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¤ Allen Ginsberg

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¤ Barbara Fischer
¤ John Shoesmith

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Home » Exhibitions » “We are continually exposed to the flashbulb of death":

“We are continually exposed to the flashbulb of death":
The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (1953-1996)

Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Natalie Jackson underneath movie marquee
Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Natalie Jackson underneath movie marquee

Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Natalie Jackson underneath movie marquee, San Francisco1955
silver gelatin print (Image courtesy of the University of Toronto Collection)
Inscription: Neal Cassady and his love that year before her suicide Natalie Jackson conscious of their roles in Eternity. Cassady had been prototype idealized for Jack Kerouac’s late 1940s On The Road picaresque saga hero Dean Moriarty, as later in 1960s he’d taken the driver’s wheel of ken Kesey’s psychadelic-era Merry Pranksters crosscountry bus "Further". Neal’s illuminated American automobile energy, crossreferential eager eloquence & grass-roots erotic drive had already written his name in bright-lit signs in our literary imaginations before moviews were made imitating his charm. That’s why we stopped without plan under the marquee to fix the passing hand on the watch, San Francisco, Probably march 1955.
29 Aug 2015 – 8 Nov 2015

Organized and circulated by the University of Toronto Art Centre and Justina M. Barnicke Gallery with the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

The exhibition comprises over 100 photographs taken by the legendary Beat poet and activist Allen Ginsberg, capturing his life, loves, and artistic community, including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Peter Orlovsky and others of the Beat generation of writers, poets, and activists. Diaristic captions handwritten by Ginsberg appear on the front of many of the photographs. The photographs are drawn from a collection of close to 8,000 prints recently donated by The Rossy Family Foundation to the University of Toronto Art Centre and the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

Saturday, 3 October at 7pm
CHORAL READING OF HOWL
“I SAW THE BEST MINDS OF MY GENERATION DESTROYED BY MADNESS, STARVING HYSTERICAL NAKED...” volunteers will perform a choral reading of Ginsberg’s poem Howl. Howl and Other Poems was published in San Francisco in 1956 and acquitted of obscenity shortly afterward. The reading will last about 25 minutes; please note adult content and language. Refreshments will be served.

After the reading, at 7:30 pm., John Shoesmith will lead an informal, half-hour tour of the exhibition. A librarian at the Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, Shoesmith co-curated the exhibition with Barbara Fischer.

Saturday, 17 October at 2 pm
Lecture by Dr. Jonathan D. Katz (Visual Studies, SUNY, Buffalo)
“Nude Ghosts: Allen Ginsberg, General Idea, and the Formation of Queer Eros”

Precisely not gay, yet deeply homoerotic, Allen Ginsberg's work could appear self-contradictory until the advent of a queer politics underscored the strategic benefit in any such refusal of gayness. In this talk, Katz places Ginsberg and General Idea in a long tradition of anti-gay queers, situating their seeming contradictions in the socio-political context of their times.

Dr. Katz works at the intersection of queer and art histories and was co-curator of Hide and Seek, the extensive exhibition of queer American portraiture held at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, in 2011. He is an Associate Professor at the State University of New York, Buffalo where he is currently the Chair of the Visual Studies Doctoral Program.

The lecture “Nude Ghosts” is offered in conjunction with the MSVU Art Gallery presentation of “We are continually exposed to the flashbulb of death": The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (1953-1996). The exhibition continues through 8 November.

The lecture will be in Seton Academic Centre Room 530-531. A reception in the Art Gallery follows.



Exhibition Images
Click on an image to enlarge it.
Allen Ginsberg, Beck wearing pass around his neck 1 (looking down towards right)Allen Ginsberg, Installation photographAllen Ginsberg, Installation photographAllen Ginsberg, Installation photograph
Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Natalie Jackson underneath movie marqueeChoral reading of “Howl,” MSVU Art Gallery, 3 October 2015.Choral reading of “Howl,” MSVU Art Gallery, 3 October 2015.   


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