[Angus MacLise in Katmandu, Nepal c.1978 – photo by Ira Cohen]
Angus MacLise (1938-1979) was, as cultural historian/curator, Johan Kugelberg puts it, in an informative interactive feature, last week in the New York Times, on the occasion of a pioneering exhibition and series of events that he and Will Swofford Cameron have co-curated,
“a major poet, (a) major visual artist, legendary drummer, (a) composer, and one of those odd human-link documents who link different eras and different streams of thought and streams of art”.
Often remembered solely on the grounds of being the original drummer for The Velvet Underground, MacLise was (as is increasingly becoming evident) so much more.
Kugelberg, in a presentation, entitled (by the paper, not by him, we’re guessing), “Artist, Musician, Zelig” (“Zelig”, after the Woody Allen ubiquitous chameleon character), attempts to break it all down – or, at least, attempts, (via an extraordinary “time-capsule”, a suitcase that was left with composers LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela over thirty years ago, containing recordings, artwork, publications and manuscripts, and which forms the basis of the show), to preliminarily explore the terrain.
Kugelberg’s multimedia talk and walk through the exhibit nicely compliments what remains essential reading, the main print article – Ben Sisario’s piece, The Velvet Unknown, Now Emerging.
(For another, earlier, but still useful, over-view of MacLise’s life and work, see Rene van der Voort’s article, here)
Boo-Hooray/Dreamweapon have released a useful promo video for the show that may be viewed here. They’ve also released two limited edition LP’s, previews of which can be viewed here and here
More MacLise recordings (including the soundtrack for Ira Cohen’s 1968 “Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda”) can be found here
and also here (in the 1971, Angus & Hetty MacLise edited, issue (“the psychedelic issue”) of the magazine Aspen