerto Rico)
  • Wilfred A. Domingo (Jamaica)
  • Marcus Garvey (Jamaica)

Domingo himself argued, “West Indians were better prepared to challenge racial barriers in the United States” because they came from countries in which “Blacks had experienced no legalized segregation and limitations upon opportunity.” The brutality of American racism, so very different from that of imperial Britain and France, shocked them into action. In the 1920s, of course, “the great colonial empires were alive and well, but the intellectual seeds were already being sown for their eventual dismantling.”

Almost a quarter of Harlem’s Black population was foreign-born in the 1920s. They included, most famously, Marcus and Amy Jacques Garvey. Garveyism, with its “ideological mixture of Black pride, diaspora consciousness, and defiance of white racism” was foundational to the growth of Black nationalism in the United States, the Caribbean, and the world.

Of course, this only covers the Black Caribbean men. There were plenty of influential Black Caribbean women in the Harlem Renaissance such as:

  • Hermina Huiswoud (Guyana)
  • Amy Jacques Garvey (Jamaica)
  • Maymie de Mena (Martinican and French Guianan grandparents)

“This freedom from spiritual inertia characterizes the women no less than the men, for it is largely through them that the occupational field has been broadened for colored women in New York. By their determination, sometimes reinforced by a dexterous use of their hatpins, these women have made it possible for members of their race to enter the needle trades freely.”

Wilfred A. Domingo, Gift of the Black Tropics

Recommended reading

Keith Haring’s personal art collection to be auctioned

Keith Haring's 'Once Upon a Time' Bathroom Mural

Sotheby’s will auction off pieces from Keith Haring’s art collection, including works by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

According to The Spaces, the sale will raise money for The Center in New York, a cornerstone of the city’s LGBTQ community. The auction will open on 24th September and is expected to raise about $1m. If you have that kind of cash, you can view the works online or arrange to see them in person at Sotheby’s Manhattan HQ.

If you’re wondering why Haring’s art collection is being auctioned off at all, it’s a legal thing:

Legal counsel had warned the nonprofit for years that keeping a collection made by artists other than its founder might fail to serve its charitable purpose. So last year the foundation began arranging with Sotheby’s to sell the artworks in an online auction called “Dear Keith,” with all proceeds benefiting the Center, an L.G.B.T.Q. community organization in the West Village.

And the reason for choosing The Center was a personal connection to Haring:

“Keith Haring fostered hope and resilience during difficult times,” said Glennda Testone, executive director of the Center. “He painted his 1989 mural, ‘Once Upon a Time,’ on our walls to celebrate sexual liberation and envision a world without AIDS, in direct opposition to the fear and stigma that fueled that pandemic.”

Milton Glaser interview with designboom

milton glaser

The late Milton Glaser met up with designboom in New York back in May 2000 and gave some really insightful answers in his interview.

Some of my favourites:

DB: what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?

MG: I listen to everything, my musical taste is extremely eclectic – traditional jazz, folk music, baroque, classical music (mozart, bach, even beethoven, brahms). my inclination is that I favorite baroque and 18th century music over 19th century music. well, I admire the 19th century for both, in terms of its musical and of its artistic accomplishment, but it does not touch my heart in quite the same way.

DB: when you were a child, did you want to become a graphic designer?

MG: I always wanted to be an artist, but I didn’t know what a graphic designer was. I suppose that among the earliest things I ever did as a child was to copy comic strips.

DB: where do you work on your designs and concepts?

MG: I work all over, I do different things in different places. I have a very nice studio in woodstock, where I go on thursdays, fridays and saturdays. there I do things that have to be done alone, drawings and complex things I have to think about. at the NY studio it is mostly organizing, working with others and producing things. I would say that I’m never not working in my mind. taking taxicabs or during breakfast…

DB: which project has given you the most satisfaction?

MG: it is very hard to say, because they are all very different. I’m working now on a buddhist museum, a himalayan museum in new york and it has been a very interesting, a very pleasurable project. but all these projects are very interesting in their own way. actually, it is not the project in itself. what makes them more interesting than anything else is the character of the people you’re working with. I enjoy working together for a common purpose.

Read the rest at designboom.

40,000 Movie Posters Under The Sea with Posteritati

Anatomy of a Murder 1959 Poster

The store/gallery is based in New York where you can purchase everything from a 1960s Swiss Scene Card of Casablanca for $150 to a 1933 Argentinian King Kong poster for $75,000.

Batman Returns poster
Batman Returns poster

As well as posters, Posteritati also sell books. The ones that caught my eye were Art of the Modern Movie Poster (2008) and The Independent Movie Poster Book (2005). If I was a rich man, I’d buy so many posters (and maybe a Fiddler on the Roof poster.)

Find more on the Posteritati website.

(via Kottke.org)

New York's Met Museum Publish Over 375,000 Images For Free Use

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Many of the 375,000 images provided by the Met are free for use without any cost or restrictions and come from the late 19th century when photography was in its infancy and back when albumen silver prints were in use. They were the first commercially exploitable method of producing a photographic print on a paper base from a negative and paved the way for photographic materials like celluloid.

Resources like this are really helpful for people without access to places like the Met Museum or the means to reach them in their local areas. Creative Commons was created for purposes like this and it’s great to see the Met taking part.

(via DIY Photography)

Sucklord, The NYC Artist Who Makes Bootleg Action Figures

Bootleg culture is a major subculture of our times.

It repurposes the discarded and creates new life. The Sucklord lives by his name under a super-villainous guise and makes bootleg action figures. The New York City pop artist is known for his “subversive Action Figure mashups and Reality TV Persona”, according to his website.

Operating under the Brand SUCKADELIC, The Sucklord’s Line of self-manufactured Bootleg Toys steal shamelessly from STAR WARS, Vintage Advertising and All manner of Pop Culture Trash. Packaged in layers of ironic self-Mockery, His shoddy looking wares have inspired an entire secondary Art movement, with dozens of entrepreneurial Toy Bootleggers creating their own versions of highly referential, low-Rent interpretations of their favorite figures.

Stream the video on Vimeo.