Glenn O’Brien

  • “Saints”

    The decline of the saints as subject matter for painting has hardly been precipitous. It would seem that sainthood itself has been eroded by the forgetfulness of folk memory as well as by Vatican debunking—Saint Christopher is now in the same league with Santa Claus. And the admission of new members to the saint population has slowed to a trickle. Well, the “Saints” show is not going to stir up a sudden revival of religious painting, but it did show that sainthood is still an excellent source of subject matter for art.

    Twenty-nine artists depicted more or less as many saints. There was also a

  • Jon Hassell

    Jon Hassell originated the term “Fourth World music” to describe his work as a solo artist and in collaboration with such artists as Brian Eno. Fourth is what you get by adding first and third, and that, basically, is what Hassell does, combining Western technology and analytical concepts with musical traditions from around the world.

    In his earlier works Hassell joined his self-invented raga trumpet style, technically enhanced, with contexts drawn from various cultures. Usually Hassell’s trumpet played against a background of music adapted from one folk source, but in this latest album,

  • Malcolm McLaren

    The Roxy is a large roller rink done up in the height of disco decor, a sort of Studio 54 on wheels. In the last year it has been dispensing with wheels every Friday night, presenting evenings of dancing to rap music and performances by rap artists and such affiliates as breaker dancers and double-dutch rope jumpers. These Friday nights have been the hottest (i.e., the most chilling) social scene in town. Uptown or outer-borough rap shows draw virtually all-black crowds; the Roxy accommodates a large contingent of the usual rap audience, but it draws an equally numerous crowd of whites, most of

  • “GOD MADE THE FIRST COPY.”

    GOD MADE THE FIRST COPY. Man is one of his copies. It is written: God made man in his image and likeness. Creation was copying. But today copying and creation are usually seen as opposites. These words have no meaning on their own. An original implies a copy. a copy implies an original. An original is supposed to be unique. A copy is supposed to be duplication of the original. But when an original is copied it is no longer unique. So coping really depends on a temporal order. The original exists before the copy. Time began with the first copy.

    Most of the creation in nature is copying. The

  • “From the Monkey to the Monitor”

    “From the Monkey to the Monitor” consisted of works by Don Leicht, John Fekner, and Fred Baca, all relating to evolution/devolution as manifest in the television contra-culture.

    Baca’s piece is a classic illustration of the up-from-the-apes progression, a series of figure drawings beginning with a hunched, slope-shouldered, lowbrowed ape depicted in motion, hands barely above the level of his handy feet, and ending, several dozen evolutionary stages later, with an erect, long-footed, fully fore-brained, striding man. This continuous strip of figures is placed behind a slotted panel, each slot

  • Don Van Vliet

    Captain Beefheart, a.k.a. Don Van Vliet, first made a name for himself during the brief, interminable psychedelic era of the late ’60s. While most psychedelic music was little more than polluted blues or rock ’n’ roll with “special effects,” the music of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band was and remains truly original, built from a unique sonic and verbal viewpoint. The comparisons made by critics to Beefheart are as amusing as they are instructive: he is seen as the heir of Delta blues, the successor of Igor Stravinsky, the culmination of Dada, America’s answer to the Peking Opera . . . he

  • Yasuko Nagamine

    The first TV babies have given birth to a second generation of TV babies, and within ten years a third generation will be here. Physical mutations have not appeared, but cultural mutations abound. Global communications networks have provided children the world over with intensive exposure to foreign cultures, and they grow up with an unprecedented trans-cultural perspective. The results of this new sensibility are just now beginning to show in the arts—particularly in music. Access to alien visual arts is not new; familiarity with alien theatrical forms (“I Love Lucy” in Indonesia) and alien

  • Bop Art

    From Atlantis To The Jazz Loft

    MUSIC WAS PROBABLY THE FIRST ART. You could run with it and take it up a tree. It was functional and something to bring the whole tribe together. They danced and sang to the same music and dressed up in strange costumes—then they worked stories in. Pretty soon they had something they called multimedia. It was a part of their religion and it made everybody happy. Then one day Atlantis sank. The few survivors split up and made it to Egypt where they built the pyramids, lifting the heavy stones with flutes, and to Greece where they established the theater. Some of the