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Posts tagged ‘Lawrence Rinder’

Arranging One’s Books: Affinities No. 4 (Rubbing Up Against Joe Brainard)

On Wednesday, May 9, there will be two celebrations of Joe Brainard’s work on the occasion of The Library of America’s publication of The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard, (edited by Ron Padgett with an introduction by Paul Auster). One event is in Los Angeles and the other in Berkeley. I asked participants in both cities for photographs of a shelf where they kept any of their Brainard books to see what other books, authors, and artists Brainard rubbed up against. Most of the photos were taken with phones so, alas, they are a little blurry. A few that I particularly love are: the alphabetical ordering of Brainard (by way of Joe by Ron Padgett) nosing up to Bertolt Brecht or following Fernand Braudel; Brainard squeezed between Collette and Ex Cranium, A Night by Carl Rakosi; Brainard querüber from W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn; and Nicholas Bouvier’s The Way of the World resting on the heft of The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard in an overnight bag with other books and sundry items (toothbrush and pink furry slippers in the vicinity). Another little illegible detail: (in photo above) there’s a paper Colter Jacobsen wrote (“I’m Not Really Writing an Essay on Joe Brainard, I’m thinking”) for Bill Berkson’s class awhile back (he got an A+), on top of Paydirt. If you squint, you can find more serendipitous juxtapositions within and between photos (as well as a roster of some of the greatest indie presses—see how many you can spot)!

Complete info about both events is at the end of the post. Hope we’ll see you at one or the other.

—Lisa Pearson, publisher, Siglio











In BERKELEY at the Berkeley Art Museum Theater, 2625 Durant Avenue, at 5:30 p.m.

A Celebration: The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard, hosted by Bill Berkson, with featured readers Maxine Chernoff, Dick Gallup, Colter Jacobsen, Joanne Kyger, Constance Lewallen, Mac McGinnes, and Lawrence Rinder. At 6:30 p.m. there will be a special screening of Matt Wolf’s film I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard. Admission to the evening’s event is $7. Free for BAM/PFA members, Cal students, faculty and staff, and with same-day theater or gallery ticket.

In LOS ANGELES at Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, at 7:30 p.m.

Los Angeles Celebrates Joe Brainard, hosted by Lisa Pearson, featuring readings and visual presentations of Brainard’s works by Bernard Cooper, Amy Gerstler, Lewis MacAdams, Aram Sarayon, Ara Shirinyan, Michael Silverblatt, and Benjamin Weissman. The event is free. More info here.

To abstract. To abbreviate. To finally glimpse the whole. (Tantra Song)


Tantra Song by Franck André Jamme collects contemporary abstract Tantric paintings from Rajasthan. Quite different from more familiar and figurative lineages of Tantric art, these paintings are used as a means to shape and focus contemplation in the adepts who paint and use them. (Below, there is first a figurative image followed by a painting from Tantra Song and an excerpt from Jamme’s writings.)


I have noticed in the Tantric works how the simplicity of their conventional, geometric forms is complemented by the infinite complexity of their particular execution” water stains, flaws in the handmade paper . . . It’s not just a desire for the antique or a nostalgic patina that makes the incidental marks so important, it’s precisely that ideal forms—forms plumbed from the depths of the mid, of the soul—need to co-exist with randomness and the emptiness of chance. How is it that a symbol of god alone is so dull, but when juxtaposed with a smudge or a smear it comes alive?

—Lawrence Rinder, in his introduction to Tantra Song by Franck André Jamme



From Tantra Song by Franck André Jamme:

Imagine. Suddenly, after weeks, months, perhaps years of evoking the Goddess (for example), her arms, legs, her protruding tongue and frightful gaze, all suddenly resolved into a simple triangle pointing downwards.

To abstract. Abbreviate. To finally glimpse the whole.


Shakti in the manifestation of Kali, The Black One. According to an ancient treatise: “Just as all names and all forms disappear within Her, all colors disappear within black.” Night, once more, walks on night.


Kali haunts the cremation ground, and she is often pictured standing on the chest of the ashen white Shiva, who lies still as a corpse. In some images Shiva is ithyphallic and engages with Kali in a form of sexual intercourse called viparitarati or purushayita. In this position the female is on top, taking the active role. This inversion sends a message of the Mother Goddess’s supremacy. According to Shakta and Tantric cosmology, it is the feminine power that creates, sustains and dissolves the universe while the masculine principle is the static substratum. The sexual union of Shiva and Shakti graphically illustrates that ultimately the two are one, beyond all duality.

—David Nelson, The Many Faces of Kali

Kali and Shiva

From Tantra Song by Franck André Jamme:

The eternal and frenetic race of the feminine principle towards its masculine counterpart. Shakti pursuing Shiva…. The triangle of the Goddess is not presented with point downward, as tradition normally dictates, but in full agitation. In time, the triangle should come to actually tremble, vibrate, hover about its lover, its magnet.


Indubitable scene of pure love. The Goddess, transfigured, has mounted Shiva. We might claim that the great Tantric mass is here intoned.

Tantra loves such reversals, such inversions. Shiva who had been dark as night has become as pink as a vulva, and she who was pink has reacquired her original color–Kali, The Black One.


From Tantra Song by Franck André Jamme:

The “illustrious fish,” the little blue form that some eccentrics call “the little blue tongue.” One of Vishnu’s ten incarnations descending into the night of our dark world, yet under the seal of energy (the multi-colored spiral, thus having the power to sport all aspects of manifestation, all taste, all color). As if this energy, slightly drunk on its own richness, and turning in reverse, agreed to be guided—in time without time of a painting, by a god become fish.


More about Tantra Song on the siglio website. (Use code TANTRA to get 25% off.) Bill Berkson’s interview with Jamme is excerpted here on the siglio blog.

This post was conceived by Siglio intern Casey Reck who researched and brought together of all the elements here. Please note that all excerpts reproduced here—text and images—from Tantra Song are copyrighted. We request that you credit any usage “from Tantra Song by Franck André Jamme, Siglio Press, 2011″ and link back to this blog or the siglio website.

The figurative images of Vishnu and Kali & Shiva can be found with full citations for their sources on Wikipedia. The single image of Kali was located on a blog discussing the origins of the Rolling Stones use of the tongue in their logo!


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